Imperial Boat Hotel, Koh Samui

Sep 20th, 1998, 12:59 AM
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Imperial Boat Hotel, Koh Samui

Has anyone stayed at the Imperial Boat Hotel in Koh Samui, preferably on one of the rice barges. We are planning to book a holiday to Thailand for next August and want to tour northern thailand for ten days then relax on Koh Samui for the next week. We have teenage sons in tow, don't want to be where it is built up and really touristy by would like to find somewhere where it is quiet but there are things going on not far away. That way we can have peace and quiet and they can have activities. Hope someone can help us!
Sep 21st, 1998, 12:19 AM
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I only visited this hotel which appeared to be a good one (superior class or 3/4 star range). Rice barges looked nice, however a bit small. The only negative thing I was able to notice (during this quick visit) was that their beach is pretty rocky at low tide. You also have to go very far away to find deep enough water to swim.
Oct 21st, 1998, 09:38 PM
David Hudson
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Rice barges seem a nice idea but are quite expensive and just another trendy resort. Queue up for a beach chair with the rest of the crowd. Sure you will get your allocated square metre. It is a long way to trek through the resort to the beach and it seemed quite hot and breathless between the barges. There are only a few resorts around Rice Barges and it is hard to break out on foot.

Try Chewang Noi further south for a much more memorable, relaxed, private and cheaper option. My partner and I stayed at New Star for 1800 B for a beautiful, self-contained and private bungalow only 20m from the beach. New Star has even cheaper options at the same standard of accommodation just a little further back up the slope. The beach is a slice of heaven.

Best of a place like New Star is that it is easier to access a wider range of eating and other entertainment options on foot from your accommodation.

Nov 5th, 1998, 02:48 PM
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My son & I stayed in one of the barges a couple of years ago. It was really quite nice - different experience from a regular hotel room. We were able to have dinner every night just by walking down the beach and enjoying a wonderful, cheap dinner sitting on the beach! Never ate at the resort, but many fine restaurants you can walk to.
I would recommend it - for something at least a little different than your typical resort! Sharon
Nov 10th, 1998, 05:53 AM
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The following was posted on - I'm sure he won't mind me re-posting it since he states that he wants the word to spread.

My Review of The Imperial Boathouse, Koh Samui
I've just returned from my honeymoon in Koh Samui a week ago. I stayed in
the Imperial Boathouse (part of the Imperial Hotel Group) and would have
recommended it if it wasn't for one of two bad experiences;
- Getting ripped off for vat and service charge at every opportunity. e.g.
ask for a bottle of water by the pool and find they've whacked on service
charge, and rounded it up!!... In fact, if anyone wants to eat in a
restaurant in Koh Samui, I wouldn't recommend the hotel food. My advice is
to find a restaurant in the local towns (Chaweng, or Nathon). The quality
and selection is much better, and the food's a hell of a lot cheaper than
the Imperial Boathouse!!!
- Cockroaches in the rooms. Fortunately not a problem for us. But another
honeymoon couple we were with had the misfortune of arriving home every
night to have to clear the room of roaches.
- The same band with the same tunes and same routines EVERY night in the
lobby bar. Gets very boring after a while!
-Service in the lobby bar. On more than one occasion, we were left waiting
for 15-20 minutes for a drink. Once I even went up to the bar and collected
the tray of drinks that had been sitting there for us for 15 minutes!
- Hassle from the local tradesmen. Whether you're on the beach, by the pool,
or in the restaurant, you're never very far from a tradesman trying to sell
you shorts, or t-shirts, or someone pestering you into having a Thai
massage. Does the hotel have no policy to prevent this kind of harrasment?
- Buffet this, buffet that. Has this hotel ever heard of a sit-down meal? -
It was 'international' buffet, or even 'Italian' ! buffet every night...
(and overpriced, as I've already mentioned). If I'd wanted Italian food, I
would have gone to Italy.
- And, to put the icing on the cake, a rude manager who was determined to
sacrifice the hotels reputation and upset his guests. Its a long story, but
in summary - We arrived as a honeymoon couple and were promised a free
upgrade to a 'boat suite' from the fairly dull deluxe rooms. On arrival they
moved us into a boat suite, only later to inform us that it would cost us an
EXTRA 3000 baht per night!!!...
We were then informed on the morning we were leaving that this had been
reduced to 2500 baht per night... However on checking out, the manager then
insisted on arguing with us for at least 45 minutes until he had squeezed
the 3000 baht X 6 nights = 18,000 baht out of us!!! We were very angry. My
wife was quite upset, and felt this left us with a bad feeling on what had
otherwise been a brilliant honeymoon (apart from our other experiences in
the Imperial Boathouse)
Okay. Lets check which lists
their prices;Deluxe Room $63 = 2466 bahtBoat Suite $105 = 4110 baht
Difference ('Upgrade price') $42 = 1644 baht
I was charged 3000 baht. an OVERCHARGE of 1356 baht per night. For 6 nights,
this is 8136 baht, or $208. Is this a fair way to treat a honeymoon couple?
This is the amount of money that the manager of the Imperial Boathouse
squandered their reputation for. Is he so consumed with making money that
his guests feelings, or the reputation of his hotel doesn't matter to him
IHG can check with the manager of the Imperial Boathouse in Koh Samui who I
had adequately informed, and seemed quite happy that I was going to make
this situation public on the internet. In fact, I wrote the details of what
I was going to do on my bill before paying it. (If he cares to check back
through his records)
Perhaps someone at Asia Travel or Internet Asia could possibly explain to
Imperial Hotels Group the impact that internet email, newsgroups and web
pages could have in damaging their reputation? - The manager did seem
somewhat ignorant (perhaps by choice) of what the internet actually was!
If anyone from the Imperial Hotel Group wish to defend themselves, then they
can either post here, or email me at [email protected]. I intend to
persist in writing about this in every newsgroup or web page I can find
until I feel that the reputation of IHG has been sufficiently damaged, or
until I receive adequate apology or compensation from IHG.
This posting has been made to a couple of appropriate newsgroups to make it
public, as well as imperial hotel group, asia travel, internet asia,
thailand hotels, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.Regards,John Honan.
Dec 9th, 1998, 07:25 AM
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Hi Carole,
my husband and I spent a very beautiful holiday in the Imperial Boat Hotel some years ago (also after travelling mainland Thailand for 2 weeks). We didn't have one of those boat rooms (mind that there are several rooms in any of the boats and ask if you have the boat for yourself or if you will have "neighbours"), but one of the nice and spacious rooms in the main building. We enjoyed the Hotel a lot. Though, when reading John Honan's angry message, I remember that we actually also had a little hassle at the reception for reasons I don't recall. It was something minor but they proved to be rather inflexible. But in spite of this (and maybe it could happen anywhere), I do recommend the hotel. What I liked especially was the beautiful sandy beach. The Hotel had windsurfers lying on the beach. You could use them and just leave them on the beach for anyone else, when you had had enough. Waterski was charged extra but my husband had a lot of fun and didn't pay enormously. Also they would take you parachuting behind a boat. I think your teenage sons would definitely enjoy all this. It is true that the water can be shallow but I don't remember rocks. That's why I found it a great place to go with very small children.
It is true that the hotel's restaurants were expensive. The Italian one wasn't too bad, it had a nice view on the beach. The other one served delicious buffets in the open and occasionally I enjoyed a glass of wine (but that WAS expensive). Most of the time we just walked down the beach some meters and there you 'll find tiny little restaurants where they barbecue the finest and freshest seafood (lobster, crab, snapper, whatever they caught that day). No stomach problems. Choose the seafood and bargain the price before they start preparing the meal. People were extremely friendly there and we soon habitually returned to our favorite little place where we got to know the whole family. Surprising in the middle of a Tourists Place, but maybe just what you are looking for.
Another issue is prostitution. It was visible in Koh Samui, allthough not as badly as in some other places in Thailand. But even in the Imperial Boat House you will see Western men travelling or staying with young Thai women or men. We didn't like this, but you'll probably find it everywhere in Thailand.
If I planned another trip to Koh Samui, I would probably go back to that Hotel.
Of course I don't know, inhowfar it has changed in the meantime. I think we were there in 1992 or so.
You will love Thailand !
Have a wonderful time.

Dec 9th, 1998, 10:18 AM
Posts: n/a
Thanks everyone for your comments. They are very helpful. Judy, I did take notice of your posting and in fact forwarded it on to Asia Travel who I have booked the hotel through. They were quite shocked at the comments and answered each accusation reasonably well - they also sent the posting on to the actual hotel itself so I guess I can't do much more than that. I don't think it does companies any harm to know that there could be far reaching consequences to them offering bad service. Anyway, having warned Asia Travel of my concerns I feel reasonably happy that things will be okay.
Anna, thanks for your posting. I am very much looking forward to our holiday. I think the only one of us that is worried about the prostitution is our twenty five year old daughter but I guess she will just have to turn a blind eye! We have been to Amsterdam where prostitution is legal and we just avoided the main areas. I know that you can't really do that in Thailand but if anyone has been to the red light district in Amsterdam they will know that it is much more 'in your face'! (Sitting in shop windows with very few clothes on!). Hopefully it is not like that in Thailand. Anyway thanks everyone.

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