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Haad Yao Accommodation Update 2017

Sun Moon Star Resort

Sun Moon Star Resort

The Thai Baht has dropped in value against the US dollar. Whereas, traditionally the Baht hovered around 30 Thai Baht to a dollar it is now 35 Thai Baht to one dollar. The strengthened dollar has meant many accommodation providers have been able to drop their prices. This is good news for Americans. Not so good news for Brits whose wrecking-ball referendum on the European Union has seen the British pound fall further back against the Baht. The focus of this post will not be on currency fluctuations but on how the public see the resorts and hotels in Haad Yao. Which businesses have impressed and which disappointed.

Rising Standards

Euphoria Bungalow has made modest progress on Trip Advisor going from 120 to 116 in the speciality lodging category. The bungalow outfit has received its first Agoda rating and enters the Agoda rating system at a generous 6.8.

Haad Yao Over Bay Resort has done well on Trip Advisor – it has gone from 55th to 31st best speciality lodging in Koh Phangan. Despite that its Agoda rating out of ten has dropped slightly from 6.5 to 6.4.

Another Trip Advisor success story is Haad Yao Sunset Bungalow that moved from 84 to 75 in the best B&B category. The budget bungalow outfit has also got its first Agoda ranking – 7.3

Sun Moon Star Resort has now the most expensive ‘low end’ accommodation with prices starting at 1,700 Thai Baht. The villa resort has gone from 9th best B&B in Koh Phangan to 7th best. Its Agoda ranking remains at an impressive 9.1. Clearly they are treating their guests well!

Another top end place to do well is See Through Boutique Resort, also in the B&Bs and inns category, it has risen from 56th to 46 on Trip Advisor. It has also improved its Agoda score from 7.3 to 7.4. And more good news – See Through Boutique has lowered its prices.

Long Bay Resort had a good year. In 2016 the resort ranked 50th in the Trip Advisor hotel rankings. In 2017 it made it to 40th. However, its Agoda scored dropped slightly from 7.6 to 7.5. Prices have gone up at Long Bay Resort primarily because the fan bungalows have been upgraded to air-con. Shame for the environment.

Falling Standards

Sadly, the list of establishments offering accommodation with falling Trip Advisor and Agoda ratings is longer.

Baan Haad Yao Villas dropped from 181st to 231st best speciality lodging in Koh Phangan according to Trip Advisor. It did, however, improve its Agoda score from 6.6 to 6.7

Easy Life Bungalows has had a number of negative reviews and has fallen from 84th best speciality lodging to 209th. This is reflected in a falling Agoda score that in a year has gone from 6.7 to 6.5.

Haad Yao Bay View Resort, one of the few places classified as a hotel by Trip Advisor went down from 63rd best hotel in Koh Phangan to 74th. The Agoda ranking remains unchanged at 7.3.

Haad Yao Bungalows drops 7 places in the Trip Advisor B&B category from 26th to 32nd. Despite this, the Agoda rating went up over the year from 6.9 to 7.1.

Haad Yao Resort fell from 70th position in the hotel list for Koh Phangan to 77th according to Trip Advisor. The Agoda score also dropped from 7.1 to 6.8.

A similar year long record is available for Haad Yao Villa – it dropped from 110th best speciality lodging to 137th. Its Agoda rating also dropped from 7.9 to 7.6.

In the same category is Seaboard Bungalows. It fared no better over 2016. It is now in 2017 at 57 in the lodging section. It was 46 in 2016. Agoda rated the resort as 7.5 in 2016 and only 7.3 in 2017. The good news is that Seaboard Bungalows has dropped its room prices slightly.

Conclusion

Prices remain competitive in Haad Yao. There are still plenty of cheaper fan bungalows to rent despite the near axiomatic business notion in Koh Phangan that upgrading accommodation is the way forward.

Considering the number of resorts and hotels in Haad Yao that have seen both their Trip Advisor and Agoda rankings diminish accommodation owners and managers in Haad Yao might be better served by another business axiom – the customer is always right

Review of House People

housepeople

House People refers not to people enjoying 4/4 beat dance music but the name of a new restaurant in Haad Yao that has excellent reviews since opening.

House People is located on the main road that runs parallel to the Haad Yao beach. House People is located on the beach side of the road, about half way up the beach. See the location map below.

The owners at this restaurant work very hard to cook tasty Thai fusion food and serve it with a smile. They make their food from fresh ingredients and to order. The team provide excellent service. Sometimes the food can be a little bit long coming out, but this reflects that the food is cooked to order rather than heated up or microwaved.

The menu has Thai favourites such as Penang curry and red curry. Many dishes combine these delicious sauces with fresh seafood. They also do mean burgers for those who need a break from spicy food. There is also a sandwich menu and pasta menu.

housepeople2

The restaurant is a large open space with a typical Thai style thatch roof. It has plenty of seating for guests. There is also a bar for those who prefer to sit at the bar and chat.

Early evening they often have a 2 for 1 happy hour. They also do mean cocktails. The restaurant has plenty of nice seating areas for relaxing. There is usually some chilled music. For this reason House People is a also a popular spot for evening drinks in Haad Yao.

House People is open 7 days a week from 3 pm to 11.30 pm. As a sample for prices, Rama 5 King Burger costs 140 Thai Baht, Pasta Carbonara 170 Thai Baht and 1 litre bottle of house wine 320 Thai Baht.

housepeopledrinks

Location

Reviews

House People curate their Trip Advisor listing and look to be pro-active regarding feedback. They have quickly reached number 3 in the best restaurants in Koh Phangan list. Nearly all the reviews are positive. Only 1 review at the time of writing rated the restaurant as ‘poor’.

Telephone: +66 99 330 9582
Facebook: www.facebook.com/phanganhousepeople

Rating Changes for Haad Yao Accommodation in 2016

reviews

Every year I try to give myself an hour or so to see how Agoda and Trip Advisor ratings have changed over the last year for various resorts and hotels in Koh Phangan. I recently performed this task for Haad Yao. Below are my observations.

Firstly, it is noticed that generally resort ratings decrease over time. This is not primarily, I suspect, down to bad service or churlish managers. Rather, resorts get a bit run down over time: facilities break down, holes appear where mosquitoes and insects can get in and paint peels and fades. It is customary for a resort to be renovated or completely re-built every 10 years or so in Koh Phangan where the sea air takes its toll on facilities. In the old days the wooden bungalows that used to be the prevalent accommodation option in Koh Phangan would be allowed to get really tatty before being torn down and re-built usually with an upgrade to increase revenue.

My second observation is that Trip Advisor ratings are effected not only by how well the resort is perceived by guests but also by the amount of competition. Every year Trip Advisor includes further hotels, lodges and inns to its lists. The effect is often to amplify the nose dive of position. Agoda that uses an aggregate score out of 10 doesn’t have this problem.

Thirdly, it is very possible for a resort to improve its Agoda rating but lose ground in its Trip Advisor position. It seems contradictory, and should instruct us all to take these things with a pinch of salt. After all we know that resort owners and managers have a history of giving themselves good reviews and their competitors bad ones.

Winners

Agoda

Haad Yao Resort went from 7 to 7.1
Seaboard Bungalows rose slightly from 7.4 to 7.5

Trip Advisor

Haad Yao Over Bay Resort jumped from #109 to #55 out of 273 Speciality Lodges
Euphoria Bungalows jumped from #141 to #120 out of 273 Speciality Lodges
See Through Boutique Resort went from #60 to #56 out of #116 Inns and B&Bs
Haad Yao Bungalows did well to go from #55 to #26 out of #116 Inns and B&Bs

Losers

Agoda

Haad Yao Over Bay Resort went from 6.8 to 6.5
Sun Moon Star Resort dropped slightly from 9.2 to 9.1

Trip Advisor

Sun Moon Star Resort fell from #7 to #9 out of 116 B&Bs and Inns
Haad Yao Resort fell from #66 to #70 out of 90 hotels
Baan Haad Yao Villas down from #146 to #181 out of 273 Speciality Lodges
Haad Yao Villa went from #82 to #110 out of #273 Speciality Lodges

Other results include non-movers and those new places without listings on Agoda and/or Trip Advisor. Agoda ratings usually go up or down by just 0.1. The exception is Haad Yao Over Bay Resort that lost 0.2 points. More dramatic are Trip Advisor ratings: Baan Haad Yao Villas dropped 35 places; Haad Yao Villa fell 28 spots; Euphoria Bungalows rose by 21 positions; and most impressively Haad Yao Over Bay Resort went up 54 places.

Perhaps the most interesting stat is that it isn’t the most expensive resort that gets the best review scores. Sun Moon Star Resort has rooms starting at 1,500 Thai Baht a night and yet it is the 9th best inn in Koh Phangan and has an Agoda rating of 9.1

Crave Menu

The Scandal

The Scandal

Crave has become one of the leading restaurants on Koh Phangan in terms of popularity. The restaurant in Haad Yao serves large portions, uses the best ingredients and has friendly and efficient staff. If you are in Haad Yao and want some comfort food, check out Crave. They have their own website. And unlike virtually every other restaurant on Koh Phangan they publish their menu and prices.

Hats off to Crave. Here is the menu for those keen to check out in advance what the restaurant has to offer.

Starters

Homemade fries 80 THB
Green salad and balsamic vinaigrette 80 THB
Jalapenos and cheese quesadilla 140 THB
Chicken nuggets and dips120 THB
Hummus 120 THB
Smoked salmon 150 THB
Falafel plate 130 THB
Chicken wings 130 THB
Poutine (French fries, gravy and cheese) 130 THB

Burgers and Sandwiches (add 50 THB for a side of poutine)

The Classic 180 THB
The Cheesy cheddar 200 THB
The Hotty 200 THB
The Vic’s (with blue cheese) 210 THB
The Med (with feta, olives & hummus) 210 THB
The Deluxe (with bacon and blue cheese) 220 THB
The Crave (with onion rings and bacon) 220 THB
The Sweet Pete (with pineapple) 200 THB
The Surf and Turf (with cream cheese & smoked salmon) 250 THB
The Animal (with 2 beef patties, coleslaw, egg & crispy onions) 250 THB
The Fat Betty (with 2 beef patties and cheddar cheese) 260 THB
The Scandal (with 2 beef patties, mozzarella, double bacon & fried onions) 300 THB
Pulled Pork Sandwich (with mozzarella) 200 THB

Kids Meals (served with fries)

Mini burger 140 THB
Mini chicken nuggets 130 THB

Salads

Cesar salad

Cesar salad

Tuna salad 180 THB
Greek salad 170 THB
Caesar salad 180 THB
Mixed salad 180 THB
Med salad (chicken or tuna) 200 THB

Meals

BBQ Sangsom pork ribs 230 THB
White flesh fish fillet 220 THB
Beef tartare 240 THB
Beef kabab wrap or falafel wrap 200 THB

Desserts

Key lime mousse

Key lime mousse

Ice cream 80 THB
Warm apple crumble 100 THB
Key lime mousse 100 THB
Chocolate brownie (with ice cream) 110 THB
Carrot cake 110 THB
New York cheese cake 130 THB