Review: InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort (Part III)

Perched on the side of a cliff above Taling Ngam Bay, the InterContinental on Koh Samui is quite the setting. The resort and its pools are stunning, but what about the villas?

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After finishing check-in formalities in the lobby, we were driven up to our villa in a golf buggy. Huge double doors into your room are always a good sign when staying in a hotel, even when you have a freestanding villa.

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The villa had a great wrap-around deck.

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Going inside we were just struck by the sheer size of the villa. The villas are advertised as being 210 to 240 sqm, but what you don’t appreciate until you get there is the massive stud height on the upstairs.

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Upstairs consisted of a dining table for six, daybed, sofa and sitting chair.

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A dining table like this is just begging to be eaten off.

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So we ordered room (villa) service a lot. It always took quite a while to show, perhaps understandable given the size of the resort. Once randomly when we expected the room service to show up, it was instead a golf buggy wanting to take us somewhere. Bizarre.

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Outside, off the entrance deck, there were two doors into a side building. We thought that was strange. Towards the end of our stay we noticed that one opened into a third toilet, which we had not yet discovered.

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The villa also has a wide selection of glassware.

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The mini-bar itself is pretty lean, but there is also an entirely separate wine fridge.

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Just for the avoidance of doubt: the hotel has decided the ‘wine cellar’ is not included in the mini-bar for the purpose of the Royal Ambassador complimentary mini-bar benefit.

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Downstairs

You know your room is massive when it has its own staircase.

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Downstairs are the bedrooms and two full bathrooms.

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The downstairs kind of felt like a dungeon, but that is almost certainly a trick of the mind due to the extremely high ceilings upstairs.

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The curtains aren’t exactly blackout. You are likely to be woken by the wildlife (crickets) in any event.

There was a note from the executive housekeeper asking for any requests. Water was replenished with every service and we never ran out.

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The pillow menu came in a box with samples, which was a nice touch.

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The master bathroom was spacious, including a full tub and separate walk-in shower. At night housekeeping would light a scented candle in here.

At this property you will never be short of hot water. The hot water is extremely hot. Pro tip: turn cold on full and then the hot on just a smidgen.

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While it wasn’t possible to have both showerheads running at once in the shower, the water flow was exceptionally good.

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Harnn spa products made specifically for the resort were set out. You definitely felt you were in Thailand when you cracked them open.

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As you would expect, the second bedroom was a bit smaller.

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It also had its own ensuite bathroom (which didn’t have a tub, but still had a massive shower).

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Room for improvement

Our stay wasn’t without issue.

Arriving at the villa after check-in the RFID room keys didn’t work. Luckily the bell staff opened the door for us using their master key and delivered a fresh set later. Unfortunately our keys stopped working mid-stay. There is no way to call for help when you are locked out of your villa and it is a long walk down to reception to get new keys. It is frustrating to then have the front desk then blame you for having your keys in the proximity of a cellphone as the reason they don’t work (note: RFID keys are not wiped by that).

Housekeeping would routinely not draw the blinds in the evening. In a villa of this size, you want someone to do that.

One morning, the tub filled with water of a strange colour, necessitating the tub to be drained and refiled.

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Air conditioning upstairs is delivered through two freestanding units with tasteful wooden cases. One morning we awoke to find the upstairs sweltering. The air conditioning seemed to have failed during the night, although there was no indication of that from the control panel.

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This resort seems to perpetually have no availability for IHG Rewards Club reward nights.

While this property is happy to take the benefits of the InterContinental brand, it is clear this property does not care about IHG’s loyalty schemes.

We had booked a two bedroom villa and that was what we received (no guaranteed Ambassador upgrade here). It is now specifically written into the Ambassador terms and conditions that the sole larger villa on this property is not included in the upgrade policy for Ambassadors.

The hotel had assigned an expatriate to look after InterContinental Ambassador members who always insisted on asking leading question statements along the lines of ‘so everything is all right’. This is not the right way to address every situation and guest.

If you haven’t yet read it we suggest you read part I and part II of this review to get a fuller understanding of the Baan Taling Ngam Resort.

The Baan Taling Ngam Resort is an excellent property in terms of its hard product. It is set in a stunning part of the world and the villas are well spaced out, with semi-private pools dotted between them. You won’t feel like you are staying in a resort overflowing with other guests if you stay in a villa here.

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