A tale of two resorts and other adventures
After a few idyllic weeks of doing…well, doing bugger all really, we have moved into Lamai and a little more civilisation. Our favourite roadside restaurant, Imchai, is a mere hop skip and a jump away. The sound of the sea is ever present, gently lapping on the shore in front of us. JHubz has started on a large Dragon chest tattoo and I’ve booked to get an inner arm sleeve done by Fin T at Pink Tattoos in Kuala Lumpur when we get there in July. Life is good!
Reading reviews for the Manita is a bit like reading about Jekyll and Hyde and it is only upon arriving at the resort that the reason becomes clear, you see there are two resorts on one plot of land, sharing an entrance way, reception and only slightly different names but very different resorts. One the Manita Resort and one the Grand Manita Beach Resort. I hope this review helps anyone looking at either resort as they are both lovely, just different. We stayed in the Manita Resort side for a month and my mum came out for two weeks.
At the far end of Lamai on the way to Chaweng you will find the two Manitas. It’s a good twenty minute walk to the main area of Lamai however there are shops, masseuses, restaurants and bars dotted along the way. There is also a bicycle hire just down the road for those who don’t want to hire a moped, walk or take songchaews. The location was pretty ideal for us, we liked the quiet but could walk or cycle into a bit more civilisation in only a few minutes. Lamai has a huge Tesco Lotus so anything you forget at home can be easily picked up. The wifi was mostly awesome but as the resort filled up it became less so.
At the entrance you have the shared reception on your right, just past this on the grand side there are beautiful paved walkways leading to newly refurbished spacious rooms and bungalows closely sat together surrounded by lush tended plants and lovely wooden sun loungers and chairs, the coconut trees are safely stripped. And on the other a sand track leading to dated bungalows generously spaced out, surrounded by gardens and scrub with white plastic sun loungers and chairs and laden coconut trees. As falling coconuts kill more people than sharks do each year, we were careful where we sat. When we arrived there was a large area of long grass filled with butterflies which was cleared bit by bit until it left a rather barren space. Not sure what they plan to do with it but it is large enough for a bungalow or two.
In the Manita resort side the bungalows and rooms are basic and clean. We were in the front bungalow right on the beach and had a little outside dining table, chairs on a verandah and sun loungers, we spent endless hours sitting watching the sea, it was peaceful and beautiful. Our room was a good size and they cleaned it and replaced the towels every day. Our front door needed a hip check to close properly and all the front doors are secured by a heavy duty padlock which was a bit off putting at first but we got used to it. My mum had a wardrobe but we only had shelves which were covered in old plastic advertising. Any furniture we had was clean and functional although with either paint splashes, tape residue or both, the flat screen TV mentioned in the booking was in fact a huge 70s box one, but we didn’t watch it so not really an issue. Our mattress was firm like most everywhere in Asia and sat atop a wooden box with gaps all the way around, which for an arachnophobe was a pretty terrifying situation but it was ok, the bugs could come in the inch gap under the door or any of the ones in the ceiling. We killed 2, 3 inchers and invested in industrial bug spray which was the end of any bug sitings thankfully, Mum didn’t have any spiders but suffered a little from Mosquitos however she did leave her door open constantly. We had several live in geckos which we loved as they eat bugs and we were paying only about £20 per night. One thing to note about the front bungalow is that there is police postbox on the back of it and armed police regularly turn up to take things from it 24/7 which was a bit scary the first time it happened at 2am. Had someone told us it might not have been so alarming and we got used to it after the first few times.
The Grand Manita side is more expensive per night, although still not actually expensive. It has a beautiful pool which you can see from your bungalow the other side of a line of trees dividing the two resorts. if you are from the Manita Resort side you can use it however it costs a hefty 100b per day per person fee, So £4 a day for a couple and £8 for a family. Lots of reviewers mention this and the management blame Expedia, agodo, booking and the myriad of other websites they promote the places through, so I think it is now a case of buyer beware. Having not stayed on the grand side I cannot comment on the rooms however the reviews seem lovely, with large airy clean rooms and comfortable beds.
The grounds are tended and the rooms cleaned by a small legion of women who were all lovely and friendly. We liked the space of the Manita Resort, the Grand Manita Bungalows were all a little too on top of each other for us. We did not like having to pay for the pool but had to as the sea level was low when we visited making swimming in the sea impossible.
Each resort caters to a different price bracket, both are clean and well tended. The Manita really was pretty ideal for us and if we were to cone back to Samui would stay there again.