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Reviewed 27 April 2012

We travelled to Koh Lipe in early April 2012 and stayed at Serendipity Resort for a number of days.

We booked via email (of course) and Jay corresponded very promptly. Nearer the time I made some enquiries regarding a transfer from Hat Yai to the resort which required a follow up email in order to obtain a response. Despite the lengthy delay we did receive a satisfactory answer to our request.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Having arrived via speedboat onto the Pattaya Beach pontoon we were immediately greeted by the Serendipity Resort long-tail boat crew. The transfer from the pontoon onto the long-tail boat was swift and before everyone else had sorted themselves out we were being whisked away out of the bay to the resort around the corner on Sunrise Beach. We were greeted on the beach in front of the resort by Carl, who is the resident manager. We were offered fruit juice and a refreshing towel and then taken up the stairs to our allocated villa. Carl showed us around and explained the ins and outs of how the resort worked and what the villa had to offer.

THE VILLA
We asked for an A/C villa with a sea view. Luckily for us the villa was located just over half way up the hill side around 100 odd steps from sea level. In all honesty I don’t think we would have wanted to be any higher - although the steps were not a problem any more might have become one! The villa was a very good size and the two of us had more than enough space to accommodate all our junk which we seemed to have taken with us. I keep meaning to take just the essentials but always ending up taking the spare pair of shoes etc just in case! As already stated on numerous other posts the resort’s major attribute is its location. The view from our villa was stunning and as we were located in a cul-de-sac passing human traffic was non existent – very peaceful. We were able to wake up each morning to a beautiful view of the sea – privacy was guaranteed and we never felt the need to draw any curtains! I am not sure whether that would be the case at the lower level villas. The construction of the villa was arguably basic – designed along traditional lines with little input from professional carpenters! Never the less the design worked and so what if there were gaps in the roof joints! It all added to the character and charm of the resort. The villa facilities were ample – the bed was shrouded by a mosquito net which was prepared by the staff during the turn down service in the evening along with the nightly lighting of the villa mosquito coils. The villa had a good range of tea provided along with fresh ground coffee which was replenished every day. The bathroom was more than adequate and provided you with a heated shower. I know comment has been made about the quality of the shower but when you bear in mind that water is not to be taken for granted on the island I don’t think that you can really complain. One comment – the tap in the hand basin was dripping – it had been dripping for a long time as it had worn the brass base – it was irritating but to be honest we just were too lazy to ask for it to be sorted! The outside terrace was again of a good size and was provided with hammocks and cushions for those lazy afternoons. The terrace rails were fairly low – especially on the raised portion and I would be a little wary if I had been travelling with small children as the drop from here was significant. My main criticism of the villa was the security – there was no room safe – I know these are on the agenda – the folding doors were secured by drop down latches and a folding bracket / padlock combination! For a resort of this calibre we did not think that this arrangement was satisfactory – nor did we think that the gaps between the folding doors were too good. Other resorts seemed to have fitted appropriate door locks and had managed to get folding doors that fitted! Having said that we did not have any cause for concern with regard to our ‘valuables’ – there was simply no passing traffic (people) and we felt comfortable leaving our belongings in the villa.

THE BREAKFAST AND RESTAURANT
Much has been said about the breakfast. For the first few days it worked! The fruit / muesli / yoghurt / bread / cake combination was fine. It was nice having the option as to when you ate everything – on more than one occasion we had toast and jam in the middle of the afternoon! We also tried the continental version which was more or less the same but with the addition of a cold platter consisting of several slices of garlic sausage. This we were not impressed with! After a few days we found we had outstayed the breakfast and sought comfort from the occasional omelette sourced further along the beach. I know that Jay has hinted that they are considering offering a hot option next season – in reality I think this is a must. I know in a small resort it causes problems having to get someone on standby to cook a few eggs but we think it would make a real difference. The restaurant was not the cheapest on the island but certainly produced some of the best food – both Thai and Western – and benefitted from a breathtaking position. One aspect of the pricing we never got to grips with was why Serendipity had to add VAT @ 7% to all its advertised prices? For example the healthy smoothies were 120 Baht + VAT! As far as we could see they were alone on the whole island in the way they priced things!

THE NOISE
Yes it’s noisy – as soon as the day breaks you are plunged into the latest round of the world lawn mower racing championship! Whoever invented the first long-tail boat powered by these engines was obviously deaf as a post! At times the noise is unbelievable. The resorts best attribute is also its worst! Being positioned at the end of Sunrise Beach it is right in the main shipping lane between the two busiest beaches and as everything moves by boat you can guess the rest. Having said all that this is Thailand and these boats are part of the local way of life and after a while we kind of got used to it all. What was interesting was a comment I heard that the resort is attempting to instigate a local practice of fitting silencers to the engines – I think there are two hopes on that front and Bob is one of them! We saw one ‘long-tail’ boat that had been fitted with an inboard engine – quiet but did not look the part lacking the long prop shaft. We noted that the resident Serendipity boat was still waiting for its silencer!

LOCAL FAUNA
Remember that this is a tropical island. Bearing that in mind the wildlife is not too bad and certainly did not pose any issues for us. As the villas are not sealed – indeed there are some significant gaps to be found it comes as no surprise that our space was occasionally invaded by the local inhabitants. The mosquito net came into its own – not keeping mosquitoes out but keeping the flying beetles at bay. Every evening we were greeted by squads of flying suicide beetles who would insist on crashing onto their backs mid flight! The villa also had resident geckoes, frogs, millipedes and a variety of other insect life. Yes we were both bitten – not by mosquitoes – only actually saw a few – but by the annoying invisible bugs! One other thing worth mentioning on this topic was the walk back to the resort in the evening. The torch provided is a must – the route back takes you across Sunrise Beach and the portion at the base of the resort is not lit. It is here that one must be careful to avoid the hordes of hermit crabs that frequent the area after dark. Swimming from the resort beach is excellent – can be a problem at low tide as a lot of the rocks are exposed – but the clarity of the water is superb. There is good snorkelling to be had right in front of Serendipity and around both the small islands located off the beach. Unfortunately the coral close to Koh Lipe has all but been destroyed – a good variety of fish remain but it is sad to see so much damage. Yes this beach does disappear at high tide so it is impossible to have any loungers but there are plenty of alternative options available so this was not a problem.

OVERALL OPINION
The resort staff without exception were very attentive and always greeted us with a genuine smile. The level of service was very high and nothing was too much trouble for them. Carl assisted in booking our onward travel and we found him very approachable and helpful. Comment has been made about the quality of the hand rails on the steps – yes they are not brilliant but if one takes a reasonable amount of care when ascending / descending there should not be a problem. The resort is not cheap and charges top end prices - I believe that they are being increased for season 2012 / 2013 – value for money is a subject that has caused us much thought. There is no doubt that Serendipity is a very well planned and thought out project – its best features being location, privacy and the individual attention you receive. However we felt that the build quality and finishing touches were just a little lacking to make this a truly great resort – very, very good but not great! On balance we would have ideally liked to have given the resort four and a half stars but we couldn't! There is no doubt that Serendipity is very popular as we met a number of people on the island who had wanted to stay there but had been unable as the resort was full. The resort is in the process of rebuilding ‘The Big Lebowski’ complete with new plunge pool, which for two people will be in excess of £300 per night. In fact a lot of the installation work was taking place during our stay. Bearing in mind that the resort is shut for four months from the end of May, it did strike us as rather odd that this work was taking place when the resort was full. We did have a fantastic stay at Serendipity and we would like to thank Carl, Nu and everyone else involved in the day to day running of the resort for providing us with a truly memorable trip. Oh yes – and we lived though the Tsunami alert! One last comment – it is noticeable around the island that there is starting to be an issue with rubbish! It is sad to see and hopefully the matter can be controlled sooner rather than later!

Date of stay: April 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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7  Thank dick001tracy
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 20 April 2012


Late March: We stayed at The Box (fantastic place for the budget-conscious) for the 1st night before heading to Serendipity for the next three days. I selected this place after SO much contemplation (due to the cost), and i have absolutely no regrets! Everything was perfect. The bungalow's very spacious, laid back, rustic and beautiful. i especially adore the design of the bathroom. Sarongs, games, a water-resistant bag, torchlight, maps of the island, a phone for emergency or room service, etc, are all provided, including the kayaks and snorkeling gear which are free for use. Breakfast on the porch / swinging on the hammocks with views of the open sea have to be two of my favorite things to do.. The croissants were cold from the fridge and wouldn't fit into the toaster, so we left them in the sun for a few minutes and then they were all nice and warm heh. This also means it gets ridiculously hot in the afternoon, so if you can't bear the heat I highly suggest choosing a bungalow with air-con. We dined at the restaurant only once, but we really splashed out. The red snapper was DIVINE. So was the calamari, and the banana smoothie, and the cheesecake, and the white wine, well you get my drift.. plus we were literally dining under the stars, and with the waves crashing down below.. 

Essentially, everything about serendipity is terrible romantic. 

The only drawback is that their prices just increased, which is such a bummer for broke undergraduates like myself. :(

Whatever queries you have just approach Carl or Jay or any of the staff they're absolutely lovely! xoxo

Date of stay: March 2012
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Thank Crystal-Lim
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 19 April 2012

This is the nicest hotel I ever been to,
Can't complain on anything.
All the staff were so friendly.
We stayed 4 nights and tryed to stay longer but it was fully booked.
We really had the best time On this beatiful resort, I will tell all my friends to go there.
They really make you feel like home.

Date of stay: April 2012
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1  Thank canil
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 18 April 2012

My fiance and I returned from Thailand 2 days ago, having spent our last two nights of a three week holiday at Serendipity, and as I sit here at my desk back at work, the imagines that keep jumping into my head of Thailand are all images and scenes from our time spent at Sernedipity. I just absolutely loved this resort and the stand out feature for me was indeed the bar and restaurant area and it's great location. The bar / restaurant is built into the hillside and so on the one side you can actually see the rocks against which the bar / restaurant is built. There is then also a deck with bright coloured cushions on the otherside and built over the sea. The views are absolutely amazing and sitting on this deck, having lunch and a few Chang's was a great experience and make up some of my favourite memories.

The bungalows at the resort are large and spacious and each bungalow also has it's own private deck with hammocks. We had fantastic views from our bungalow and enjoyed the space that we had. Yes, there are a lot of steps to climb but it wasn't an issue for us in any way. We felt that the steps were wide enough to be safe and I remember railings along the steps for most if not all of the way. Having said that though, I would not recommend the higher bungalows for elderly people but there are a few bungalows lower down that have a minimum amount of steps, so don't let that alone put you off coming to the resort.

The food at the restaurant was very delicious if a little pricy but I suppose that comes with the territory when you stay at a more expensive resort. Having said that though, it is easy enough to walk along Sunrise beach and we found a place a hundred meters or so from Serendipity that did a great seafood BBQ right on the beach and so there are other options for food if you are happy to take a short walk. To be honest though, the views from Serendipty as well as the prettiness and comfort of the resort make you not want to leave, and ok, so the food and drinks cost more than elsewhere, but what the heck.

Our only slight complaints about the resort are the following: 1) the longtail boats. The noise seems to be slightly worse at Serendipity than at other resorts, probably because of it's location and the fact that the sound seems to echo off the hillside. Steve (one of the owners) did tell us that it is likely that an attempt will be made to get the longtail boats to use silencers from next season and if this pans out, it would make the whole of Lipe more enjoyable. 2) The cost of the resort and the food and drinks. This might have been more of an issue for us as South Africans than for other tourists as our Rand is not the strongest and so we found the resort expensive. If one compares the resort to other resorts on Koh Lipe, it is an expensive resort but the location of the resort is divine, it is very comfortable and the staff (especially Khem) and manager (Carl) were all great and so I suppose you are paying for what you get. 3) The shower was not the best because of the weak water pressure and the fact that our shower seemed to have a bit of a defective shower head and water sprayed out at different angles but in Serendipity's defense, we never reported the problem as it really wasn't too serious. 4) The lack of airconditioning. We were at Serendipity in April which is the hottest month of the year in Thailand and the fact that there was no airconditioning was a little bit of an issue. We would have loved to have an airconditioner and at 5800THB a night, I think one could be forgiven for perhaps expecting the comforts of an aircon.

Overall, I would highly recommend this resort and if we ever travel to Koh Lipe again, we will make this place our home for the duration of our stay - we'll just have to save a little longer and a little harder! And perhaps not visit in the hottest month of the year if there are no aircons installed! Koh Lipe though is a brilliant place and it was our favourite island in the whole of Thailand and to end off our overseas holiday at this great resort on the best island was a great experience.

Room tip: For great views and lots of privacy choose a room as high up as you can, however, be mindful of the fact that there are a lot of steps and so if you have any health issues or are very unfit, then opt for a bungalow lower down.
Date of stay: April 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Thank KimE223
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JayEkkathattanan, Owner at Serendipity Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 21 April 2012

Hi, thanks for your review and kind comments, we are very lucky with our location and want to make it the number one spot on Lipe to drink, dine and relax so your comments are very encouraging.
This low season we are planning many improvements, mostly driven by guest feedback which is always appreciated. We are making some changes to the route the steps and walkways take up the hillside to make the steps easier to negotiate and as safe as possible.
we are glad you enjoyed the food and hopefully drinks in the restaurant, Our Chef is constantly reviewing the menu to provide value and variety and we are always looking at our supply chain and the transportaion method to ensure fresh, good quality ingredients are delivered at the optimum cost.

Best Regards,
Serendipity Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2012

Our stay at Serendipity and Koh Lipe was beyond our expectations and one of our best vacations ever. We had 8 absolutely wonderful days in a paradise compare to the touristic catastrophe at Phuket. The concept, bungalows, food, beach and the personal at Serendipity is worth go back. There is only one thing who is a problem, not only for Serendipity, its for whole Thailand and especially Koh Lipe, the long tail boat make a terrible high noise so it feel sometimes that you are in a war zone and not the paradise. Hope the boat owners understand the problem and fix muffler soon, if not take earplugs with you to Koh Lipe. Julia and Mats

Date of stay: March 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Thank MatsAstrom
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JayEkkathattanan, Owner at Serendipity Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 21 April 2012

Hi Julia and Mats,

Thanks for posting your review and we are really pleased you enjoyed Serendipity. We are planning to make lots of improvements during the low season to try and make sure we exceed our guests expectations. There is talk on the island that next year longtail boat licenses will only be issued to those captains that have put silencers or mufflers on their engines.... we are investigating whether this is actually going to happen or not and will post news re. this initiative on our website. If not, we at Serendipity are considering an initiative ourselves whereby we coordinate the islands business community to sponsor / incentivize the boat captains to make the changes to reduce the noise problem. once again thanks and hope to see you guys again.


Sincerely,
Serendipity Team

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