Emerald Cove Resort, Klong Prao beach
Overall, The Emerald Cove Resort, is one of the best on the island. Other resorts may be on better beaches or may have more inspiring architecture, but if you want luxury, well trained staff, and a place where everything works as it should, then book it.
This stems from the fact the resort was part of the well known Amari chain until late 2014. It is currently run independently but looks set to be rebranded as a Marriott resort at some point in the future. (A couple of announced dates have come and gone, so no idea when that might happen.)
Think it as you would a ‘Starbucks’, it costs more than a regular hotel but you know what you are getting before you walk in the door. If you like your home comforts, appreciate good service and don’t want any shocks, surprises or screw ups, then it’s is for you.
The design of the hotel isn’t that inspiring. The rooms are located in three low rise hotel blocks built around a central pool area fronting onto a large garden and beach area. In fact, the resort looks far better at night when the walkways and ponds are illuminated, than it does in daylight.
The actual beach is very narrow outside the resort. Walk 10 minutes to the north for a far nicer stretch of sand and a handful of great beach restaurants which are ideal for evening meals or a quick snack and fruitshake during the day. There is a sandy area by the shore line which is filled with sunloungers for guests.
One of the keys to the hotel’s success is in its staff training, unlike many of the more expensive resorts on the island the staff here tend to know what they are doing and also do it efficiently.
There are several small places to eat and drink within 5 minutes walk of the hotel – the resort’s restaurants are pricey, as you’d expect in a 5 star. However, ‘Sassi’ the Italian restaurant is excellent. If you want more variety or a night out then it is easy to walk north along the beach to one of the restaurants take a pick up truck taxi into Kai Bae, 2 minutes drive to the south, or even walk there – 15 minutes, where you’ll find plenty of cheaper restaurants plus all manner of small shops and bars. Or Klong Prao village is also an easy 15 minute stroll, just cross the bridge near Centara Tropicana Resort and walk through Blue Lagoon bungalows