Modern life is about working hard, playing hard and resting hard. To rest well, fortunately there are retreats around the world that allow you the peace and quiet necessary for switching off, reflection on your next steps, or picking up a book that you’ve been leaving lying around for far too long. The Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway retreat is indeed such a place.
Where is Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway located?
The retreat is located on the island of Koh Chang in the Gulf of Thailand, close to the Cambodian border, which makes it rather inaccessible. A private van from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport took us 7 hours to reach the hotel, but the end result was truly worth it.
Koh Chang itself is one of the largest islands of Thailand. Its name is ‘Elephant Island’ in Thai, although you won’t see any around as the name refers more to the shape of the island. 70% of Koh Chang is pure nature, so you’ll arrive at a place imbued with fresh air and wildlife.
Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway is located on a remote village called Bai Lan Bay. We adored the location because it is far away from the backpackers and bus tourists. Most tourists staying at Bai Lan are independent travellers.
Places to avoid while staying on Koh Chang are: the Kai Bae beach which consists of middle-aged white men and tourist traps, the Lonely Beach where teenage backpackers gather, and the busy Bang Bao Bay which is the pier for scuba diving and fishing trips. You can visit these for food and leisure but certainly not recommended for having a good rest.
What did I like about Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway’s location?
Apart from the fact that Bai Lan Bay is less busy and less touristy, I like the fact that it still retains much of the village life as before and there are eateries and amenities around for foreigners.
Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway itself has great food options: it organises barbecue nights and huge spread of buffets with both western and Thai options for all meal times.
Just outside, you have small restaurants operated by localised French people as well as local Thai people. Prices are very reasonable and the quality of the food is better than that in seedy Kai Bae. We have especially liked Lek’s Kitchen (his pork omelette is gorgeous), Tamarin (for very nice breakfast sets) and the nameless BBQ place which could be called RaanSomTamYaayNing for the amazing satays and incredibly tasty papaya salads.
Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway’s rooms and amenities
Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway has several beachfront villas, poolside villas and apartments. We have very fortunately got one of the few beachfront villas with a private pool. You can tell from the photos, the pool has a jacuzzi function and a private deckchair area.
I really enjoy going to the sea for my morning swim and then continuing my reading and swimming in our private pool later on.
The villa is large and spacious and the bed is firm and comfortable. The fridge is well stocked, and there is a minimart just outside the hotel so you can buy other drinks and place them in the fridge.
Privacy is a huge deal for us. The villa has its own gate, its front porch and front garden with lush greenery. This gives it a sense of seclusion, tranquillity and exclusivity. Likewise, the private pool was shaded from public view and there was no passersby trolling into our private area.
The only complaints I have: Hot water was an issue though: it takes some time for the water to turn hot and then it becomes a challenge to tune it to the right temperature. Also the air-conditioner unit outside was too loud.
The lobby area is also very well designed. Airy and completely made of wood, it feels very welcoming and luxurious. Should you wish to find a quiet spot for reading, there are lounges with very comfortable sofas by the lobby area. The whole of the lobby area is also surrounded by water, which exudes a sense of calm and peace.
The retreat also hosts a fitness centre, which I did not peruse. There is also a massage pavilion by the beach, so you can enjoy a good Thai massage to the ebb and flow of the sea.
Before you go: Do you love Thai food? Don’t forget to check out my Thai recipes!