When planning the Thailand portion of our trip, Mrs. Selfish and I decided to spend a week on the west coast of Thailand. We knew we wanted to dive Richelieu Rock, and visit Thailand’s Halong Bay, the man made Khao Sak lake, but getting there was a problem. The closest airport to both natural wonders is in Phuket, which is known as one of the seediest places in Thailand – even the natives warned us against going there.
Fortunately, Khao Lak was only a one hour drive north. While searching for accommodations, I found Le Méridien Khao Lak Beach & Spa Resort with one important benefit: a baby elephant.
Le Meridien Khao Lak Beach & Spa Resort
Le Meridien Khao Lak Beach & Spa Resort is a Category 3 Starwood Hotel, which means it costs 8000 points a night. I looked for a cash and points option, but sadly none were available, so in the end we paid 16000 points. As a gold member we were upgraded to a slightly better room, and received free internet, snacks on arrival, 2 complimentary drinks from the bar, and 250 SPG points as an amenity.
The room itself was quite nice, and came stocked with 4 big bottles of water, which is a great benefit in itself since I typically down 3 of those in one night.
The bathroom had a bath tub and shower, with a glass wall facing the bedroom (which you could partition off with blinds). Oddly, there was nothing separating the toilet from the bathroom, so we kept the blinds down most of the time.
The grounds themselves are massive, and look like they could easily accommodate upwards of 600+ guests. The surroundings reminded me of the Bali Hyatt, though without any of the nice Balinese flourishes.
Le Meridian has a “complimentary” shuttle into town which costs 60 Baht per direction (roughly $2) to get into town. We also found cabs costs about 120 baht per direction, or you can try negotiating with tuk-tuks or the pickup truck cabs for a better price. The resort is about 10 minutes outside of town, by cab, so it’s pretty isolated.
Khao Lak as a whole is a giant tourist trap. Walking around the only Thai people you see are shop keepers, so expect prices to be high. The only reason to go into town is to escape they even more extravagant prices of food at the hotel!
Since Mrs. Selfish and I spent our entire free day scuba diving, we almost missed the best benefit of all, the baby elephant! Talking with the trainer, the baby elephant can normally be found on the grounds in the morning from 8:30am – 10am, and then later on the beach from 4:30pm – 6:00pm.