KHAO LAK / Thailand : Moracea by Khao Lak Resort REVIEW ***½

“Looks better then it feels”

Where :

Khao Lak Town / Takuapa / Thailand –  60min drive up north from Phuket Intl. Airport

Moracea Website  /  Moracea Location Map


Moracea Resort is easy 10min walk from the town centre of Khao Lak. Main street is filled with lovely restaurants, shops, galleries, diving schools ( Wicked Diving ) and souvenir places. You can find enough of ATM’s, pharmacies and grocery stores.

It is a foresty hilly location away from the hustle and bustle of crowded noisy Phuket.

I was surprised how charming and well-kept Khao Lak town is compare to other Thai tourist destinations. It’s safe, laid-back and just perfect for a great retreat.

Overview :

Maze of low rise buildings and bungalows on a hill, sloping towards beautiful beach and completely surrounded by tropical gardens and nature. It’s quiet, private and looks very idillic.

Superb beach in front of the resort and all along the Khao Lak area. You can walk by it for hours. Big rocks, soft sand and small coves adds to the beautiful scenery. Sunsets are just marvellous and the sky colours unreal.

Check-In takes place in spacious lobby, filled with oriental dark wood furniture with lemon yellow fabric. The staff isn’t overly smiley or friendly and this apply for all of the employees. The famed motto about Thailand being the Land of Smiles is somehow mislaid at Moracea.

The resort it’s in hilly location, so be prepared for lots of walking. Even to find your bungalow it’s sometimes a bit of a challenge. This all adds to the charm though. Make sure you take the time and discover the entire area with it’s hidden paths, free shaped infinity swimming pools and stunning trees.

Free Wi-Fi covers most places, even pools and the sunbeds by the beach, which is great. What isn’t great are the sun beds, not comfortable and without padding. Even the cheapest hotel on the beach has padding on a sunbeds. I couldn’t enjoy relaxing on them and the beach towels Moracea provides, hardly covers half of the sun bed.

Just in case you have forgotten tooth paste or need water, or a beer, small grocery store is next to the reception.

Resort is well maintained and feels very casual. Most of the guests are package holiday makers from Germany & Scandinavia and the busiest season spreads from November till March.

Room : 

There is a lot of different room types in Moracea. From lovely bungalows with private pool to a bit dark and wet looking rooms hidden in the greenery. After peeping around the resort I would only recommend the bungalows on the hill ( not the beach, or pool access ) with private pool or Hibiscus Grand Deluxe Room on top floor of a two-story villa.

Hibiscus rooms are new, bright and spacious with secluded terrace and sea view. High ceiling gives pleasant airy impression and the best part is a seating corner area by the window. I have received fruit welcome basket and towels folded in a shape of elephants ( loved it ).

Bed moves a little when you turn but otherwise it is ok. Room contains a double size bed, sitting area, desk and spacious bathroom with wet room and separate bathtub. Storage space could be more generous, so don’t pack too many shoes.

Room includes fridge (empty ), Tea/Coffee facility ( with no Tea ), safe, flat TV with not enough English language channels, umbrellas, bathrobes, toiletries and 4 complimentary waters. There aren’t enough sockets and A/C is just ok. Also, if you remove the key from the room key card slot, all power switches off incl. A/C and inside gets hot very quickly.

Make sure you choose the room wisely as you may end up with damp dark room hidden at the back of the resort, so do your research beforehand.

Service : 

Generally the service was good, but no one puts any extra effort or a smile to make you feel welcome. Food in restaurant comes quickly, you always get what you need or asked for, but don’t expect much of enthusiasm…

As a guest, I need to feel recognised and genuine smile goes a long way. Do I want too much?

Dining / Entertainment : 

  • Thai Beach Restaurant “Malila”
located at beach front offering evening romantic setting with candles. Thai Food is nicely presented, it is tasty and fairly priced. This place is open all day and works as a cocktail pool bar 
  • “The Kumpun” serves International Cuisine and mostly used for a breakfast buffet or during events. Breakfast it’s ok with the usual selection + some Thai food. I was disappointed to be asked to pay extra for a green tea and all the juices are sugary ones from cartons.

Facilities : 

3 amazing free-form outdoor pools, game and fitness room with very basic equipment only for “emergency” work out. Also, no towels provided in the fitness room. Chilled water available.

Who is it for : 

I would say anyone who enjoys sun, sand and quiet tropical setting. It is a good base for scuba diving, trips to the hills or just doing nothing at all. It is an affordable upmarket resort with wide selection of accommodation. Definitely not a top notch, but personally … I would return to Moracea and who knows, maybe they will buy a sun beds cushions.

There are many resorts and hotels in Khao Lak but Moracea is definitely one of the better ones.½

What makes it special : 

  • Extensive size of the entire complex / beautiful nature & beach
  • Lovely Thai Food in Malila restaurant
  • Quiet and peaceful
  • Great Location away, but not far from everything

Not so good :

  • Not enough sockets in the room
  • Fitness room needs improvement
  • Small beach towels
  • Uncomfortable sun beds
  • Staff not too welcoming, outgoing or friendly

Why choose this place : 

To experience the “real” Thailand without hordes of tourists and noise. Enjoy laid-back vibe, tropical setting and excellent beaches. Get adventures…visit Similan Islands, National Parks and sample excellent local food at Qucumber Caffe or Mojo restaurant at Khao Lak Town

Practical INFO
Private Airport transfer 60min one way ( 1800 Baht ) / Free Wi-Fi in room and public areas / Breakfast Buffet included / Khao Lak Town less than 10min walk

Tips for Trips

Khao Sok National Park 45min drive / Diving, or Snorkeling Trip to Similan Islands 90min boat trip / for Diving I would definitely recommend Wicked Diving SSI …ask for Tom 🙂

JORDAN : Marriott Dead Sea & Spa REVIEW ****

“Room to improve”

Where : Dead Sea / Jordan

Overview : Marriott Dead Sea is targeting wide “audience” and catering for nearly every taste.

It is not a huge property, but with 3 outdoor pools on different levels, direct access to Dead Sea and few restaurants and bar, it does have enough to keep you happy for couple of days.

I wouldn’t recommend longer stay as it gets really boring. Floating in Dead Sea and smudging smelly black mud all over you its’ fun, but novelty wears off quickly.

It is a busy hotel…you may have to queue for breakfast and in the afternoon good luck to find free sun beds. There is one pool for adults only, but it is full of young noisy party crowd and the other pools are full of kids. No escape from noise.

Hotel is a bit worn-out and needs better upkeep. Lobby is impressive and have a small shop for souvenirs and necessities. The entire resort is missing Arabic feel and it is more on the generic side of architecture.

Locationnestled with other 4 hotels directly on the shore of the Dead Sea. Note, once you step outside the hotel, there is absolutely nothing to see or to go. ( except resort next door )

Rooms : first room I have received have’d 30cm deep balcony with a concrete wall in front of it.  I really didn’t want to spend my vacation in a “tomb” and had to request different one. The reception staff did their best to help, but it was a bit of hassle. Avoid those rooms with concrete tiny “gap” windows overlooking the pool !

Later I have received upgraded room on the top floor with normal size balcony and quiet  sea view . AC worked only on one setting and small annoying maintenance problems were continuing during my 4 days stay. Room was big size, with complimentary water, safe, flat TV and the usual amenities. Bathroom had a nice shower corner but  problem with drainage. Very small toiletries.

Servicehit and miss. One day you get really good cheerful staff and the next, miserable faces…

Dining : Buffet breakfast/dinner restaurant with great selection of everything you need and also special “candy” area for Kids and live omelette station.

There is also Mosaico, Italian restaurant for more sophisticated dining ( bit overpriced ) and Champions American Diner/pub for daily casual dining or a pint of beer.

Outdoor shisha terrace with evening Belly dancing was enjoyable.

Facilities: 3 outdoor pools, 2 indoor pools ( extra charge ), spa , water slide, Jacuzzi, adult pool and nice gym.

Who is it for : everyone who is not afraid of hordes of local and foreign tourist

What makes it special : direct acces to Dead Sea. Keep in mind there is a lot of steps to go all the way down … 400m below Sea Level

Not so good : PAID WI-FI !!!, bad maintaining standards, staff mood and service differ by day, nothing outside the hotel, noisy pools, any order of food or drinks takes way too long time.

The Bestvariety of swimming pools and Dead Sea

PRACTICAL  INFO : Breakfast included, free Wi-Fi only in public spaces, transport: 45min from/to Amman, or the from/to Airport ( 30 JD ),small grocery store is 10min walk.

Tips for Trips : Jesus Baptism site 40 min / Mount Nebo 45min / Mujib Nature Reserve 50min

BALI : The Oberoi, REVIEW *****

“ Time to treat yourself ”

Where : Seminyak /Bali / Indonesia

Overview : Oberoi is the first 5star hotel ever build in Seminyak.  Located in extensive, lush
and perfectly manicured “private jungle” garden, directly on quite stretch of the beach.

You won’t find here massive concrete building with hundreds of rooms like W, Legian or Seminyak Beach Resort.

Instead…cute little bungalows scattered all over the gardens.  You feel like the only person there, even if the hotel is fully booked…and that’s in my eyes what luxury is all about.

All buildings have authentic “Balinese” style with usage of local materials.

Location : quite area of Seminyak. Beach front, but only few minutes’ walk to shops, restaurants                  and the main street.

The popular beach club Ku-de-Ta it’s right next door. Click HERE to see Ku-de-Ta review

Rooms : they come as a bungalows ( 4 rooms ) or private villas with pool. The entire interior breaths Balinese traditional decor.

There are burning scented sticks the first time you enter and it smells amazing. Bed is comfortable, AC very quiet and you can make yourself lovely local tea and coffee.

There is also  enough sockets to re-charge your electronics.

Bathroom has a two sinks, complimentary water and toiletries, candles and private mini garden.

Different fresh fruit basket daily, weather forecast and next day “activity message” and flowers on you bed every evening adds a nice touch.

ServiceI must honestly say, one of the best, from all the numerous hotels I have ever stayed in.

It almost feels like they know what you need before you even ask for it. The staff is not intrusive or pushy but there, when you need them.

Dining  : amazing a ’la carte outdoor breakfast setting with fresh juices and made to order egg dishes. Luxury dinner restaurant (didn’t try) and a bar (good cocktails).

For lunch and dinner I have never stayed in the hotel as there is numerous options outside to try.

Especially loved the Beach Shacks for coconut water, beer and Nasi Goreng.

FacilitiesGym, Spa, Outdoor pool with controlled temperature (very pleasant), Tennis court

Who is it forcouples celebrating special occasion. But hey, I wasn’t any of those and had’d a     wonderful enjoyable time.

What makes it specialsprawling size of the entire complex and Balinese chic.

Every day a different presentation of traditional music or dance, performed by local school kids and with complimentary afternoon tea. Also live presentation of local artist

Not so good : Gym dated and small, food served by the pool is very generic and the huge wooden turtle     room key doesn’t fit anywhere.

The Best :  incredibly tasty welcome drink , quite location away from crowds and garden setting

PRACTICAL  INFO : Breakfast included, free and fast Wi-Fi, 40min transfer from Denpasar airport,  hotel library has a DVD’s you can borrow for a night in.

Tips for TripsPetitenget Temple 5min / Tanah Lot Temple 30min / Ubud – 60min