Review: Ao Nang Fiore Resort (Krabi)
I first laid eyes on Ao Nang Fiore Resort when one of my friends posted a room tour of it on her snapchat, and all I could think about was how atas the place looked and how expensive it must have been for them to stay there for three nights. Probably three digits per night? I don't have that kinda money.
Above Photo from Agoda.
Well, how can I not think that? Just look at it. The rooms are set on an individual metal structure, off the side of a cliff, with a treetop balcony each, an option to have your own private jacuzzi on that said balcony, and you have a porter that helps you carry your stuff and then drives you to your room via the service buggy every single time you need to go out or go back to your room. Wait. It's not even a room, it's basically a freaking cottage on your own tiny plot of land.
Above Photo from Agoda.
Initially, we planned to stay at Ao Nang Miti Resort, which is a 2-star accommodation around the same area. I am the "I only need the space to sleep, so anything will do" kinda traveller. I am an outdoor instructor after all, so I think Fazwan is the pampered one here, hahahaha. Unfortunately, our reservation got voided for some reason and it felt like it was a sign because Fiore was still at the back of my head despite it being double the price that I would usually spend on an accommodation. Nonetheless, after pulling some strings and convincing Fazwan that we should stay at this resort instead - we did! (Although I didn't have to convince much because he fell in love with the place when I showed him hahahaha)
Aonang Fiore Resort(4-star)
764, Moo 2 Ao Nang, Muang, Krabi 81180, Thailand
+66 75 695 522 | email@example.com
Period of Stay: 16th - 19th August 2017
Room Booked: Deluxe Cottage, 34sqm, King Sized Bed (Room 2016)
Room Price: ฿2232.53 (SGD91) per night (including service charge & taxes)
Located on over 70 acres of greenery, Fiore actually owns one of the biggest plots of land for accommodation in Krabi - and Krabi is huge as an area, compared to Phuket - so this is kind of a big deal. The whole resort is so big that they have their own Zipline & Adventure Park and they even have locally grown organic produce in their garden that is open for public viewing. How cute is that!?
I wouldn't say that it is right smack in the middle of Ao Nang Town because it's not. There is a kick ass coffee stall, a pharmacy, Tesco Supermarket and a 24-hour convenience store right across the street but that's about it. The resort is situated where the cliffs are, approximately 2.5km away from the beach / where the party scene is - if that is what you're wondering. This is not a beachfront resort but we rode, so it wasn't an issue and it only took us around 3 minutes to get there. If you're not riding, don't worry, the resort also provides shuttle service, so you'll safe a few bahts.
As mentioned before, their rooms are all separated on individual metal structures that is built and evenly spread out over the side of a cliff. It would take us approximately fifteen minutes to walk from the main lobby to our room - up a freaking steep slope - which is probably why a 24-hour buggy service is provided for all resort guests. I bet it would take an additional 5 minutes if you're staying at the Tree Top Villas because there is a whole other series of stairs for that.
There are three different room types with (obviously) different prices per night. We booked the cheapest out of the three - the Deluxe Cottage and as usual, I requested for a room on higher ground. When we arrived and our porter took us up to Room 2016, I swear to god (I think you can probably tell by now) that I am so in love with this place.
There is that viewing panel for you to supposedly look through and see stars at night. In all honesty, I was actually a little creeped out upon seeing that glass. My imagination went wild and I kept thinking that I would see a pair of eyes looking in, in the middle of the night. Blame the horror movies I watched as a child and working for Halloween Horror Nights.
There is a minibar as well as bath robes, two sets of towels (bathing / pool), two sets of slippers (room / pool), and even a beach bag provided - all of which I did not take a picture of. The toilet is pretty straight forward - there is no bath tub, though. I was kinda bummed out that there wasn't any but I made the booking anyway. If this is a concern to you then consider booking the Jacuzzi Villa instead - I'm sure your bath bombs will look super cool being thrown into the jacuzzi.
The resort provides a 24-hour buggy service for all guests. You'll need to call for the service before leaving the room and the driver will meet you at the assembly point nearest to you, and then bring you down. It does take quite awhile, especially when you're waiting for other guests to fill up the seats, but it definitely is a convenient service.
We did not have the chance to check out their Zipline & Adventure Park but we did spend quite a fair amount of time by the resort's infinity pool. I think it has become a habit of mine to search for only accommodation with pools and bypass those without. Fiore's definitely caught my eye.
There is a bar at the top, a fair amount of deck chairs for you to sun tan on and a small jacuzzi by the side of the long and narrow infinity pool, overlooking the garden and park below. I have to admit, it is pretty small for a resort this huge. I expected it to be bigger. Nonetheless, it was still quite a pretty sight. We enjoyed throwing the GoPro around to get some footage (and train our weak goalkeeping skills) and then continued being water buffalos dipping around the whole afternoon.
Other Common Areas & Facilities:
Other than the swimming pool and botanical garden mentioned earlier, there are a few other common areas like the ASEAN Park, a dual gender prayer room, their own coffee house and other interesting stuff to check out. I don't think there is a fitness center though. Going up and down the hill is enough cardio for a fatty like me.
As I had mentioned before, Fiore has a botanical garden with locally grown organic produce which is used for their kitchen - for the food served in the restaurant / room service. There is also this area called the ASEAN Park where there are structures symbolising the different ASEAN countries. You can easily spend an afternoon taking a stroll within the compound of the resort itself.
Tour Desk / Rental Counter:
From my (extremely little) experience with Thailand and most Asian countries, day tours are usually much cheaper if you book them away from hotels or big names in the industry - unless of course you're looking for diving certifications and all that, obviously go for accredited vendors. For day tours to experience island hopping or site visits in the city, I would usually opt for tour agents by the road side. For activities like bungee jumping or when my life is on the line, I'll always go for legitimate agents. Duh.
Unfortunately, studying tourism and marketing has made me sceptical about every single "offer" that is given and I will always assume that everything is a marketing gimmick / is too good to be true - which is usually proven true. The rental service, however, is extremely convenient and trustworthy. We didn't have to worry about shady rental kiosks because the service was provided by the hotel itself and we could extend the rental contract any time, and the total bill would simply be added to the room charge, which we settle before leaving.
There are quite a number of choices to choose from, so we rented our motorbike from here for 250 baht (SGD10) per day. A copy of our passports were already given to the hotel upon check in, but I still had to let them keep the actual passport as a deposit should anything were to happen to the rented bike - it was not some shady rental kiosk by the street, so I was fine with it. If you're still sceptical, you can give a copy of your passport but together with a 3,000 baht deposit.
A day before our departure, we also booked our airport shuttle here and it only cost us 150 baht (SGD6) per person - without any excessive waiting or detours. They even have the whole list of flight numbers for you to check against. Initially, we were planning to stick to a private driver like when we arrived - that would cost us 800 baht (SGD33) - so this really helped us save quite a sum.
Just as how other tourism establishments are in the world, there is bound to be staffs with fake smiles and only working to clock in their waged hours. (I only say this because I am working / studying in the tourism industry and I have seen many / been one myself hahahahaha) Not everyone seemed genuine (there was one who just "ah k" me and passed me on to another staff when asked for help), but in general, they were mostly warm and genuine.
There was this female staff (pictured above and below, we didn't catch her name) who helped us throughout the entire stay - right from the moment we checked in til the moment we checked out. She didn't even know who we were or that I was actually there to review the resort - but she was genuine with her service throughout and was extremely patient with everyone, not just us.
The most memorable one was an incident on the morning of day two. Fazwan and I were told (by my agent) that our driver will come and pick us up at 8.30am, to bring us to the port. Hence, we planned our time carefully and only came down at 7.45am to enjoy our huge breakfast buffet before getting our day started. I mean, 45 minutes to enjoy breakfast and a stick or two is a luxurious amount of time.
However, the driver came at 8am. We had only just taken our food but he stood outside of the breakfast buffet area with his arms crossed and giving me the sting eye, expecting us to get in the car right away. I went out to explain to him that my agent said the pick up was at 8.30am and that if we rushed, we'll be out at 8.15am. But this douchebag just stomped away and drove off from the resort saying that we're wasting his time.
I was left on the driveway just like that and literally said out loud, "What the f." The lady staff saw what happened. She then said, "Don't worry ma'am. Enjoy your breakfast first. I'll settle this for you." She took the paper that I held in my hand that was my proof that I agreed on an 8.30am pick up timing and I assumed that she went ahead to call my travel agent to explain the situation, because a few moments later she came looking for us in the breakfast area to inform that she had arranged for another driver to pick us up at 8.30am. Without me even asking for help. Seriously. She deserves a standing ovation or a promotion, or both.
Fazwan and I had a pretty good breakfast for the two mornings that we were there. This is a great achievement for me because every time I am overseas, I would always choose to sleep in (and rarely woke up on time for breakfast) but they had a live egg station so, obviously, I couldn't sleep past that. Hehehe. I mean, there's unlimited supply of scrambled eggs with cheese. Come on.
The resort's morning spread was pretty extensive. Fazwan was complaining about the lack of flavour in the ham and sausages but other than that, it was quite a satisfying meal. There is a variety of food to cater to different dietary preferences. Best part? This is a halal hotel - which means that all their meat is edible(!) but on top of that, alcohol is not served. If you've been to Thailand, you would know that although some restaurants are labelled "halal", they still serve alcohol in their menu. Well, not here.
What We Liked:
The pretty tiles on the restaurant floors. The location of the resort, it wasn't along any busy stretches of roads and it was pretty safe / comfortable for us to ride around. The genuine service from the staff, especially the hijab lady that I talked about above - who catered to us and went out of her way to help us, not once or twice but multiple times. The infinity pool. The buggy service. The beach bag and bath robes hahahaha. The uniqueness of each room and how fully equipped / self sustainable the resort is.
What We Didn't Like:
One thing that we found inconvenient is the fact that we couldn't ride our motorbike up to the front porch of our cottage. We had to park it in the lobby and then transfer to the buggy point to be sent back by the hotel driver. Other than that, there isn't much negativity to say about this place. It was really lovely.
Would We Stay Here Again?
Definitely. My boyfriend and I loved it so much, I have a feeling that we will be comparing every other accommodation to this one in the future. When asked to give his input for this review, his answer to this question was, "A BIG YESSSSS". I think that's pretty self explanatory.
This blog post was not written under any pressure, endorsement or sponsorship of any of the parties mentioned. All thoughts and opinions here are as always, our own.