My Pride, My Thai part 15: The luxurious resort

During my travels, I was invited to spend a night at what had been claimed to be a luxurious resort and retreat. I was off course more than happy to accept such an offer, but as I’m also striving to be a very honest guy and to write exactly what I feel, my experience described below may not be what it was supposed to be. 

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 1: The Preparation (opens in a new tab). 

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 2: The flight (opens in a new tab). 

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 3: The arrival (opens in a new tab). 

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 4: The first morning (opens in a new tab). 

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 5: Big C (opens in a new tab). 

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 6: Bangkok (opens in a new tab).  

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 7: 200 THB to heaven (opens in a new tab).

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 8: Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani (opens in a new tab). 

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 9: Being a celebrity in Thailand (opens in a new tab). 

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 10: From Sisakhet to Sakon Nakhon (opens in a new tab). 

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 11: Sakon Nakhon (opens in a new  tab).

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 11-B: Coffee Love at Sakon Nakhon (opens in a new tab).

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 12: The long drive to see the King (opens in a new tab). 

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 13: Hua Hin Inbox (opens in a new window).

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 14: Returning to Kanchanaburi (opens in a new tab). 

The Felix River Kwai Resort was not at the location that I had envisioned, and finding it in the darkness of the evening was a bit of a challenge. I eventually found out that I had to cross the river somewhere, but without a map it was many fail and errors before eventually seeing one tiny, shabby looking sign. When I arrived at the parking lot outisde the main entrance, it looked dark and deserted, but the staff insisted it had been full of tourists the previous night. In fact, during my entire time at the resort that night, and the following morning, I never saw another guest. That should be really cool in fact, a resort all to myself. 

But after checking in by the very friendly front office staff, and finding my room, walking around on what I felt was an immense property in darkness, all the empty public areas was a bit on the spooky side. I felt almost like someone was watching me from behind one of the many concrete pillars around. I thought it would be best to do the exploration of their property next morning, so I returned to the room for a shower and relaxation, perhaps try calling room service for some dinner to be brought to my room? 

I chose some food from the room service menu (the prices were high, but probably as could be expected in large resorts), called the room service two times, and the second time I let it ring an eternity. Nobody picked up the phone. 

So what can I say about this resort? First of all, it’s really, really big and very …. ehhh…. 1980’s "touristy". Thirty years ago, this would probably have been an amazing resort I think, with tourist-busses on queue to deliver their guests. I did notice that they had many different lounges, bars (even a discotheque of some sort), several shops (though closed) and several big pools on the grounds to entertain guests. There was even a sauna pool side, but that had an extra daily entrance fee, according to signage. 

I was very surprised by the room’s keycard: I really hadn’t seen keycards like that the past 30 years, and had no idea that they were still in use. I really didn’t need to use it either, because a business card in my wallet did the same trick. I notified the reception about it, but they really didn’t seem to care, so I moved my camera equipment back to the car and locked the door. 

The room was really big I thought, and actually quite clean. The aircondition made the whole place stink up after a short while, and was very noisy. The decor was very out of date to say at least, but I also admit that I loved the wooden floor and windows. I did not dare go out and check the balcony as a roof support had fallen down due to rot. The shower was not environmentally designed and had two positions: off, or Niagara waterfall, with no possibility to set water flow  in between. The funniest part in the whole room was the hairdryer in the bathroom, it's power cable firmly secured to the wall by heavy screws so that it could not be taken. The effect of the dryer was like someone blowing me a Thai style “sniff-kiss” on my cheek.

The following morning, I ventured to see how the breakfast buffet was set up. Apparently being the only guest, I got what they called a set menu (because the chef had a day off). The set menu concisted of 5 pieces of different toast, a french roll, a very tiny bit of strawberry jam and a generous portion of butter. A glass of water, a glass of orange juice and a glass of unknown juice was also served. I hoped there would be some omelette, but after waiting 20 minutes, I gave up waiting. 

I walked the entire property to see if it was as bad as I felt last night. I realized why the property was so dark the previous night, burnt out bulbs were as abundant as mosquitos on a moist night. The pool was not inviting, and the public areas really looked out of date. I loved the huge glass cabinet in one of the reading areas, but was terribly disappointed seeing it filled with cheap, dusty and broken plastic flowers. The gym was of the kind you find in public parks around Bangkok, with what I can only describe as half-pornographic sports photos of the 80’s. 

I’m truly and really sorry, but I feel that I have to be honest in writing up this bLOG-entry, anything else wouldn’t be fair to my readers. Once upon a time, the Felix River Kwai Resort was probably a truly great resort and hideaway, but during my short stay there, they were in great need of repair, modernization and updating. When you take a quick look at all the amazing competitors elsewhere in Kanchanaburi, they don’t even stand a chance for the prices they charge. Charging somewhere around 4 to 5000 Thai Bath a night, there are so many other new and modern options in this city.   

According to this resort can’t be 30 years old as I thought, it lists the hotel as having been built in 1991. 

From the resort’s own website it looks to be an extremely promising place: 

One of the most famous addresses in Kanchanaburi with a well known luxury and elegant ambiance that has been playing host to many high profile events and VIP from worldwide. An Oasis for both Business and Pleasure.

Welcome to The Felix River Kwai Resort Kanchanaburi.

Felix River Kwai Resort, a five star resort in Kanchanaburi, Only two hours from Bangkok. The resort sits on 130 rai or 20 hectares plot of pristine riverfront land adjacent to the infamous Bridge On The River Kwai. Just 10 minutes away from downtown Kanchanaburi, the resort caters to an interesting mix of corporate, incentive, government clients as well as local and International Visitors who enjoy the low rise architecture, lush & beautiful garden, privacy and space the resort generously affords them.

The resort maintains 255 rooms and suites, each has a private balcony, with complete amenities and an uncompromising standard of services. There is also an enchanting Log Cabin Home popular occupied by VIP, Local and International Celebrities.

In addition there are also two large swimming pools, two tennis courts, sauna, The Ficus SPA center, snooker lounge, fitness center, 2 kilometers of jogging track, bicycles, canoes for rental, Felix Station 9 (obstacles courses for team building) and an elegant river raft cruise.

The resort exotic gardens act as a layover for different species of migratory birds and feature many different species of trees. The Kwai Yai (Bigger) meets the Kai Noi (Smaller) and the Meklong in Kanchanaburi, and these feed the resorts labyrinth of lagoons that host many species of giant fresh water fishes.

The Pailin Convention Center is a premier and prestigious venue for events of all levels and sizes. The non-pillar convention center can accommodate up to 1,000 delegates theater seating with a long and spacious adjoining pre function area. There are smaller meetings room designed to accommodate various settings for meeting, seminar and workshop.

I might be extremely mistaken in my above assumptions and feelings though, as there are some fairly OK reviews by guests on website such as They even score an increadible 3.6 stars out of 5 possible. The photos on that hotel-website I must admit, looks quite a bit staged though, and that the photographer have been extremely successful with his images from the resort. Perhaps the problem is me, that my standards and expectations prior to my visit and stay were way too high? Anyway, I can safely say that I'm not coming back to stay there next time. I’m sorry. 

In conclusion, and here we come to the essence of this entry as it leads me to ask if it is fair to make a somewhat honest review like I now have, and what kind of resources do you use to decide upon where to stay during your holidays? What I mean, with modern reservation-websites and resources on the Internet, such as for example and their own websites, warning bells rings in my head if they instead of images from their restaurant(s), for example show almost perfect pictures of food that basically could have been made anywhere else than at the exact hotel or resort. Are we really that easy to fool? 

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In the hotel folder that I found in the room (I didn’t know hotels still had those), there was a pricelist of things you could find in the room, in case you wanted to purchase something from the room. This increadible hair dryer was highly valued when it came to price. 

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Breakfast was served in the Palm Garden Brasserie and according to their website, it promises to be "An All Day Dining Restaurant with A Garden View with Exotic Palms and Plants. The Brasserie offers A Mix of both Local Thai and International Cuisine”.

The Rantee Lounge, according to the hotels website, is an "Entertainment Outlet Located on The Lower Lobby Floor, Providing Daily 

(except Sunday) Live Entertainment from The Philippines".

Dance the night away between vintage plastic palms, plastic flowers and plastic grass, in this beautifully concrete-surrounded dance floor. 

The cabinet is gorgeous, but I really feel that the display could have been something more uniquely Thai. 

Felix Riwer Kwai Resort have "Fitness Centre, Two Swimming Pools, Sauna, SPA, Snooker Club, Jogging Track, Tennis Courts, Bicycles, and Mini Coach” according to their website. 

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Slightly gym-pornograhic 1980’s artwork to encourage fitness. 

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