Let me start with this. Ngapali is one of the most beautiful beaches I have been to. It’s a great place to unwind and relax, take a stroll along the beach and watch the world go by. But I’m not sure I would return to Laguna Lodge. We came for 5 nights to relax and unwind after travelling through Myanmar for two half weeks. We were tired and were in need of total relaxation.
The Pros of Laguna Lodge Ngapali Beach
1. It has a great location. Right in the middle of the long stretch of this white sandy beach.
2. It definitely has a rustic feel to the place. If you want a 5 star hotel experience then find somewhere else.
3. We were picked up from the airport and driven back but at a cost of 7000 Kyats each way. Most other hotel airport shuttles were free and we weren’t expecting this.
4. The women at the hotel were very kind, especially the lady who served us breakfast every morning. She knew our order from the second day!
5. My partner said the seafood he ate at Lilly’s Bar was good and fresh, but they do need to learn how to cook pasta! It was awful…!
6. There is electricity all day regardless of what the guide saying its only from 6pm to 6am.
7. No wi-fi. A con because it allows you to switch off from the world. Its available next door at Amata ($5 per day) however we paid but even after our day had expired I could connect so no need to pay. Also found out when searching for wi-fi the hotel does have it but not for guests.
8. Hot water we had but not during the day. But to be honest we had it when we needed it.
9. The view from our room is fantastic (Room 12) Upper Beach Front
The Cons of Laguna Lodge Ngapali Beach
1. The place is very run down. It really is a shame as these guys are sitting on a small gold mine, with such a perfect location it really could be something amazing but it really has passed its sell by date. Some serious investment needs to happen here.
2. The grounds of the hotel (garden) really need some work. Its more like a builder’s yard than a garden. Heaps of stacked wood, stones and sand dunes (maybe they are planning to do some work) but really its an eye sore and takes away the natural beauty of the place.
3. The hammocks however lovely they maybe were covered in red fire ants. Some poor soul sat in one and jumped straight out after being covered in them…and they do bite.
4. When we checked in Jochen (the manager) said if there was anything we needed or if anything had broken to let him know and it would be replaced straight away. I wrote to them before our stay with a few concerns and they had told me that many people complain about things without even telling them so they could fix this – and also they have high occupancy year round so fixing certain things can be tricky. This I completely understood and had no problems with. But when we asked for a clothes hanger (since our room was without one and our neighbors all had one) we requested if we could have one in our room. He said he would sort it out in the morning. We never had one for the whole stay which meant we resulted in hanging our towels over our bed and on the balcony…which made our room feel damp and it was very windy so our things kept blowing off the balcony.
5. Everyone that goes to a beach wants to relax on the beach – which means they will need sunbeds…but unfortunately there was not enough beds for everyone in the hotel, most were broken, uncomfortable with no mattresses, and the foam mattresses they had were all torn and moldy so we didn’t want t use them. Sun beds can’t be expensive so an investment in new ones is a must! It also meant every morning there was the battle of sunbeds between guests. It appeared as though all the German guests got up very early in the morning to claim their beds which meant guests that actually wanted a lie in (it is a holiday after all) lost out on beds completely.
6. As I said in the point above it is a holiday and after all the early sunrises in Bagan, early morning bus rides and trains we wanted to be able to sleep in. First two mornings we were awoken by housekeeping in our room at 9am. After mentioning it to Jochen they did come later for the rest of our stay, however it meant our towels weren’t changed (we had to ask for new ones) and our bed was kind of made every day (sheets thrown over) but since it was so windy it was covered in sea salt that had blown in and it felt like sleeping in damp itchy linen.
7. Tea and Coffee facilities in the room but no kettle?? We don’t use them in our room so we didn’t ask for one but seemed strange??
8. Some rooms (next to ours) had more furniture than our room on the balcony. We had a bench while it appeared everyone else had chairs and tables (and clothes hangers).
9. Every other resort swept their grounds, raked the sand and looked presentable. I know it’s an “Eco lodge”, but there were cigarette buts everywhere on the beach near the lodge, and sharp sticks and rock in the gardens making it difficult to walk around barefoot.
I know the lodge funds charity projects and we even donated during our stay. But to be honest unless they start investing in the hotel it’s not going to get any funding because there will be no guests. It’s such a shame because with a little bit of well spent money and tidying up of the grounds this place could be heaven. You can see the manager is doing his best. My partner and I are not backpackers nor did we feel the need to stay in a fancy five-star place but we did feel let down by this lodge, despite being reassured before our stay.