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Hotel Review: The Sarojin, Khao Lak in Thailand

Mark Hodson checks in to this luxury resort on the shores of the Andaman Sea.

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Words by Mark Hodson

Every now and then you stay at a hotel that is truly special, a place that connects with you on an emotional level. The Sarojin in Khao Lak had that effect on me, and I’m not alone. Since its opening in 2005, it has acquired a loyal following of repeat guests, some of whom have stayed eight, nine or even ten times.

What’s so special? The Sarojin is a luxury boutique hotel set on a seven mile-long crescent-shaped beach looking out across the Andaman Sea. With just 56 rooms and no children allowed under ten, it’s a firm favourite with couples and honeymooners. Its commitment to sustainable practices recently saw it named Best Hotel in the 2022 Responsible Thailand Awards.

sarojin beach
The hotel is set on a seven mile long crescent shaped beach overlooking the Andaman Sea

But the real secret sauce is the staff and a team spirit forged out of terrible adversity. The Sarojin was founded by a pioneering British couple, Kate and Andrew Kemp, who were days away from opening when the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami struck. Khao Lak, the worst-hit region in Thailand, suffered widespread devastation and many deaths.

Short of financial backing but undeterred, the couple persuaded their staff to help them rebuild the hotel by hand – receptionists, managers and spa therapists donned hard hats and set to work. Within a year, the hotel had opened.

Many of the original staff remain and new recruits are all made to feel part of ‘the Sarojin family’. It shows in the loving care provided to guests and now, post-Covid, the hotel is regularly fully booked again.


sarojin pool
At the heart of the resort is a large pool surrounded by lush greenery

The setting is superb. The beach is overhung by coconut palms and sea hibiscus and the sand is pristine – I didn’t spot a single piece of plastic or seaweed. The hotel grounds are extensive with a long beachfront, mature trees and more than 100 native species – the head gardener leads a weekly tour so guests can learn about the rare orchids, the sweet-smelling pandan and the deadly poisonous pong-pong tree.

At the heart of the resort is a large pool with well-spaced loungers and sun shades and a restaurant built around ancient ficus trees, surrounded by pools of water lilies. Sit down at the pool or on one of the beach loungers and an attendant will immediately appear to hand you towels and pour glasses of ice water. Each day at 3pm, fresh sliced fruit is served, just one of many thoughtful touches.

As well as the spa, there’s an outdoor area for cookery classes, a small but well-equipped gym and a library with work desks, free coffee and water.


sarojin villa
Pool Residences have a large plunge pool, sunbeds and outdoor pavilion

The 56 rooms are set in seven buildings that encircle the main restaurant and pool. There are 28 garden residences, 14 pool residences and 14 Jacuzzi suites. The design is Asian contemporary but understated and stylish without being flashy. It’s all high quality, from the hardwood flooring to the Thai silk bathrobes, with delightful touches such as rose petals sprinkled on bath tubs and free milk in the fridge (rather than the usual sachets of creamer).

Each garden residence has an outdoor pavilion with day bed and cushions. Pool residences have a large plunge pool, outdoor pavilion and sun beds with privacy provided by lush vegetation. The Jacuzzi suites are particularly large, if you want to spread out and enjoy your own private terrace.

The seven buildings are numbered. There are no inferior rooms but the most sought-after are building 7, nearest to the beach, and building 1, which is beside the spa and is the most secluded.


sarojin restaurant
Breakfast and dinner are served at the main restaurant, Ficus

Breakfast is served at the main restaurant, Ficus, which, in the evening, offers a Mediterranean menu. There’s a second restaurant, Edge, which opens out directly onto the beach, serving outstanding gourmet Thai cuisine.

Breakfast is a la carte: there’s no buffet (to avoid waste) but a huge menu of options, including local specialities such as Thai shrimp omelette, and no limit to what you can order. Unusually, you can eat breakfast anytime up to 6pm, and order sparkling wine along with your coffee. An option for honeymooners, maybe.

The Edge has an innovative take on a set dinner. For a set price – £30 in high season, £20 in low season – you can order anything off an extensive menu and keep ordering as much as like. The plates are small, so ideal for working your way around a Thai menu. But do leave room for the coconut panna cotta with passion fruit coulis.

If you want a change from high-end cuisine, there are several small independent restaurants on the beach including White Sand Beach next door which has mains from £2.40 and shakes and iced coffee around £2.


sarojin spa
The spa opens out onto dense vegetation with the sea just beyond

While many hotel spas play a soothing soundtrack of birdsong and waves lapping on beaches, The Sarojin has the real thing. Its four hard-wood pavilions have a missing fourth wall that opens out onto dense vegetation – giant bamboo and alocasia leaves – with the sea just beyond.

There’s an authentic jungle feel, and all the luxury and pampering you’d expect from a five-star spa. The atmosphere is calming and unhurried with guests encouraged to arrive early to relax and linger afterwards on day beds sipping herbal tea.

To do

sarojin luxury boat
The hotel offers excursions on it’s own luxury boat

There’s a lot to see and do in this region of forests, National Parks and Marine Parks. The hotel offers excursions on its own luxury boat, The Lady Sarojin, including to the dive and snorkel sites of the Similan Islands. On the beach you can rent a kayak, windsurf or catamaran free of charge.

You can take a full-day excursion to an elephant sanctuary where you will feed and bathe the animals, then on to Khao Sok National Park for a journey down river on an inflatable canoe and a gourmet picnic lunch.

Bikes can be rented free of charge with maps showing you how to reach a nearby waterfall, temple and fishing village. You can walk along the beach and explore a coral cave. The town of Bang Niang is 15 minutes drive away, with cafes, restaurants, a market and everything from dive shops to pharmacies. Chances are you won’t feel the need to go there.


Rooms at The Sarojin start at £153 per night for two people including breakfast and taxes. (High season rates from £323).

Getting there: The hotel is a 60-70 minute drive from Phuket International Airport. Several airlines fly from Bangkok to Phuket with a flying time of less than 90 minutes.

Address: 60 Moo 2, Kukkak, Takuapa, Phang Nga 82190 Thailand
Phone: +66 0 76 427 900.

Check Availability

And Book Online

The Sarojin -SHA Extra Plus
LLM may receive some revenue if you click BOOK NOW & book a stay via See terms of use.

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