Pros: Great vibe, top banter, cracking japes.
Cons: Bit of a dump, no bogs.
In brief: A slice of heaven for any stag or hen weekend.
"Heaven is a place on Earth," Belinda Carlisle sang. I had always thought that sentiment trite, but after visiting Paradise Resort I know it's true. I've returned from one final prenuptial jolly with the lads on Sanhok, the tropical island where antics flow like water, and at the foot of big top banter mountain stands my idea of heaven. Paradise Resort is rotting, the hotel staff are never around when you need them, and it doesn't even have toilets, but you'll not find a more perfect place to meet absolute bloody legends and go hard like it's your last free night on Earth.
First, some warnings to scare off killjoys. Reception is always empty of staff and, if you want to get their attention, I don't think the phones even work.
Your bed will likely be missing bits, creeping with black mould, or both.
Furniture will be tossed around, doors barricaded with beds, and previous guests' luggage just left in your room.
While Paradise was once glam, you'll now find colours fading and paintings idly leaning against walls. And forget watching blockbusters on a big screen from bed (let alone mature movies, nudge nudge), you'll be lucky if your suite has a wee telly in the box room.
You will see signs to a shower room but you will never find a shower, nor a toilet. None.
Everywhere is rotting away and returning to nature. The gardeners clearly haven't been round in ages.
And I don't even know how to make the plugs go.
If all this that puts you off? Good. We don't want you there, holding your nose and frowning. Paradise Resort isn't for you. Go somewhere else to talk about thread counts and order staff around. Paradise Resort is THE best stag & hen party spot I have dropped on in all my years of waving mates off down the aisle. Come any time on any day in any weather and you'll find several other parties milling around, gearing up to go large.
If your room is filled with deserted luggage, congrats, everything you find is yours - until someone takes it off you. And if your "suite" turns out to be a dorm with beds on the floor for another half-dozen folks, congrats: you're having a slumber party with your new BFFs.
Here's the thing: everyone at Paradise Resort is up for a good time. I promised not to post any compromising photos of anyone there that weekend (you know who you are...) but we were spilling over balconies.
We were getting frisky in the massage space.
We were hanging in the courtyard, lounging on chairs, singing together, and daring each other to climb on the roof.
It's always lively. Never a dull moment. Paradise Resort is partytown, the best place to send someone off to married life.
And you know what? I think it's real pretty. Yes, it's rotting, it's overgrown, and it's bearing scars from years of drunken trashings, but I still enjoyed wandering around, taking in all the views and vistas, all the different corners, all the different moods. For such a bustling party zone, it has some great chill-out spots to take a breather.
Actually, I do have one serious word of warning: with no hotel bar and no room service, it's on you to provide your own booze. However, some suites include bar counters and you bet your bum they hosted some ragers.
But don't worry, plenty of tuk-tuk taxis are lined up to run you into town for supplies (don't get cheeky ideas about borrowing one; I've tried and they don't leave the keys).
Some tourist guides will lead you to ruins and villages with talk of "the real Sanhok" but nah mate, stay at Paradise Resort. My idea of heaven is caning it hard with a bunch of absolute legends then recuperating on a lounger in the shadow of this absolute unit.
Just remember to be a pal and hold back the hair of anyone chundering - though you'll find hats are supplied to help keep your face clear and avoid that mess.
There's an old saying often heard ringing around Paradise Resort: "Oi oiiiiii!", which loosely translates to "Pleased to meet you; let's get amongst it." Let's.