Koh Samui is one of the most attractive islands in the world, and has come a long way since its discovery over two decades ago when it was famous for budget accommodation, beach-shack bars, and full moon parties. Since then Koh Samui has been sprucing up its act to entice travelers with a taste for luxury.
Koh Samui today appeals directly to independent travelers with an independent spirit but a little more cash than a backpacker. These travelers are used to luxurious accommodation with style – places that stand out from the crowd; boutique resorts and luxury villas that provide a vacation to remember. Many luxury resorts in Koh Samui are equipped with personal butler service, spas that will make you forget about the world, stunning pools and world-class restaurants. It’s a far cry from the Koh Samui of the past where beach hut travelers would sleep on the beach and eat at roadside stalls.
Luxurious Koh Samui
Of course, budget accommodation is still available on Koh Samui and there are accommodation options to suit all budgets. But the shift towards the luxury end of the market began in around 2007 when the Four Seasons group opened a property on Koh Samui on the site of a former coconut plantation. The Four Seasons set the trend for resorts with private beaches and high end amenities, with villas providing access to their own infinity pools and gardens.
Many other high end hotels followed suit, opening accommodation options in Koh Samui along the unspoiled coast. The roster of impressive deluxe resorts includes a Banyan Tree, Conrad Koh Samui, and le Meridien. There are also choices in the luxury market that are more boutique than the main luxury chains, such as the opulent 9Gems private villa and the Akayrn Samui which is a child-free suite and villa option with a choice of impressive restaurants and a great spa. There are also luxury hotels for families in Koh Samui.
W really does impress. This is a stylish choice for young and trendy travelers with its gorgeous infinity pool surrounded by circular seating, its bar with live DJs, and its thoughtful touches in the rooms including mini fridges with complimentary ice cream and a selection of luxury bath products. W Retreat has a great restaurant in Namu, the Japanese/ Korean style place, and there is a cool bar called Sip.
W Retreat/ Image via Roderick Eime/ Flickr
This resort offers 78 villas that are expertly perched on stilts overlooking a dramatic coastline with amazing views over Lamai Bay. Banyan Tree is one of the most popular luxury options on Koh Samui and the villas benefit from private infinity pools and lovely terraces. Each villa has access to a personal villa host who will arrange trips and ferry guests around the resort in golf buggies. There are some standout restaurants and a fantastic spa with a huge array of treatments and amenities.
This is a little different – an opulent two-bedroom villa located in Chaweng Beach, next to the 9Gems Restaurant and Bar which is highly popular on the island. This villa is equipped with all the latest modern gadgets and there are stunning views from the windows and the terraces. In the evening the complex is opened up to diners who enjoy cocktails and evening meals, while the villa guests also enjoy private dining on the rooftop terrace.
Situated at the quieter end of Lamai Beach, Le Meridien is a private and intimate luxury resort arranged around three large pools. The layout is enhanced by lush vegetation and the lawns give the resort a great sense of space. Le Meridien is a stylish place with a small private beach and a cool bar with DJ for after dark.
Conrad Koh Samui
The 80 villas at the Conrad Koh Samui benefit from massive windows and outstanding views across the ocean. The villas at Conrad also have private infinity pools and stylish decks for relaxation. The Aura Lounge is the place for sunset cocktails, and the Jahn restaurant serves Pan-Asian cuisine in a memorable setting. And the Cellar holds up to 3,000 vintage wines, and wine tastings can be arranged. In addition, a yoga pavilion, floating pier, and fitness center up the amenities factor.
Conrad Koh Samui/ Image via Roderick Eime/ Flickr
For more luxury Koh Samui resorts, check out the PhuketOn blog. Your choice for Thai travel and inspiration – PhuketOn.