Boutiques, resorts and remote retreats in Koh Samui worth checking into.

Bophut Boutiques

Hansar Samui
A beachfront boutique gem at the end of Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village centered around a 30m saltwater infinity pool. Rooms follow open floor plans, with nothing blocking your view from the door to the terrace (even from the toilet). It’s probably your best bet on the island if you don’t want to be marooned at a resort.
Rooms: 74 rooms and all of them impressively spacious. Six of them are  beachfront, but we found the SeaView (toward the back) to be better value.
F&B: Chef Stephen Jean Dion serves both Thai and French Mediterranean tasting menus at the beachside H Bistro.
Rates: Starting at 9,000 baht ($360) per night for a SeaView Room, including breakfast for 2, through end April. Beachfront goes for 14,500 baht ($585).

If Entourage’s Vinnie Chase came to Samui, this is where he’d stay. It’s an exclusive private villa set high in the hills above Bophut Bay, sleeping up to 12 and with on-site manager, housekeepers and private chef. It boasts a 20m infinity pool and incredible views across to Koh Pha Ngan. It’s pretty remote and only worth it with three or more couples, but it’s slick. Real slick.
Rooms: Two master suites, three king bed rooms, one twin bed room. The open-plan living area, complete with 50-inch plasma and wrap-around glass veranda, is where the magic really happens.
F&B: Breakfast is either continental or full international style—the only downer being that you have to commit to timing the night before. For other meals, the house chef can tailor Thai and Western cuisine to your preference.
Rates: From US$1,400-2,500 ($1,795-3,205) per night, depending on the season.

W Retreat Koh Samui
“Cute!” and “Fun!”, W is the hip kid of the Starwood family. Free ice cream and soft drinks, cool as phunk music everywhere piped out of rock speakers, purple tennis court. Not the best beach for swimming, but you have your own pool.
Rooms: 75 pool villas; basic is 233sqm, steps away from the beach, with 11m pool in a walled garden plus all mod cons (46” TV, wireless dock for your iPhone, Bliss hair/skin products).
F&B: The Kitchen Table (where you get breakfast), does all-day dining with a view, but the venue that gets all the hype is Namu, the cozy dinner-only eatery. For our money, we like the awesome beach bar Sip, for its cool design and expertly mixed cocktails.
Rates: Starting at 17,000 baht ($688) per night for their Retreat and Surrender package, which includes airport transfers; through March 31.

Lamai Resorts

Banyan Tree Samui
Just coming up the driveway of this gorgeous resort, tucked away at the south-eastern coast of the island, is an impressive sight, but it’s the property’s stunning views of Lamai Bay, a “private” beach cove (where you can laze or do water sports) and cheerful staff that’ll win you over. All in all, ideal for those who want to spoil themselves thoroughly.
Rooms: 88 luxe and spacious hilltop villas (including a very exclusive 316sqm Presidential Pool Villa which is really two villas joined by a sala), each with a living room, a large patio complete with sunbeds and its own private infinity pool (which your plush king-size bed looks out on).
F&B: All-day dining and international buffet breakfasts at The Edge, fresh char-grilled seafood at Sands by the beach and the real star: their signature restaurant, Saffron, perched on the very top of the property, featuring contemporary Thai cuisine (complete with spectacular views).
Rates: From 34,780 baht ($1,397) per night for a Deluxe Pool Villa, including daily breakfast for two through March 31.

Koh Samui Resort & Spa
This Sino-Thai gem is truly unique in its design, art and architecture, with the owner’s slightly eccentric concept (tycoon builds museum-like replica of his childhood fishing village) matching perfectly with Le Meridien’s every-pebble-has-astory- for-you-to-discover spin. It’s arguably four-star (food and service were nothing to write home about when we visited), but we love it. Another plus is the location, on a quiet beach (Lamai) but within walking distance of the real world.
Rooms: 14 villas, 63 suites, from the 50sqm Plunge Pool (basically a huge tub in your bathroom) Suite to 145sqm Ocean Front Pool Suite.
Check out: The grounds, the “Hub” (courtyard lobby) and the cavern-like spa. You won’t find a more photogenic resort of this size anywhere.
Rates: Unbeatable Thailand offer starts at 5,625 baht ($226) per night for Verandah Suite; through March 31. Villa Special offer starts at 9,999 baht ($403) for Pavilion Pool Villa; through December 20.

Remote Retreats

Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, Thailand
After checking in at the “holy (cow)!” reception area that overlooks the entire 17,000sqm resort located on the island’s extreme Northwest tip, you take a rollercoaster buggy ride to your villa that’ll make you feel like you might be trapped here. Not that you’d want to leave. An all-inclusive escape for people who “deserve” and appreciate five really big stars, with exemplary service and facilities. Staff to guest ratio feels like 20 to 1; even the gardeners greet you.
Rooms: 60 luxurious hillside villas (plus 13 private residence rentals), each with a huge patio, infinity pool, the biggest “minibar” setup we’ve ever seen (with digital temp fridge, wine cooler, Lavazza pod machine) and sea views (some less obstructed by trees than others).
F&B: Amazing breakfasts (see Where to Dine, previous page). Head to the casual beachside restaurant Pla Pla for simple grilled seafood, then Lan Tania at night for romantic views.
Rates: Starting at 26,550 baht ($1,071) per night for a One-Bedroom Villa with daily breakfast for two.

Six Senses Hideaway Samui - A Sala Getaway
Sprawled across the island’s northernmost peninsula, discretion is the name of the game at this celebrity favorite. The beach is nothing to shout about and the private pool decks can be a little buggy, but you’re treated like royalty (makes sense: the couple at the next table probably are royalty) and the location is truly stunning. Wait till you see the view from the Spa treatment rooms.
Rooms: 66 villas, 55 of them with private pools; and all adhering to the rustic chic look—think thatched roofs and outdoor showers—so beloved of the jetset. There’s also The Retreat—600sqm of exclusive bragging rights.
F&B: There are fewer more dramatic dinner spots (anywhere, not simply Samui) than Dining on the Rocks. And their breakfast buffet is up there with the Four Seasons.
Rates: Starting at 15,000 baht ($605) per night for a Hideaway Villa. The “Rediscover the Romance” package includes two nights’ accommodation and lots of private couple-y stuff; 67,804 baht ($2,735) for a Pool Villa over a weekend in March.

New Arrivals

Conrad Koh Samui
Opened late last year (and, based on our stay, still several months away from being truly ready), this extraordinary creation sees 80 freestanding villas perched on a sheer cliff; every one of them with its own infinity plunge pool. On-site restaurant Jahn promises much once it gets a bit busier. Nightly rates run from US$700 ($890) for an Oceanview Villa to US$2,000 ($2,545) for the two-bedroom Royal Ocean, including breakfast.

Intercontinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort
The hottest new property on the island finally opened on February 1 having taken over and renovated the old Meredien spot. Hidden away on a West Coast clifftop (like Conrad; both boast great sunsets), there are 79 rooms, suites and beachfront villas, and no less than seven swimming pools. Introductory rates start at 17,195 baht ($795) per night until end March, including breakfast and welcome cocktails.

Why Koh Samui is the hot new holiday option


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