Melia Koh Samui
Stay in a renovated rice barge at this Spanish beachfront resort.
Overview: Within less than a year of opening, this Spanish hotel brand's Thailand debut shot to the top of review sites thanks to its Ibiza-referencing design, unstuffy vibe, and stunning location on Choeng Mon Beach.
The rooms: The five-star property consists of 159 rooms and 41 suites, including 51-sq-meter deluxe rooms (from B3,530) with bathtubs on the balconies, and the unique boat suites (from B9,140, including airport transfers)—former imperial rice barges renovated as stylish maisonettes, some complete with seaview decks and suspended net seating areas. If you can't resist a swim in the morning, opt for a premium room with pool access (from B7,000 including lounge access) and step out onto your own deck and into the resort’s loop pool. Families can book the 104-sq-meter family room (from B9,040), which comes with a master bedroom, a large living area and sofa bed, plenty of toys and a spacious deck. Imbued with references to Samui's snowflake-like mui flower, the resort's homogeneous interior is dominated by clean whites with black accents, warm woods, and subtle nautical touches.
The facilities: A striking 700-meter loop pool winds throughout the resort, with bridges overhead, a kids’ daycare area complete with a trampoline, and a water slide leading down to a swim-up bar. A walkway connects it to the family-friendly beachfront lagoon pool with in-pool sun loungers, sunken seating, circular day beds, palm trees and clean white decor. Close by, the 24-hour gym is joined by the YHI Spa, where you can indulge in a massage with natural oils selected based on your mood—make use of the QR code in the room to access the menu and to book on the go.
Food and drink: If you don’t opt for the Instagrammable floating breakfast, head to Koko Kitchen in the morning for an impressive buffet complete with roving cheese and cold cut trolleys, followed by all-day dining with Thai and Western flavors. Also look out for the resort’s popular weekend brunch, which consists of a Spanish-inspired buffet with live cooking stations. At Breeza beachfront restaurant, indulge in everything from Josper-grilled seafood and premium meats to degustation menus with wine pairing, which you can enjoy on the outdoor deck or in the spacious, air-conditioned restaurant. In the evening, grab a beanbag on the beach to sip on cocktails, head to the lobby's Boat Bar, or keep it exclusive with drinks in The Lounge, situated on the second floor with a spacious seaview deck.
Why we'd come back: This polished brand is well-known abroad, the rates are reasonable, and the resort is gorgeous. Enough said.