Tucked away in the undeveloped southeast of the island, Kamalaya’s architecture blends perfectly into its unspoilt surroundings, trickling alongside lily ponds and bathing pools, down the hillside to a pristine stretch of white sand. Specifically created as a space for healing and rejuvenation, the ambience is a luxuriant blend of ethereal bohemia and clean-lined Asian aesthetics. Stylish suites and vast villas hide amongst the tropical jungle, not to mention steam rooms, rock pools, massage beds, yoga pavilions, tai chi classes and a monk's cave for meditation. But alongside its sincere commitment to an ‘unfolding of the spirit’, Kamalaya is never ashamed of being utterly indulgent.
- A magical place of rejuvenation: everything is geared towards gentle self-discovery and improvement, plus the stylish villas mean non-participating partners will be quite happy
- Even the ubiquitous 'Samui detox' is different: delicious, cleansing dishes rather than starvation and clay shakes
- Excellent staff throughout, from magical masseurs to unbidden waiters bringing iced water as you emerge from the waves
- Our 3-day 'Relax & Renew' package was the perfect end to an exhausting trip through southeast Asia: a blissful blur of head massages, kundalini meditation, yoga classes and long lunches
- And a big thumbs up from us for their sleep enhancement therapies: perfect for those with sleeping difficulties
- Its spiritually-minded philosophy and close-knit atmosphere is not for cynical or private types
- Mosquitoes, frogs and lizards abound - though bedrooms are well protected and insect coils provided (and lit for you)
- If staying less than 5 nights, first-time guests must book a wellness programme alongside accommodation and cannot just book a room
- The steep hillside makes for some thigh-strengthening strolls up to dinner and down to the beach (buggies are available for less mobile guests)
Best time to go
Bear in mind that Thailand has 3 festive peak seasons: western New Year (December-January), Chinese New Year (February; depends on the lunar calendar) and Thai New Year or Songkran in April (also depends on the calendar). They are vibrant times to visit but also busy and expensive.
Our top tips
Take loose cotton clothing and exercise garb if you plan to work out - a certain bohemian chic seems to be the order of the day. Everything else is on-hand at the Kamalaya, from sarongs to yoga mats. Mosquito repellent is of the natural variety in the form of body cream and coils; you may prefer to bring your own containing DEET.
Kamalaya is aimed at an upmarket boho crowd of all ages and backgrounds. It's popular with solo travellers, who outnumber couples for most of the year; many single women comment on how safe and welcome they feel.
- Spa Hotel
- 75 rooms
- Restaurants + bar (open daily)
- Accepted (but not on Wellness Programmes)
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car not necessary
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Private beach
The huge variety of accommodation blends beautifully into the environment. Gorgeously appointed suites and palatial villas give the impression of being open to the elements, with walls of sliding glass doors offering panoramic views onto the beach and beyond. They're minimally chic - not ostentatious in the least - with décor that aims to enhance rather than outshine the surroundings. We loved the earthy tones and incorporated granite boulders. Expect sumptuous soft furnishings, Asian antiques and fabrics, huge beds, cool marble floors, extensive wardrobes, romantic outdoor bathrooms and vast wooden balconies with outdoor daybeds.
The facilities are excellent, but you won't find in-room TVs or alcohol in the minibar. Alternatives are on offer in the form of an easel and watercolours from reception, vegetable juices and non-alcoholic beer in the minibar.
The standard Villas are the least secluded of the villas, but are beautifully designed, with tall pyramidal thatched roofs and a largish balcony looking over the valley towards the sea. Our top pick for couples are the Beachfront Villas which, apart from their privileged position overlooking the sand, offer tonnes of space including a living area, a balcony and a semi-outdoor bathroom. Best for families is the Rocktop Pool Villa which can sleep 4 in a double and a twin bedroom (both ensuite); you also get a choice of indoor and outdoor living areas (both with daybeds). The Plunge Pool Villa is filled with the sound of flowing water thanks to a thin strip of private pool, which is bordered by trees and granite outcrops. The largest, most secluded and most luxurious villa is the 1 Bedroom Beachfront Pool Villa, surrounded by greenery, with a private pool overlooking the ocean. A 2-bedroom version can be made by booking it with a Beachfront Villa; they are then connected by a courtyard.
The 10 Sea View Suites are slightly smaller and further up the hill, closer to the main buildings. Open-fronted designs provide panoramic views of the sea and surrounding hill. These are popular with couples on a budget. The 24 Hillside Rooms (with varying views) are much smaller and more conventional. They're perfectly comfortable, but it seems a shame to miss out on the inspiring architecture of the suites and villas. These are situated in a row near the restaurant and yoga shalas, they would suit less mobile guests, however.
The most recent additions are the Superior Suites, the Garden Pool Suite, and the 1 Bedroom Penthouse Pool Suites - all of which are housed in a new building overlooking the sea. We haven’t viewed them yet, but with the highest location in the resort, their views are sure to be stunning.
- In room treatments available
- Safe box
The food at Kamalaya is gloriously healthy without being remotely dull. A menu packed with clever creations offers both continental and oriental, all bursting with freshness and health but never scrimping on flavour or presentation. A vegetarian detox menu is also available, offering a mouth-watering array of dishes from clear Thai broths to water chestnut Maki rolls with spirulina dip, or Mieng Kam (fresh green betel leaves served with dried coconut, pineapple, ginger and shallots). Elsewhere, rack of lamb on goat cheese risotto and chocolate souffle will delight non-detox guests, although you can mix and match from both menus.
Breakfast is a paradise for health freaks, with its huge buffet of tropical fruits, freshly prepared juices, yoghurt, jams, imaginative muesli ingredients and salads that extend to hummus and olives.
Breakfast and dinner are served in the Soma Restaurant atop the hill, while lunch - a fragrant curry, or a healthy a la-carte option - is served in romantic salas by the swimming pools from Amrita Cafe. Lingering over the tasty morsels, and knowing we'd (sort of) earned it, made this one of the most delicious moments of each day.
There's also a bar, The Alchemy Tea Lounge, situated above Soma which serves drinks and snacks, including alcohol and health shakes.
- Coffee / tea making
- Kids' meals
- Organic produce
- Vegetarian options
- The philosophy at Kamalaya is that guests should participate in as many or as few activities as they want. In reality, the variety of tempting programmes - yoga, tai chi, meditation, massages, fitness classes, not to mention an outdoor lap pool, steam cavern and a modern gym - can leave little time for doing nothing
> Read our first-hand report of the 3-day Relax and Renew
- Each course begins with a medical and personal wellness consultation and Body Bio-impedance Analysis (BIA)to assess your needs and prescribe anything from gentle nurturing to fitness motivation. You then dip into a daily programme of ‘holistic activities’ which depend on the course and your inclination, but besides those mentioned above might include nature treks in the surrounding hills, chanting, sound therapy and chi gong. All are focussed on fun and self-exploration, and are complimentary for all guests
- Most guests come for a wellness package of 3-7 days - See our Rates page for a full list
- There are also regular retreats, mostly lasting 7-14 days - the 2 most popular are the week-long Essential Detox and Yoga Synergy breaks. Yoga retreats combine physical activity with mental stillness, and offer spa indulgences alongside healthy, beautifully balanced cuisine in exceptionally serene surroundings. Detox retreats provide a gentle internal cleanse using a combination of external therapies, holistic activities and a carefully created detox menu incorporating homeopathic medicines and nutritional supplements
- The hotel are also able to organise trips and excursions to other parts of the island, if you have time of course!
- Relax on the beach or by one of the 2 pools (a lap pool and a leisure one!)
- Try one of the exquisite treatments in the spa; choose from body wraps, Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage, Indian head massages, acupuncture, sound healing or one of the other numerous options
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Plantlife / flora
- Well being
Kamalaya accepts children, but its secluded location and contemplative atmosphere means that it is not ideal. Parents booked in to wellness programmes may bring their child. Please note:
• For every room booked there must be one adult with a pre-booked wellness program for the duration of their stay
• Maximum 1 child sharing room with their parents is permitted
• Children are not allowed to use the swimming pools between midday and 4pm
• Children aged 8 to16 are required to book an 'extra bed' at an additional cost
• Children below the age of 8 can stay free of charge on the sofa bed of a Villa when sharing with their parents
• Children below the age of 6 may share a bed with parents free of charge
• Baby cots for children below the age of 2 are free of charge (upon availability)
Babies (0-1 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
Children are only permitted to stay in the stand-alone Villa accommodation categories (including pool and beachfront villas). We'd recommend the 2-Bed Rock Top Pool Villa, which has 2 bedrooms and lots of private living space. You could also book the 2 Bedroom Beachfront Pool Villa. Villas, Beachfront Villa and the Plunge Pool Villa can each accommodate an additional guest on either a rollaway bed or a single sofabed
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms
Babysitting available by arrangement
Children below the age of 6 are entitled to 50% discount on all meal rates; children will be served half portions from the regular menus. Children aged 6 and over will pay full meal rates
Kids Activities on site:
Kamalaya's beach is very quiet and the water is shallow and generally sandy. There are also games (chess and backgammon) and a collection of films (not just self improvement but also classics and comedy) to watch on the library's large screen. A TV can be brought to your room or villa on request
Families Should Know:
No children under 16 are permitted to participate in any wellness activities or treatments and are not allowed into the wellness centre or its facilities; this includes the Fitness Centre and Lap pool
Kamalaya is in the southeast corner of Koh Samui island, near Laem Set beach. It's about 30 mins' drive by taxi to bustling Chaweng beach.
Koh Samui (25km). Click on the links below for a list of airlines.
From the Airport
It is 25 km/45 mins' drive to Kamalaya. Kamalaya will arrange your airport transfer (complimentary for guests on wellness programs).
Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.
More on getting to Thailand and getting around
- Koh Samui 25.0 km USM
- Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International 500.0 km BKK
- Beach 0.1 km
- Shops 5.0 km
- Restaurant 5.0 km