“A beautiful place to decompress before or after a diving trip to Koh Tao or the rigours of Koh Phangan’s Full Moon party”
Set along winding paths in an up-and-coming part of Samui, each of the 50-something suites and villas has its own cooling plunge pool and a deck for relaxation during the long sun-drenched hours. The white-sand beach is as private as they come, an attractive little bay ringed by stark black rocks and commanded by a great umbrella tree. But that’s not all: there’s a 2-storey spa, 3 restaurants and a huge 2-tiered freeform infinity pool with a swim-up bar.
Staff are industrious and polite. Gardeners clip at awkward patches of grass, the chef is full of bounce and vim, receptionists exceptionally lovely. And the dizzying variety of packages and extras on offer speaks of an admirable determination to make sure you have a good time.
- Plunge pools with every stunning room, and heaps of comforts inside: elegant four-poster beds, standalone bathtubs, iPod docks and plumbing to die for
- Friendly, helpful staff who are alert to your creature comforts but happy to leave you to your own devices
- The wonderful spa - try a jasmine rice scrub followed by a bone-cracking Thai massage, or align your aura in the crystal room. Complimentary yoga and pilates classes, too
- Ideal for a honeymoon or romantic holiday, and combines well with Koh Tao or Koh Phangan
- Away from the hustle of Chaweng and the wallet strain of upscale Bo Phut, but close enough for a night out, and just minutes from the airport
- When we last visited, we found staff English was limited, and cleaning less than perfect
- There are no other restaurants within walking distance: rent a scooter or car if you don’t fancy relying on taxis
- The beach is rocky in places. In the European winter the sea slams almost into the retaining wall at high tide and is too choppy for swimming
- Strict payment and cancellation policies
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Room 120, which sits between 2 pump houses, is best avoided
- For perfect freedom from resort claustrophobia, rent a scooter
- Boutique Resort
- Restaurants and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Heated Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Bicycles Available
- Snorkelling equipment
- Yoga/pilates lessons
The Pool Suites have been renovated in a style known as ‘tropical modern’ (whatever isn’t brown is rigorously beige). They sit along winding paths in their own patch of shady foliage, all have a terrace and plunge pool, and the best of them overlook the sea. Inside, a sumptuous kingsize bed dominates, ruled by the mango-wood frog that does double duty as a do-not-disturb and change-my-sheets sign. In front is a sofa, covered in tasteful silks. But the most striking feature is a huge bronze bell that serves as a reading lamp - a signature of the designer. The lighting is best controlled by leaving off the ‘romantic’ option, an energy-saving neon in a shade of yellow rarely found in nature.
All mod cons are in place, including a flat-screen TV and an iPod dock. Your minibar is well-stocked with beer and spirits and a great choice of chocolate (the stingy can find top-ups in the nearby 7-11). In the adjacent bathroom sit an ovoid bathtub and rain shower with powerful pressure and piping-hot water. An abundance of toiletries, cotton buds, mini-loofahs and other mysterious whatsits ensure you'll remain scrubbed, buffed and perfectly fragrant. The loo has a bum gun, which we consider vital but a lot of upscale hotels here don’t. Bathrobes are provided, as are soft cotton jimjams (which impressed one 70-something fellow so much we spotted him out on the town in them).
The newer Pool Villas have bigger plunge pools - 4 strokes from end to end - and an open-plan design that brings the bathroom into the living room. They rely on bleached wood and shades of beige and taupe. The standing lamp here is a startling creation of twisted old wisteria branches. There’s space for 2 extra beds, and larger fmailies can rent a pair of villas at reduced rates. Polished-concrete cells house the powerful rain shower and loo (watch your step, the floors get slippery when wet).
- Air conditioning
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Ipod dock
- Pre-loaded iPod
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
With a deck overlooking the pool and, from some tables, the sea, the open restaurant The Edge is an atmospheric place to end your day. For dinner there’s a small selection of Western options. Our carpaccio was sliced to a gauzy thinness and came with smears of pesto and a basket of parmesan that held the rocket leaves. Tenderloin steak (no, we didn’t mean to order beef and beef) was cooked to tender perfection but drenched in a generic mushroom gravy and only accompanied by what we must call French fries. Imagine, then, our surprise when the chocolate fondant was exceptionally delicious. Perhaps puddings are where the chef’s real passion lies.
Breakfast is a limited mix of buffet and à la carte. Bread was crusty and fresh, pastries had spent the night in the fridge, jam was a nice imported brand. The test of a kitchen are the eggs Benedict: these were sneezy, while the hollandaise had been great until the accident with McGarrett’s Fine Provencal Herbs. In short, both waiting staff and cooks seem to suffer from a lack of confidence and do either too much or too little, depending on their state of fluster. No doubt time and growing confidence will sort these things out. Since our visit, a tapas and Thai restaurant have opened, too.
The resort can arrange a private barbecue on your deck - be your own cook! - and, in the non-windy season, a romantic Thai dinner on the beach in a curtained gazebo. There's also an all-day pizza menu, featuring over 80 varieties.
There are no other restaurants or even street stalls within walking distance. If you have your own transport, make your way over to Bo Phut, where the H Bistro at the Hansar Hotel offers fine, pricey, mildly molecular dining; or choose from a wide variety of more affordable restaurants there, Thai or otherwise. On Chaweng, 10 minutes by car in the other direction, you can’t move for seafood emporia.
- Coffee / tea making
- Private dinners by arrangement
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Swim in one of the 3 pools, walk on the beach, then while away the hot hours after lunch with one of the resort's sumptuous spa packages
- Go for trips around the island - there are elephant camps, a Big Buddha and jungle experiences galore - or just take a long, leisurely scooter ride along the coastal road
- Play golf if you must - reception can recommend a course
- Hire a boat and sail around the 60 islands in Samui's archipelago, with endless coves and white-sand beaches
- Dive with whale sharks in Angthong National Marine Park, or go snorkelling through shoals of fish and colourful coral
- Take a Thai cooking lesson at the hotel, join the complimentary yoga classes, or sign up for a fishing or jungle trip
- Enjoy a special dinner package, which commonly come with an illuminated paper balloon to send your troubles into the night sky
- You are placed between the island’s 2 nightlife hubs without being invaded by either. To one side lies upmarket-ish Bo Phut, with its Fisherman’s Village of restaurants, boutique-y shops and not entirely authentic cobbled charm
- To the other side lies Chaweng, a holidaymaker’s hell or heaven, depending on your taste. Most of the entertainment is in Soi Green Mango, named after the cavernous live-music-venue-cum-disco at its heart, which also shows sporting events on really large screens. The drink of choice is the Sangsom Bucket (don’t ask). Enormously tall and rather terrifying Russian dancers have their own dedicated venue along the strip, and there are drag artistes, too
- Better is Sound Club, if you remember how to dance to techno - no point going before the wee hours. Up on the hill is Q Bar, with generous cocktails and great views over the twinkling town
- More laid-back, candlelit bars with cushions strewn on the silky sand can be found all along Chaweng Beach
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Canopy and bungee trips
- Cooking classes
- Mountain biking
- Private guided tours
- Scuba diving
- Scuba diving courses
- Shopping / markets
The hotel welcomes children but targets chiefly couples. Extra beds and baby cots are available, there's a kids' pool, and babysitting can be arranged. Bear in mind there are a lot of stairs so it is not ideal for toddlers/buggies.
Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
The Pool Villas can sleep up to 4, but if you want 2 separate bedrooms you'll need to book 2 suites or 2 villas (reservations staff can ensure they are adjacent).