Zazen Boutique Resort Spa

Bo Phut, Koh Samui, Thailand
Book from GBP Book from £149 per night

Zazen Boutique Resort Spa

Bo Phut, Koh Samui, Thailand

Stylish bungalows, warm seas, a heavenly spa and delicious food: this 26-room micro-resort is a mecca for rest'n'romance

Stylish bungalows, warm seas, a heavenly spa and delicious food: this 26-room micro-resort is a mecca for rest'n'romance

The beach is very narrow, but that seems to be the only downside of Zazen Boutique Resort Spa on the north coast of Koh Samui. Sitting at one end of Bo Phut, it’s a quiet and intimate place to escape with a partner, and it prides itself on its restorative qualities ('zazen' is a meditative pose). There’s a spa with a very long treatment list, a romantic restaurant serving Thai fusion cuisine, and you can idle away the days supping cocktails on the sand. But that’s just the start.

The 26 bungalows are gloriously decadent with enormous beds, open-plan lounges and sleek bathrooms. Scattered through exotic gardens and coconut groves, large windows show off the bird of paradise flowers, and the glass doors give onto private terraces. Active types can go diving and snorkelling, visit an elephant sanctuary, swing through the rainforest canopy or sail out into the blue for deep-sea fishing. So if you’re wound up, wiped out or in need of something wonderful, treat yourself to a week here.

Highs

  • Really easy to get to; just 9km from Koh Samui airport, and a 5-minute taxi ride (or 15-minute beach walk) from Fisherman’s Village
  • Excellent service: staff get to know you by name, chilled face towels are handed out on the beach, and the famous Thai smiles are abundant and genuine
  • Luxuriously furnished suites with all mod cons, from smart TVs to lovely silk dressing gowns
  • Award-winning restaurant serving exotic Thai fare alongside fine European cuisine - probably the island's best dining
  • The spa treatments are superb - our Thai massage was the best of a dozen we tested in southern Thailand

Lows

  • The Tropical Suites, Pool Villas and the spa are closed for renovations throughout 2024. In-room treatments are available
  • The beach is pretty tiny, as you will have gathered (sunloungers are limited), and there are some passing boats
  • The Suites are only a few metres from each other - opt for a Garden Villa if you can
  • Food and spa treatments aren't cheap, but they're heavenly
  • Bo Phut is fairly developed, but Zazen is at the quiet end of the beach; there are still hawkers present, though
  • We haven't visited since the resort underwent an extensive refurb, but recent feedback has been glowing

Best time to go

Koh Samui can be affected by the northeast monsoon from October to December, with the worst of the rains coming in November. Travel to/from the island can be difficult during these months. January to April is high season, with hot and humid days; May through September are cooler, with pleasant breezes spilling over from the southwest monsoon during July-September.

Our top tips

We’ve heard great things about the Angthong Marine Park VIP guided tour with 100 Degrees East, and Mr Ung’s Jungle Safari Tour (both require advance booking)

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Spa
  • Beach Resort & Spa
  • 26 Villas
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Pool Table
Room:

Rooms

The 26 bungalow rooms feel like a traditional Thai home housed within adobe walls reminiscent of Mexico. All are similar in size and layout, but prices vary to match location. Wide glass doors open into an airy space with parquet floors, a raised bed platform and silk blinds over the windows. Each comes equipped with a flat-screen TV, A/C, powerful fans and WiFi, as well as a whole host of less technological but useful touches: gorgeous silk dressing gowns and slippers, kettle, socket adaptors, mozzie repellent, plenty of complimentary bottled water.

The décor is tropical minimalism, with rattan furniture, woven pillows, linen throws and boho wall hangings. The white concrete walls are softened by dark hardwood floors and subtle strip lighting that casts a warm glow from above. Finishing touches nod to the surroundings: shells in the Beachfront Suites, plants in the Garden Villas.

Bathrooms feature large wetroom-style rainfall showers and free-standing tubs big enough for two. Those in the Beachfront Suites look directly onto the lapping waves. Gold hardware and baskets of fresh towels add to the luxurious feel. If we're being picky, when we visited the shower pressure and temperature did fluctuate, and the toiletries were not the most lavish.

We'd opt for a Garden Villa: they're tucked away at the back of the plot (so furthest from the beach) but look out onto leafy gardens, with a secluded sitout at the front - great for al fresco room-service lunches or shady reading. Their split-level interior is larger, with 2 single daybeds perfect for 1-2 kids. The Tropical Suites, Pool Villas and Beachfront Suites are closely grouped together near the front of the resort, so you're nearer to the beach but also to each other; they're also smaller inside.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar
  • Safe box
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

Since our last visit, the beachside restaurant has had a revamp. The Club is set a few paces from the water, with open sides and great views over the sea to neighbouring islands. It offers an extensive all-day menu featuring a mix of beautifully plated Thai and Mediterranean cuisine.

There are soups, salads and sharing boards for laidback lunches, which you can take in the restaurant, poolside, or on your private terrace. For dinner, you can mix and match the international dishes. Thai starters include the likes of Tom Yam soup or banana plant salad with pork and prawns, while the European menu features scallop carpaccio and a choice of vegetable veloute. Follow up with a fragrant curry, stir-fried chilli beef, filet mignon or a Zazen cheeseburger. Safe to say your cravings will be satisfied.

Breakfast (included and served in The Club) is a delightful buffet, with exotic fruits (think pomelo, dragonfruit and rambutan), fresh juices, cereals, homemade pastries, fluffy banana pancakes, excellent eggs Benedict and just-brewed coffee.

There are two bars, one in the main restaurant and one by the pool, serving colourful cocktails, chilled beers and a decent range of wines all day. There's also a monthly DJ event if you fancy embracing the Ibiza-influenced beach club vibe.

If you want to eat out one night, you can wander along the beach to Bo Phut Fishermen's Village (15-20 minutes) which teems with eateries of all flags, from traditional Thai to pizzerias and teppinyaki. Don't expect great quality though; most restaurants in the village are overpriced and distinctly average, so most guests happily stick to Zazen.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian options
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Work your way through the menu at Le Spa Zen. We enjoyed a blissful aromatherapy massage for 2 in a curtained, over-water sala from therapists who really know their meridians (though their English is only skin deep); and the 90-minute Thai massage was the best we had in a month travelling through Thailand. Other exotic treatments include the 'Sunset Kiss Ritual Massage' (to repair the damaging effects of sun and sea through drainage and hydration massage), a 'Jet Lag and Revitalising Body Wrap', or the 'Elixir Body Glow' (which protects the skin against free radicals to help you live longer!)
  • Wander along the narrow sandy beach, passing massage shacks and barefoot bars, to the "original fishermen's village" of Bo Phut, which still has its pier and street stalls (now selling disappointingly touristy tat)
  • The hotel has a relationship with a local dive school which has a high speed boat and max group size of 10; the legendary Sail Rock, Koh Tao and Ang Thong are all feasible as day trips; non-divers are welcome to come along for fabulous snorkelling
  • Go deep-sea fishing for barracuda, white snapper and shark or spend the afternoon windsurfing from the beach
  • Learn to cook Thai food - English-speaking staff will help you create 3 delicious meals and teach you to cut fruit and veg the traditional way. Conjure your carrots into lotus flowers, then eat the lunch you’ve just made
  • Head to the Samui rainforest and fly across the canopy at tree-top level, on cables. It’s a fab way to get a bird’s eye view of the jungle and see monkeys up close (plus you can let out a few Tarzan yells just for the heck of it)
  • Take a sailing trip to Ang Thong archipelago, a natural park of small islands, clear lagoons and exotic rock formations, which was the inspiration for Alex Garland's The Beach
  • Have a restorative yoga lesson. You can either join a class, have a one-to-one with a teacher or book in for a course and learn how to down-dog with the best of them
  • Take an organised tour of the island and see waterfalls, the erotic rock formations of Hin Ta and Hin Yai and the famous Big Buddha statue. You’ll also visit a coconut plantation to watch monkeys shimmy up the trees to pick you a nut, and go shopping in Nathon (knock-off Gucci, anyone?)
  • Go quadbiking, rent a motorbike to explore, have a game of golf or take a speedboat around the island - the hotel can arrange a whole host of other activities

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Nightlife
  • Pool table
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

Children are welcome but the setting is quite romantic and attracts couples in search of R&R, so you might feel self-conscious if you have hyper kids!

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

We'd recommend staying in a Garden Villa, which can accommodate 2 children comfortably on its sofabed, as well as fitting a cot. Otherwise the Beachfront and Tropical Suites each have a single sofa bed and room for a baby cot. Cots can be provided on request and are free of charge. The cost for extra beds varies depending on the age of the children.

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting can be arranged.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

There's a small children's pool.

Families Should Know:

The resort offers a medical service and there's an on-call doctor.

Kid Friendly:

Location

Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa is situated at one end of Bo Phut beach, on the north of Koh Samui. It's 15km by sea from Koh Phangan and about 110km by sea from Surat Thani Province.

By Air:
Koh Samui (6km away) is the nearest airport. The quickest way to get here is to fly to Bangkok then get a connecting flight.

By Boat:
It's also possible to take a boat from Don Sak or Surat Thani on the mainland (1-2 / 2-4 hours respectively); and from the neighbouring islands of Koh Phangan or Koh Tao (1-2 / 2-4 hours respectively).

From the Airport or Port
The hotel offers a transfer service - see Rates - or you can jump in a taxi at Koh Samui airport.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Thailand (international flights) and getting around

Airports:

  • Koh Samui 6.0 km USM

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 5.0 km
  • Restaurant 5.0 km

Rates for Zazen Boutique Resort Spa

Arriving on: