RENAISSANCE KOH SAMUI RESORT & SPA (*****L): This romantic getaway constitutes an oasis of good taste, peace and luxury, in an island which lost much of its charm after a crude decade of anarchist urbanization. Forget the Pattaya-like Chaweng, and do like us: fully enjoy the Renaissance, which we could describe as a secluded island village, perched on a hill that gently slopes towards a mesmerizing blue sea.
The resort features few ordinary rooms, isolated in a classic 8-story building; forget them, and indulge yourself the luxury of a the private villas constituting its principal attraction. Most of the guests who reserved a room will come back, booking a villa... All of them are surrounded by terracotta walls covered with lush vegetation: assuring privacy when you swim in your exclusive private plunge pool, or when you relax in the large terrace with sun loungers! We arrived by a night flight, and were welcome by this hard to describe «jungle song»: a tropical melody composed by the insects, the reptiles, the wind, and sometimes the thunder... When the hostess opened the main door of our villa, we loved at first sight our home away from home. We used to live in Thailand some years ago, and found here the authentic atmosphere of a lovely Siamese pavilion. Teak floor, tall walls allowing a cool atmosphere even when you switch off the air conditioner, and a large living room which looks like everything but a hotel: piped music -unexpected Bossanova!- came from our CD player. There was a large plasma TV set, for those who like to keep close to the urban civilization. The bedroom featured a large, super king-size canopy bed covered with a mosquito net. The stunning bathroom, with a rain shower, and twin washbasins with plenty of fine toiletries, opened directly to the pool area. Needless to say that after one day in such a dreamed and peaceful surrounding, both jet lag and stress vanished naturally.
Those who look for company can go through the labyrinth of lanes driving to the public pool. There is a bar, where drinking a fresh « Namanao » (iced lemon juice) enjoying the panorama of the immaculate beach is an epicurean pleasure! Swimming in the sea is quite uneasy: not deep enough, then rocky... the shore is quite impracticable. This is the unique critic we could raise concerning this Paradise! But, except the frustrated divers, who cares about it?
The breakfast at the Banana Leaf restaurant, with a view on the shallow bay, was one of our daily pleasures. Next by the entrance stands the Thai buffet, with plenty of delicacies made out of coconut milk, fresh fruits, sticky rice with mango...
There is a small, well appointed fitness club. Comfortable taxi vans and motorcycles allow guests to escape for quick and cheap excursions. The service is efficient, though extremely discreet. Tens of staff members are maintaining the resort to an amazingly high standard and, mysteriously, you will hardly notice their presence.
This is of course quite an expensive hotel; with decent rates, but inflated extras. A basic detail that the wealthy clientèle obviously despise.
destination for honeymooners and hedonistic travelers.
KOH SAMUI RESORT & SPA: 208/1 Moo 4, T. Maret, Laem
THE TONGSAI BAY (****L): Samui Island gets plenty of lovely and luxurious hotels; but the Tongsay Bay remains somehow special. It is now part of the legend of Samui. At least for two reasons: its concept, and its location.
Founded in 1986 by Mr. Akorn Hoontrakul, once the owner of the Imperial Group, which is still the biggest hotel chain in Thailand, the Tongsay Bay received a special treatment: it had been designed and managed like a very personal, family run style, four star (and nowadays five star) deluxe resort. This was first time that, in the backpackers cheap Paradise Samui still used to be in the 80's, an hotel was build under the strong Sardinian influence of the Aga Khan's Porto Rotondo! Local architect had been sent there by the owner, and brought back to Samui this luxuriously relaxed concept which keeps on making the Tongsay Bay a most distinguished property in South East Asia.
This peaceful and quiet place
remains strategically located a 10 minutes drive from the airport, and
15 minutes from the bustling Chaweng Beach. The land is one of the most
amazing on the island; not to say in all Thailand. This is somehow
on Earth. Nature is that preserved that, despite of they exclusive
the cottages and villas are hidden into the generous greenery covering
25 acres along a private beach: a day dreamed 200 meters long coarse
beach half circling a quiet bay. Animals roam the gardens: on their way
to the beach, guests will monitor lizards, squirrels, birds, giant
frogs, and butterflies, feeling at ease among human hood.
Concept and location are serving a philosophy: getting back to nature. The resort is actually emphasizing on its many open-air areas. The Villas for instance, operated since December 1998 only, are the actual development of a concept offering more space to a very high standard of accommodations where top VIPs guests are not confined by walls. Fitted for movie stars, chairmen of the boards and, let's say, all of us more ordinary people looking for exception without gold and marble all around, the summit in the Tongsay Bay are their 15 Tongsai Grand Villas. All feature a minimum of 81m2, or wooden terrace. Each terrace has a gazebo where guests could sleep in the open, a bathtub for bathing al fresco (according to our experience, and with the exception of Jacuzzi, this is the unique place in the world where we found that extraordinary facility), a bar with a large stock of drinks, a dining table, sun beds, and a washbasin. The land of the Tongsay Bay being on a slope, you can imagine how astonishing may be the panorama from the terrace... The air-conditioned area of the bedroom is 54-80 m2: it comes with teakwood floor, rattan furniture, silk curtains and celadon lamps. Villas 515, 511 and 501 are among the largest, and most required from the guests. The 135 m2 Tongsai Grand Villa costs about THB 22,000++.
We also like very much the more affordable Cottage Suites. There are 44 of them on the hillside of the property. Just like the Villas, they have an open-air terrace with a bathtub. Four of them also have a bathroom in their private garden. Depending of their location, the size of the Cottage Suites is ranking from 60 till 68 m2. Daily rate is approximately THB 11,000++: which remains good value for money.
In the same category of price come the 24 Beachfront Suites. Located in a three storey building next to the swimming pool, they also have open-air bathtub, and display between 72 m2 and 86 m2 of comfort.
Exceptional atmosphere brings exceptional guests: that kind who likes exceptional food. There are three restaurants in the resort. Among the best on the island. Chef Chom's Thai restaurant is ideal for a Tom Kha Kai or some local favourite specialities. Very romantic, because right on the beach, the Floyd's Beach Bistro serves international cuisine. Intimacy characterizes the Butler's restaurant: seating only 20 people for its daily menu.
Last but not least, the hotel
gained increased fame since the recent opening of the Prana Spa. It is
all about authentic and artistic healing massage and treatment. Created
with the belief that spa treatment brings a mentally and physically
character, Prana Spa makes a real enchantment out of remedy and
approach with innovative ingredients and styles. It features 3 private
rooms: namely Pitta, Kapha and Vata. Which represents the essential
of the body. Each room has two massage beds, two treatment beds, foot
area, waterfall or rainfall shower and a floral bath. Guests may enjoy
our variety of massages and treatments from Spa Menu including enticing
packages from suntanners to honeymooners. Other lavish facilities,
the Tongsay Bay one of the best resorts in South East Asia, feature:
120 m2 exercise room with weights and modern exercise equipment, free
of non-motorised water sports (canoe, windsurf and snorkelling
and of the snooker room. Seawater swimming pool, freshwater swimming
Jacuzzi, children's wading pool, and tennis court (rackets and tennis
provided) are also accessible, free of charge for hotel guests. Jeep
taxi service, sightseeing, scuba diving, and deep-sea fishing can be
by hotel's partners at Tour Desk and Car Rental office. Gift shop and
room are located in the lobby area.
HANSAR SAMUI RESORT & SPA (****L): Best hotel in Samui according to Tripadvisor, nestled on Bophut Beach, one of the most idyllic beaches of the island of Koh Samui, well known for its golden sands and turquoise waters, this perfectly designed resort targets the discerning traveler who seeks a naturally sophisticated resort, situated out of the glare, noise and crowds.
Located in an exotic, picturesque area, with the sea as its front door and the historic, quaint Fisherman’s Village as its next door, still wrapped in its original wooden Thai-Chinese shop fronts, the Hansar Samui takes full advantage of one of Thailand’s true island jewels: offering a resort perfect for a leisurely holiday, a quick getaway, or a truly romantic honeymoon.
The 74 rooms all offer unobstructed sea views, and supersize private balconies and oversize daybeds for outdoor living and entertaining. Open plan yet intimate, each room has been artfully finished with teak floors, terrazzo bathrooms and local textiles to provide a sense of place. Chic custom furnishings, large flat screen TVs balance the design’s natural touches with a modern flair.
Among the classy, cool restaurants and bars pleasantly settled all around, the resort's signature dining experience, H-Bistro, supervised by Executive Chef Stephen Jean Dion, features a fresh French Mediterranean menu, with exclusive, succulent ingredients ranging from imported fresh Maine lobster and oysters from Canada, Japan, and France.
Rates start from THB 9,000 for a 50 sqm «Sea View Room», up to approximately THB 16,000 for a 67 sqm «Beachfront Room».
Hansar is taken from the ancient Sanskrit language and translates to
happiness and joy. This wonderful resort, just like the brand new
boutique hotel opened in Bangkok
in December 2010, perfectly reflects this philosophic and epicurean
THE IMPERIAL BOAT HOUSE (****L): One of the most original resorts in Thailand, and actually the most picturesque in Samui, we found the Imperial Boat House worth the trip. Constituted by 34 authentic teak rice barges, imported from the muddy waters of the industrious rivers Chao Phraya and Mekong, imaginatively converted into two storey four star deluxe boat suites, and "moored" on land just metres from the immaculate Choeng Mon beach, this is the kind of hotel anybody would actually love at first sight.
The Imperial Boat House offers somehow an imaginative cruise in terra firma, meeting the day dreams of our childhood... and the expectation of sea sick guests! Being lulled to sleep by the lapping of waves, and the murmur of sea breezes in a still boat, is one of the most relaxing experiences we could enjoy. It even makes secondary the supreme comfort of the rooms! Each 95 sq. meters Boat Suite features a sunbathing deck, living room, dining corner, tea & coffee making facilities, fully fitted sky lit bathroom and luxuriously appointed bedroom.
Besides the boats, there is a classical extension of the hotel: comprising eight southern style low rise buildings, this is ideal for corporate or tourists on a more limited budget. All 182 spacious, airy 38 sq. meters Deluxe Rooms, have private balconies overlooking the lush tropical gardens with its amazing boat shaped swimming pool, and blue coral sea.
Lovers of water sports can enjoy sailing, canoeing, and windsurfing in the bay. For those who want to explore further afield, trips can be arranged to many of the beautiful offshore islands. A PADI centre is available nearby, for snorkelling and diving among the most beautiful corals in South East Asia. It is interesting to hear that rates are inclusive of windsurfing, sea canoeing and sailing! The Boat Suite special discounted rate is approximately THB 4,000. Very affordable for such an upper scale product; moreover in Samui. Rack rate for this room ranks between THB 5,250-7,500, depending of season and conditions also applying for Deluxe Rooms (THB 2,800-4,500). A minimum of 7 nights is exceptionally required for high peak season. Major credit cards are accepted. Due to the popularity of the resort, advanced booking is imperative.
Part of the IMPERIAL
GROUP OF HOTELS.
IMPERIAL BOAT HOUSE: 83 Moo 5, Choeng Mon Beach, Ko Samui,
MOST LUXURIOUS HOTELS IN BANGKOK