Could this be paradise found? I’m not talking about some afterlife nirvana but heaven in the here and now. A tropical resort nestled across a crescent-shaped hillside, a natural amphitheater, overlooking a small cove with private beach on the Gulf of Siam. Towering coconut palms gently sway in the cooling ocean breeze, and spectacular uninterrupted views of surrounding islands enthral.
Standing in the alfresco Arrivals Sala of Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, I see the lush tropical jungle, catch glimpses of teak roof tiles of nearly hidden villas, and glints of sunlight off villa pools. The only visual references that there is a resort here. This illusion is achieved thanks to renowned architect and landscape designer Bill Bensley’s retention of 800 plus coconut trees, giant tamarind, jackfruit, and mango trees that were already on the site before construction.
Located on the north-western tip of Laem Yai Bay on Koh Samui, Thailand’s third-largest, Four Seasons Koh Samui offers perfect seclusion while only a short 30-minute drive from the island’s International Airport.
All 60 pool villas are built on stilts amongst the tropical orchid and are reminiscent of the traditional Southern Thai residences that inspired the design. Harmoniously blending Thai design with modern luxury and style, each villa has a private pool and sweeping views of the Gulf, Koh Phangan, and Laem Yai Bay.
One Bedroom Pool Villas range from 60 square metres of indoor space, a massive 43 square metres outdoor hardwood deck plus that gloriously luxuriant private infinity pool. Deluxe and Premier Villas are even larger, with 103 square meters of internal space. Nestled on the lush tropical hillside just above the beach are a further seven Beachfront Pool Villas.
Family Pool Villas are ideal for couples travelling with young children.
These 118 square metre villas are designed for privacy and togetherness and feature a separate sleeping area for the children with its own flat-screen television and even a box of games. The ideal combination of elegance, comfort, and amusement plus your own 15 square metre private infinity pool.
Bill Bensley’s thoughtful and inspiring touches are evident in the custom-designed décor. From the tropical rosewood and teak furniture, high thatched ceilings, perfect finishing touches with silk accessories to the custom artwork, all combining to craft a relaxing haven.
Villa ensuite bathrooms feature a spacious dressing area, two elegant vanities, a shell-shaped terrazzo bathtub, a separate glass-walled shower, and a secluded WC, along with sliding glass doors that open onto the sundeck for an open to nature bathing experience.
I particularly liked the mosquito net’s romantic tropical feel above the raised king bed, the spacious work desk with its light-filled picture window, and the sense of blended indoor and outdoor living. And the deck – do I lounge on the made-for-two daybed, laze on a sun lounge, flop in the pool, and gaze out at the enthralling view – or alternate between each and repeat?
The most dramatic of the villas are the two Beach Villas – secluded at the water’s edge. You can’t get any closer to the Peninsula and Gulf of Thailand, with the peaceful sound of waves lapping up on the shore just outside your doors.
In addition to the Villas are the expansive 2-4-bedroom Private Retreats for those who would like to rent a ‘home away from home’ with all the luxuries and amenities of a full-service Resort, including 24-hour live-in butler plus access to the Resort’s restaurants, bars, spa, and other experiences.
Ideal for families or groups to share the magic of Samui, they all offer breathtaking views of the ocean and islands. The indoor dining area accommodates up to 10 guests and is serviced by an adjacent fully equipped kitchen. Cook for yourselves or invite a Four Seasons chef to prepare your feasting needs. A separate dining pavilion overlooking the sea is ideal for tropical alfresco eating. The outdoor space and pool deck include comfortable sun lounges and a daybed around your expansive infinity pool.
With its own white sandy beach and calm cove, the Resort’s oceanfront is a great place to relax. Complimentary facilities include beach sports such as volleyball, table tennis, soccer, or coconut pétanque. And for sea lovers, take the Resort’s kayaks, boogie boards, and stand-up paddleboards out for an adventure. The 50-metre lap pool completes the beachside relaxation and wellness experience.
If looking for a more active workout, the 24-hour Health Club is located in a treetop pavilion with ocean views. This air-conditioned space is equipped with the latest strength and cardiovascular equipment and is complemented by an outdoor training/stretching deck.
Adjacent to the Health Club is the Bill Bensley-designed Muay Thai “ring with a view.” Muay Thai or Thai kickboxing has become a popular fitness option for enthusiasts worldwide, using fists, elbows, knees, and shin in this contact sport. Try your hand at throwing a few punches, or hone your technique with the Resort’s expert, with a class to suit every level.
Two floodlit hard tennis courts are available on site with a professional trainer on hand to help improve your play. For a more serene workout, a freestanding Yoga Pavilion is open from sunrise to sunset for private instruction or individual yoga sessions. Mats, towels, and water are provided.
For running enthusiasts, the Resort has a fun fitness challenge called the Koh Samui K2 Run. Starting at the beach, the route takes guests all the way up to the Resort’s highest point – the Arrival Sala –120 metres above sea level. Some of the pathways up through the Resort are at a 30-degree incline, so this is serious cardio. Resort staff will happily add your time to K2 Run challenge board.
After you have worked up an appetite, delve into the Resort’s dining outlets for superb culinary experiences in marvellous settings. Enjoy breakfast while perched in the treetops with expansive views across the Resort and bay. Or beachside for laid back lunches or stylish dinners at Pla Pla, meaning “many fish” in Thai. This casual oceanside grill is the best location for savouring fresh seafood and prime cuts of meat. Returning to the treetops, KOH’s kitchen offers Southern Thai cuisine that is at once authentic and straight forward, but also introduces less-familiar Thai recipes and flavours.
For cooling refreshments, I suggest CoCoRum. Set on the edge of the beachside 50-metre-long infinity lap pool, CoCoRum is the perfect location for a refreshing dip between decadent rum cocktails. With an emphasis on fine artisanal spirits and fresh local ingredients, each drink is handcrafted and presented with elegant and playful touches.
A first in Asia, the Rum Vault boasts a collection of over 100 rums and offers guests an opportunity to taste flights of signature cane spirits. Compare labels from across the world in this intimate library of rums. Be sure to sample Thailand’s own Chalong Bay white rum from Phuket or the Resort’s own El Presidente, which has been blended and aged by the Rum Vault artisans.
Sunsets are best enjoyed at KOH Bar, especially the area looking west to Ang Thong National Park. Sink into an oversized sofa and take in the fresh island breezes while sampling some of their signature cocktails. Can I suggest More Than Passion, the Plum Rickey, or their spicy take on a classic – the Koh Thai Sour.
Pampering starts at The Secret Garden Spa. As the name suggests, the five spacious indoor-outdoor treatment Salas are nestled in a coconut grove, offering total privacy for individuals or couples. Treatments and services are based on a fusion of techniques from Thai, Yogic, and other Asian cultures. Spa rituals include the use of Thai herbal tonics and organic teas.
Massages, body scrubs and wraps, herbal steams, baths, head massages, foot and hand treatments as well as facials are offered in harmony with island traditions. The beauty salon offers hair services, manicures, pedicures, and waxing treatments.
Young guests are kept entertained throughout their stay with the kids’ club’s action-packed program featuring beach and outdoor activities, creative crafts, and fun and educational games. Kids and adults can get involved in the Coral Conservation Project led by an in-house marine biologist. Focused on conserving the reef that skirts the Resort, the project is about collecting broken coral, rehabilitating and reintroducing it into the reef.
Exploring the idyllic waters of neighbouring Ang Thong National Marine Park is highly recommended. This protected reserve with coral reefs and more than 40 uninhabited islands offers world-class diving and snorkelling. Arrange spectacular private cruises on one of the Resort’s two pleasure cruisers. Both boats offer a great way to experience a day out with family or friends, a sunset champagne cruise, or a trip over the neighbouring island of Koh Phangan.
Known as the coconut island, Koh Samui has retained its rural and authentic Thai charm. Thanks to Samui’s 51 km ring road, the island is easy to navigate and explore, offering an abundance of recreational and sightseeing activities – if you can pull yourself away from the Resort.
Awarded Asia’s Leading Luxury Beach Resort and Thailand’s Leading Villa Resort for the past two years (2019 & 2020) in the World Travel Awards, The Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts could absolutely be described as ‘paradise found.’ I recommend checking out their offers page for more reasons to take you and your loved ones to ‘paradise’.
Four Season Resort Koh Samui
219 Moo 5, Angthong, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand
Reservations +66 2 207-8900
By Michael Cullen