While ‘koh’ is Thai for ‘island’, Samui itself has come to stand for booze, views, fresh-caught fish, and some of the world’s swankiest five star hotels. Koh Samui has long been among the top contenders on any luxury traveler’s to-do list. Off the Thai east coast, the island wraps Asian culture, indulgent cuisine, as well as wellness in a neat bundle. Just a quick, 45-minute flight from Bangkok, this neighbor to the notorious Koh Phangan (of full-moon party infamy) despite brisk development continues to boast palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves, and dense, mountainous rainforest. No surprises then that the famously selective Six Senses chain finds a home there.
Set amongst 20-acres of natural vegetation, the Samui hideaway, a mere 15 minutes from the airport, brushes the Gulf of Thailand.
In true Six Senses fashion, Six Senses Samui is away from the town center and the hustle, and its reception, a dead giveaway of what to expect from your stay at the hotel, which is usually a good sign. The Samui hideaway is, in essence, 66 villas spread across a hillside property. Guests are ferried in buggies across tree-shaded boulevards; in our case, the drop-off was an Ocean view Pool Villa – an open-air hut overlooking the pristine blue waters of the gulf of Thailand. Seeing that, you know you have arrived at someplace special.
The two-tier wooden framed villa is as traditional as it’s luxurious. Drawing cues from Thai architecture, it has a tapering roof and bamboo boundary wall. Spread across 172 square meters, the villa is laden with all the luxuries one would expect of a modern resort villa – large LED TV, coffee machine, speedy Wi-Fi, and such. The plush king bed comes canopied by a traditional Thai mosquito net – functional, yet classy and perfectly complementing the room’s theme. The bed and all of the living area offer a beautiful view of the cerulean waters, while a large soaking tub affords the same view as well as an adjoining, outdoor shower area.
Below the villa’s living area sits a private sun deck, with lounge chairs, a huge sofa and a ceiling fan to tame the Thai heat – a perfect place to relax, unwind, write, read or rekindle the romance. That and Six Senses’ speedy in-room service ensure you couldn’t care to step out of your holiday abode. We did, however, step out for breakfast to Dining On the Hills, the all-day restaurant and one of the only two at the property. Its copious spread and magnificent views combined easily make it one of the most satisfying and leisurely breakfasts we’ve partaken in.
Their signature, award-winning restaurant, aptly named Dining On the Rocks is the one you simply mustn’t miss. It offers an ineffable setting, further elevated by a six/ten-course meal from talented chefs who regularly experiment with flavor and texture in cooking. And if you’re thinking about popping the question or celebrating a special occasion, our advice would be to reserve table 99 – easily the most secluded, surrounded by lights and attended to by private service. Another must-do at the property would be taking in the panoramic ocean views from their gorgeous infinity pool.
Quite frankly, there is no dearth of things to do at the property. Their award-winning spas, for instance, offer the finest wellness programs that include but aren’t limited to Therapies, Massages, Yoga, Reiki and Pilates. And now for the best part – all the activities take place in the most scenic locations; we did Pilates in a gazebo, right on the beach and surrounded by trees. While all treatments are offered in air-conditioned spa villas or private, open-air salas, both of which afford spectacular views across a rock-fringed bay to the Gulf of Thailand.
It is common knowledge that Six Senses properties besides being among the world’s most beautiful are also extremely eco-friendly. Unlike any of the luxury properties we’ve stayed at, this one services water (in the restaurants and the rooms) in glass bottles. Still and sparkling water is locally sourced and bottled at their own property making what is clearly a very strong and powerful statement against use of plastic. Six Senses Samui also has its own eco farm – Farm On the Hill – for growing vegetables and herbs for the kitchens. The farm also houses chickens and goats, which produce organic eggs and manure, respectively.
Six Senses Samui is a place where you can do it all, unwind and indulge. Helping organize anything is your personal assistant or as Six Senses calls it the GEM; our GEM, Ink, was incredibly polite and always smiling. The location couldn’t be better – downtown is just a short drive away. And the hotel’s food, superb service, and accommodations, make checking out difficult.
Where: Six Senses Samui
9/10 Moo 5, Baan Plai Laem, Bophut
Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320
Phone: +66 7724 5678
Note– The critic was invited by the Six Senses Samui. But all the opinions expressed herewith are his own.