The tranquil beaches of Koh Samui are attracting more luxury travellers as of late. We check in for a a rejuvenating stay at the Banyan Tree Samui.
Over the years, Koh Samui has come to embrace a new generation of travelers – an affluent clientele in search of world-class services and elevated experiences; think absolutely idyllic wellness retreats, secluded beachside villas, and fabulously styled private resorts that rival the world’s very best. On a recent trip south, Prestige checked into the iconic Banyan Tree Samui. Here are our thoughts on the stay.
Arriving at the Banyan Tree Samui feels almost like stepping into an entirely different world. Sprawled across two lush green hills that line the island’s southeastern shores, this tranquil, secluded bay in Lamai is dotted with swaying palms and 88 spacious pool villas. Entering via the lobby bar, we’re greeted with a ginger-infused welcome drink that we enjoy as we take in the striking panoramic view with the resort’s charming gabled roofs in the foreground. This is Koh Samui at its finest; beautiful, serene, and – at this time – not overrun with tourists.
A villa concierge hands over a little pouch, which holds a smartphone to use during our stay, complete with free calls, data coverage, and even a special Banyan Tree app with more information on Koh Samui as well as the resort’s various services. A quick electric buggy ride – the first of many during our time here – takes us over meandering sloping hills towards our villa, which is perched high up amongst the greenery.
A honeymooner’s dream-come-true, these villas are designed to be thoroughly lived in and enjoyed. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood our quarters with warm, natural light, while lofty, unobstructed views of the sweeping vistas outside are just a curtain-pull away. The bedroom leads straight to a private pool which seems to hang in the skies, next to which is a deck with bean bags and a sunken lounge where you can sit and watch the sunset over the bay. Contemporary Thai decor and subtle nods to traditional design give the space a nice bit of character, while the private sala out on the terrace brings to mind images of lavish al fresco dinners.
As only to be expected of Banyan Tree, they don’t skimp on their in-villa creature comforts, which here include two large-screen TVs (complete with Chromecast), coffee and tea-making facilities, and a lavish ensuite, complete with a wide tub and rain showers.
If the villa’s infinity and heated plunge pools – not to mention Jacuzzi – aren’t enough, guests can also enjoy the resort’s main swimming pool, which features an adjacent kid’s pool. As for the ocean waters, motorised water activities are not permitted along the resort’s private bay, so it’s quite safe to indulge in all the fun beachside options on offer; from paddle-boards, kayaks, and snorkelling, to a complimentary crash-course in basic windsurfing. If you wish to go further afield, there’s also private island tours, snorkelling excursions, and a romantic sunset cruise.
Our afternoon, however, is spent getting pampered. The team of therapists at the Banyan Tree Spa Samui offer treatments that range from deep tissue massages to body scrubs and rejuvenating baths. We opt for the Rainforest treatment – one of the resort’s signatures – which combines Western hydrothermal therapy and local wellness approaches. We’re taken down a cobbled path, and past a series of steam and sauna rooms, and hot, cold, and massaging showers designed to truly revitalise the body, mind and spirit. The best part of our treatment comes at the very end, when we spend a blissful 30-minutes on a heated stone lounger that work therapeutic wonders on our body, long after the experience is over.
Come dinnertime, we’re driven down to the resort’s stunning beachside restaurant. Aptly named Sands, this open-air establishment serves up an impressive selection of Thai and international cuisine, that will appease to the most discerning of palates. On the menu is a selection of fresh seafood and prime-cut meats that can be either charcoal-grilled, wood-fired, or prepared on a rotisserie. The Western alternatives, like the burrata cheese and rocket salad, come in generous portions, while the Thai options deliver very authentic southern flavours – all of which we pair with red and white wines from Thailand.
Later, we retreated into our villa, and with champagne in hand, spent the remaining of our evening gazing out over the horizon and the majestic emerald sea below.
For those interested in a weekend getaway to the island, Bangkok Airways has launched additional flights between Bangkok and Koh Samui, with 10 round-trip flights operating daily on this route. Visit bangkokair.com to find out more.
To book your stay or find out more about Banyan Tree Samui, visit banyantree.com.