With a personal pool in every room, mystical tales behind each nook, and one of the best beachfront locations in Koh Samui, Vana Belle is the best place to be right now — here’s our full review.
Sprawled across the sandy white shores of Chaweng Noi Beach, Vana Belle Koh Samui feels very much like the luxury travelers’ little secret. The subtle, intimate property steps away from the flashy boutiques and chains that dot the island, opting instead to offer a minimalist refinement, true exclusivity, and a uniqueness you won’t find anywhere else.
Which all comes as little surprise, considering it’s part of Marriot’s Luxury Collection.
In fact, we’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Luxury Collection. Though a big part — their most top-tier line, in fact — of Marriott’s broad portfolio, seasoned travellers will recognise these rare and storied hotels as true diamonds in the rough. Each wholly unlike any other, the Luxury Collection differentiates itself from the rest of Marriott’s hospitality destinations, through mesmerising details and charming quirks. We checked into Vana Belle, one of Thailand’s four Luxury Collection hotels for a quick weekend getaway. Here’s our verdict.
Meaning a “beautiful forest”, Vanna Belle takes its name from the ancient Thai term for “forest” and the French word for “beauty”. A stone’s throw away from Koh Samui’s airport and key attractions, the resort is tucked in its own tropical paradise of enchanting gardens and deep, blue sea. Lined with gently swaying palms, the resorts’ shores may be the loveliest spot in all of Koh Samui to sip on Mai-Tais and bask in the sun.
Entering the property, guests are greeted with a jasmine-scented hand-washing ritual — said to offer new beginnings — in the resorts’ outdoor lobby lounge pavilion, flanked by front-row views of the surrounding beach. From there, one enters the property itself, which draws inspiration from the enchanting forests of Himavanta. Teak-wood decor and bougainvillea vines accompany a selection of mythical creatures that inhabit the resort. There’s something about the secluded luxury and dreamy surroundings that makes one feel like doing, well, nothing — the perfect escapade to clock-in some much needed R&R.
The Suites & Facilities
With 80 expansive villas and suites — each with its own private pool, to boot! — an ocean-front swimming pool, two restaurants, and a spa, you’re very much spoiled for choice at Vana Belle. By the infinity pool you’ll find sun loungers and charming cabanas, while the compact gym offers all the basic necessities for your holiday workout.
What we love most is how the resort does not skimp on space. Even the most basic suites start at 86 square metres, and the airy, open-plan bathrooms are an absolute delight. In each bedroom, the large, welcoming beds are positioned to overlook the sea, allowing guests to be gently lulled awake by the breathtaking rays of the morning sunrise.
For those who live and breathe the beach, we recommend booking your stay in one of the villas, which either open out to the gardens, or lead directly to the sandy shores.
For the visiting epicurean, Vana Belle offers a series of tasty delights at its two key dining outlets. Fans of a good international buffet will most likely enjoy a trip to Kiree, where the resort serves breakfast and dinner amidst a cosy, welcoming ambiance. For those who prefer dining al fresco, we definitely recommend the beachfront venue Panali. It’s got a great view, and the authentic Southern Thai dishes are flavourful enough to charm even the most discerning palate.
While the detailed storytelling and enchanting mythical references are Vana Belle’s key selling point, the variety of daily activities on offer at the property come a very close second. From water options along the pristine beach, to sunrise tai chi, fit ball and more, there’s a lot to see and do when you feel like taking a break from ultimate relaxation. We especially enjoyed a special Thai cooking class at Panali, which involved an entertaining coconut-grating competition, and learning to create a special Southern Thai curry.
All in all, Vana Belle, A Luxury Collection Resort is very much Koh Samui’s hidden gem. While it may not be the first spot you visit as a newbie to the island, frequent travellers to Koh Samui who are looking for exquisite, specially-tailored experiences will have it down as their regular getaway destination. Book a stay if you’re looking to truly relax and rejuvenate — it’s idyllic surroundings and top-notch service will definitely have you coming back.
To find out more about Vana Belle, A Luxury Collection Hotel, visit marriott.com.