The Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, Thailand
Arriving at the Four Seasons Koh Samui is an experience in itself. The resort’s unassuming driveway leads to the top of the property where a tall, narrow door stands as the only entrance to the hotel, opening onto a small, overhanging deck that looks down onto the lush resort grounds and out over the turquoise water of the gulf. The moment guests arrive on property, they are welcomed with Four Seasons hospitality and service. Thought of as the island’s first Western player, the resort does an excellent job of maintaining a destination-specific vibe with thoughtful details throughout that give the property a lot of soul.
Situated in the tangled greens of a coconut grove, the Four Seasons is built into a steep hillside, making for spectacular views of the Gulf of Siam. There are 60 villas and 14 two- to five-bedroom residence villas, but because of the resort’s multilevel layout, it never feels crowded. The villas are huge, with ample indoor and outdoor spaces connected by floor-to-ceiling sliding windows that let you enjoy the sparkling panoramas from your bathtub, bed or walk-in closet.
Against the spectacular colour palette of the outdoors, the interiors showcase an elegantly understated aesthetic: polished teak and rosewood furniture and floors, beige hand-woven carpets and the occasional fabric or décor accent in striking turquoise. Each massive stone-lined bathroom has a double vanity and a deep egg-shaped bathtub that faces the window. It’s the kind of sexy yet relaxed jungle lair you picture James Bond unwinding in at the end of the movie. Each villa has a spacious outdoor terrace with an infinity pool and oversized daybeds. Tellingly, the minibar, stocked with sweet and salty treats, a Lavazza coffeemaker and Champagne and wine, is found out here.
Getting around the sprawling property on foot can be a workout due to its steep inclines, and you need a golf cart to get up and down the mountain (you can also use the dedicated pickup button on the room phone to schedule a buggy transfer). Down by the lovely, long beach, there’s a cool bar/lounge where guests can nurse smoothies and cocktails while reclining on enormous daybeds, as well as an 82-foot pool that’s popular with families. Travelers with children (anyone under eighteen can stay in their parents’ room for no charge) usually prefer the beach villas, which don’t have the elevated, sweeping views but enjoy direct access to sand and water with less privacy. Overall, the Four Seasons is extremely child-friendly, without losing its sense of romance and luxuriousness.
There’s a fabulous kids’ club, and little treats and surprises are organized throughout the day, such as s’mores offered at a beachside campfire every afternoon.
Parents should book babysitting service in advance to make time for a pampering half-or full-day at the Four Seasons’ excellent spa or to take advantage of the property’s romantic atmosphere. There are five spa salas, actually huge villas, each with indoor and outdoor massage beds, indoor and outdoor showers, an alfresco bathtub and a steam room. Hidden in the jungle, they offer privacy and time for reflection. Sala 5 is the most remote: you get there via a wooden walkway that snakes through dense greenery. Treatments here are referred to as experiences, and the best ones combine wellness and beauty; for instance, the four-and-a-half-hour Air Divine includes a private yoga session, an Ayurvedic-blend massage with warm coconut oil and an herbal steam. Guests who prefer to be more active can play tennis and enjoy water sports; the Four Seasons’ attentive and caring staff can also arrange such extras as a private lesson with a Thai kickboxing champion and a sunset cruise on a catamaran.
There are two restaurants serving excellent food on property, including KOH, perched on one of the property’s highest points, and Pla Pla, the breezy beachside eatery where most guests have lunch.
The breakfast buffet, which is served atop the hill at KOH, is varied, fresh and extensive. Unlike many Western properties throughout Thailand, the chef here is not afraid to serve the kind of real Thai spice the south is so well known for. In-villa dining is the most popular and romantic option for dinner: from the privacy of your terrace, you can watch the many twinkling green lights from the squid boats at sea while snacking on spicy beef salad and wok-fried rice.
Who Should Stay:
Couples, groups and families will all be equally happy here, as the property offers comfortable, spacious, well-designed accommodations, warm and efficient service, terrific views and excellent food. It is also a perfect spot for honeymooners.
For more information visit: www.fourseasons.com/kohsamui