BEST FOR: Stunning beachfront and pristine water views
DON’T MISS: Bespoke service from your own personal butler
PRICE: Internet rates for a traditional room start at $585.
CONTACT: Banyan Tree Samui, 99/9 Moo 4, Maret, Samui, Surat Thani 84310, Thailand. Phone +66-77-915-333. banyantree.com
VERDICT: On an island known for amazing resorts, Banyan Tree Samui stands out for exceptional dining, personalized service and villas that leave nothing to be desired.
BACKGROUND: As with each Banyan Tree, every detail is looked after in this splendid property with 88 rooms and suites, exceptional dining and impressive service.
WHERE IS IT? Nearly 30 minutes from the airport, this hillside resort is a romantic paradise with a range of commanding views from its individual villas. Golf carts transport guests around the sprawling grounds.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Each experience is tailored to exceed the guests’ expectations, starting with welcome refreshments in the panoramic lounge. The main reception includes a boutique and guest library with games. Even when full, the resort’s sprawling grounds make it feel like you have the entire place to yourself.
ROOMS: Plush bedding features thick duvets and a pillow menu. Sliding doors separate the living and sleeping areas, and enormous bathrooms come with double vanities, bespoke toiletries in ceramic jars, deep soaking tubs, and rainfall showerheads that are more monsoon than drizzle. The furnished patios have plunge pools with separate entrances leading directly to the bathrooms. Room categories include tree-shrouded Deluxe Pool Villas; others offer partial or more direct ocean views and multiple bedrooms. Guests are never far from assistance thanks to cell phones given at check-in to reach their personal butler.
FOOD AND DRINK: Breakfast buffets unfurl at Edge where a live cooking station preparing eggs and noodle bowls is part of a spread that also includes tropical fruit and even ice cream. Dinner is more continental with plenty of regional options, and cooking classes offer favorite Thai recipes. If you’re not ordering light bites from beachfront Sands, treat yourself to afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge. Fresh seafood and grilled dishes are served at Saffron – best enjoyed at sunset. Repeat visitors enjoy the weekly beach barbecues and the pool bar has a lively happy hour.
MEETINGS: Free wireless Internet works around the hotel including by the pools and beach. The Events Center hosts groups with the latest audiovisual tech equipment.
LEISURE: Should you relax in the splendor of your own private plunge pool or venture to the beach for watersports and a cocktail? A family pool has splashing fountains while a separate adults-only option is rather tranquil with its infinity edge seemingly spilling out into the sea. Banyan Tree Spa offers numerous treatment rooms (including options for couples), a roster of fitness classes, and “The Rainforest” experience (a series of hot and cold water and sauna treatments designed to relax the body). The modern fitness center offers the latest workout machines, and stocks plenty of apples and chilled bottled water.