Thailand's paradise island, Ko Samui, is a top global tourist destination, filled with a range of excellent hotels and resorts, from budget-friendly to super-luxurious. Certainly, for those who are weary, seeking relaxation, and soul-soothing rest, it's an opportunity to pamper themselves to the fullest. Here, you have a plethora of options for unwinding your body and mind. However, with this abundance of choices, to save you the headache, the travel experts at Michelin have handpicked the top 10 luxury hotels that are best suited for rejuvenation on Ko Samui.
Prepare your tickets and allocate your leave days because the paradise island of Samui awaits you.
Perfect for: Couples, wellness enthusiasts
If you've yearned for the serene Ko Samui of yesteryears before it became a synonym for sun-soaked revelry, now is the perfect time to revisit this Thai coastal paradise. Ko Samui's surge in popularity has also given rise to a demand for exclusive retreats like Banyan Tree Samui, offering the top-tier service and the enchanting ambiance one expects from this esteemed hotel group. Ko Samui, the archipelago's third-largest island, preserves unspoiled coastlines beyond the bustling Lamai and Chaweng beaches. Banyan Tree Samui offers 78 hillside villas with private inlet views. These sophisticated villas feature impeccable interiors, rain showers, sliding-glass doors, dark woods, plunge pools, and stunning vistas. For the ultimate luxury, the Grand Sanctuary and Presidential suites are essentially two villas in one, surrounded by lush gardens.
While the hotel excels at providing peace and quiet, the Banyan Tree experience is far from rugged. Enjoy an array of creature comforts, including diverse culinary options at Saffron for traditional Thai cuisine or Sands for fresh seafood. The spa offers immersive hydrotherapy sessions, and a fully equipped gym caters to those with a Western approach to wellness. For those in pursuit of local nightlife, Lamai Beach is easily accessible. Embrace the peace, luxury, and natural beauty on the secluded shores of Ko Samui.
Location: 99/9 Moo 4, Maret, Ko Samui, Thailand.
Reserve: +66 7791 5333 or here.
Perfect for: Wellness enthusiasts
While we're usually cautious about declaring any destination as the "new Bali" or the "next Phuket," Ko Samui has undeniably matured into a bustling destination, mirroring the development seen in its counterparts. Gone are the days of undiscovered paradise, but within the serene confines of Six Senses Samui, a touch of that pristine charm is rekindled. Nestled at the tip of a picturesque promontory overlooking the Gulf, this resort sprawls across 20 acres of lush native vegetation, boasting 66 split-level villas adorned with local hardwoods. These island accommodations feature open-plan bathrooms, al fresco showers, and, in most, infinity-edge pools offering uninterrupted sea views, all within a private setting.
The Six Senses experience is a testament to opulence, complete with a dedicated team of staff at your service. Yet, the other half of this narrative centres on the spa, offering an exhaustive menu of indulgent treatments. Set in open-air pavilions with Gulf vistas or within your villa's private outdoor sala, it's a truly immersive experience. Aptly described as a "hideaway," Ko Samui remains easily accessible, with regular flights from Bangkok, Phuket, and Singapore, making this slice of paradise just a journey away.
Location: 9/10 Moo 5 Baan Plai Laem, Bophut, Ko Samui, Thailand
Reserve: +66 7724 5678 or here.
Perfect for: Peace seekers
Thailand boasts an abundance of seaside resorts, but the challenge lies in discovering one that strikes the perfect balance between isolation and access to civilization. Karma Samui, located just a 10-minute drive from bustling Chaweng Beach on Ko Samui, offers a sensible remote retreat. The resort features 36 pool villas perched on a hillside, all with stunning water views. Each villa serves as a fully equipped holiday home, complete with kitchen, laundry facilities, and an outdoor area with comfortable loungers and a sala. The spacious interiors are ideal for group gatherings or couples looking for a spacious getaway. While self-catering is an option, the on-site restaurant, Padma, provides a captivating dining experience with its front-row seats to the Gulf of Thailand.
Karma Samui, as an alternative to the crowded Chaweng, offers its own private beach, a health spa, and a gym, making journeys into town entirely optional. Practical amenities like cable TV, Wi-Fi, flatscreen TVs, and a home entertainment system are available, while outdoor showers and four-poster beds add a touch of romance to the experience.
Location: 182/3 Moo 1, Bophut Beach, Tambon Bo Put, Ko Samui, Thailand
Reserve: +66 7742 7111 or here.
Perfect for: Family, wellness enthusiasts
Kimpton continues its global tourism journey with seamless ease. The California-based brand has found its place in Thailand, particularly at Kimpton Kitalay Samui, located on the northeast corner of Ko Samui overlooking Choeng Mon Beach. This location offers both convenience and unexpected tranquillity. The resort seamlessly blends contemporary design with traditional Thai elements. With a substantial inventory of 138 rooms, suites, and villas, even the smallest rooms are generously sized at nearly 60 square metres. The family rooms, situated near the well-equipped kids' club, and the suites are almost twice as spacious. Villas come with private plunge pools and an abundance of indoor and outdoor lounge areas.
The resort boasts an extensive spa, Pimãanda by HARNN, and an Olympic-sized pool, just steps from the beach. Kimpton Kitalay features a variety of restaurants and bars, including an upscale Thai restaurant, a seafood grill, and a vibrant lounge and bar by the oceanfront pool.
Location: 10/78 to 10/79 Moo 5, Bophut, Ko Samui, Thailand
Reserve: +66 7795 1999 or here.
Perfect for: Couples
Anantara Lawana's success hinges on its ability to create an atmosphere of tranquil seclusion while offering easy access to the lively Chaweng Beach on Ko Samui. Located just north of Chaweng, the resort boasts a private beach with a Robinson Crusoe-like charm, a rarity on the island. Many rooms and villas feature shared or private plunge pools and semi-outdoor bathrooms. The resort combines contemporary design with classic elements, such as four-poster beds and fine antique woodwork, providing a comfortable residential feel.
Known for its sophisticated, high-end beach escapes, this Anantara property is no exception. The resort offers a top-notch spa and a dining experience that's a cut above, a valuable feature in a destination like Thailand, where street food often competes with upscale dining. Anantara Lawana offers the serenity of Samui without the crowds, along with an extra touch of refinement.
Location: 92/1 Moo 2, North Chaweng Beach, Bophut, Suratthani, Ko Samui, Thailand
Reserve: +66 7796 0333 or here.
Perfect for: Peace seekers
Serious adventurers may have moved on from Ko Samui and even Thailand in pursuit of the next undiscovered tropical paradise. However, missing out on places like Sala Samui would be a mistake. Sala Samui adds a touch of much-needed upscale serenity to one of Southeast Asia's most popular destinations. The resort offers 53 villas with private pools, and even the Deluxe Balcony rooms feature spacious verandas. Space is abundant, especially in the high-end villas and suites with substantial swimming pools.
Sala Samui features a gym, a spa, and two beachfront swimming pools, along with two restaurants, one right on the beach and a remarkably well-stocked wine cellar. Located on the relatively untouched Choeng Mon beach, the resort is still within easy reach of the bustling Chaweng Beach for those seeking a livelier atmosphere.
Location: 10/9 Moo 5, Baan Plai Lam Bo Phut, Ko Samui, Thailand
Reserve: +66 7724 5888 or here.
Perfect for: Peace seekers
It's a clear sign that Ko Samui's tourism has matured. Gone are the days of it being an undiscovered paradise, and now enjoying the island's natural beauty requires thoughtful development. The Belmond hotel group, formerly known as Orient Express, excels in this regard. Their Napasai property on Ko Samui's remote north coast creates a private retreat. Villas and residences, elevated on a hillside above the beach, offer stunning views. Interiors prioritise comfort over extravagant design, making it perfect for luxury enthusiasts.
The spa plays a central role, offering various treatments, open-air massages, and in-suite spa experiences. Two restaurants and bars, along with a 24-hour infinity pool by the clear blue sea, entice you to venture out. While famous Chaweng Beach and world-class diving are nearby, you'll appreciate Belmond's tranquil seclusion at the end of the day.
Location: 65/10 Ban Tai, Maenam, Ko Samui, Thailand
Reserve: +66 7742 9200 or here.
Perfect for: Peace seekers, couples
On Ko Samui, Kerem Luxury Beachfront Villas offer the epitome of privacy, nestled in Plai Laem, a short drive from bustling Chaweng Beach. Comprising four villas – two beachfront and two terrace villas – these lavish retreats boast three bedrooms, private pools, spacious living areas, and full kitchens. Designed by modernist resort architect Gary Fell and furnished by Italian brand Meridiani, the villas exude sleek elegance with expansive windows framing stunning seascapes.
Guests can enjoy paddle boarding, sea kayaking, en-suite massages, and spa treatments. The hotel's serene private beach is the primary draw, and Kerem's residential approach means flexible dining options, with breakfast prepared in your villa's kitchen and the choice for in-villa lunch or dinner service.
Location: 6/95 Moo 5 Plai Laem, Ko Samui, Thailand
Reserve: +66 6 1582 1197 or here.
Perfect for: Couples
When a hotel commissions an architect of Bill Bensley's calibre, it's a sign of their dedication to excellence. Anantara in Ko Samui, Thailand, is no exception. While the island isn't undiscovered, it boasts stunning beaches, with Bo Phut, Anantara's location, among them. The hotel's lavish amenities often keep guests within its grounds.
Strolling through Bensley's gardens leads to the resort's highlight: a meticulously designed spa that complements the island's aesthetic. Anantara provides deluxe rooms and suites, each featuring double-size terrazzo tubs, satellite TV, DVDs, and private terraces. The Royal Anantara Suite, the premium choice, includes a daybed, custom pillow options, and, in some cases, a private plunge pool.
You can dine at the Southern Thai or Peruvian restaurant and enjoy drinks at the Library or cocktail bar. Diving enthusiasts will appreciate the clear waters off Bo Phut beach. For those who simply want to relax on the beach, Ko Samui offers more, but there's no pressure to explore further.
Location: 99/9 Moo, 1 Bophut Bay, Surat Thani, Ko Samui, Thailand
Reserve: +66 7742 8300 or here.
Perfect for: Family, big group of friends
While there are more modest ways to experience Ko Samui, this island is no longer a hidden gem, but it still offers a taste of paradise if you choose wisely. To savour its natural beauty without the beach crowds, consider the private villas at Samujana.
Perched high on a hill, these villas provide expansive spaces with infinity pools, well-equipped kitchens, private cinemas, and breathtaking water views. There are no standard hotel rooms here; the most modest option features three bedrooms, while some offer up to eight. Despite a larger group, there's ample room for relaxation and solitude. The contemporary design seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor spaces, perfect for reading, napping, or enjoying a tropical breakfast.
Samujana's serenity might tempt you to stay put. Talented local chefs are on hand to prepare delicious meals in your villa's kitchen. If you're feeling adventurous, explore Ko Samui's dining scene, visit the Big Buddha, hike to famous waterfalls, or simply relax on the beach. On your way back, swing by the nearby rum distillery to pick up a bottle – the Samujana staff will gladly mix you a mojito to savour on your terrace at sunset.
Location: 63/154 Moo 5, Baan Plai Laem, Ko Samui, Thailand
Reserve: +66 7742 3465 or here.
Good to knowKo Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand and is part of Surat Thani province. While it's a popular destination for tourists, with many visitors coming here repeatedly, it maintains its peaceful and naturally abundant atmosphere. It offers a wide range of tourist attractions and activities, along with a lively and vibrant atmosphere, making it a globally renowned destination for travellers of all kinds. Whether you're a luxury traveller, an eco-tourist, a culture enthusiast, a wellness seeker, or a food lover, you'll find that Ko Samui caters to all preferences.
Whether you come to visit the Big Buddha Temple, admire the Hin Ta Hin Yai rocks, explore the Hua Thanon Buddha Temple, or simply capture a few Insta-worthy shots at the Lamai Viewpoint, Samui has something for everyone. What's more, the MICHELIN Guide has expanded its coverage to this paradise island. If you're looking for a place to eat, you can find recommended restaurants here.
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Illustration image: © Anantara Lawana Resort and Spa