Koh Samui has so many faces that every holiday experience here is different: from long, sandy beaches and mouth watering food to luxury spas and a bustling nightlife, the island is as diverse as the tourists that flock here all year round. The hotel scene is no different, and boasts a vast range of beautiful boutique resorts offering breath-taking views, serene settings and designer luxury. This is our pick of the 10 best boutique hotels on Koh Samui.
An oasis of serenity and luxury perched on a private beach between Chaweng and Choeng Mon, Akaryn Resort & Spa is a hotel made up of individual villas, each equipped with a spacious terrace and private pool. It guarantees intimacy by allowing the villas to blend into their lush, green surroundings. The colonial-style decor of the rooms suggests an understated opulence, while luxurious add-ons – incense oils, rain showers and Egyptian cotton bed sheets – help secure Akaryn’s position at the forefront of Koh Samui’s boutique hotels. Take your breakfast at the beachfront to enjoy the spectacular views over Hanuman Bay, then head for the pool bar, which is a great place to enjoy expertly made cocktails and exotic smoothies. In the evening, Akaryn’s own restaurants can be relied on to serve some of the best wood-fired pizza and steaks on the island.
The Sarann’s breathtaking location on the edge of a rocky wall on the southern tip of Chaweng Beach makes for a spectacularly romantic setting. Although the villas and suites guarantee a zen experience with harmonious, wooden furniture and a large jacuzzi, the sea-front pool villas are the shining stars of the resort. Their private infinity pools nestled just above the rocky beach offer unparalleled views over the Gulf of Thailand. The Sarann is a great spot for those seeking a luxurious getaway while enjoying convenient access to the restaurants, bars and shops of Chaweng Town, all located just a short drive away from the hotel.
Boasting one of the most revered locations on Koh Samui, The Library seamlessly combines elements of a boutique hotel, upscale lounge bar and beach resort to create an innovative take on luxury. Its rooms all follow a chic minimalistic design with white and red as the dominant colors, their rawness complemented by carefully selected artwork and cool accessories. The most memorable aspect of The Library, however, is its unique red pool which sits on the edge of the resort, facing one of the most beautiful stretches of Chaweng Beach. Even if staying at the resort proves too pricey, drop by for an expertly executed cocktail at the stylish Drink Gallery.
The gorgeous resort of Kamalaya, perched on the south-eastern tip of Koh Samui, is a dedicated sanctuary for its guests, where holistic and tailor-made care meets top notch luxury. The resort’s founders have a knowledge of Eastern medicine and philosophy which permeates the spirit of the venue. From intense detox programs to yoga retreats and classes in emotional balance, Kamalaya has renowned in-house spa offers. Accommodation options include the impressive rock top villa.
Situated on the edge of the lively Chaweng Beach, Akyra Chura is the place to be for party-goers and lounge lovers, uniting beachfront entertainment with an effortless sense of cool. Large enough to guarantee privacy yet small enough to provide top-notch service, the hotel is made up of 65 deluxe rooms and suites which exude an industrial chic spirit, perfectly suited to the young travelers who make up the bulk of the resort’s clientele. When you’ve had enough of sunbathing on Akyra Chura’s pristine beach stretch, head for The Club, the hotel’s beach bar. Try one of the tasty cocktails and listen to a DJ playing a mix of chill-out and house sounds. Akyra’s restaurant, the pan-Asian Noodle House, is a great spot for a casual bite before heading off to another beach party.
Perhaps the most exclusive – and secluded – place to stay on the island, the Akatsuki is pure private luxury. The hotel’s five villas unite tradition and modernity under one roof; recycled materials have been used for the construction of the resort and there’s a sense of Japanese simplicity and Italian opulence, brought to life by Tokyo-based Italian architect Riccardo Tossani. Akatsuki provides each guest with a private chef and butler as well as a number of excursions and trips. Its location in Lipa Noi, on the western side of the island, makes Akatsuki a very remote place to stay, ideal for an extravagant getaway.
Those with a taste for minimalistic contemporary design will love Code, an ultra modern property perched up on the hills of the north-western side of Koh Samui. There’s a scenic view over the jungle below and the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Rooms are a combination of wood and glass, dominated by light creams and shades of white, while the whole setting drowns in lush greenery. While Code’s location isn’t perfect, its vistas are certainly some of the most spectacular on the island.
Nestled on the northern coast of Koh Samui in the village of Bophut, Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa takes its name from a meditative posture. The hotel’s spa is well-known on the island for its high quality massages, treatments and rituals, tailored to meet each customer’s needs. The narrow beach is the only real downside of Zazen, but those who would rather lounge around at the pool and get pampered all day will love it here.
Mai Samui is an affordable four-star resort situated right on Laem Yai Beach. Showcasing a fusion of contemporary elegance and classic elements of Thai design, the rooms here are all upmarket, some with a more simple design and some, such as the Mai pool villas, which boast elaborate detailing and fabulous private pools. Mai Samui’s location on the north-western tip of the island means that the beach is not as white and scenic as others on the island however, it is very secluded. The carefully designed pool also makes up for this with green islands and multiple levels, and a wonderful view of the Thai sunset.
From pool villas to outdoor jacuzzi suites, Sareeraya wholly embraces Koh Samui’s culture of zen luxury. The infinity pool overlooks the vast stretch of ocean right in front of the hotel, the decor is a harmonious blend of wood, silky fabrics and openness, while the resort’s location on the northern end of Chaweng Beach guarantees a relaxing time with easy access to all the local amenities, restaurants and nightlife. Sareeraya’s in-house Chef’s Table restaurant is one of Koh Samui’s prime venues for upscale dining, with a menu of super fresh seafood and authentic Thai classics; the beach barbecue, held here every Monday is a great place to dine on the island.