As our adventure in Thailand continues, the next stop up is the island of Koh Samui, just an hour’s plane ride from Bangkok. Koh Samui is Thailand’s third largest island — a true tropical paradise full of beaches, coral reefs and amazing views. Our destination — a sneak preview of the brand-new and ultra-luxurious Conrad Koh Samui.
Thailand is a fascinating country, home to an exotic culture and fabulous landscapes. In the recent years, the beaches of Thailand are very sought after by tourists all over the world. But the Conrad Koh Samui resort has nothing to do with tourist crowds. On the contrary, this is a place of meditation and rest, in an environment that is both comfortable and peaceful.
Comprising of 80 villas and 39 residential villas, the resort is located on a secluded hill, overlooking Aow Thai Beach at the South West tip of the island. Spread over 25 acres, the resort has panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand, outlying islands and the surrounding landscape of coconut plantations. And the sunsets are amazing.
The resort and spa recently opened, so we couldn’t resist visiting. Conrad Koh Samui is authentically connected to the local Thai culture – and it resonates through the resort’s attention to detail, the architecture, the food and service. The resort was 7 years in the making, taking 4 years to build — and the quality in the construction is utterly apparent. The designer was Wilson and Associates, an American based design firm with an office in Singapore. Incredibly, the stone and wood features used throughout the resort are locally sourced from sustainable timber farms and local stone quarries. Additionally, the spa design and programs were developed in collaboration with Dr. Buathon, Thailand’s leading authority on holistic healing.
As a Conrad executive shared with us: “Conrads merge local cultural elements with contemporary touches. I think that is evident in the rooms to a degree and absolutely in the Spa. I think the most important thing about travel is to understand the feel for local culture and a lot of that is through the main resort touch point—the staff. With events such as the Thai dancing, the soap and buffalo skin carver to interest the guests, and the good nature of Thai hospitality I think our resort represents Thailand very well. We have also been arming the team with “stories” of probable guest questions (e.g., what are the five islands for) and they explain many of the cultural and local elements to the guests so that they can really have an insider feel while staying at the Conrad.”
The resort also includes numerous 5-star dining experiences with stellar chefs. Chef Konrad Inghelram (Quaglinos, Harrods) is the resort’s Executive Chef — and Chef Joe Diaz (El Bulli, French Laundry) is the Executive Sous Chef that operates the property’s three distinct dining outlets, destination bar and lounge, and private wine cellar.
Each Thai-styled villa is furnished with unique artwork, tropical hardwood floors and Thai silk, creating elegant accommodations. State-of-the-art, in-room technology includes a LCD flat-screen satellite television, CD/DVD player, iPod docking station, plus wired and wireless high-speed Internet connections. The villas are fitted with full-height glass panes allowing for mesmerising ocean views and majestic marble bathrooms fitted with spa-quality amenities, including an oversized bathtub and glass-walled rain shower.
A place where senses are triggered and then overwhelmed, the luxurious resort has a design that seems to communicate with the surrounding landscapes, while blurring the indoor/outdoor boundaries. This way, visitors get a taste of the opulent side of Thailand by taking a dive in the generous infinity pool or spending hours on the beautiful terraces facing the sea.