Celebrating 10 years of providing tranquil tropical retreats
Perhaps the true test of a holiday resort comes when the weather turns from sun to rain, and the question arises: “Is this place still any good?” Well, in the case of the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui—currently celebrating its 10th year of operation—the answer is a resounding “yes”. On a recent visit we were met with one glorious afternoon of sunshine, but later the skies clouded over and the downpour began. However, lying comfortably on a wide cushioned daybed, under the sheltered patio of our One Bedroom Pool Villa, we didn’t mind at all. In fact, the raindrops gently tapping the surrounding lush foliage made for the most soothing background sound ever.
There are 22 of these particular romantic villas at the resort, all beautifully furnished and situated on a lush tropical hillside that faces north to the sea, giving guests glorious elevated views overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. The units offer 60 sq.m of high-ceilinged indoor space, a spacious 43 sq.m outdoor hardwood deck, and a 15 sq.m private infinity pool with decorative fountain, as well as all the luxury amenities you’d expect in a 5-star property (flatscreen TV, Wi-Fi, premium toiletries, bathrobes, etc). Meanwhile, the lush forest greenery that surrounds the villa, coupled with the overall tropical design scheme, makes it feel like you’re in the fanciest treehouse ever—a treehouse with Tattinger champagne in the mini-bar.
The property’s interior designer, architect, and landscape designer is none other than Bill Bensley, and his masterful touch is evident throughout. Being a massive fan of his work—I guessed he was the resort’s designer within seconds of stepping into our villa—it was a joy to stay in yet another of his gorgeous creations. His playful use of aquamarine colours in the décor was especially delightful, and his Midas touch is evident in all the units, which also include family-friendly Beachfront Pool Villas and the lavish multi-bedroom Residence Villas with Pool.
The overall property is quite large, but a squadron of on-call electric buggies is always available to take you up and down the steep slopes. Our first stop—while the weather was good—was the beach, a gently curved stretch of white sand with shallow water perfect for swimming, kayaking, or upright paddling. Overlooking the beach is Pla Pla (meaning “many fish” in Thai), an 80-seat lunch and dinner restaurant with a fan-cooled deck and open-air terrace. And although the atmosphere here is casual, the chefs take their jobs very seriously. Lunch favourites include the tomato gazpacho with prawns, the yellow fin tuna tartare with wild rocket, and a veg friendly eggplant parmigiana with confit tomatoes, parmesan, mozzarella, and pesto. For dinner mains, try the dry-aged Wagyu rib-eye with Dauphinoise potatoes and assorted vegetables, and if you happen to be there on a Sunday evening make a reservation for their amazing outdoor beach BBQ buffet dinner.
Another venue overlooking the beach, as well as the beachfront swimming pool, is Coco Rum. This fun and funky covered cocktail bar keeps things lively during the day, with seating that consists mainly of colourful daybeds and cushioned rattan wingback chairs built for two. If you get a chance, try their expertly curated rum tasting workshop (additional fee applies).
Also of note for diners is Koh Thai Kitchen and Bar, the hilltop restaurant which doubles as the breakfast dining area. From here the views are as spectacular as the morning pastries—all made on the premises—and although the breakfast buffet selections are divine, you can also order custom-made items from the specialty menu. On a whim I tried the spirulina pancakes with roasted coconut and it was an absolute treat.
If you read the resort’s daily activities list, it’s clear there’s no end of things to do here, rain or shine. However, if all you want is to chill in your tree-top hideaway—gazing out over the horizon, or taking a soothing bath in the custom designed stone bathtub—that choice is entirely yours. This is a place that’s definitely made for ultimate relaxation.
Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui
219, Moo 5 Angthong Koh Samui
Tel: 07 724 3000 | www.fourseasons.com/KohSamui
Garden of Earthly Delights
While it’s true that almost all 4- and 5-star resorts these days have on-site spa facilities, there are certain properties that take their spas to the next level. At The Four Season Resort Koh Samui you’ll find just such an elevated experience when you enter The Secret Garden Spa.
Living up to its name, the spa consists of five freestanding treatment villas (two with steam rooms), all surrounded by lush forest greenery and accessed by sauntering along a series of undulating garden paths. The oils and massage lotions used are handcrafted using organic ingredients, most being made by an English woman living on the Thai mainland.
The spa menu, which was revamped in December of 2016, includes so many tempting treatments you could spend each day getting a new one. We opted for the 60-minute Relaxing package (B4,800) which we enjoyed as a couple, as the treatment room had twin massage tables. After a lemongrass footbath we were asked to choose our preferred oil—I went for eucalyptus—after which we lay face down, our mugs supported by the softest massage pillow I’ve ever experienced. The attendant then gently struck the Tibetan singing bowl, the mystic resonating tone signaling that the massage had begun. What followed was a series of firm yet flowing strokes designed to ease muscle stiffness, but the treatment also included the use of soothing heated herbal compresses, applied to the back, neck, and palms. It was, in a word, heavenly.
The soft background music, and the sound of gentle rain on the wooden roof, made the experience pure pleasure. Needless to say the hour was over far too soon, but we left feeling quite rejuvenated. Before leaving we spoke at length with Spa Manager Stephanie Arveux, who discussed her desire to bring new and unique elements to the spa experience (there’s even a display in the spa reception room selling beautiful “chakra” jewellery pieces).
As an overall health and wellness centre the facility also includes a beauty parlour, as well as organizing yoga classes twice a week and Tai Chi on the beach every Wednesday. In-villa massages, and beach massages, are also available.
The Secret Garden Spa is open daily from 9am till 9pm.