You might remember the tropical Thai island of Koh Samui from its bygone bohemian days, when it was a mecca for backpackers in search of the fabled beach that inspired Alex Garland’s cult novel The Beach.
But visitors to Koh Samui’s shores will find the island much changed since then – barefoot beach shacks have given way to uber-luxe hotels, an upscale culinary scene and seriously sumptuous spas. With a host of luxury resorts offering palatial pool villas alongside scenery that’s still as seductive as ever, the island now attracts an influx of well-heeled honeymooners and couples in pursuit of stylish escapism.
From boutique jungle boltholes to heavenly hilltop hideaways, here’s our pick of the islands most tempting retreats for two.
Sleek, stylish and oh-so-chic, Sala’s signature pool villas offer inpidual pools set in their own private courtyard, sinky-soft beds and indulgent al-fresco bathrooms – complete with oversized freestanding tub and outdoor rain shower. Though you may never want to leave your room, a first-rate restaurant, two full-size swimming pools and the sands of Choengmon beach are just steps away.
Set on a secluded headland on the island’s north-east coast, this rustic-luxe resort is made up of seductive sea-facing pavilions nestled among the rainforest. Pool villas here boast floor-to-ceiling windows, a sunken bath, private pool and deck for total privacy in an intimate jungle setting.
Overlooking the silver sands and stunning rock formations of Laem Nan Beach on Samui’s south-east coast, Silavadee’s ocean-front pool villas offer guests inpidual infinity-edged pools, cavernous stone bathtubs, romantic mosquito-net draped beds and all-encompassing ocean views. Hashtag yes please.
Located on Samui’s unspoilt southern coast, wellness-focused Kamalaya is the ideal destination for couples looking to relax and rejuvenate together – with on-site yoga teachers, wellness centre and detox menu. Opt for a beachfront pool villa to enjoy both the remote rainforest setting and soothing sounds of the waves below.
For couples after tranquillity, Sensimar’s adults-only policy means a stay free from any unwelcome interruptions (read: screaming kids). Beachfront villas boast private pools and lounging areas, with views out over the silky sands of Mae Nam Beach. Located on the island’s north coast, you’re just a 10-minute drive from the popular Fisherman’s village and its tantalising array of restaurants and bars.