Embracing the paradise island vibe, the recently opened Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui, which stretches across 58 acres of a former coconut plantation nestled on a secluded bay, is the perfect example of oceanfront beauty and the balance between the old and the new. Proud of the local heritage and keen to share it with guests, each corner of the resort has been designed to merge contemporary luxury with traditional southern Thai leitmotifs to create a high-end sanctuary with just the right touch of tropical informality.
As is the case with many beach resorts on the island, accommodation is constructed on a hillside facing the ocean. The property is vast, so while you may wish to get some exercise during your stay, using a buggy to commute from your villa to the main buildings is highly recommended. Many of the coconut trees that formed the original plantation have been left in situ, adding more greenery to what was always a verdant site.
The resort boasts 175 suites and villas. This accommodation is spread out to offer privacy and to take advantage of the fabulous ocean views. While the décor of the various room types varies, the colour scheme is kept neutral: soothing beige, browns and creamy shades that promote a sense of serenity. The relaxed feel of indoor spaces throughout the resort is reinforced with the abundant use of honey-coloured local timber for floors, ceilings, wall panels and furniture.
The Ultimate Pool Villa is the perfect fit for those wishing to be close to the ocean. Its cliff top location facing the sea offers astounding panoramic vistas of the Gulf of Thailand. To enjoy the remarkable view and the sun and sea breezes in privacy, the villa features an 18-square-metre terrace boasting an infinity plunge pool, which is also accessible directly from your room. There is also a small dining balcony that extends from the terrace, perfect for a romantic dinner overlooking turquoise waters.
Inside the villa, expansive floor-to-ceiling windows and doors not only let in an abundance of natural light but also create frames for the picture-perfect backdrops. The three sections of the villa—the sleeping area, the living room and the bathroom—are divided by sliding wooden partitions. When left open they create a welcoming and spacious open-floor-plan.
There’s no need for flamboyancy to exude a luxurious feel and with that in mind, colour palettes are kept neutral and airy. Above the king sized bed a colonial-style fan hangs from the steepled wooden ceiling. At the foot of the bed a lounge chair is complemented by triangular pillows inspired by the traditional Thai pillows made by hand in rural communities. An invitingly luxurious bathroom features a double basin, a stand-alone bathtub and a separate shower.
One of the resort’s key attractions is the Spa Village Koh Samui complete with eight beautifully designed treatment suites offering holistic, therapeutic and rejuvenating treatments. Here there are also three massage pavilions, a yoga pavilion and an inviting lap pool surrounded by cabanas. The facilities have a zen-like quality that promotes a feeling of tranquillity.
Elsewhere in the resort, the same décor cues based on contemporary luxury and local materials can be found. Take the Pak Tak restaurant. Situated overlooking the resort’s swim reef, not only does it celebrate southern Thai cuisine in all its flavoursome splendour, it also gives a nod to local architecture with comfortable and private outdoor dining salas. The resorts two bars—Tides beside the swimming pool and the more elevated One Rai—also incorporate local materials into their décor with rattan fixtures and fittings, making them the perfect spots to enjoy drinks and a spectacular tropical sunset.