A Connoisseur’s Resort: Four Seasons Samui

 |  February 28, 2011

Resort connoisseurs will struggle to find fault with the uber luxe Four Seasons Samui.

But I get ahead of myself.

Needing a relaxing holiday, and wanting a night of fun in Bangkok, we decided to go Four Seasons all the way, and stopped off for two nights at the Four Seasons in Bangkok first. Living in Chiang Mai, surrounded by some of the greatest resorts in Asia, it is a struggle to be impressed by many city hotels with their hectic lobbies, smaller rooms and often less personal service. But the Four Seasons Bangkok, though bustling with activity – businessmen pow wowing over a coffee, socialites heel-clicking their way to cocktail parties and the constant stream of international guests checking in and out – was an oasis of comfort in the heart of Bangkok. The restaurants are superb, the service en point, the location strategic and in spite of the towering sky scrapers looming over head, the pool is a sanctuary of calm.

So, it was with high expectations that we arrived at the Four Seasons Samui…and were blown away. Architect and landscaper Bill Bensley knows how to offer up the wow factor, and the resort’s check-in area must be one of the most impressive in the world: a simple desk, two small sofas, a tinkling fountain and 180 degrees panorama views of the resort and the gulf of Thailand below.

As guests hurtle up and down the steep roads in powerful buggies, the ingenuity of the design and landscaping is obvious. Each of the 60 private villas offers a unique view, utter privacy and all the mod cons and comfort expected from such a highly ranked resort. Our villa was surrounded by tropical foliage opening up to the sea and horizon beyond, our infinity-edge swimming pool was perfect for laps, or simply sitting in for a soak and a good book under the sun, the bed was bar none the most sumptuous we had ever enjoyed in our lives, the marble tub-a-deux with views of passing ships the perfect way to while away an hour in the afternoon and the overall service level exceptional.

There are two dining areas, one perched at the top of the mountain overlooking the entire resort, and the enviously-luxurious private villas, and another on the edge of the private beach accented by the sound of lapping waves. In-villa dining is also a romantic and intimate option with the well-stocked mini-bar on hand pool-side. While we simply chose to do nothing for four days – lazing in our pool, on the beach, by the shore-side bar, on large daybeds – more energetic guests can join in a number of activities from soap carving to beach volleyball, Thai language to nature walks, spa packages to catamaran sails.

The entire resort is set up for bone-deep relaxation and cocooned comfort. The cove is utterly private with a white sandy beache as well as a sea side swimming pool, a ping pong table on the sand, backgammon sets and other entertainment accents abound for the restless. Special evenings are held such as the Sunday beach barbeques serving up a good selection of delightful seafood and world cuisine as well as providing great entertainment such as fire shows and Thai dancing, with guests oohing and aahing as lanterns ascend into the sky as the evening draws to an end.

Each evening we chose a different spot for a sundowner: the mountain-top sunset views, a cozy daybed for two on the beach, lounging by the bar or simply gazing across our private pool to the view beyond. We set our own pace, did our own thing and returned to Chiang Mai languid, refreshed, and deeply satisfied.

There are now daily direct flights to Samui on Bangkok Airways and if you are looking to get away from it all and spoil yourself rotten for a few days, then put the dates in your calendar and indulge yourself in the decadence and pleasure of the Four Seasons Samui.