Anonymous review of Six Senses Samui
By Mr & Mrs Smith.
First, we retoxed. Hong Kong seemed as good a place as any, but by God, after five days, it hurt. Next, we detoxed, classic Koh Samui-style, at an ashram run by a harridan who, with a cursory scoot around any genealogy site, would confirm her close kinship with Mrs McCluskey. Then, after a week living cheek-by-jowl with ten colonic addicts, we decided we each needed some devoted MEtoxing, and within seconds of arriving at Six Senses Samui we knew there couldn't be anywhere else in the world that could cater so stylishly to our chosen art of shameless self-indulgence.
It was, however, an inauspicious start. This five-star Thai paragon of pared-down Asian luxury is located right at the end of a scrubby-looking lane. Passing the Little Mermaid bar and café, under-construction towns, stray mutts, birdcages swinging in the wind with no avian life inside, and a ‘3 miles to the airport’ sign, I admit we were a little glum. The looks on our faces were rewritten as we pulled up at Six Senses’ enormous open-air reception. Instantly we knew we were somewhere special, and the chilled lemongrass-wrapped cloth, and legendary Thai welcome, wiped away memories of the journey there.
Nam Phung announced herself as our designated butler, and said she'd be happy to be reached on her mobile 24-7. She's the kinda girl you'd want in your gang – drop dead gorgeous (those lips!), smart and super on-it. Flashing a wicked smile, she said, ‘My name translates as “honey”, but like calling your child Pretty, you're asking for trouble. I'm anything but sweet.’ What an intro.
She buggied us to our villa where, in the bedroom, the Orb's Little Fluffy Clouds was drifting over the speakers. Now, I like having my chakras meddled with with the best of them, but I've never been seriously down with a sixth sense. Until now. The last time I was in Thailand, 15 years ago, I finished my holiday at a full moon party on Kho Pha Ngan, raving to that very song as the sun rose. And right opposite us, taking centre stage in the breathtaking 270-degree ocean panorama was Kho Pha Ngan itself. Too bonkers. It was good to be back, but even better to be here on Samui in our luxury hideaway, leaving the gap year nu ravers do their thing over in KPN.
The resort is built on a hillside, and as you buggy about you feel like you're on a winding rural road - no signs of life, save a few linen-clad butlers ghosting around, tending to residents' every need. At the top of the hill are the restaurants and shops, and one of the best infinity pools I've ever splashed about in. At the bottom is the resort's private beach and where we spent our afternoons,when the gentle azure ripples wash over you at 80 degrees.
The two-tier villas themselves, though styled as traditional Thai fisherman's cottages, feel more like giant, grown-up treehouses, and are built from sustainable materials and reclaimed wood. (The commitment to the enviroment at Six Senses is serious, but not in-your-face). Steps lead us down to a private sundeck, where two recliners beckoned, and a welcome shaded area with a fan to cool you down. And boy do you need that fan. Next time, we'd get a villa with its own infinity pool.
Every last detail has been painstakingly thought through, though nothing yells out at you – it's all quietly fabulous. You get the feeling that at the end of the fit-out, the designer sat back and sighed, ‘Ah, this is the one where I got everything just right’. The wall art (like giant backlit Skips crisps), the light over the bath resembling a huge illuminated bird's nest, the moulded, aged copper basins and exposed pipes, the enormous rough-hewn limestone floor tiles, the central bed with wraparound windows – every inch is a delight.
And everything makes you feel just that little bit frisky. These really are hideaways, so no one's going to see you cavorting around in the buff. Inside, the huge bath for two, surrounded by slatted wooden shutters, is seriously sexy. The double outdoor rain showers are sexy. Damn, even the bowl of bath salts with dried pieces of lemongrass and ginger are sexy. But seemingly not sexy enough for everyone. We overheard a Russian couple asking if they could be sent any leftover petals from a wedding taking place on the beach (we're not talking St Lucia, here – this marrying pair were French, in their swimmers, gorgeous, and on their own). We saw them the next morning at breakfast (not looking their freshest, it has to be said), waxing lyrical about how they arrived back to the freshest petals floating on the surface of their gigantic bath as well as five perfect arrangements of exotic blooms, and champagne on ice. Pah, whatever, they didn't arrive back to a firefly flickering about on high in their room... It doesn't get more romantic than that.
Back to breakfast – it's bigger and fresher than any other place either of us has stayed. As is the food served at Six Senses’ restaurants, all with breathtaking views, the best being Dining On the Rocks – where, on a giant sundown deck, you can chow your way through a 10-course degustation menu with carefully selected wines. Exquisite.
But there's only so much ‘exquisite’ we could acclimatise to. We needed some disorder, so we flicked through the extensive list of excursions and activities, and found they offer a trip to Kho Pha Ngan, to a full moon party. We looked at each other for a moment, not sure if the other would be up for it, then giggled, yelped and got straight on the phone to Nam Phung. I was practically hyperventilating when she answered. 'Hi Mr Richard, what can I do for you?' she said. 'Take me back to my past,' I replied, 'take me back to ho Pha Ngan'. 'I'm sorry,' came the reply, 'it's not for another two weeks.' We sat down on the bed bereft, saying nothing. 10 minutes later we were over it, rang up the spa and placed orders for a coning and a cupping. After all, who the hell would ever want to go through a detox again?