Vibrant Koh Samui retreat Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa boasts a blissful beach and verdant gardens. Romantics will love the Moroccan-style hanging lamps shimmering light on the rich ochre walls, the come-hither infinity pool and the massage huts; families will enjoy the kids' club and golden beach.
Get this when you book through us:
A welcome drink and fruit basket, 15-minute head and shoulder massage, and 10 per cent off at the Spa, restaurants and bars
Noon; check-in, 2pm, both flexible subject to availability. Early arrivals can take advantage of the hotel's changing facilities and showers.
Double rooms from £153.11 (THB6,208), including tax at 18.7 per cent.
Rates always include breakfast.
At the hotel
Spa, swimming pool, tennis courts, fitness centre, watersports, library with DVDs and CDs, kids' club, beach, concierge, free WiFi throughout, free on-site valet parking. In rooms: flatscreen satellite TV with DVD player, minibar, own-label toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
For full-on four-poster, double-balcony, private-plunge-pool extravagance, book one of the two ground-floor Royal Suites. The Anantara Suites, overlooking the gardens, are also tempting dens. Other rooms come in two flavours: Deluxe rooms on the second and third floors have private balconies with cosy built-in sofas; Deluxe Terraces open directly onto lushly landscaped gardens. All have terrazzo bathtubs big enough for two, just a few steps from the bed and separated by a sliding teak door.
Quirky monkey statuettes spit arcs of water into the free-form infinity pool on the beach. Swim up to the semi-submerged pool bar for a sunset happy hour cocktail then paddle over to the Jacuzzi to enjoy it in bubbly bliss.
Beach gear is all you need – you’ll swelter in anything heavier.
Couples should note that the hotel is popular with families, thanks to its kids' club, so it's busy during school holidays. Guests staying over New Year's Eve are required to attend the hotel's lavish gala dinner.
Welcome; Anantara Bophut is family-friendly and offers a kids' club.
Forget the restaurants and plump for a private seafood barbecue, served on your balcony or terrace.
Devil-may-care – you don’t have to.
Head to High Tide for spicy Thai dinners in a laidback modern setting. There's also Full Moon restaurant, for succulent, chargrilled meat and fish.
Hanging lamps and ochre walls lend Eclipse Bar an air of Moroccan-inspired mystery; the tall rattan stools and soothing soundtrack provide a tropical-style chill-out vibe. Sup a signature Samui Sling on the garden verandah while the sun sets.
Both restaurants stop serving at 11pm, but drinks are available until 12.30am.
Each restaurant’s most popular dishes are available from room service 24 hours a day.
This sublime beachside retreat is nestled among palm trees and infinity pools on the north shore of stunning Koh Samui.
Bangkok Airways (www.bangkokair.com) sets down flights from Bangkok, Phuket, Singapore and Hong Kong, among others, at Koh Samui Airport (www.samuiairportonline.com), and Thai Airways flies from Bangkok (www.thaiairways.com).
If trains are more your thing, there’s a comfortable sleeper service, with two-person first-class cabins, from Bangkok to Suratthani, where you’re met by a bus and boat connection to take you to Samui (www.railway.co.th). From here, hail a cab to take you to Anantara on the north side of the island.
A vehicle is essential to explore Koh Samui, so go ahead and hire a car, jeep or motorbike, but if you’re braving it on the latter, do take care. Otherwise, opt for the ease of cabs, which can be found around the more populous areas of the island.
You can travel from the mainland to any one of three ports on Koh Samui aboard a Seatran Ferry (www.seatranferry.com) – strangely, the trip can range from one to three hours. Once you've settled in to Samui, pay a visit neighbouring islands aboard ferries or longtail boats.
Worth getting out of bed for
A giant catamaran glides into Anantara Bophut every Wednesday afternoon for a not-to-be-missed cocktail cruise to Orange Island. Soak up the sunset while nibbling on a selection of tongue-pleasing hors d’oeuvres. The hotel is a haven for water-sportsmen, catering to divers, snorkellers, kayakers, anglers, sailors and windsurfers (there’s even an ex-Olympian on hand to coach the latter). For the full low-down on eating, drinking, exploration and entertainment around Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa, check out our detailed destination guide to Koh Samui.
‘Did I hear you say Anantara Bophut?’ A face swivelled toward me just before take-off. ‘Definitely one of Koh Samui’s best hotels!' Diane had just overheard my last-minute call to Mrs Smith confirming our Thailand holiday rendezvous. ‘It’s right on Bophut beach, so you’ve chosen very well,’ she continued. ‘Fisherman’s Village is probably my favourite touristy area and Anantara is right next to it.’
This was great. A photojournalist and regular visitor to the island, Diane was not only a font of all Koh Samui knowledge – and a very discerning one at that – but she was also thankfully sitting in front of me, eliminating that potentially embarrassing moment when one of us tries to put on earphones to watch a film while the other person is still in mid-conversation.
Anantara Bophut suits a night-time arrival, which Mrs Smith and I discovered when she slammed on the brakes of our 4X4 and exclaimed ‘Wow! This must be it.’ In daylight we would have missed the avenue of flame torches that guided us over the ancient drawbridge and past the tropical gardens that led to Anantara’s main entrance – featuring a well-lit Hanuman fountain guarding the foyer. ‘We can always go back to those beach huts and “keep it real” like you suggested,’ I said wryly. Too late. Mrs Smith was already making a beeline for the tray of welcome cocktails in the doorway.
Much is said about Thai people’s friendliness, but it’s hard to appreciate the level of warmth and generosity until you witness it first-hand. While we wouldn’t argue with the complimentary lemongrass cocktail, 15-minute foot massage and instant room upgrade, it was the broadest of smiles from reception that made us feel the most welcome. ‘Does our room upgrade still have a sea view?’ I asked ungratefully.
Passing the private dining cabana and Anantara Bophut’s legendary infinity pool, we finally arrived at our second-floor suite. ‘Two views,’ the porter answered, opening the curtains to a double balcony overlooking the ocean. The two terraces, along with deep terrazzo side-by-side bathtubs and a super-size four-poster suggested that our new room was definitely bigger, if not better. As I left Mrs Smith doing the backstroke in the bath while munching on a succulent white pear and humming Kings of Leon, I played with the swivel TV that sat in the centre of the room to see if you really could watch it from the bed, sofa and balcony. Who said men can’t multi-task as well?
We hadn’t asked for a 7am wake-up call, but four birds squawking below our room duly obliged with the sort of high-pitched mating ritual that would shame any common cuckoo clock. The view that awaited us from our terrace(s) was worth any rude awakening. A guest was already doing laps in the 60ft palm tree-lined swimming pool below, taking advantage of the cloudless sky and fresh breeze brought by last night’s midnight storm. The perfect horizon was broken only by silhouette of Koh Phangan, the island famous for its Full Moon parties. Sipping our osmosis-filtered water, we admired the view for a silent 10 minutes until hunger tore us away.
Say what you will about buffets, but for a famished man a buffet breakfast is the feast of gods. My fruit platter would have a fed a family of six and I could not actually see Mrs Smith across the table until I had eaten my way down to the papaya. Butternut squash omelette with double brie and rocket was sensational and certainly filled a gap. And next – well, unfortunately the scowl on Mrs Smith face as I left the table plate in hand suggested I call it quits. There was some sunbathing, swimming and foot-massaging to fit in before lunch, after all.
Anantara translates as ‘endless water without borders’, which makes sense when stepping out in the sunlit gardens and encountering the resort in full glory. The hotel’s dramatic centrepiece is a lily pad-laden infinity pond, shrouded by a mini rainforest that leads to Full Moon, Anantara Bophut’s Italian restaurant perched on stilts above the water. Not far is the pool, and beyond that the beach.
The temple-like spa appears to ‘float’ in the water gardens, with 12ft-thick doors ushering in a sense of tranquillity. The silence was only broken by Mrs Smith laughing at the sumo wrestler-sized pyjamas they had given me to wear. I didn’t care. The ginger tea, foot-cleansing ritual and haunting flute music in the background had already put me in a trance. As Mrs Smith lay opposite, immensely enjoying a gentle aromatherapy scented rubdown, I embarked on my traditional Thai massage. Unless you’re muscles are tighter than spandex, answer the former when asked if you want your Thai massage ‘medium’ or ‘hard.’ The waif-like masseuse is stronger than she looks.
As we woke the next morning to the same glorious weather, beautiful view and tropical sounds, we knew what made Anantara Bophut so special. It could not be more Thai – you are constantly reminded of how special the location is, and how you couldn’t possibly be anywhere else in the world. Thailand is full of beautiful and famous islands, but few hotels can offer such a complete experience. Mrs Smith and I will go back. Will I have another ‘hard’ Thai massage? I’m not sure. Would I stay at the Anantara Bophut again? Most definitely.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa’s Guestbook below.
The pool, the food, the service, the spa, the location, the beach!
Stayed on 25 Jun 2019
We loved the friendly staff, the lovely spa, the very good food in the hotel restaurants and the private beach with loungers, towels and watersports equipment. There's a great pool area too. It's quiet if you want it to be but just a 5 minute walk from the bars and restaurants of Bophut Village.
Don't expect cheap spa treatments at the hotel, but they're easily available in the village. In saying that we booked the couples 2 hour spa package and it was good value.