Beach breaks are elevated at Samujana Villas in Koh Samui – its 23 flabbergastingly luxurious villas sit atop a lushly landscaped hill overlooking a coral bay. Each has a cool contemporary shell, and clean minimal styling throughout. Home comforts are covered, too: private pools spill into the bay and each villa has something extra special, like massage pavilions and meditation nests for wellness seekers, a private art collection or home cinema for culture fiends, or fun-packed dens for families.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Late check-out is available for 50 per cent of the villa rate. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £498.35 ($650), including tax at 17.7 per cent.
Rates include breakfast (Continental, full English, American) served in your villa and return transfers.
Each villa has a host who’ll book activities, reserve tables at local restaurants, pack you a picnic for the beach or throw an exquisite evening soirée – all you need to do is ask.
At the hotel
Semi-private beach, all-weather tennis court, gym, free high-speed WiFi throughout. In rooms: 50” flatscreen TV (some rooms have projectors), full kitchen, sound-system, iPod docks, on-demand moves and music, free high-speed WiFi, barbecue and minibar. Some villas have a gym or work-out room; home cinema; spa or yoga pavilion; fully kitted-out games room; and Villa 9 has a personal cocktail bar.
Our favourite rooms
Villa 20’s infinity pool snakes around a peaceful terrace and seamlessly spills into the coral bay beyond. The elegant modern building –clean lines and white walls with natural-stone accents – houses five enormous bedrooms (an extra can be converted for children) and the building’s artful geometry frames the jaw-dropping island surrounds. Couples should choose Villas 11a or 11b – both are slightly smaller, but equally charming.
Each villa has a private saltwater infinity pool, which appears to flow into the picturesque blue bay. Some have sunken love seats, or underwater speakers and lighting, and all have a deck with loungers and a barbecue area for post-swim mingling.
A full staff of masseurs, nutritionists and trainers are on call at Samujana. Take spa treatments in your room; therapists can be dispatched for Thai massages, scrubs, face masks and mani-pedis. Instructors can run guests through Muay Thai, pilates and yoga sessions by the pool or on one of the view-blessed decks. Some villas have private gyms, work-out rooms or Kinesis climbing walls; others have calm spaces for meditation.
All home comforts are considered, so there’s no suitcase overspill. Gym kit and yoga gear may come in handy and pack your cosiest lounging wear.
During peak season, a three-night minimum stay is required. Book a personalised Amrita Wellness Programme to leave your escape glowing; expert Dr Rowe will tailor a detox programme and fitness regime to your needs.
Some villas have playrooms with game consoles, slides and more. There’s a beach close by, kids menus and bespoke activity programmes. Babysitters (US$10 an hour) or nannies (charges differ for live-in/live-out nannies) can be hired on request.
These private spaces are suitable for kids of any age, but little ones should be watched around the private pool.
Villas are large enough for a couple with a baby or the biggest of broods. Villas 9, 12, 22 and 24 are best for families; all have playrooms with table-top games, consoles or slides.
On site, the villa host can tailor an activity programme to your little ones; there’s boxing, Muay Thai and yoga sessions for kids and mini cookery classes. There are lots of on-demand, U-rated movies to play on your 50” TV or in the home cinema. Off site, kids will thrill at the ATV and zip-line adventures in the nearby jungle.
The private pools don’t have shallow ends, so parents should keep an eye on non-swimmers, but decks have loungers, dining tables and barbecue areas so it’s easy to watch as your little ones paddle. Arm-bands are available, on request.
On-spec meals mean kids are easily catered for. Baby food and formula can be delivered, and there are highchairs, booster seats and bottle sterilisers to borrow.
Babysitters can be booked for US$10 an hour (a minimum of four hours each booking); if overtime runs from 9pm–5am, a THB300 taxi fee will be charged. Highly trained nannies can be arranged from THB3,000 a day (8am–6pm or 9am–7pm), weekly from THB10,000.
No need to pack
There’s a stash of monitors to borrow, which may come in handy in the multi-level villas. Leave your iPad; point out the island’s many wonders while outdoors, and indoors the huge TV or cinema screen will keep little ones occupied.
There are few communal areas, but large grassy lawns let little ones run about and maybe make some new friends of the same age.
Most villas have a rooftop garden and pond, designed to keep them cool.
Whatsoever you wish; your style choices are between you and your fellow Smith (and possibly the personal chef…)
Choose from a menu of family-style shared dishes to be delivered posthaste to your hideaway. Freshly prepped fare includes delicate Thai salads and curries of all colours, noodles and stir-fries, and a western menu of sandwiches, burgers and pastas, keep daily dining interesting; or pick Andaman-harvested prawns, lamb chops and spare ribs fresh off a sizzling grill; wok-shaken noodles, or a thick perfectly pink steak. Private chefs can be hired for landmark dinners (charges vary depending on the number of guests), and each morning, you’ll wake up to something tasty.
There’s no main bar, but your villa host can stock your kitchen with picks from a list of white, red, rosé or sparkling wines. A minibar is stocked with beers and soft drinks.
Breakfast is served from 7am to noon. The main in-room menu is available 10am to 10pm, and the grill runs from noon to 10pm.
So you needn’t leave the villa, all meals are delivered to your door. If you want to give the state-of-the-art kitchen a whirl, send a shopping list to your villa host, or accompany the chef to the local market. The kitchen pack a top picnic too.
The villas are on the north-eastern tip of the island amid palms and sweeping rock formations, just a wander from some of the island’s most eye-catching beaches.
Samui Airport is around a 10-minute drive from the estate. Cathay Pacific flies from London, via Hong Kong; and flights from the US usually stopover in China. A one-way airport transfer is included in all villa rates.
If you plan to explore and don’t want to rely on tuk tuks and taxis, there’s a car-hire booth at the airport; keep an eye out for speeding scooters and stay well within the speed limit. Each villa has its own private parking spot.
Ferry Samui runs three daily services from Phuket Town or Rassada Pier to Nathon Pier or Bangkrak Pier in Koh Samui (around a three-hour journey). Tickets cost THB871 a person. The most frequent private aircraft arrivals include light jets (Beechjet 400A and Citation CJ3+), mid-size jets (Hawker 800XP), and large jets (Falcon 2000 LX). contact the hotel to book a leg.
Worth getting out of bed for
The north-east tip of the island is fringed with peaceful beaches, Hanuman bay is a five-minute walk from the villas, with sandy and pebbly stretches and calm sheltered waters. The semi-private patch of coast is never lacking in sunbathing spots and there are loungers and kayaks for guests to use. Play on the floodlit, all-weather tennis court, nab the chef’s top tips in a cookery class or make your own chocolate at a workshop onsite. Yoga, Muay Thai and Pilates instructors can be booked, but for something a little different pick up some circus skills, take to the decks in a DJ session or mix up some cocktails. Book one of Samujana’s stylishly outfitted catamarans and explore the gulf; and waterski or dive in to glimpse the unearthly coral gardens in Koh Tao. Guests can book a bespoke tour of the island, stopping by the titanic Wat Phra Yai Buddha statue, a tropical butterfly garden, Plai Laem temple and Na Muang’s waterfalls. Bomb through the jungle on an ATV or zipline through the canopy, bungee-jump in Chaweng or play golf nearby. Leave a rum distillery tour merry, say hello to mummified monk Luong Por Daeng (displayed at Wat Khunaram temple) or wander through kaleidoscopic markets in Chaweng, Maenam, Bophut and Lamai.
Eye up the teppan grill at Namu restaurant at the W Retreat; it sizzles away with tempting eats, such as Matsusaka steak slathered in gorgonzola and Tasmanian trout with sea-urchin-rose butter. Its sahsimi and sushi are excellent too. Dine high in the treetops at fellow Smith stay Anantara Lawana Resort & Spa where west meets east in dishes such as foie gras with shitake salad, and wagyu beef topped with mushroom tartare. For seafood hit Ocean’s 11, which has a sea-lapped beach setting. Dining at the Rocks, at the Six Senses Samui resort next door, is set on a wooden platform atop a headland cresting into the gulf – from sundown to starlight, the setting is dashing and dramatic.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from these luxury villas on Koh Samui’s north coast and unpacked their trinkets from Chaweng market and svelte swimwear, a full account of their beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Samujana Villas in Thailand…
At Samujana Villas’s secluded hideaways you can enjoy private-chef-prepared meals in your PJs, go for a midnight swim in the moonlight; play board games in your birthday suits… The oh-so-blue sky’s the limit. These retreats – each in fine modernist form – are decorously arranged over palm-crowded hilltops, grassy verges and curvaceous rocky outcrops. Your needs, whether those are an urge to learn kick-boxing or a yen for green curry, are met by staff with dispositions as sunny as the weather forecast. Design is clean and crisp, but interiors are warm and wish-fulfilling: there are indoor slides and gaming consoles for families, yoga decks and meditation nests with bay views for wellness gurus, and cosy home cinemas for film buffs.