With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea and outlying island tropics, Koh Samui boutique hotel Six Senses Samui’s private wooden villas provide astonishing views from a rustic rainforest retreat. Boasting one of the finest restaurants on the island, and an ultra-pampering signature spa, this chilled-out village escape is a hideaway you hope no one else finds.
Get this when you book through us:
Your choice of a 30-minute foot massage for two or a body scrub for two
Nab yourself a Pool Villa so you can splash about in your own private pool and dry off on your sun-deck. The higher up the hillside you go, the better the view, so ask for villa number five if you’re after postcard panoramas. To minimise bedroom-to-beach travel time, go for villas 43 or 42, which are situated right on the water. Plush Ocean Front Pool Villa Suite 38 also comes recommended – it’s got some delightfully shady trees ornamenting the sun-deck.
A bamboo-lined wooden walkway leads to a huge aquamarine infinity pool with a row of ocean-view day-beds and vast white parasols.
Insect repellent is a must – creepy crawlies come out at night.
All villas are assigned a private butler to look after each guest’s wishes and whims. There's a minimum seven-night stay between 22 December and 7 January.
Welcome. Extra beds (THB 3,500 a night for over-12s) and cots (free) are available. Babysitting can be arranged for THB350 an hour, and the restaurant provides a children’s menu.
This luxury resort is a sustainability star in its commitment to water saving, recycling and the local community. The resort has initiated projects to minimise its impact on the environment, including creating its own biodiesel, filtering and recycling wastewater, and working with UNICEF and Restaurants Against Hunger.
Head straight for table 99 at Dining on the Rocks – it’s set on its own private terrace and has a backdrop built for proposals, indecent or otherwise.
Loose, laid-back and lightly linened.
Dining on the Hill on the sunset side of Six Senses offers a classic Thai menu in an open-air pavilion. Book ahead at Dining on the Rocks – nine terraces down to the sea – it attracts gourmands from all over the island with its ingenious fusion fare.
Each restaurant has an elegant cocktail bar attached – Drinks on the Rocks for pre-prandial aperitifs and Drinks on the Hill for frozen cocktails and a jazzy Café del Mar-style soundtrack. There are also regular tastings at Wines on the Hill.
10.30pm for food in the restaurants; the bar stays open until there’s no one left to serve.
You can dine in-villa 24 hours a day on an assortment of Thai and international dishes.
Six Senses Samui is located just six kilometres from Samui Airport, the 20-acre, or around 9-hectare estate is a 45-minute flight south of Bangkok.
The resort is an easy and scenic 15-minute drive from Samui International Airport. Private airport transfers can be arranged for THB900 each way for up to two guests; one-way minivan transfers can be arranged for THB1,500 for up to five guests.
Worth getting out of bed for
If you’re stuck for something to do – unlikely, we’ll admit – the Life centre takes all the hassle out of arranging island tours, snorkelling trips, Thai cookery classes or just borrowing a DVD for the night.
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?