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Banyan Tree Samui hotel review (Thailand)
Banyan Tree Samui is filled with a timeless air of delectable mystery, surrounded by waters that invite, entice, and serenade (check out the Koh Samui activities). The Koh Samui resort, which overlooks gorgeous Lamai Bay and is situated in a series of cascading terraces on a private hill cove on Koh Samui’s southeastern coast, includes elevated structures built to imitate traditional Thai architecture. Escape the frenetic pace of modern life in this isolated hideaway, where the hours flow into one another gently and calm is always within reach.
Banyan Tree Samui is one of the best resorts with private plunge pools in the world!
PROS AND THINGS I ENJOY
The hilltop, beachfront resort is located in the southeast corner of Koh Samui, in its own private, horseshoe-shaped cove. Except for the other hotel guests, you will have complete privacy on the bay and beach (so, no disturbance here from annoying vendors).
The exquisite hotel is part of the Banyan Tree Hotel group, one of the most prestigious hotel brands in the world.
As one could expect from a resort of this class, the service provided from the moment you arrive until you depart is unparalleled. During your visit, a specialised villa host ensures that all of your needs are satisfied.
The beautiful virgin beach is bordered by granite boulders and thick palm trees, and the clean water (at least on a calm day) has magnificent blue colours. All guests have access to snorkelling, canoeing, and sailing equipment.
The environment and plants of the resort are truly magnificent.
The resort is large and steep, but a reliable buggy service will whisk you away to your desired location in no time.
The main pool, which is quite appealing and extremely large, looks out over the beach and gorgeous Lamai Bay.
The hotel’s main draw is its 78 large, Asian-style villas (and superior to any other hotel accommodation in Koh Samui). Sliding glass doors open to enormous, glass-railed patios, punctuating the white walls. All villas have their own private, breathtakingly beautiful, and spacious plunge pools. Most villas have plenty of sunlight (some even have sunset views), and some even have an outdoor jacuzzi next to the pool.
The resort has a lovely wellness centre. The Banyan Tree Spa Samui Rainforest, the region’s largest Hydrotherapy Spa, is one of the highlights here. You can also unwind in the library with a good book or stretch in the yoga area.
Banyan Tree Samui appreciates delicious food. Saffron serves authentic Thai cuisine, The Edge serves international favourites, Sands serves beach barbeque, and the Lobby Bar and Pool Bar serve chilled drinks. The breakfast buffet is excellent, and the range of cuisines available, from Continental to Asian, is amazing. Breakfast is also available in your accommodation.
Treadmills, elliptical and cycle machines, as well as a large selection of free weights and machines for strength training, are all available in the state-of-the-art gym.
The shuttle bus service to Chaweng and Lamai makes it easy to see these charming, nearby towns.
Wireless internet is provided for free throughout the property.
The resort is family oriented, including a Kids’ Club that is available everyday for children aged 4 to 12 and offers a range of activities to keep them entertained. With enough notice, babysitting
services are also available.
The resort has a lovely adult-only area for individuals seeking serenity and peace of mind.
CONS & IMPORTANT INFORMATION
This ultra-chic resort is one of Thailand’s and Asia’s best. However, before making a reservation here, you should be aware of the following:
Villas are built close together, and not all of them are fully private (including their plunge pools). If extreme seclusion is a necessary, book and request a villa with complete privacy.
The Banyan Tree’s beds are a little on the firm side (which seems to be an issue at many Asian resorts).
While the beach is lovely, it is not the beautiful white sand beach that the Banyan Tree website advertises. It’s a golden sand crescent. The Four Seasons Koh Samui is home to the island’s only pristine white sand beach.
During my visit, I discovered enormous chunks of rubbish on the beach that were still there the next day. Clearly, the beach should be cleaned more frequently.
On occasion, service at the beach can be slow and inefficient.
Only the hillcrest villas get views of the sunset (not from the beach nor from other parts of the resort).
While Koh Samui is a lovely and beautiful island, it lacks the beauty and landscape of other exotic islands such as the Seychelles and the Maldives. The latter islands offer some of the world’s most gorgeous, powdery white sand beaches, whereas Koh Samui’s beaches are far from exquisite (with the exception of the private beach of the Four Seasons). Nonetheless, after a sightseeing tour in Thailand or a city-trip to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, or Bangkok, I recommend spending a few days on Koh Samui (which all have direct flights to the island with Bangkok Airways).
OTHER KOH SAMUI LUXURY HOTELS IN COMPARISON
Koh Samui, formerly a hippie haven, today caters to the luxury vacation sector. A slew of ultra-luxury resorts have opened on the island in the previous decade. I’ve compared them all below so you can make the best decision possible when visiting Koh Samui:
Seasons of the Year The nicest (and my personal favourite) luxury property on the island is Koh Samui. It has the most magnificent resort grounds, the nicest spa, and the most stunning beach on the island (none of its competitors come close). The all-pool villa accommodations are lovely, albeit a little on the plain side. Because of its northern location, the resort receives little sunlight.
The Four Seasons’ only genuine opponent on the island is the Banyan Tree Samui. Its opulent, Asian-style villas are the most magnificent on the island, and they will wow you. However, villas are not necessarily extremely private (certainly not as private as those at the Four Seasons), and the Banyan Tree’s mattresses are extremely stiff and uncomfortable. The food at the Banyan Tree is among of the best on the island (especially at its Saffron restaurant). However, when compared to the Four Seasons, the service, beach, and resort grounds are subpar.
While the W Retreat Koh Samui is a magnificent 5-star hotel, it falls short of the Four Seasons and Banyan Tree in terms of service (although it will attract a different, somewhat younger crowd, and rooms are slightly cheaper as well). The beach is uninspiring (not the tropical paradise one may imagine), the food is good but not great, and the resort grounds are not secluded (a small road is running through the property). On the plus side, owing to its location at the top of a small peninsula, the W Retreat Koh Samui offers a gorgeous lobby and bar with one of the best views on the entire island, and it receives sun exposure from morning to sunset.
The Conrad Koh Samui is the island’s newest high-end hotel. While the tastefully decorated suites all have spectacular ocean views and private pools, this is not the place to go for a beach vacation because there is no beach worth mentioning. The resort offers a complimentary yacht ride to nearby Koh Matsum island as a ‘solution’ to the lack of a beach. The resort faces southwest, providing spectacular sunset views from your hotel.
SAVING MONEY & TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS
Save money by reading my advice on how to obtain the greatest bargain at a luxury hotel like the Banyan Tree Samui (and/or get a lot of freebies).
When you book via Virtuoso, you’ll get complimentary VIP amenities including an upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, free WiFi, and a $80 USD food and beverage credit at Banyan Tree Samui.
Dinner at Saffron, a Thai restaurant, is a must (request the outside table in the corner which has amazing views of the beach and bay).
Book a villa with a jacuzzi (or request one and pray your fingers for an upgrade). The Royal Banyan Ocean Pool Property is my favourite sort of villa.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET TO KOH SAMUI?
The little Samui International Airport is 20 minutes away from Banyan Tree Samui. Despite being the country’s sixth busiest airport, the latter is uncommon in that it has no inside areas other than the gift shop.
Check out these guides;
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO TO KOH SAMUI?
There are two seasons on Ko Samui: bright and rainy. The greatest time to visit the island is between February and June, when the weather is warm and sunny with no rain. December and January are also typically dry season months, however recent years have seen a lot of unrest. Heavy rainfall and maybe torrential storms are expected during the off-season. The rainiest months are October and November, though compared to main land Thailand, Ko Samui does not receive nearly as much rain (as contrasted to the Andaman coast side of Thailand) during this period.