Few names in the travel industry are as prestigious, or as synonymous with luxury as The Ritz-Carlton. Before its grand opening ceremony in June, we travelled to the new Ritz-Carlton Koh Samui resort on the Northern beaches of the island, to stay in the Ultimate Pool Villa; where we came to understand how they earned that reputation.
As our Ritz Carlton transfer car pulled up to the welcome area we were immediately greeted by some friendly faces who guided us up a flight of stairs to the Arrival Pavilion, whilst a team of porters took care of our bags. At the top of the stairs, we inhaled not only to catch our breath but to take in the spectacle that was presented before us. Vast ocean and misty mountains in the distance played backdrop to a serene water feature that reflected the day’s weather. A cold towel, welcome-drink and a brief check-in process concluded the formalities, we were then on our way to the awaiting villa. It was explained to us that we should call for a buggy transfer service whenever we wanted to go somewhere within the resort, this is when the size of The Ritz-Carlton Koh Samui dawned upon us. Spread over a twenty-four-hectare property that was formerly a coconut plantation, it is one of the largest resorts we’ve ever been to. We drove past the rooms in the middle of the property that seemed to have splendid views of the gardens, hillside and peaks which we would have been more than happy to occupy for our stay. However, when we arrived at our Ultimate Pool Villa, any trades were off the table. Featuring a picturesque backdrop of the ocean, beach and coastline, and a private deck to take it all in; we weren’t going anywhere.
Though the stunning view may have been the star attraction of the villa, the room itself wasn’t far behind. A palette of grey and soft white walls play canvas to earthy-toned furnishings that are contemporary with traditional Thai-influences. A comfortable King bed with a chaise make up the bedroom that can be sealed off from the rest of the villa via its thick, solid wood doors. The perimeter of the room is flanked by glass windows that extend from floor to ceiling, allowing the panoramic ocean views to take centre stage, no matter where you are situated within the space. The outside pool area features sun lounges and a dining area that overlooks the rest of the resort, the white sandy beach, and the clear sky blue waters.
The bathroom takes a slightly different approach, with many of the timber accents of the room being replaced by a stonelook. Levitating oval mirrors wrapped in wicker hang above black marble bowl basins and sit opposite to the generous canoe-shaped bathtub. An atrium attached behind houses a mixture of local flora that disperses calming green light through the sun’s reflection on the plants. All the amenities were provided by luxurious London based grooming company, Asprey, that was gentle on the skin and had subtle, tasteful scents.
Below are some pictures of the Ocean View Suite. Though the view isn’t quite as spectacular, they offer many of the same luxuries as the Ultimate Pool Villa and are definitely worth checking out.
The Ritz-Carlton Koh Samui has a number of restaurants within the property, and dining options are varied depending on what time of day and the type of cuisine you’d like to eat. Pak Tai serve traditional Southern interpretations of Thai dishes, made with fresh ingredients sourced from local markets daily. Breakfast at Shook! offers a wide variety of pastries and cakes, cold meats, cheese, fruit salad, bacon, waffles, pancakes, as well as made to order French toast and omelettes. Beachside restaurant Sea Salt host a barbecue dinner night on Sundays and Mondays. As we were staying over the weekend we took advantage of the timing and headed down to enjoy fresh fish and lobster. Both were cooked perfectly, had been seasoned with local spices and melted in the mouth. Throughout the meal, the staff were very attentive and it would often only take a turn of the head to catch their attention when we needed something. This kind of service wasn’t limited to just the restaurants, it was reflected throughout The Ritz-Carlton property from the reception, to the spa and even the housekeepers.
Other than spending time by the pool and sipping cocktails to relax, you can also book yourself into the Spa Village for a variety of treatments. We opted for the two-hour coconut scrub and massage experience. The village itself is a tranquil experience with nothing but the sound of waterfalls flowing through the river that separates the treatment huts. On arrival, we were greeted with some welcome drinks before being ushered into the decadent spa treatment room filled with carved silver and glass decor that held the scrubs, soaps, flower petals, herbs and scented water. The first part of the treatment took us to the Songkran room for their signature pre-spa ritual, the throwing of water inspired by the Songkran festival. Next we were scrubbed head to toe with a coconut exfoliant, before three giant shower heads rinsed us off. A ninety-minute body and hair massage followed before we ventured back outside for some departing tea. Thankfully with our bodies too relaxed to walk or talk, the buggy was there again to take us back to our room.
Our stay wasn’t spent just relaxing by pools or in spa treatments, although that was definitely a big part of it. Each Ritz-Carlton property offers a range of activities and experiences unique to its location. While in Koh Samui we tried Muay Thai and spent a day island hopping on a speedboat, where we met renowned photographer, Trey Ratcliff.
With plenty of nearby islands to visit, unique attractions and gorgeous beaches, Koh Samui is a wonderful island to explore. The comfortable and homely rooms, combined with the warm and welcoming service make The Ritz-Carlton an excellent base to return to in between.
Even if it was only for a few days, our stay at The Ritz-Carlton Koh Samui left us with plenty of fond memories and an excellent first-impression.