Koh Samui’s Top 10 large luxury beachfront resort hotels

Top 10 luxury beachfront resorts on Koh Samui; larger size

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When selecting ‘large’ luxury beachfront resorts on Koh Samui the evaluation is within the context of an island where hotel sizes are all rather small. Compared to hotels in other famous beach destinations, like those in Mexico, Hawaii or Australia’s Gold Coast, the majority of Samui hotels are almost tiny. Samui has no high-rise buildings, and only a handful of Samui's 270+ true beachfront hotels qualified by this website have more than 100 rooms.
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This list of the top ‘large luxury’ resorts includes only two with more than 100 rooms, Centara Grand Samui (203) and Anantara Bophut (106). All others range from Santiburi’s low of 71 rooms to Impiana’s 98.
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This site includes another list of Samui's Top 10 Small Luxury Beachfront Resorts , for which there is a huge number of worthy nominees. Samui now offers more luxury hotels than it does budget ones..
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The criteria used in appraising these larger luxury resorts includes rooms (naturally they must be quite luxurious), hotel interiors, the beachfront of each, swimming pool and overall resort ambience. The full experience of guests in each hotel depends on a combination of many such elements, though there is one important, yet less tangible factor I have not been able to include; service. As the photos of each hotel show, I have visited and photographed each hotel – in most cases twice or several times over years – but have not stayed as a guest. Giving an opinion on service is thus not an option. But, as inscrutable and changeable as service can be, it is generally safe to say that service levels in Thai hotels are exceptionally good, and here in Samui it is the same.
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This site offers info pages about all aspects, and all beaches on Koh Samui:

Silavadee Pool Spa Resort; hidden beside the most beautiful of beaches

This plush, 5-star resort overlooking the Gulf of Thailand lies near the end of the peninsula that marks the top of Lamai Beach. Though its 80 luxurious rooms make this quite a large resort by Samui standards, the layout and immersion in gardens and trees gives the feel of a rather small and intimate hotel on a low cliff face. All rooms enjoy seaviews, as do virtually all public areas including the main restaurant and swimming pool.
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The real highlight of Silavadee Pool Spa Resort, however, is the secretive little beach right alongside. The hotel overlooks this, and guests use a wooden stairway over huge granite boulders to descend to the sand. The photo here and those in the hotel’s main gallery show just how delightfully pretty this beach really is – also included in our list of Samui’s Top 7 Most Beautiful Secret Beaches (see link above). The huge granite rock jutting from the water makes a fun place to swim to and climb upon.
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Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort; great location by Fisherman's Village

The Anantara name is enough to assure us that this resort deserves its place in the luxury category, though this true beachfront property is not one of the group’s super-luxury establishments. The 106 rooms of Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort are in a three-storey, U-shaped wing enclosing a central courtyard with lawns, gardens, restaurant and swimming pool. While this layout is now common it’s almost boring, Anantara’s special high-class touch has been added at every opportunity, transforming this into a plush oasis of tropical style.
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Bophut Beach in front of the resort is a little narrow, and slopes steeply to the water. Yet this slope continues down to depths that few other Samui beaches enjoy, making it one of the few beaches where you can swim at low tide and well as high.
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With Bophut’s famous Fisherman’s Village just two minutes walk away, Anantara Bophut enjoys both a relaxing and fun location. The Village is crammed with small restaurants, bars shops and an evening walking street on some days. All of the restaurants and bars hang out over the beach and water, and many have real character of one kind or other.
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Santiburi Resort Samui; spacious luxury in the middle of Maenam Beach

Santiburi Resort Samui is something like the Grand Old Dame of luxury beachfront resorts on Koh Samui. As the first of the really upmarket resorts on the island, this was able to secure a huge slice of prime beachfront land right in the middle of Maenam Beach, one of the prettiest, most tropical-looking beaches on the island.
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Santiburi’s 71 rooms are split between low room blocks to the back and luxury villas to the front, with a huge central swimming pool. The many trees that the resort planted are now a mature forest shading the villas and shadowing them in a green ambience. Other areas have been preserved as green, open lawns that are ideal for children to run and romp on.
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The highlight of Santiburi – as witnessed by the amount of time the guests spend there – is the spacious, natural beachfront. Here thick groves of coconut palms cast excellent shade, allowing people to retreat here from their sun lounges when the day grows too hot. There’s also a pleasant beachside cafe-restaurant in the shade of trees and palms from which guests sip cool drinks, snack and eat with great views across 10 kilometres of water to Koh Phangan. Santiburi provides a good range of watersports equipment, including kayaks, wind surfers, sailing dingies and beach catamarans. As the photos show, the beach is very attractive, and it runs into water that is deep enough for swimming at all tides.
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Vana Belle, Koh Samui; modern Asian style overlooking Chaweng Noi Beach

When Vana Belle Koh Samui opened on Chaweng Noi Beach in 2013 it raised the quality of beachfront accommodations in the neighbourhood by a notch, and became the undisputed master of luxury and creative design here. Since then we have seen one venerable old neighbour, The Imperial Samui, taken over, renovated and reopened under the Sheraton flag. Even if this major chain hotel can now claim top spot, but that does not detract from the outstanding design and architecture in Vana Belle, which displays a new interpretation of the Modern Tropical Asian style that has been sweeping the region and influencing beach resorts for a generation.
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The beachfront area of Vana Belle typifies the amalgam of styles infused into this property. There’s a spa pool built natural-style into the rocks, Chinese fortress-like columns holding rooms tight against the hill and the grass thatch roofs of South Pacific-style pavilions over the restaurant.
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One of the major advantages of Vana Belle is its location close to the many lifestyle attractions and freestyle nightlife on nearby Chaweng Beach. Guests can enjoy the peace and quiet of this pretty beach by day, then quickly venture into the exotic nightlife almost next door.
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The Tongsai Bay; isolated splendor on its own beach

Special location, exceptionally spacious grounds and a private, 120-metre beach are the foremost advantages enjoyed by this resort. The Tongsai Bay was one of the earliest upmarket resorts on Koh Samui, thus allowing it to select such a prime location. The first photo here shows the hotel 800 metres across the bay, from the main beach of Choeng Mon. The only access to The Tongsai’s beach is through the hotel itself, or by boat. That’s an assurance of real privacy.
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Two other advantages of this location: it gives a sense of tranquillity and isolation, while it is only a 10 minute drive over the hill to the airport; the beach has deep water that’s good for swimming even at low tide, a rare thing in Samui.
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The resort’s buildings sprawl up a gentle hillside, giving them elevation and views over swimming the central swimming pool and beach. The lobby and one restaurant are towards the top. Accommodations vary from fairly standard rooms in small, two-storey blocks to pool villas set into the hillside and surrounded by thick foliage.
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Le Meridien Koh Samui Resort; an exquisite Oriental world within

When first entering Le Meridien Koh Samui each guest is impacted by the striking architecture and design, and the sense of entering a very Oriental world. The main lobby is modelled on a traditional Chinese nobleman’s house, with open inner courtyard surrounded by open rooms that serve not concubines but receptionists, concierge and bellboys.
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From the reception, the Oriental tour continues all the way to guest rooms, some of which are in small enclosed compounds where the courtyard is replaced by a swimming pool and shadowed by gnarled old frangipani trees. Chinese and Oriental motifs blend with tropical foliage, continuing the cultural fantasy.
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The remainder of Le Meridien’s 77 rooms are in low, two-storey buildings that appear like renovations of old colonial era barracks complete with wooden shutters. These overlook a central, green and cool courtyard that connects reception and beach.
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The main swimming pool and restaurant are by the beachfront, with two-level dining giving guests the option of eating with water all around, or with views over pool to the ocean. The exquisite design and tasteful private world within Le Meridien go far in helping it overcome its rather poor, shallow beach.
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Le Meridien is just 5-minute drive from the main shopping and entertainment centre of Lamai, or a 15 minute walk that can be quite pleasant at the cool times of day.
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Belmond Napasai Koh Samui; luxury oi a tranquil, green location

A quiet, green location far from the crowds is surely the highlight of Belmond Napasai Koh Samui . Luxury rooms can be found anywhere on the island, but few beachfront resorts enjoy the open space and tranquillity that is everyday in Napasai. The small hill up which the resort is built gives many rooms and public areas elevation and excellent ocean views.
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The swimming pool enjoys a little of this elevation and infinity views towards Koh Phangan in the distance. The beachfront area is spacious, with coconut palms doing their best to shade guests. Lush green lawns run between different parts of the resort, giving it an especially natural ambience.
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Napasai hosts romantic weddings, something its sense of isolation and privacy is especially well suited for. Yet the spaciousness here also makes this a good place for families, for children get lots of space for running and romping around in and soft lawns for the inevitable crash landings. The beach in front of the resort is pretty, but just OK for swimming at high tide, though it’s too shallow at low tide.
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While its isolated location makes Napasai a genuine Samui hideaway, the drive to Fisherman’s Village in Bophut, with its many restaurants and bars, takes just a 10-minute drive. Chaweng and the island’s main entertainment centre is just 15 minutes away.
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Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui; big luxury resort, something for everyone

With 203 rooms, Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui is by far the largest hotel on Koh Samui. Even the five super-luxury, international chain resorts on Samui have less than 100 rooms each. This well-known Thai hotel chain is famous for building good quality, family-friendly resorts, and this property also lives up to expectations with different pools for children of all ages and varied activities for kids. And plenty of open, shaded space for them to play. Additionally, this Samui property is so large, and offers so many diverse hideaways right within, that it is also well suited for couples seeking quite time together. The expansive, coconut-shaded lawns offer many favoured spots where guests pull up sun lounges and sleep and read through the day.

Centara Grand is right near the top of our list of Koh Samui's Top Family-friendly Beachfront Hotels.

Centara Samui occupies a full 260 metres of beachfront on one of the nicest parts of Chaweng Beach. This area is distinctly quieter than the ‘party zone’ about 1,000 metres up the beach, with fewer jet skis, vendors and activities.
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Impiana Resort Chaweng Noi; beautiful beach, easy access to nightlife & fun

Slumbering on the south end of Chaweng Noi Beach, Impiana Resort Chaweng Noi offers guests two important advantages in location. First is the beach itself; Chaweng Noi is a quiet ‘extension' of the main, famous Chaweng Beach, with a small rocky point and stream separating them. Few people find their way from one beach to the other, leaving Chaweng Noi exceptionally peaceful in comparison to its famous sister which buzzes with activity. Some would argue that the ‘Noi’, or ‘Little’ beach, is also much prettier. However, this location is still close enough for guests to take in the nightlife and lifestyle attractions that have made Chaweng so famous. It is just a 5 - 10 minute drive – or an energetic walk.
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Impiana guests can thus have the best of two worlds; easy access to shopping, dining, markets and dynamic nightlife, plus a tranquil, tropical beach to escape to at the end of each evening. And, of course, luxury accommodations waiting for them.
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Mai Samui Beach Resort & Spa; pool luxury hidden on a remote beach

Koh Samui’s beaches might all look tropical and pretty, but many of them are so shallow they only allow for swimming at high tide. Some, like that in front of Mai Samui Beach Resort & Spa , dry out at low tide leaving hundreds of metres of exposed sand, and no water for swimming what-so-ever.
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Mai Samui has done such an exceptional job of compensating for the lack of a good swimming beach that it definitely deserves a place on this Top 10 Luxury list. Guests here have so many inviting opportunities to swim that they probably spend more time in the water than do guests elsewhere. Swimming pools are everywhere. Virtually the whole interior of the resort is given over to water. There are channels to swim along, bridges to swim under and different pool connections to explore. And of course there is a pool bar, which, when I visited with my camera, was active indeed.
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The rooms, in three-storey blocks running parallel down both sides of the resort to meet the beach, all look out over water – in the various pools, of course.
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Mai Samui has an additional block to the back that is technically over the road, though it hardly looks like it. The resort has tiled the road and built gates to make it seem that the road is entering the resort. It’s clever, but I recommend the rooms in the blocks by the pools at front.
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by John Everingham

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