That was the weather forecast for our stay at the Conrad Koh Samui in late October. Aside from a few niggles, our stay bordered on perfection. This property even managed to surpass our personal favourite, The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in the serene paddy fields of Ubud, Bali purely on the basis of service and hospitality. Hotel staff was helpful, professional and intuitive thereby increasing our level of enjoyment substantially. The only reason that this property has been given a 4/5 rating is that I have a tendency to examine reviews with 5/5 score with a bit of suspicion. More accurately, Conrad Koh Samui deserved a 4.5/5, with a 5 easily attainable once it irons out a few minor issues.
The resort is located in the stunning, remote, southwestern section of Koh Samui and is extremely hilly, as many have mentioned in their reviews. Villas in the 100’s and 200’s are recommended for those with mobility issues, young children or those who’d rather walk than wait around for buggies to ferry them from their villas to the beach, pool or Zest. Those starting from the 300's will be positioned over the hilliest section of the property so only opt for them if you’re looking for a mini workout every time you walk back from Zest (for breakfast) or the main pool. However, Villa 305 and 306 are relatively close to the restaurant and offers a central position to enjoy the stunning view of the Five Islands. Buggy rides are a stimulating affair as they wind precipitously along narrow pathways but provide guests with a panoramic vista of the property.
In-room facilities and amenities:
Bathroom - Guests may wish to bring their own favourite bubble bath as I only found bath salt inside the room. The unique cereal bowl of a bathtub took a bit of time to fill hence water wastage may be an issue from a sustainability standpoint. A second TV is available for those enjoying a long soak in the tub but the reception inside the bathroom was horrendous. Hopefully it was due to minor technical glitch that has not yet been addressed during the resort’s soft launch.
Entertainment – Bringing your personal collection of CDs or an adaptor to plug iPods to the Mac Mini could make the in-room experience more personalized but we relied mostly on accuradio.com for our music. The individual villas provided wireless keyboard to facilitate work but Wifi connection was a little inconsistent at times with the system hanging on numerous occasions.
Water - Drinking water was packaged in reusable glass bottles, which gave us the impression that there is a good attempt at sustainable practices at the resort. Housekeeping generously provides four 0.5L bottles in the morning and at the evening turndown service.
Bed – Although the linens and the additional pillow top mattress pad were luxurious, the actual mattress did very little to stop motion transfer and I was left feeling a little disgruntled at the slightest movement made my partner. A Simmons “Do not disturb mattress” would have been nice touch.
Pool - The temperature of our villa infinity pool, which was perfect day in and day out more than made up for the issue with the bed. The main pool was equally enticing (i.e. warmer) and to our surprise both were saltwater pools. Turning off all the lights one clear night, we went for a dip in our private pool and found that the sky was a blanket of stars.
Despite the wide selection on offer, all of which were beautifully presented, there was still room for improvement in the palatability of the cooked food choices. JW Marriott and Banyan Tree Phuket offered much tastier nosh but to be fair, that's entirely subjective. The freshly made homemade yoghurt parfait was delicious though as were the smoothies. Fruits from Thailand are typically sweet and so were those offered at breakfast. For some strange reason, there was neither a piece of bacon nor a link of sausage in sight. Perhaps there was a focus on providing guests with healthy food options. The food library is rather innovative and we appreciated their use of reusable glass containers whenever possible.
Airport transfer service provided by the resort was good and the ride, extremely comfortable. Upon our exit from customs, we were unable to locate our driver. Thankfully, the Four Seasons driver was kind enough to direct us to the main gate at which most of the drivers were waiting. A tip for guests having difficulty finding their driver: Ask someone (preferably a uniformed hotel staff) for assistance. Alternatively, if Conrad deems itself on par with the Four Seasons, it may wish to consider posting personnel or at least signage at the first exit to ensure a smooth meet and greet process.
This being our first time to Koh Samui, we chose to rent a car to drive around the island in search of beautiful viewpoints, shopping areas and food (for restaurant suggestions, please refer to my Trip Report in the forum under “The New Conrad Koh Samui” thread soon). The hotel is inaccessible otherwise and I would not attempt to walk down the long, winding, unlit, single lane to the main road. Alternatively, guests can have private transport or taxis arranged by the resort. Due to limited parking spaces, the hotel provides free valet service.
Both the gym and the spa were beautifully done up and offered a range of equipment for use. Treadmills are iPod/iPad-integrated so technologically inclined guests will find their normal workout routine a little more enjoyable. A knowledgeable trainer was on hand to recommend exercises to target problem areas. The couple suites at the Spa offered the best view while the rooms used for Thai massages only offered partial view at best. With the floating jetty completed, the resort may wish to study the feasibility of a coral reef rehabilitation project to restore the biodiversity that may have been affected during the construction of the property. This would reaffirm Conrad as a leader in corporate social responsibility and the resort’s dedication to sustainable business practices.
The Azure pool bar and the Glow lounge were nice spots to chill out with a drink in hand especially during sunsets. The implementation of a "Happy Hour" could help to draw in the crowds or entice guests to return earlier to the resort as these areas seemed under-utilized during our stay.
All in all, we had a memorable time at the Conrad Koh Samui. The service was impeccable, the grounds, pristine and the property, breathtaking. We are already looking forward to our next visit.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.