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Reviewed September 4, 2011

So I'm about to check out of the W Retreat. I heard about in the mags and on reviews here and was definitely psyched to check out this (new) place and Koh Samui, I love the islands...stayed in Phuket, as well as Bali and Fiji. Now have you ever gone to a hotel and thought that the room was AWESOME but that the hotel (including F&B) needs help? Well, welcome to the W. This place was built/planned before the global recession. You can tell. The villas are huge. Awesome. Best I've seen. But getting around the facilities is ridiculous. You can tell that it wasn't planned out in the owner's attempts to get it done (which by the way, are in trouble financially). This place is a graveyard and it's kind of sad. Employees will linger over you. You'll have every facility to yourself. And why is this? Well, first off, the location isn't v. good. The beach is at best average. V. little area. Sand isn't great. Sure, it's great to not have to fight for space, but you literally are in a dead zone. Next the restaurants are lacking. Choice? nope. Is this place close to the island's many other options. Not at all. Your taxi driver which will have no idea where and what this is WILL get lost. so be prepared to pay. Finally, and the most alarming is that the prices are a joke. Now, yeah, this place is nice and you get what you pay for. This i prob the best hotel/villa rom I've ever had and I've stayed at some great places. But $70 USD for A SINGLE GLASS OF champagne, that they try and sell to you? What? I understand why foreign wine is so expensive in Thailand because of taxes. But what's the point? Don't even bother. Further, peanuts or any nuts for $15? A soda for $5? I mean when you have limited options, no little store to buy such items and no place to get sundries in the vicinity this is excessive. What bothers me is that you're forced to pay ridiculous amounts. And true I can afford it and so can you if you're considering this place, but there's a difference between splurging/indulging burning money. It's a waste. And as I love champagne, there's no way i'll pay $300 or $70 USD for something that's $15 or $50 anywhere in NYC...which is where I live. So the employees here are great. What else can they do? But keep in mind that you will have a hotel that is AT BEST 30-40% occupied (this place must be hemorrhaging money). So, will I stay here again? Nope...the Conrad is brand new...might as well try that one out. And there are so many options with better locations. This place is sharp, modern and the rooms are awesome. Otherwise, you will spend 20 minutes walking to anywhere at the hotel (elevator system was poorly developed...and why waste so much room on a juice bar and the gym when you could have implemented further F&B options?). I'm in the real estate business so I know a few things about great hotels and planning. And this one smacks of a hotel built during the "bubble".
Oh and another point, I pointedly told the front desk that I wouldn't mind upgrading for an ocean view. The darn place is dead...why the heck not upgrade me to a room that is sitting empty???? What is wrong with the management here? Oh, that's right, they're busy pacing upstairs wondering how they'll make payroll. Sorry if I sound a little angry, but I can't stand when someone in the service industry doesn't endeavor to make a valued guest happy. Instead the ocean view rooms sit empty. Oh well

Room tip: go for the ocean view. And get ready to pay.
Date of stay: September 2011
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank smrpenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WRetreat, General Manager at W Koh Samui, responded to this reviewResponded September 26, 2011

Hello smrpenn,

Thank you for taking the time to detail your thoughts and experiences at W Retreat Koh Samui. Obviously we are always disappointed when we dont get things 100% right and I assure you that we do take note of such comments.

As you mentioned, there are times that despite being 60-70% occupied, the Retreat "feels" quiet as many of our guests spend so much time in their pool villas/retreats. So, we are certainly now creating more happenings and events to encourage our guests to mix, mingle and play in our different venues. For example, we have already noticed a big increase in our guests enjoying events such as Mo-Hee-Toe Madness on Friday evenings at Woobar during sunset. And there is more to come in the next few months.

I would also agree that our prime secluded location at the tip of exclusive Maenam Bay (only 5 mins from all the lively selection of restaurants at Fishermans Village and 20 mins from all the activity of Chaweng Beach) can be a little challenging to find from the main road, so we have recently organised much larger signage which should be installed in the coming weeks.

I am sorry that it appears as though we didnt do a better effort in connecting you with the surrounding areas of the Retreat. Our new W Insider, Khun Tom will be doing his best to highlight those hidden (and sometimes not so hidden) gems of the island for our guests who want to explore the island so that they really enjoy themselves.

Regarding for the costs of the champagne, I realise it is more expensive than downtown New York. While we have always showcased more premium level champagnes, we are looking to introduce some other options which will increase both the variety and the different price points. I apologise for this selection/pricing leaving such a bad impression.

Overall I am certainly disappointed that we didnt make a better impression. As you noticed, our team does their best to ensure a memorable stay for all the right reasons. I assure you that we are always striving to improve and impress. I can only hope that you will return in the future to see another side of W Retreat Koh Samui.

Sincerely and with warm wishes,
Nick Downing.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2011

If they say the 'devil is in the details' then W Retreat Samui is truly evil, in a very nice way. I have stayed in many W Hotels over the years and this was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. From arrival to departure the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. You always felt like you matter to them, that your visit was somehow important to them.

The design of this development was well thought out with the hilly land stepping from the top of reception down to the beachside bungalows. The flow from the property moves down from the restaurant, pool (wet) and gym (sweat) and spa areas on the way down to the beachside bungalows set out like a leafy residential community style.

Along the beach the W style extends into the lounges and sun chairs. At the end of the private beach is a very nice open bar area (sip) with lounges, sofas and sun beds, tables and drink stands. I spent quite a bit of time sipping the odd beverage while working on my tan and iPad.

I opted for what the W call the Jungle Oasis room. Looking from the beach, these pool villas line four rows across the top left of the hill. Accessing these rooms 24 hours is done via buggy or you can walk but it is 'hilly and steep'

What I like about this brand is the way they use color and textures. They aren't afraid to use blend natural materials with modern products. Stone and timber, it’s hard to beat and the mix was very simply yet stylish. The room was long and rectangular with the very comfortable bed at one end and the lounge/entertainment area in the middle and a huge bathroom at the end, running parallel is the sun deck and private pool. Its more than a ‘plunge’ pool, you can swim several strokes in it and it was wide enough to not feel like a tub. There were plenty of nice ‘free’ products for the shower and bath, water was re stocked twice a day and there were lots of treats in the mini bar. Turn down service always left a little special treat, different each night after they turned down the bed, changed the towels, restocked the water and generally gave the room a once over.

I used the Whatever Whenever service for a private BBQ, Aussie style with lots of fresh local seafood. They came and set it up, I cooked and it felt like a nice afternoon bbq after the beach. It’s a great service for something different.

The breakfast and the restaurant is something that needs to be experienced to really be appreciated. There is pretty much anything you could possibly want for breakfast. I'm pretty simple; I loved the fresh fruits, muesli and yogurt but they weren’t, or at least didn’t feel like they were out of a box. They looked and tasted homemade. They do a signature omelet you must try at least once. The restaurant menu has a nice mix of western and Thai dishes, I tried most and the quality was excellent.

I could go on about all the cool new equipment in the gym, the pool at the top, long enough to train in, looked about 20 meters but there are so many nice things about this place. While I didn’t use my spa certificate, I did visit the spa reception and it had that ‘yes I’m on holidays and I feel very relaxed’ vide about it, like spas should. The other great thing about the W are the smells, they cater to all the senses here and the smells relaxed with the ‘always’ cool tunes drifting out of the speakers in the gardens or bar areas. Stylish, almost too stylish for this simple man ;-)

Overall this is a great brand who has designed a very guest focused Retreat across what might have been a challenging piece of land. I will definitely stay there again as I really felt like I was on vacation. I left after 4 nights feeling fantastic. Great work W Retreat Koh Samui!

Date of stay: August 2011
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank kristian_page
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WRetreat, General Manager at W Koh Samui, responded to this reviewResponded September 27, 2011

Hello kristian_page,

It was a pleasure to read your wonderful comments about our Retreat and I know the team appreciated the feedback.

I have to admit that we agree that the "devil is in the details". We spend alot of time reviewing the various areas and have many things planned in the near future to ensure we continue to evolve, surprise and delight.

I am thrilled you seemed to have enjoyed every corner of our Retreat, especially enjoying our "Aussie style" BBQ experience. Being an Aussie myself, I have to agree that it is a great way to spend an evening poolside. Although I think many of our guests prefer the chef to cook for them!

Thank you again for taking the time to provide such great feedback. I hope it wont be too long before we see you return to W Retreat Koh Samui.

Warm wishes,
Nick Downing

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2011

Outstanding hotel and a wonderful experience. Each room is equipped with a private plunge pool and honestly you do not need to leave your villa ! The service is impeccable and the staff very polite. The decor of the rooms is very modern and trendy. Fabulous shower and bathroom amenities.
We ate at their Japanese restaurant which was outstanding. Also, the Sip bar is one of the nicest bars we have experienced. There is great music playing at the W in general...A young, trendy and hip hotel.
Since it is a new hotel, one small draw back is that the landscaping is still obviously being worked on so at some points you can see the car park amongst other things...

Date of stay: August 2011
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Thank Twisha C
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wretreat, General Manager at W Koh Samui, responded to this reviewResponded August 15, 2011

Hello Twisha,

Thank you for sharing your experiences at W in Koh Samui. Needless to say we are so happy to have created an extraordinary impression during your recent travels.

Usually many of our guests arrive with grand plans to explore the amazing island of Koh Samui. However after 2-3 days, it seems many of our guests have the inside information and simply choose to stay at the retreat enjoying their own private pool or the amazing sunsets at Woobar or Sip. Of course, we are alays happy to provide any help require to find those special spots around the island...most within an easy 20-25 minutes by private car. There are some great dining experiences to be enjoyed both inside and outside of the Retreat.

Am happy you noticed the music throughout the resort. W Hotel's Global Music Director, Michaelangelo L'Acqua has created some extraordinary playlists for our guests to enjoy.

Thank you again and I do hope as someone who now has the inside knowledge of our wonderful retreat, you will contact me to organise a return one day to our wonderland.

As always, I remain avaialble whatever/whenever.
Warm wishes,
Nick Downing
General Manager.

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Reviewed August 4, 2011

My husband and I stayed here for four nights at the end of a 12-day trip to Thailand, and we wished we could have stayed longer! It was our first trip to Koh Samui, so we did a little sightseeing, but whenever we left the property we couldn't wait to get back to the beauty and tranquility of the W.

We pre-arranged with the hotel for an airport pickup, so we were whisked through baggage claim to the waiting air-conditioned Mercedes. Our greeter and driver were wonderful - I have never felt so welcomed by a hotel. They also arranged a half-day tour of the island for us later in the week, which was well worth the money.

Our villa was amazing...loved the outdoor shower, the ipod music system, and of course the private pool just outside the door. Never did quite figure out the light switches, though, so I just kept pushing buttons until I got what I wanted!

Everything about the resort was fabulous - the restaurants, the main pool, the gym, the lobby and bars, the beach - but the main thing that makes this hotel stand out is the service. The employees go out of their way to make sure that everything is perfect. Thank you to everyone who works at the W for truly giving us the vacation of a lifetime!

Date of stay: July 2011
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Carol K
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wretreat, General Manager at W Koh Samui, responded to this reviewResponded August 15, 2011

Hello Carolseattle,

On behalf of our amazing team of talent, thank you for taking the time to write a review of your recent stay with us. Always good to see another inside opinion of the experiences we create.

From the pictures you posted, it seems you found the special places around the Retreat...including my favourite sunset spot down at SIP. I hope you loved the tunes played by our DJ in the evening?

Regarding the light switches. We agree with you....so over the past couple of weeks, we have now placed small icons on all the switches to help our guests understand clearly how to set the lighting throughout the private retreats...makes it easier to set the lighting in the pools too for that late night dip!

And a final thank you for recognising our special team. I have always said that it may be easy to create a beautiful building or resort, but it is the team within that makes a guest experience truly special. I am so happy we made that impression for you.

I hope we will see you back at our Wonderland soon.
Until then, I remain available whenever/whatever as always.
Warm wishes,
Nick Downing
General Manager.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2011

As soon as you walk into the W you know you are in a special place, the views are breathtaking and the lobby pond is such a unique feature.

This resort is so super chic and the attention to detail and the quality is amazing, right through from the furnishings in the rooms and throughout the resort to even the children’s plates/cutlery.

Our 5 year old daughter was treated like royalty and nothing was ever too much trouble, even adapting meals for her.

Breakfast was amazing with so much variety and all freshly cooked for you too. It was a wonderful touch to have staff walking around with exotic juices in shot glasses for guests to sample, so yummy.

The lounge and bar area at the beach was so relaxing; with great sun lounges that were so comfortable you could spend the entire day there.

Little touches of turndown sweets were a nice treat every evening too – popcorn, chocolates, cookies. The Sweet Spot was loved by all, free drinks and ice cream whenever you wanted was another nice treat on a hot afternoon.

We used the hotels taxi service on numerous occasions including a 4 hour tour of some highlights of the island and on all occasions the service was courteous and efficient.

As the resort is still so new, it would be great to return in a few years to see all the vegetation as it grows and everything being so thick and lush.

We loved our 5 days at the W and we will be reminded of our trip daily as our daughter plays with her own W bear and we enjoy our very own W glitzy cushions in our own lounge room back home.

Treat yourself to a stay at the W, you will not regret it

Date of stay: July 2011
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank angieMelbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wretreat, General Manager at W Koh Samui, responded to this reviewResponded August 15, 2011

Hello AngieMelbourne,

What a wonderful review to receive. It's always nice to hear the good news and always welcome to hear where we can improve too. Nowhere is ever 100% perfect...although we can always strive to be!

Our team of talent was excited to hear about how well we managed to provide a wow experience during your stay with us.

We pride ourselves on striving to impress with the tiniest of details as well as the grander ones. From the intial impact on arrival to the little touches you experienced. The Sweet Spots filled with icecreams and drinks are an insider favourite (have to admit even I am tempted at times!). We even brightened up the fridges recently to make them even easier to find for our guests.

I am happy to hear you have one of our special cushions to remind you of W Retreat Koh Samui. Dont forget to come back soon so you can take home another one to make a matching pair!

As always, I am available whenever/whatever.
Thank you again on behalf of all our talent.
Warm wishes,
Nick Downing
General Manager

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