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“Worth Every Penny - I'm hoping to return every year”
Review of Kamalaya Koh Samui

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Kamalaya Koh Samui
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Laem Set
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 6, 2011

When I researched spas and retreat locations in Thailand (and throughout South-East Asia, I looked at many places from the most basic to 5-star locations. I finally decided on Kamalaya even though at first glance I thought it was A LOT of money for a retreat center. I booked a 14 day visit (7 days Detox, followed by 7 days Ideal Weight program).The fact that they had won so many top spa awards in the last year or so was a key determinant.

However, I am here, writing my very first TripAdvisor review to tell you that it is worth every penny. Not only did I lose 5kg (-2% body fat and 2.2 % increase in overall muscle mass), but I added another 4 days to the end of my trip.

Here's what I loved:

From the pickup at the airport (with cool, wet fragrant handtowels and water waiting for me in the car after being in the non-air conditioned Koh Samui airport) to my arrival and throughout my stay there the service was excellent.

The staff are genuinely friendly (an amazing Thai cultural trait) and got to know "me" and my likes and dislikes very quickly. Unlike another review I read here, I was able to easily and quickly change the times of various treatments (though I bet this is easier because it was low-season).

The treatments from Chinese Medecine with Andé to the fabulous Thai massages from Moo and Rak (and I've had many of those in my lifetime), the lymphatic drainage massage, or the infra-red sauna's - every single one was very professional. The staff are clearly well-trained. My program kept me busy, but I enjoyed the treatments so much that I added on additional massages and various "visiting practitioner" events, like a Lomi-Lomi massage an and a very good astrological profile and palmistry.

The whole atmosphere of the place is warm and inviting. The medical staff (real nurses and a doc), the nutritionists (Joann and Renée were fab!) and practitioners were of very high calibre.

I fell out of bed each morning and into a yoga class at 8am. (18 days straight of yoga is a world's record for me!) The teachers were excellent and were able to teach to both beginning and very advanced students simultaneously. The Yoga Pavillion is this round, thatched roof building, with a beautiful view to the bay. It was a magnificent way to start the day. Each day was a different type of yoga which kept it fresh and exciting.

In the late afternoons I also participated (occasionally) in several classes such as Pilates, Cardio Combat, Abs Express, etc for those that weren't into yoga or wanted even more workout in a day. Though I had only a few personal training sessions in my Ideal Weight program, I liked my trainer (Khun Em) so much, that I added more sessions in so that I worked with him every day. He made me laugh as much as he made me sweat! The routine was varied and he was very knowledgable. He also took the time to stretch me at the end of every PT session, which was like having a mini-Thai massage thrown in!

There were also great social events like the lighting of the lanterns out at the beach (where you got to tie a wish onto your own lantern), meeting some local monks who came to a special ceremony at Kamalaya (or you could visit them during the temple tour).

Last but not least - the food! The FOOD! Magnificent. I was never, ever hungry. There was plenty of amazingly beautifully served and well prepared food. I could not imagine that I could eat no-carb, low calorie,low fat, non-dairly, low-glycemic index for this many days. Bravo to the chef and the fantastic wait staff. (Especially smiling Toon!) - If you are one of the waitstaff's favorites, they'll even sing you their special Kamalaya detox song - not to be missed ! : ) My favorite was the pumpkin curry (though I think that was a little less low-fat than some of the other things!).

Don't worry, if you are just coming for rest and relaxation or have a partner not on a program, there is plenty of non-detox/weightloss food, including yummy wines, good meats (I hear the lamb was especially good) and deserts to make the Community Table people drool. I ate the Pad Thai with prawns and a chocolate mousse on my last night.
The Community Table was a source of much laughter and "comparing notes" on programs and practitioners every evening. Not only that, but I met dozens of people and at least three of them have already become new, long terms friends. We are plotting how to all meet up again there next year!

One other thing - another review that I read before I went said that the place was just out to get you to spend more money. I did not get that impression at all. I did add 4 days and a bunch a treatments to my stay, mostly because of the great reviews I heard at the community table and because I was so pleased with my success and measurements that I wanted to continue. The "extras" I added were well worth it. But forewarned is forearmed. You will be tempted by many things, but you can easily just do a program and not be pushed into any extras.

A few things you should know:

Kamalaya is built into the side of a hill, and so you will be doing a lot of walking up and down steps. This adds to the workout, but can make you sweat even more the first few days until you adjust to it.

I had a hillside room with a sea-view. This was good though I think next time, I'll spend the little bit extra and get the next level up or share a villa. This is a wellness center not a 5* hotel, so you can't compare it to the Mandarin Oriental or an Intercontinental, but the room was spacious, nice and did have a lovely view.

There are plenty of fun things to do on the island and getting out of Kamalaya every once in a while is easy and fun. It's easier to rent a motorbike or a car and cruise around to see the rest of the islands sights.

My one minor disappointment was the beach. You need to wear swim sandals or booties (provided by Kamalaya) because there is so much coral and shells that your feet will get too scratched up. The lagoon/bay is protected by a coral reef so really you can only wade in the water even at high tide at low tide there is almost no water. You need to walk about 300m to get to a break in the reef so you can really swim. However there is a great hammock and plenty of lounge chairs and people to look after you. The pools were great but some hardcore lap swimmers might be disappoined. I wasn't.

I can't thank the owners and staff of Kamalaya enough for a thoroughly enojoyable, relaxing and rejuvenating vacation! I'm looking forward to returning!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled solo
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10  Thank Libbyinfrance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 1, 2011

I arrived very exhausted and covered in rashes and left three nights and a petit detox program later in pretty good condition. I enjoyed my stay which was full with classes, treatments and other activities, but can't imagine staying longer - it gets boring after a while.
Here's my account. First, the good stuff:
- great fun and effective classes led by knowledgeable instructors
- phantastic naturologist (unf. Lily is not there any more)
- fresh fruit juice around the clock
- pretty good treatments
- healthy and tasty food, which however gets boring after two days i.e. after you have gone through the entire menu, as the basic ingredients don't change.
- the quietude
- pretty and friendly women staff in the restaurants (they get to know you after a while)
- clean rooms
Now the not-so-impressive part:
- NO real beach, no lap pool. How can you be in Koh Samui, and not have access to a proper beach!!!!!
- again, the food gets boring after a while. I don't mind turning vegan for a few days, but I need greater variety (I am from Japan and accustomed to tasty and healthy food).
- Rooms are very basic, considering the prices. Clean, but not luxurious at all. The lack of a clock in the room, despite the staff urging you to be on time for classes is a drawback.
- and yes, it is quite expensive, especially if you book extra stuff.
But, all said, I would still recommend a 3 or 4 night stay to an overworked executive!

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled solo
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3  Thank Tawanaanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2011

Lovely treatments in a peaceful setting with attentive staff. Probably the most relaxing vacation I've ever had.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank michelle77773
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2011

My sister & I decided to do a five-day mini-detox & getaway in Samui at Kamalaya based off the reviews we'd been reading. Most people it seemed went for the full detox package but we purchased the Intro to Detox which included a variety of daily massages, scrubs and sauna treatments, five nights for the price of four.

Complimentary pick up service was helpful, and v attentive upon arrival. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to the seaside view rooms (we purchased garden view).

Rooms: clean, spacious, all the necessary amenities including yoga mat, pillow menu etc & option to order a TV + DVD player (+ selection of DVDs) if you wanted. Daily fresh fruit is a bonus.

Food: Exceptional. breakfast buffet & dinner were at one cafe, lunch was at a cafe near the pool. They varied their menus which was appreciated if you are planning to stay for a while. Very flexible hours , lunch went from 12 - late afternoon and then right into dinner so you never feel like you're rushed to get to a meal. Excellent organic, fresh, vegetarian foods - highly creative. Extensive selection of juices + herbal teas available as well. Try the Bael tea. Highly recommended the cucumber gazpacho, zucchini "spaghetti" & fresh coconut water. Every night there is also a complimentary 'amuse bouche' to start your meal with.

Treatments: Quick analysis with naturopaths to help customize your experience though personally find its best to seek proper medical attention if you're serious about working on particular ailments as I was given some mixed feedback from different naturopaths. However, the wellness centre where treatments and consultations are held are all discreet, friendly and relaxing atmosphere. Ginger tea at the centre is fantastic. The only thing we can caution is scheduling at the centre - my sister and I wished to schedule our treatments at the same time and we had to reschedule two times before they were able to get it correct. Treatments are in general good, but can obviously vary depending on your masseuse.

Activities: The resort offers activities throughout the day, we never even got a chance to leave the resort. You can opt for fitness, yoga, lectures, walks and of course the option to do your own thing and enjoy the wonderful poolside and beach facilities. Beach is pretty but a rocky beach so not a place to go if you are looking for a white-sand beach experience.

Overall extremely attentive and high-quality resort. A good mix of people so I would be happy to return alone or with a small group of friends. The staff remembers clients' names, and we even had the option to take away a delicious boxed lunch the day we left the resort to go home. The grilled veggie wrap is heavenly.

The trip left us completely rejuvenated and from a simple mini-detox we already feel wonderful. We would definitely return!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with friends
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4  Thank xinmei55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2011

For my job I frequently stay in luxury, ‘leading hotels of the world’ and I usually do not write reviews, but for Kamalaya I want to make an exception, even though it is difficult to put into words how unique this place is. This tropical haven is heaven on earth and I feel so blessed that I have been able to experience it.

My first stay was in December 2010. I had booked for 2 weeks but extended on-site as I didn’t want to leave...... It truly was a life-changing experience. As a friend described it, it was as though I had been in a spiritual, mental and physical washing machine – I came out as a new woman. I went back in April, and it felt like coming home - to this magical place and its lovely staff, but also to myself.

The moment you arrive a feeling of serenity and wellbeing descends on you. The resort blends perfectly with its natural surroundings - lush green and beautiful flowers everywhere, impressive boulders, nice little ponds with lotusses, stunning views on the bay and the hills..... And so quiet and peaceful: you hear nothing but birds and the soothing sound of water in the streams going downhill.
The resort is set up in such a way that even with all the 59 rooms booked it never feels crowed, on the contrary.

The Kamalaya staff is truly amazing; I think they are the key factor. I cannot thank them enough, they all deserve medals!
Each and every staff member will do his/her utmost best to make you feel at home and meet your every need. They are always there for you, but in a discrete way – they seem to intuitively know when you need some space. They provide outstanding service in an informal way, with extraordinary attention to detail, dedication and professionalism. But what makes them so special is that they do their job with a genuine smile and true warmth that comes right from their heart. They made me feel so welcome, loved and special!
And when I returned in April they not only remembered my name, but also the personal details I shared with them during my first stay. How amazing is that!

The wellness treatments are of superb quality. I booked the Stress Management and Relax & Renew packages, combining all sorts of massages, Ayurvedic treatments, acupuncture, reiki and nutritional advice with stress management and personal mentoring consultations. This holistic and multi-disciplinary approach is very effective and healing, both physically as mentally. All the practitioners are highly professional and skillful, and everything I mentioned above applies to them too. They nurture and support you in every way they can, but without any pressure - I felt completely at ease and also safe to let go of old pain and open my heart.

I have been in several spas but the Kamalaya massages are the best I have ever had. I loved the ones given in a secluded, open-air bamboo-built treatment room. Eyes covered, the sound of the birds in your ear, the cooling gentle sea breeze on your skin, the scent of the massage oil, the massage itself – pure and utter bliss!

I also attended some yoga, meditation and chi gong classes - there is a daily activity schedule offering this and other practices such as Pilates, tai chi, fitness etc. The rest of the time I relaxed at the beach or the pool. If you want to be on your own, there are plenty of other spots at the wellness centre where you can sit quietly, all beautifully set with sea views. .

The rooms are well laid out. I stayed in a hillside room close to the main reception and the wellness centre. It was very comfortable and everything you’d expect from a luxury resort was available. Btw, no need to bring shampoo, shower & body lotion or even insect repellent – all provided in pump bottles that are replenished throughout your stay. In the evening your bed is turned down and an aromatic oil burner is lit. Every day you find fresh tropical fruit in your room, with a card explaining what it is, how to eat it and what good it brings you. These and other details (there are too many to mention here) make all the difference.

The food is exquisite - nutritious, pure and super healthy and at the same time absolutely delicious and beautifully presented. A feast for the taste buds and the eye, even the detox food (I was not on detox but sometimes selected dishes from that menu, as they were so yummy)! You can order wine if you want, but I didn’t feel the need for that at all. They offer a huge selection of fresh fruit & vegetable juices and teas. I do miss my daily fresh young coconut juice….. I also completely lost my sugar addiction and lost 4 kilos without any effort and by eating ‘normally’ – I know really know that diets do not work.
The first few days I felt the need to sit at a dinner table by myself, but that didn’t give me the uncomfortable feeling you sometimes have when eating alone in a restaurant. Later on I joined the community table, where I made some friends for life!

I could go on and on, but to summarize, Kamalaya is food for the soul in every possible way and I can highly recommend it from the bottom of my heart. I have already booked my next stay.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled solo
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9  Thank BS16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2011

Out trip to Kamalaya was way beyond expectation in every way. Apart from being a beautiful secluded environment, the service and food were just exceptional.

Room Tip: All bungalows are superb
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  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MelbourneHappyfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2011

I was on a four month sabbatical between roles and decided to go to Kamalaya to regain my balance and focus on my health. The experience was amazing and left there feeling like I had recharged my batteries and ready for the new challenges. I stayed in a beach villa which was great although quite a hike to the restaurant and treatment area if you have bad knees, but they were happy to collect me in a buggy when they were hurting too much. Treatments were great, advise even better and all the consultants really opened my mind and let me explore my inner self (which quite frankly I have been ignoring). I will be back this year with family - I really want them to experience the magic I experienced. Quality of treatment and advisors is second to none. A lot of rain when I was there though, so choose your timing. The communal table for dinner (your choice) was a really good way to make friends and it was really easy to go there as a solo traveller (there were alot of solo travellers). Detox is not for the faint hearted (like me), but I have to say the people who were on the detox just looked amazing at the end of their stay. Its the right balance between luxury travel in a gorgeous location while you work on your inner and outer health.

Room Tip: Ask questions around location of the room
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  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled solo
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2  Thank Ionise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kamalaya Koh Samui

Address: 102/9 Moo 3, Laem Set Rd, | Na-Mueang subdistrict, Laem Set, Ko Samui 84140, Thailand
Phone Number:
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Samui > Laem Set
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Laem Set
Price Range: $230 - $653 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Kamalaya Koh Samui 4*
Number of rooms: 59
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Also Known As:
Kamalaya Koh Samui Hotel Laem Set
Kamalaya Hotel Koh Samui
Kamalaya Spa Koh Samui
Kamalaya Koh Samui Ko Samui, Thailand

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