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Reviewed February 9, 2013

For our Koh Samui holiday, we were puzzled between staying at W hotel, Four Seasons and Banyan Tree (since they both seemed to have their advantages and disadvantages from the many internet reviews). So, in the end, we decided to stay at all 3 places, and are now able to compare them to each other (see my other reviews). Also, let me introduce you by telling that I am a seasoned traveller and stayed in some of the most luxurious hotels of the world. When travelling, I like to pick my hotels by using websites such as Kiwicollection, Conde Nast, Travel & Leisure. So we only like the best of the best.

Before rating the Four Seasons hotel, I also wrote the following in my reviews about the Banyan Tree and W hotel : while Koh Samui is a very nice and lush island, I have to agree with many other reviews on the internet that it is not in the same league of the stunningly beautiful and tropically exotic Seychelles and the Maldives. The latter islands have truly the most beautiful, powdery white sand beaches of the world, while I found the beaches at Koh Samui nothing to write home about (with the exception of the private beach of the Four Seasons). Nevertheless, we truly enjoyed our time in Koh Samui, and I would recommend for a few days after a sightseeing tour in Thailand or a city-trip to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Bangkok (which all have direct flights to the island with Bangkok Airways).

The Four Seasons blow us away from beginning till the end, and I would even quote it one of the best resorts, if not thé best resort, I ever visited (and definitely my favourite Four Seasons resort so far). This resort deserves a place on the Conde Nast Gold List.

PROS :
- beach : while the Koh Samui beaches are not really idyllic, the private beach of the FS is the exception : powdery, white sand, lined by impressive palm trees, hugging a transparent blue sea. This comes close to paradise, and is worth all the travel from Europe/USA. Other wrote that the beach is rocky, but they must have been at another resort, as I could wade in the water at low tide waist deep and not encounter any rock at all (there is a reef further out though). The beach is far superior to any other beach at Koh Samui (including the beach of the W hotel and the one of the Banyan Tree hotel).
- it is true (as stated by other here) that the beach does only get sun until about 2 hours before sunset, as the sun will disappear behind a hill … but what we did not know and may reassure future travellers is that the hotel has a bar at the top of the hill where you will be able to enjoy the late afternoon sun and watch the most stunning sunsets ever (at least in winter time). This was such a pleasant surprise as I feared from reading some tripadvisor comments here that the hotel suffered from a lack of sunshine because of its orientation : not true! Nevertheless, if you want sunshine on the beach from sunrise to sunset, than the W hotel will be your best choice although is not as beautiful nor exclusive as the Four Seasons.
- the welcome at the private lobby at the top of the hotel will immediately bring you in the right mood as the vistas from this lobby are simply stunning and beyond words.
- the staff is very friendly and the service (both at the beach as elsewhere) impeccable, being in line with the Four Seasons legacy. At the beach, they will serve you little, complimentary snacks about every hour.
- the gardens and tropically lush hotel grounds are very well manicured
- villas are large, very nicely decorated, and all come with an amazing outside space. It is true that some villas doe not enjoy a lot of sunlight because they are tucked away deeply in the jungle, so request a room with a lot of sunlight on the terrace. The higher the villa is located, the better the view. In comparison, I would rate the villas at the Banyan Tree higher in comparison to their counterparts at the Four Seasons as they enjoy more sunlight (some villas even have sunset views) and they come with larger pools (some even with hot tubes), but the beds at the Banyan Tree are harder than those at the Four Seasons, service is not as good at the Banyan Tree (especially at the beach) and while the beach as the Banyan Tree is nice, it is a golden sand beach (not a powdery white one like the Four Seasons).
- Many tripadvisor comments mention a mosquito problem at the resort. I am prone to mosquito bites, yet, I did not encounter one mosquito during my stay, so I guess that the mosquito problem is only present during the rainy season.
- Food (dinner) is excellent
- The spa is wonderfully located (in the rainforest) and the treatment rooms all offer beautiful vistas of the sunset, so I would advice you to make a booking after 5 pm, when the last rays of sun have quit the main beach.

CONS (+ few suggestions for the owners) :
- I found the buffet breakfast rather underwhelming (certainly when you compare it to the extravagant buffet breakfast of the Banyan Tree hotel, probably the only real competitor of the Four Seasons on the island of Samui). I may have to do with the fact that the breakfast is displayed in a rather small room, hence not allowing a larger buffet. Nevertheless, for a hotel of this calibre that I would even dare to call one of the best hotels ever, the breakfast is not totally in accordance with the surrounding grandeur. So, I would advice the hotel to work on a larger buffet (maybe they can have a look at the buffet of the Banyan Tree, so they know what I am talking about).
- the Castaway Dinner – barbeque buffet on the beach in the little sandy cove next to the main beach - is truly an exceptional experience, but it was also the only time that the service let us down. Our side dishes were only served after we had already finished our meat and fish. Rather disappointing. I guess it was just a bad coincidence of circumstances, but somehow it would have been nice if the hotel had offered a compensation to make up for this.
- The lounge chairs on the beach where uncomfortable. Some extra cushions on these beach chairs would help a lot.
- Wifi was available in the rooms, but there was no wifi at the beach (unless you were seated close to the bar-. This may not bother some, but we did miss it to surf the internet on our tablets while lounging on the beach.
- I missed the presence of a hot tube on the beach (I am sure this feature would be liked by many guests on the more chilly or windy days).

All in all, an exceptional experience, worth every penny. I will recommend it to everybody, and hope to be back one day!

Date of stay: February 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
    • Value
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23  Thank LuxTravelExpert
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSKohSamui, General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui Thailand, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2013

Dear talula001:

It was a pleasure having you with us and thank you very much for taking the time to write about your experience following your visit to our Resort. I am glad that overall you enjoyed your stay with us.

I have also noted your constructive feedback regarding the areas where we could improve. Thank you for bringing the issues to our attention. It is through feedback such as yours that we are able to assess how well we are meeting the expectations of our guests and where there is room for improvement.

Talula001, I truly appreciate the detailed information you shared here on TripAdvisor and your recommendation of our Resort. The entire team looks forward to welcome you back, hopefully very soon.

With best regards,

Lubosh Barta
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2013

We originally made a reservation for the 'Boxing Day' Beach BBQ in November. Our reservation was confirmed and then a week or so later we were called back and told they were going to cancel us as they were reserving the dinner for in house guests. As long time Four Seasons customers (we had in fact just booked a stay at their property in Istanbul in May), we were not impressed. The reservation was eventually reinstated.
When we arrived at the hotel with our two children and elderly parents, we were made to wait standing up for at least 20 minutes whilst the bellboy repeatedly telephoned down to the beach to check our reservation. It was very embarrassing. Finally, a golf cart appeared which was not big enough to fit us all in. Some of us then had to wait an extra 10 minutes for another golf cart. At the beach, we were again asked to wait whilst they checked our reservation. As we did not have a room number, they asked us to step aside whilst they seated all the hotel guests who were arriving. When we were finally shown to our table (having been asked for our room number yet again by somebody else!), the children were hungry and went straight to the buffet. In my opinion, the selection on the buffet was appalling, particularly for children and there was many families eating there that night, as it was Christmas.... Not only was there very little choice but it was also not a festive buffet as had been advertised. The dessert buffet was particularly disappointing. There was nothing chocolate at all! I commented on that to the chef behind the buffet table who himself seemed surprised. Eventually they bought some icecream out for all the children. Considering we only had a few beers and one glass of wine, the cost for 6 of us (including two children) was USD$1000. The worst part was we had to stop on the way home to buy some food for the kids as they were still hungry.
Our poor experience at the Four Seasons was in sharp contrast to the previous night where we had enjoyed a Christmas Dinner buffet on the beach at the Banyan Tree Resort. The food selection was fabulous, the staff were amazing and it was great value for money.

Date of stay: December 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Value
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9  Thank spoonos65
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSKohSamui, General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui Thailand, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2013

Dear spoonos65:

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback here on TripAdvisor. I am very disappointed that you were unhappy with your dining experience at our Resort. At Four Seasons, we continually strive to meet or exceed each of our guest’s expectations. I am very sorry that we failed to deliver this to you and your family during your visit.

Although I cannot erase your experience with us, I would very much like to speak with you personally so that we can address your concerns directly. At your convenience, please feel free to contact me at lubosh.barta@fourseasons.com.

With best regards,

Lubosh Barta
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2013

an amazing destination. I stay in a lot of luxury hotels. This is as good as any worldwide....The staff are probably better. The food rates with any Michelin restaurant. Just a great destination to unwind....It is not cheap but if you can afford it it is very worthwhile

Room tip: villas closer to beach are better
Date of stay: January 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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5  Thank John H
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSKohSamui, General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui Thailand, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2013

Dear John H:

It was a pleasure reading your feedback and I would be happy to share it with the team. Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your recent visit; we look forward to have you back with us!

With best regards,

Lubosh Barta
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2013

Everything about this hotel is of a very high standard, in fact is excellent. The staff are exceptional, the bedrooms are large and very comfortable, we had a large bath, inside and outside showers, terrace and swimming pool.

Food in the main dining room LanTania is particularly good. Wines and indeed all drinks are expensive.

The resort is fairly isolated so if one wants to eat out expect a 20/30 minute drive.

Room tip: The resort is on a hillside so are all the rooms. One moves around the resort by buggy car, this works well.
Date of stay: January 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
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4  Thank JohnWebb37
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSKohSamui, General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui Thailand, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2013

Dear JohnWebb37:

Thank you for sharing your comments regarding your stay at our Resort recently. It was nice to know how much you enjoyed our offerings and the services from our dedicated team.

I have also taken note of your concern regarding the beverage pricing. I would like to assure you that regular surveys are conducted on the island as well as other regional properties for us to ensure that we remain competitive, and based on your feedback, I have initiated another review.

With best regards,

Lubosh Barta
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2013

My husband and I just spent a week at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui. After a round trip Singapore and cambodia we could relax perfectly in this marvelous place!
Staff was very friendly, Villas perfectly clean, Beach clean ( fresh towels everywhere).
Don´t miss Castaway Dinner! Very romantic..

Date of stay: January 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank Astrid M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSKohSamui, General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui Thailand, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2013

Dear Astrid M:

It was so nice to hear that you and your husband had a relaxing stay at our Resort. Thank you for sharing your experience here on TripAdvisor. We hope to see you back!

With best regards,

Lubosh Barta
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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