Opened in late 2010, this phenomenal property has a location to die for. W Retreat Koh Samui is perched high atop an ocean bluff overlooking the sea, with a horizon line of ocean, the island of Koh Phangan and the bluest expanse of sky.
I must admit, after landing in Samui, I was truly unprepared for the revolution that was about to occur in my travel-loving life. I have always considered myself a self-made hotel aficionado, having had the (lucky!) chance to stay at some pretty remarkable places throughout my adventures. I also recognize that most of the places I have stayed rarely fall into that upper-class threshold; the level reached when the mini shampoo bottle costs more than what you spend on shampoo in a year. Arriving at the retreat, I realized we’d entered into this other dimension. I was about to meet my first unicorn accommodation: the W Koh Samui.
The taxi from the airport wound through the seemingly underdeveloped island, catching glimpses of gorgeous blue waters and the hints of majestic properties scattered among the palm trees. We happened upon a dusty 7-11 on a corner, selling glass bottles of gasoline by the liter on a stand out front. We turned down a shabby dirt road past a half-size futbol field with teenagers demonstrating a learned prowess for the sport you just don’t see on the fields at home. Some winding turns and then, a gatehouse. A steep, twisting ascent through walls of bamboo and we were delivered to the lobby. Stepping out of the van, I come face to face with a giant mirror-ball W and it hits me: I belong here! (I’ve always had a thing for mirrorballs)
As I approached the steps to enter the entrance portal (doorway doesn’t do it justice), I can honestly say I was left both breathless and immobile. My eyes took in the view while my brain struggled to balance my awe with reality. Stretched before us was a fantastically hip lobby, separating us from the ripple-less infinity pool; the outer edges of which melt seamlessly into a vast stretch of ocean horizon. An illusion so exquisitely designed, it’s nearly impossible to tell where the pool and the ocean depart from each other. As my breathing returned to normal I allowed myself to take in more details: the sunken seating areas within the pool, the glass walkway that appears to drop off into oblivion, the Woobar featuring fun, funky chairs and a bold design. The oversized chaise lounge pods with sparkling pillows combine with a blend of eclectic and natural decor, catch my attention and instill a sense of comforting luxury. The details are crisp, but not stale, in equal parts high-end and casual, a blend that makes you feel distinctive but not haughty.
And that’s just the lobby.
The retreat is structured in tiered layers, so as you descend from the lobby you pass the infinity lap pool, with a cool black bottom and truly infinite view. Oddly enough, there’s a giant Connect Four game on the pool deck for entertainment. This game is everywhere in Thailand… I’ll have to discuss that in detail in a future post.
Along your route to the beach you’ll pass the W dining locations, including The Kitchen Table which has earned an entire post from me just for its breakfast buffet.
The hotel rooms are scattered throughout the retreat, as each boasts their own private infinity pools. Make it down to Maenam Beach and have a pineapple mojito at Sip, one of the freshest beachfront bars imaginable. Our bartender cut up a whole pineapple in front of us to make our drinks. W-w-wow!
I’m still blown away by the effect this resort had on me, so I’ll write more about it soon. You’ll love to hear about the mimosas for breakfast by our private pool, our late night room service and my obsession with jumping into the pool FROM THE BATHTUB (in a swimsuit of course!). I’ll leave you trying to figure out how that works and looking forward to hearing more about this Wonderland.
Hey Go Koh Samui!