By Shruti Kothari
Immerse yourself in authentic Thai luxury at Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort.
One of the best problems about living in Bangkok is the plethora of island paradise destinations to choose from. What sets Koh Samui apart from the rest is that unlike, for example, Phuket, its tropical greenery and genuine Thai culture remains largely untouched by commercial tourism. Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort brings that local aspect to the fore. In the words of the General Manager Lutz Mueller, “Anantara is a Thai brand. It’s very indigenous in its decoration and ambience.”
The driveway is artfully framed with thick native foliage, allowing you to leave behind the outside world as you approach the lobby. Cold towels, iced Roselle tea and coconut desserts are handed to you by smiling staff who check you in with ease and efficiency. There’s an adjacent library, replete with leather-bound volumes and plush armchairs perfect for work or leisure. The crowning jewel of the resort, however, is its famous garden; as you look through the sweeping archway of the lobby, verdant flora bathed in sunshine forms the focal point of the aesthetic and emotional experience. A guest review said, “It’s as if you have died and gone to heaven,” and in this space that comment makes sense.
Low-lying rooms are situated on either side of it, leading up to the sprawling pool and private beach. I heartily recommend the Garden View Suite, boasting two balconies from which to gaze upon the verdure and soothing blue water. The room itself, at 64-square metres, houses a canopied, four-poster bed, sofas for lounging, and an immense stone bathtub, decorated with candles and rose petals, where you can enjoy the open atmosphere or draw curtains to create a divider.
The writing desk is equipped with a sketchbook, as the surroundings are likely to inspire your inner artist. Small touches like these really enhance the overall experience: an entire wine cooler next to the minibar, a yoga mat in case you feel moved to run through a few sun salutations, and the playful motif of monkeys that carries on from the public areas into the rooms in homage of the God Hanuman.
While some prefer to take their afternoon cocktails inside the infinity pool, dotted with palm trees and jacuzzi alcoves, others take theirs onto the lively private beach, surrounded by golden sand and cool, clean saltwater. Although the resort is partly popular for being close to eateries, bars, and shopping at the fishing village, the in-house, multilevel Full Moon restaurant is consistently rated one of the top fine dining spots on the island. Lutz explains that “Samui actually has a good dining scene, and guests have choices, so we need to give them a good reason to eat here. 30 percent of our diners are actually not staying with us. They simply read reviews and decide to come.”
When the bread, which looks like a soufflé, comes with three types of house-made butter, you know you’re in for a treat. The vast majority of their ingredients are locally sourced, some hailing from their own herb garden. Some delectable dishes include Heirloom tomato salad, Homemade wild mushroom ravioli and Grilled silk tofu. A spectrum of flavours and textures burst forth in each bite to make your palate sing. The gourmet journey continues at breakfast, which features unique and exciting concepts like a fresh, customisable juice bar, an à la carte egg menu, and steaming Asian delights like congee and noodle soup made to your taste.
As I leave, one of the team members ties a white string across my wrist, and explains that in Thai tradition it signifies good luck for travellers. With the amount of care the team put into each guest, always observant but never obtrusive, it is easy to see why this resort runs at a staggering 80 percent occupancy all year long.
Refresh yourself at the fitness centre or at the renowned Anantara Spa, which houses over 3,000 square metres of natural tranquillity, garden treatment suites, and al fresco tubs. For a touch of local luxury, try the signature Coconut Dream treatment.
Looking for your wedding destination? With 106 rooms, the Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort frequently hosts international weddings, with the stunning natural backdrop requiring very little décor However, especially in the case of a buyout, reserve well in advance as this property fills up quickly.