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A Tranquil Escape to Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui

by Ayush

Your luxury gateway to Koh Samui awaits.

by Ayush Madan

Although Thai by nationality and having spent most of my formative years in the Kingdom, I’d never been to Koh Samui before, so I had high expectations of this vaunted island escape that’s so renowned worldwide. Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui is a Marriott property, and thus I knew to expect world-class Thai hospitality and luxe surroundings, but I was especially excited to see the resort’s unique brand of luxury in the tropical paradise that is Koh Samui. Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui is your luxury gateway to Koh Samui.


Turning into the main gate of the resort, it felt like I had driven through a portal of serenity. “Welcome to Vana Belle,” said the receptionist, as she gracefully poured rose water on my partner’s hands to complete the welcome ceremony. The lobby was architecturally stunning, with large wooden arches resting on tall pillars, allowing an unobstructed view of the sea. As the rain subsided, we were also given a welcome drink made of coconut water and butterfly pea essence, before we were whisked away to our room via electric buggy. The room we would be staying in was the Grand Ocean View Pool Suite located on the southwest end of the property. It had all of the exclusive amenities you would come to expect from a Luxury Collection Resort: spacious size, tasteful décor, soft linens sheets, and an indulgent bathroom complete with two sinks and a bathtub. The highlight of the room was definitely our private terrace which also came with its own private infinity pool. Even from the bed, the ocean was clearly within view. But admiring the seascape from the edge of the pool felt otherworldly.

After soaking in a hot bath, I felt rejuvenated, and ready to explore more of the property. The hotel is designed after the mythical forest Himavanta, a legendary forest said to be located in the Himalayas. Along the arrival pavilion, you can see beautiful fountain features of the mythical creatures said to inhabit the forest. This inspiration trickles into every design element of the property, giving it a traditional and elegant ambience.

Another impressive feat is the way the resort is perfectly integrated into the hill it sits on. The buggies offer a speedy way to get around, but the best way to explore the property is on foot. Since the roads are rather steep, the designers placed long, wooden walkways which stretch from the top of the hill all the way down to sea level. Along the walk, I witnessed the heartwarming sight of housekeeping staff calmly collecting flowers from the bushes, and arranging them in their wooden baskets. Once I had made it to the bottom of the hill, I was greeted by a pristine sandy shoreline and the beautiful turquoise waters of Chaweng Noi Beach.


Admittedly, I am not a morning person, but Kiree’s breakfast may have forever changed this fact. I ordered the signature Luxury Thai influenced poached eggs, which came with two perfectly- cooked eggs served on brioche toast, topped with pan-fried prawns, sautéed morning glory, and a roasted chilli hollandaise. The dish was an Asian-style take on eggs benedict, with the chilli hollandaise sauce adding the perfect kick to round out the dish.

Aside from the egg selections, the breakfast buffet was a cornucopia of food options. There was a
bread station with fresh bagels, danishes, and croissants; a congee station with ginger and
chilli condiments; a cheese station with five different kinds of cheese; and a bacon platter that seemed to endlessly refill itself. I made myself quite familiar with the brie cheese, as in my opinion, there is nothing better than soft brie spread over freshly toasted sourdough.

Beyond its delicious food, Kiree is an al fresco restaurant that boasts a magnificent design. It has panoramic views of the ocean, and offers both indoor and outdoor seating, with its opulent furniture and smooth jazz music creating a unique environment which made me feel classy but relaxed. Dinners at Kiree are romantic and intimate, matching the amazing feeling of privacy you feel at the resort. The servers were more than attentive, they were proactive, anticipating our needs before we had even voiced them. My favourite items from the à la carte dinner were the tart and bright-tasting Shredded crab avocado salad and the juicy Wagyu tenderloin steak with black pepper sauce.

I was also lucky enough to attend Kiree Saturday Seafood Market which had a wide array of fresh catches. The market featured Phuket lobster, squid, tiger prawns, red snapper, sea bass, mussels, and scallops. You could choose any seafood you wanted, and the chefs would prepare it in that style. As I had never tried lobster before, I decided to go for the grilled Phuket lobster with Thai-style seasoning, which was mouth-wateringly delicious.

The pastry chefs at Kiree deserve their own personal shoutout for creating the best desserts I have ever tasted. As part of the seafood market, guests are given access to a dessert room where they can feast on endless crème brûlée, rich dark chocolate brownies, refreshing passion fruit panna cottas, and decadent squares of cherry cheesecake.

Meanwhile, Panali is the resort’s beachfront restaurant where we had all our lunches throughout our stay. Panali places an emphasis on Thai cuisine, and especially on Southern Thai specialties. Sitting under the shade of the bungalow-inspired wooden roof, you can hear the waves lapping up against the shore, in what makes for an excellent environment to enjoy a meal.

My partner and I ordered some watermelon and mango smoothies while we perused the food options. A standout appetizer was the Pla salmon which was a Thai-style salmon ceviche with lemongrass, parsley, coriander, and lime. It tasted like a classic seafood yum, but with the fresh taste of raw salmon taking centre stage. For our mains, we really enjoyed the Gai tord had yai, a signature Southern-style deep fried chicken with crispy shallots and sweet chilli sauce. Another item worth mentioning is the Nue phad bai horapha, a signature dish with stir-fried beef and sweet basil leaves which was spicy and savoury. The best dessert at Panali is their renowned Kalamare Thord. This dish takes the famous bite-size desserts from the South and elevates them by covering them in batter, deep frying, and serving alongside shaved almonds and a scoop of coconut ice cream. The dish was a true delight, crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle, with a taste and texture profile that resembled a caramel fritter.


The resort also boasts a state-of-the-art gym with all the equipment you need to get your pump on. Situated beside the gym is the Vana Spa, home to four double-treatment rooms with a menu of locally-inspired treatments to relax your body, mind, and spirit. Guests can also host events with up to 350 people at the resort’s meeting space called The Marquee. This tented area is directly next to the beach and is perfect for all kinds of events, especially weddings and receptions.

Koh Samui is Thailand’s third-largest island located in the Gulf region and is known for its coconut groves, lush rainforests, and vibrant coral reefs. It is also home to many different landmarks and attractions, like the Hin Ta Hin Yai rocks and the Big Buddha Temple. Personally, I was most keen on seeing the Na Muang waterfalls in the central part of the island. All it took was one phone call to the front desk, and a ride was arranged to take us to the waterfalls. The falls were stunning, creating a tranquil atmosphere with the sights and sounds of rushing water surrounded by lush greenery. It attracted many visitors who enjoyed cannonballing into the base of the natural freshwater pool. The falls also offered a great photo opportunity, with tall and easily-scalable rocks you could stand on for the perfect shot. Additionally, the areas surrounding the falls offer activities like zip- lining and jungle trekking for the adventurous at heart.

Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui, lives up to its namesake, offering a one-of-a-kind retreat harmonizing modern luxury with traditional Thai aesthetics. From its exquisite dining options, meticulous attention to detail, and exceptional hospitality, I can think of no better gateway to the island’s serene beauty.



FRANCOIS POLETTI, the General Manager at Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui,  tells us more about their efforts to ensure their guests have an unforgettable stay.



What makes Koh Samui a must-visit destination in a region with many different islands to choose from?

Koh Samui stands out as a must-visit destination for a few main reasons:
Diversity of Experiences: Koh Samui caters to various preferences, from vibrant nightlife and bustling markets, to serene beaches and lush natural landscapes. Visitors can indulge in a wide array of activities, including water sports, cultural explorations, wellness retreats, and culinary delights.
Beautiful Beaches: The island boasts stunning, palm-fringed beaches with crystal-clear waters, each offering its unique charm. From lively and bustling beaches to secluded and tranquil shores, Koh Samui provides options suitable for every traveller’s desires.
Rich Cultural Heritage: Koh Samui preserves its cultural heritage amidst modern developments. Visitors can explore temples, witness local rituals and festivals, and engage with the warm and welcoming local community, providing an authentic glimpse into Thai island life.
Accessibility: Even during its busiest times, Koh Samui retains its peaceful ambience, allowing easy access to everything within a short timeframe.

Can you tell us what experience your events team has hosting multi-day events, such as Indian weddings?

We take great pride in providing an incredible and fully equipped Marquee set-up right by the beach. Imagine how amazing and delightful it would be to host a reception or seminar within an air-conditioned marquee adorned with elegant chandeliers and flowing white drapes, providing a captivating view of the Chaweng Noi beach. Our team possesses extensive expertise in orchestrating such events on our property, and our strength lies in our adaptability. I feel incredibly fortunate to collaborate with a team of highly-skilled and dedicated professionals, ensuring that every guest receives exceptional care and attention.

The main restaurants on the property are Kiree and Panali, with each having their own signature cuisine, décor, and ambience. How did you curate the F&B experience at Vana Belle?

Our two restaurants at Vana Belle have distinct culinary directions. Panali is devoted to showcasing Thailand’s beauty and flavours, emphasising tradition and local recipes. Meanwhile, Kiree offers a contemporary dining experience with a European-inspired menu. Despite their unique approaches, both venues share a common commitment. We are devoted to sourcing the finest locally- grown ingredients, herbs, and vegetables cultivated in our gardens. Additionally, we prioritise seafood and fish sourced directly from our trusted local fisherman partners. This dedication to using locally-sourced ingredients ensures that both Panali and Kiree consistently offer our guests the best culinary experiences while supporting the local community.

As part of your clientele, do you host many guests from the Indian community? What do you think they would find fascinating about your property?

At Vana Belle, we warmly welcome the Indian community, whether they are travellers from India or part of the significant Indian population residing in Thailand. Recognising this, we recently brought an Indian chef on board. His role is pivotal in catering to any ‘off-menu’ requests from guests who yearn for authentic home-style recipes during their stay with us. Moreover, our culinary team has adeptly mastered the art of crafting signature vegetarian dishes, delighting many of our vegetarian Indian guests. I highly recommend trying our Thai curry-flavoured vegetarian coconut samosas; they’re my personal favourite for a quick and satisfying bite during lunch!

9/99 Moo 3, Chaweng Noi Beach, Surat Thani, Koh Samui, Thailand, 84320
Tel: 077 91 5555
Facebook: Vana Belle, A Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui

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