When the extra Songkran holiday was announced we knew this was our moment to grab one of the special half price promotional flights and return to my favourite Thailand Island of Koh Samui.
I was interested to see how Koh Samui is faring at this time without international visitors. My first top tip is be careful in your choice of Samui destination. Koh Samui is empty, it desperately needs visitors. There has never been a better time for those of us in Thailand to enjoy Samui.
If you are after peace and tranquility, you will find your heaven, but most of us also need some restaurants, shops and facilities to be open. Otherwise it could be a rather dull and hungry existence!
The Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort was such a joy after a couple of extremely quiet nights at Chaweng Beach.
The Bophut beach location
We have always liked the hip and happening Bophut beach area of Samui with its Fisherman’s Village. It’s a good choice now with more open. Here we found shopping, massage shops, a few bars including the ever popular local Coco Tam’s Beach Bar and a choice of food options. In previous visits to Koh Samui we dined at the Anantara’s Full Moon restaurant, which we remembered as exquisite, fuelling our desire for a return to stay.
I have to confess to being a massive Anantara fan. Their hotels have never disappointed, including for our honeymoon in Chiang Rai! In the current situation in Thailand choosing well managed hotels who put the guest experience first, despite the tough operating climate, is important to me.
My husband doesn’t get much time off work. When we go away everything needs to work and be perfect. The Anantara Bophut delivered.
The Anantara has some great deals at present which include an airport pick up, but my next tip is to hire a car. We paid 800B per day and with our own wheels we travelled all over the island. The roads are good, we ever found a brand new road across the middle of the island, since our last visit. There is little traffic on the road. Driving in Samui is a pleasure!
The moment we drove up the grand Anantara driveway to find the three monkeys at reception, we felt at ease.
They bang a welcome drum on arrival and with a giggle and the sound reverberating through us, we were escorted into the rather grand and refreshingly cool, library to complete our check in details.
Emanuel, the new General Manager even stopped by to add his welcome which we thought was a nice touch.
There is no doubt at present that every hotel in Samui needs its guests. There has never been a better time to get the right royal treatment!
The charm of the Anantara hotels is their emphasis on stunning grounds. As we walk to our room through the lush tropical gardens past the massive lotus ponds, which become wonderfully illuminated at night, we spot garden cabanas for relaxing and the impressive infinity swimming pool area.
The birds are singing in the trees and you immediately know you can relax here. Don’t we all need that in this most strange of years?
Our Royal Sea View suite
Our room is beyond stunning, I skip around it checking everything out. We couldn’t be more beachfront if we tried. Having said that, I love the way this low rise resort is laid out. All rooms either get a beautiful garden view or a stunning beach view.
Whilst I’m admiring the bed with the kissing elephant towel art surrounded by frangipani flowers, Mr. Wren has found the wine fridge. Or as it’s only lunchtime, Nespresso coffee anyone?
It’s a massive room, with a great bathroom. A very, very deep bath faces his and her basins. We don’t have any of this at home and it always gives me a thrill!
Still, no time to sit around and do nothing as we’re booked in for a couple’s massage.
My husband raises an eyebrow with a quizzical look. They call me the Spa Queen of Asia on account of my insatiable appetite for a good spa. Yet I never want my luxury pampering spoilt by having him in the room. That couple’s massage stuff is so for newlyweds in my book! Don’t you agree?
We needn’t have worried, it’s happy spa days indeed as we are informed that the Anantara Covid policy means that we will have separate rooms (secret fist pumps all round!)
The spa is tucked away in the gardens, behind the herb garden, like a secret oasis. Their reception is an open air sala floating on a lotus pond. Across a wooden bridge we enter a gentle garden with three oversized doorways, behind which are two separate private spa treatment suites.
The atmosphere is calm, majestic with an air of reverence. We split up, him to the right, me to the left.
Floor to ceiling glass windows face onto a private bamboo screened garden with an outdoor shower. As I drift off into oblivion, I feel wrapped in the serenity of nature.
We have chosen the Anantara Spa’s signature massage which is a combination of oil and Thai massage. We thought this was a bit different. Usually we prefer a relaxing oil massage, but for both of us with long times spent working at desks, this treatment was the best of both worlds. The relaxation of oil with the stretch of a Thai massage is inspired.
We emerge out of our separate spa room doors like figures in a cuckoo clock. Both at the same time, with a sleepy grin on our faces.
Dining at Full Moon
We dine twice at Full Moon restaurant. Normally we’re more adventurous and head out of the hotel for dinner but the combination of great food, a wonderful setting, and a well priced 3 course dinner set menu lured us to return.
With the romantic setting of this fine dining restaurant looking out across the swimming pool to Bophut Bay, why go anywhere else?
Especially when I found that the Anantara have their own Origin gin crafted in Chiang Mai! Well, as a G&T lady, ever since my Australian Gin Safari tour, I’m happy to drink Botanicals with the best of them. Of course we’re talking Fentimans tonic.
The first evening we really enjoyed the new signature dry aged beef which Executive Chef David proudly introduces to us. Their beef from across the globe is dry aged in-house for a minimum of 30 days to maximise flavour and tenderness.
For a mostly vegetarian Wren this is a big call for me, but one gin down, and I know it is my husband’s dream dinner… So of course we share a huge prime rib eye steak from the US.
That was the best steak I have ever tasted, which is not as high praise from me, as my carnivore hubby who declared it excellent!
The steak comes with quite a performance. Firstly there is a salt choice. Now normally it’s pass the salt or pepper isn’t it? Not here at Full Moon. There is a choice of five different salts and then a massive case of steak knives arrives. Decisions, decisions!
I’m a bit fussy when it comes to breakfast, for me I insist on the full works and we often “eat for England” to take us through the whole way to dinner.
The Anantara has it all apart from I didn’t spot my favourite smoked salmon and avocado, this is a nod to nourish the half Aussie in me! I’m not complaining, there was so much choice! We loved our lazy breakfasts. The egg station and noodle bar are set up in the garden with the main buffet, bakery, cereals, juices, salads, fruit, etc. inside.
I suspect they have adapted slightly to an increase in Thai guests but I am happy with my big test; an egg white omelette, no fat and a pot of fresh lemongrass and ginger tea.
Yoga and fitness
The next morning I return to the spa where they have recently built an open air yoga sala. From my yoga mat I get to really appreciate the tranquility of the spa gardens, although don’t forget to spray on some of the thoughtfully provided insect repellent.
A 30 minutes yoga class is one of the complimentary activities offered for residents. Other options during the week were Pilates and Thai boxing. You have the option of booking a 60 minutes yoga private session with the instructor.
I never saw the gym, as we preferred a daily walk on the beach (it’s soft sand so it’s quite a workout!)
Each night at the pool bar a chosen cocktail was on offer for a 50% discount. The beach area was set up to replicate the famous local Coco Tam’s Beach Bar, with its laid back atmosphere and bean bags on the beach.
Take a next tip from me, they were queuing for over an hour to get into Coco Tam’s, just enjoy the sunset from the Anantara.
Of course no stay at the Anantara Bophut is complete without the short stroll down the beach to Fisherman’s Village. The village compromises of a mix of old Chinese shop houses mixed with the new and modern. It works to offer a charming mix with a Mediterranean feel.
Even in today’s quiet days there is enough open to attract the in crowd.
The Anantara Bophut Covid policy gave us confidence. Staff wore masks as did most guest in the public areas away from the pool and the beach. Our temperatures were taken on arrival, before dining and at the spa. Gym usage was regulated.
We would like to thank the Anantara Bophut and Minor Hotels for a much needed and relaxing few days. It is thoroughly recommended. We will be back!
Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort
Telephone : 02 365 9110
Email : [email protected]
Website : www.anantara.com/en/bophut-koh-samui
Little Wandering Wren stayed as a guest of Anantara Bophut Koh Samui. Her Thailand staycations can be found at www.wanderingwren.com and on Instagram and Twitter @littlewanderingwren