‘To travel is to live.’ Hans Christian Andersen
My trepidation about staying in Chaweng Beach (due to a one-off visit there in 2009) in Koh Samui disappeared as soon as we set foot inside the entrance of the stunning Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort. Far away from the raucous party scene in central Chaweng, the Anantara is set into natural hillside surroundings on the quieter and picturesque northern end of Chaweng Beach right on the shoreline.
Located just a short ride from the airport, the five-star Anantara Lawana combines traditional Thai design with the highest quality modern comforts. We received a warm and friendly welcome upon arrival, refreshments were served immediately at the expansive open-air lobby along with much needed cold towels while check-in was performed. Opulence and impeccable service go hand-in-hand at this resort, the rooms were immaculately decorated, comfortable and clean. The well maintained gardens were awash with coconut palms, tropical blooms and lush green foliage. Hammocks swing between palms that line the beach, colourful traditional fishing boats bob on the water’s edge and rows of loungers rest on the powder soft sand.
We had welcome cocktails and complimentary neck and shoulder massages at the unique Tree Tops Bar with resort manager João Corte-Real and his team. This elevated romantic spot also has an award winning fine dining restaurant where guests dine in private tree houses, the menu offers top notch food and wines with the added bonus of panoramic views across Chaweng Bay. A special vegetarian menu is available on request.
Ocean Kiss all-day dining restaurant is situated at the bottom of the resort alongside the beach overlooking the infinity pool. An extensive daily buffet breakfast is served with a wide range of fresh fruit, juices and smoothies. Thai and international favourites are available with a variety of pastries, breads, meats, cheeses, salads and an egg station with any type of egg and omelette cooked to order. We had dinner there on the outdoor deck, a beautiful setting that is just perfect for an oceanside meal, gentle lapping waves add to the ambiance. The a la carte menu is crammed with Asian and Western favorites complemented by an extensive wine list and cocktails.
After sweating it out attempting to sunbath in a charming beach cabana, we had lunch at the poolbar, a perfect spot to escape the intense heat and grab a coffee, a refreshing juice or alcoholic beverage with a light bite to eat with beach views. In-villa dining and Dining by Design (dinner customised by your own personal chef served anywhere in the resort’s grounds) are also available but we didn’t try either of these due to our busy schedule. Those guests wanting to try their hand at a Thai cooking class can do so with Anantara’s Spice Spoons culinary programme that takes place at Ocean Kiss restaurant’s chefs.
Located near the lobby, the Anantara Lawana Spa offered a wide range of treatments in a tranquil garden setting. Thai massages, hydrating coconut body scrubs and facials using renowned Elemis products were all on offer along with a full Thai inspired wellness programme for individuals and couples. In-room traditional Thai foot and body massages were also available upon request. Adrenaline junkies can take advantage of the resorts beach location with a variety of watersports that includes dive tours and diving certification, snorkelling, sailing, kayaking,windsurfing and deep-sea fishing, private boat charters and cruises can also be arranged.
Although our allocated standard room was large I was disappointed with its location at the top of the resort furthest away from the beach and with only views of rooftops of the other rooms. Possible upgrade options were looked at, the first being the most amazing palatial seaview pool villa that even with a generous discount was still pricey so we opted for the deluxe pool access villa for the first two nights of our five night stay.
This villa was simply stunning with a muslin curtained four-poster bed (complete with towel elephant and rose petals), dressing area, roll top bath and open air shower and toilet. It had its own private sun deck, private open pavilion (known as a sala in Thai), garden and direct access to a large pool shared with only a couple of other villas. It was very comfortable, its interior was a mix of hardwood and white linens offset with jade and gold coloured textiles inspired by a Thai riverside village. Room availability in the resort meant we spent our third and fourth nights in an upper storey standard room elegantly decorated in a tropical theme embracing its island surroundings, double doors led to a spacious private balcony with seating. The bathroom was of a good size with an oversized sunken stone bath, walk-in shower and small dressing area.
Due to the generosity of the management we spent our final night and the other half’s birthday in the aforementioned magnificent seaview pool villa in the lap of luxury, one word A M A Z I N G. This villa was without a doubt the most spectacular and spacious accommodation I have ever had the privilege to stay in. Pure unadulterated lavishness, this villa was so big you could actually live in it (with the addition of a kitchen). A distressed blue wooden door led to this private beachfront oasis that had stunning views across the bay from the garden area that had a huge sundeck with loungers, a sala and a sunken outdoor bath adjacent to the private swimming pool.
The massive interior had a separate lounge area that led to a bedroom with a four-poster bed, a folding wooden door could be opened to make one large space if desired. The generous bathroom had an outdoor shower, dressing area and direct access to the pool and sundeck. Attention to detail was evident throughout all the rooms with arrangements of exotic fruits of Thailand delivered daily, fresh flowers and the weather report for the following day written on a leaf placed on a pillow as part of the nightly turndown service.
This awesome Koh Samui beach resort offered everything we wanted and so much more. If you are looking for the ideal spot to relax and be pampered this is the place, lounge by the infinity pool overlooking Chaweng Bay, sip sundowners in the tree house bar watching the colourful sunset, indulge in fine dining and a Thai massage or venture out to nearby Chaweng itself for a taste of local Thai nightlife. If funds allow my top tip to experience the very best of accommodation option would be to book yourself a rather splendid seaview pool villa.The Nitty Gritty
Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort, 92/1 Moo 2, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320
Telephone: +66 77 960 333
Check-out: 12 noon
Fantastic pool villa rooms
Good dining options
The Not so Good…..
Spa treatments expensive compared to local salons as expected in a 5* resort
All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved.
Read my previous Thailand posts In Pictures: A Postcard from Thailand, Discover Thailand: Phuket , Review: La Flora Resort Patong, Discover Thailand: Bangkok, Review: Oriental Residence Bangkok, Review: Siam@Siam Design Hotel, Bangkok and Discover Thailand: Koh Samui