Destination: Thailand: Koh Samui
See also: Most Indulgent: Four Seasons Koh Samui
Six Senses Hideaway Samui
Founded by visionary hoteliers Sonu and Eva Shivdasani (of the Maldives’ Soneva Fushi fame), the Six Senses hotel company champions properties that have strong eco principles and a barefoot-chic aesthetic, and this hideaway on Koh Samui is no different. It’s romantic and secluded—the freestanding bungalow villas are folded into lush landscapes—but also less polished and more rustic than, say, the Four Seasons.
Occupying a hilly twenty-acre property, the Six Senses Hideaway Samui has sixty-six thatch-roofed bungalow villas, each showcasing an abundance of such natural materials as bamboo and teak and other untreated woods. The spacious floor plan, the sliding doors separating the bedroom and the large bathroom, and the huge floor-to-ceiling panels convey a feeling of openness, though the focus is the exterior spaces, including patios and decks with daybeds and fifty-two have small private plunge pools. The interiors remind you of haute camping: some furniture is made of driftwood, the mosquito netting above the bed is not purely decorative, and the outdoor shower is framed by lush jungle plants. It’s the perfect place for an eco-friendly couple looking for a laid-back beach getaway. Most guests rarely leave the villas, preferring to order room service and lounge on their sundecks, admiring the sea views (like the Four Seasons, the property is built into the steep hillside, so getting around without a golf cart is a workout).
If you can tear yourself away from the serenity of your lodging, there is a nice infinity pool, on an elevated deck with glorious views, and a chill restaurant and lounge area where cushy daybeds are suspended from the ceiling, a groovy music mix plays, and the staff takes orders for drinks and snacks (the food here is consistently well executed, and the menus offer a mix of innovative Western dishes and traditional Thai cuisine). Lovely on-property details include a viewing platform with rows of chairs for guests who come to take in the sunset while munching popcorn and sipping mojitos. On movie nights, films are projected onto a large screen by the pool. Not to be missed is the excellent spa — an important component of all Six Senses properties, like their destination spa on Phuket — which has seven indoor and five alfresco treatment rooms (though airplane noise can at times interrupt the peaceful setting; the Six Senses is close to the Koh Samui airport). If you’re looking for a transformative Thai massage, ask for therapist Nes or Peaw, whose expert touch will leave you limber and invigorated. Villas from $715.
WHO SHOULD GO: Eco-friendly couples and honeymooners who don’t plan to do a whole lot of mingling with other guests and who prefer to camp out in the privacy of their villas.
WHO SHOULD NOT GO: Travelers who prefer their hotel rooms sleek and cushy will not be happy here. You have to be in tune with nature and able to write off some minor discomforts (like the absence of air-conditioning in the bathrooms) for the greater good of eco-friendly.
ROOMS TO GET: It depends where on the property you want to be (close to the beach or close to the facilities, like the spa, gym and swimming pool). Villas 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 42 and 43 have unobstructed sea views and sunrise panoramas. Only twelve villas do not have private plunge pools. Try to get one of the ten spacious Pool Villa Suites, which have outdoor lounging terraces of a generous size.
INDAGARE TIP: Book a table at the vertiginous Dining on the Rocks, the Six Senses’ fine-dining restaurant, located on a wooden deck that seems to hover between sea and sky, where chef Ryan Dedufalza whips up an innovative mix of Mediterranean- and Asian-inspired dishes.
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