My love affair with Four Seasons runs deep. I’ve been fortunate enough in my travels to stay at 26 different Four Seasons hotels and resorts, the latest being the beachfront/hillside resort on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand, which I visited earlier this year.
Overview: The Four Seasons Koh Samui comprises 70 free-standing villas sprawled across dozens of acres of steep beachfront cliffs. The smallest villa — yes, smallest — offers more than 1,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor living space.
The Location: The resort is located on a remote promontory on the island’s northwest tip. This is quite a trek from Koh Samui’s primary tourist and commercial zone, on the opposite side of the island. But it is very close (just a couple minutes drive) from the island’s main cruise port (ships anchor at sea and tinder ashore).
Room: Deluxe 1-bedroom villa. It is huge, more than 1,100 square feet of indoor/outdoor living space, with a king-sized day bed overlooking the private pool. The bedroom is gorgeous, with dark wood floors and brilliant white linens, with a gauzy mosquito net protecting the bed. The bathroom door slides open to the pool terrace, creating an indoor/outdoor ambience for the tub.
Food/drink: The resort’s newest restaurant, Koh, had just opened, with rising-star chef Sumalee Khunpet at the helm. Her southern Thai cuisine is absolutely exquisite and boldly authentic. She doesn’t hold back for timid western palates, which I sincerely appreciate and admire. This is seriously some of the best food in Thailand. Not since David Thompson’s Nahm have I experienced such refinement and authenticity at the same time in Thai cuisine. Khunpet also oversees the Thai portion of the menu at the resort’s beachfront restaurant, Pla Pla, which focuses on the classic Thai dishes we all already know and love. But seriously, if you want to experience a beautiful culinary revelation, a true sense of time and place through cuisine, Koh is where you must eat. Meanwhile, the daily breakfast buffet is gorgeous beyond belief.
WiFi: Moderately fast.
Public spaces: As with most Four Seasons resort entrances, the initial view is spectacular. The views from pretty much everywhere on the resort are spectacular, come of think of it. But that initial view is one of the things that always makes Four Seasons so memorable. The hilltop lounge and bar are fabulously comfortable. The beach is private, secluded and beautiful.
Service: Thai hospitality at its finest and warmest.
Cost: $650, plus tax
Bottom line: Another extraordinary Four Seasons resort, comparable to the brand’s resorts in Bali and Malaysia. Expensive but worth it.