The Banyan Tree Samui is a world of its own. Super spacious, luxurious holiday villas, all with pools, stretch across two hillsides dotted with coconut palms above an attractive bay offering rocky headlands and azure waters. Total privacy and excellent facilities.
The Banyan Tree Samui is located in a quiet and isolated bay close to hectic Lamai in the island’s southeast. A free shuttle service reaches Lamai in 10 minutes, while Chaweng and the airport are about 30 minutes away.
Address: 99/9 Moo 4, Maret, Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84310, Thailand.
Style & character
The Banyan Tree Samui is a gigantic garden complex, rising from a postcard perfect private beach bordered by rocky headlands across two steep hillsides, dotted with very spacious villas featuring gabled roofs and broad terraces designed in somewhat austere-looking contemporary Thai style, each with its own private pool and jacuzzi. The villas are well integrated into the verdant landscape and so spread out that guest will have to get around by electric buggies.
Service & facilities
Service is friendly, polite and somewhat formal. Standing paddle-boards, kayaks, catamarans and snorkelling equipment are complimentary. Basic instructions to windsurf are provided free of charge. A table tennis table and pool table as well as a punch bag for budding Muay Thai fighters and a volley ball net can be found in the garden behind the beach.
The pool is big enough for a good swim and features an adjacent kids’ pool and a bar. The spa has 10 treatment rooms, steamrooms and a sauna. The adjacent gym is compact but well equipped and yoga lessons are on offer. The library stocks newspapers, magazines and books.
While the 88 villas, all with plunge pools and whirlpool tubs, look a little clunky from the outside, they offer a lot of space and excellent facilities.
All villas feature a bedroom with direct access to the pool and terrace (which feel a little exposed), a separate living area, and huge windows offering great views across the Gulf of Thailand. Everything is in top condition and the usual amenities – air-conditioning, TV, DVD player, safe, hair dryer, tea and coffee-making facilities and a complimentary selection of fruit – round off a very comfortable picture.
The spotless bathrooms are as lavish as the bedrooms and feature large tubs as well as rain showers.
Food & drink
Sands is an open-air affair right by the water’s edge and serves both Thai and international cuisine for lunch and dinner. The Age serves international breakfast and lunch.
Saffron, the resort’s flagship eatery, is open only for dinner and offers an eclectic selection of decent Thai dishes in a slightly formal atmosphere.
The breakfast is a lavish buffet of international, Chinese and Thai choices, though guests may also eat à la carte and in their rooms.
The Banyan Tree sports three bars, one by the pool, one in the lobby lounge and one at the Sands restaurant. The best place for a pre-dinner drink is either at Sands or in the privacy of one’s villa.
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