W Retreat Koh Samui – Trip Report…and lots of pictures

This is part two of a Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia trip report covering our stay at the W Retreat Koh Samui:

The W Retreat Koh Samui easily tops my list of favorite Starwood properties. Keep in mind that the hotel recently moved from a category 7 to category 6 hotel, though still requires additional points as all rooms are villas.  The best rate is essentially 40,000 points per night for the Jungle Oasis Villa.  I’m going to let the pictures walk you through our experience but first just a couple of comments:

  • As soon as we arrived there was what I’d refer to as a welcoming committee of at least 5 staff members lined up in the entrance way leading us to the check-in area.  Two tropical drinks were waiting for us at the desk.  My SPG Platinum status was recognized but unfortunately no upgrades were available (though I did see some availability online earlier in the day).  This wasn’t a huge deal as the majority of the retreats are exactly the same besides their location.  The only Platinum benefit provided was complimentary breakfast each morning at Kitchen Table and wireless internet.

  • We were driven via a golf buggy cart from the main lobby to our room with a tour of the resort given along the way. We stopped for some ice cream at one of the main mini fridges (Sweet Spots) located throughout the resort where you are free to grab complimentary soft drinks or ice cream throughout the day or night.  This was followed by an extensive tour of our own room and our luggage arrived separately a shortly while after.  The room – WOW.  We loved it and you can’t help but be impressed after walking in.  The room has a great color scheme and comes off as trendy and modern with a sofa (that we turned into a bed), 46″ LCD, bean bag chair, wifi sound dock allowing you to play your own music inside or outside the retreat, and a library.  My favorite part was opening up the sliding doors to see our own private pool, lounge chairs, a daybed, and a dining table.  The bathroom was large and included an indoor bath/shower as well as an outdoor rainforest stone shower (you are inside the room but the shower area is outside in between the living room and the bathroom…no one outside your room can see you).   If you forget any of your beach essentials there’s a W bag with sunscreen, flip flops, and water.

  • The WOOBAR definitely wooes. Stepping into a floating seating area, sipping drinks, and listening to international DJs is not a bad way to start or spend your night!

  • The beach was really relaxing and quiet as you look out at the Gulf of Thailand.  For a sold out hotel, it seems like everyone disappeared or spent their time at the pool, there were maybe 10 of us total at the beach.  The beach itself is a little pebbly but we had absolutely no problem with it, once you get a few steps out into the water it’s all sand…and nice and warm! There are regular lounge chairs, day beds, and loveseats that were all readily available without the early morning required seat chase you see at so many other resorts.  There was also on site watersports and even a kite surfing instructors. While we had read otherwise, there was waiter service at the beach with drinks and lunch brought out quickly and continuous free water service.  Additionally, the outdoor restaurant and bar SIP is just a few steps from the main beach.

  • The breakfast at the Kitchen Table was excellent with a typical gigantic Asian selection of anything you could possibly think of. Eating outside overlooking the water isn’t bad either…

  • Shuttle service is provided to the closet town but anything further required us to utilize the W car service which was convenient but a little pricey.

Now, the picture review…

So, overall an amazing stay and property with just a few gripes: Lack of SPG Platinum benefits (as expected), personal pool water gets real cold – especially in the Jungle Oasis villas where you get a lot of shade (second picture from bottom), expensive shuttle into other towns (though this can be avoided by renting a car).

Favorites: The quiet and secluded beach with perfect water temperature, outdoor rainforest shower, signature WOOBAR floating tables and chairs, amazing service throughout the resort, the Sweet Spots, breakfast, the infinity pool and it’s warm water, and the really comfortable and well laid out room.

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  1. I’m debating staying here or the naka island in phuket…anyone been to the naka island for a comparison or advice?

  2. There is a marine protected area about 1hr boat ride from Ko Samui. A network of islands and reefs. One of the most beautiful places I ve seen. A must see.

  3. @Mike – I recently stayed at the LM Koh Samui and met the Director of Marketing for Naka. I am also very interested in Naka. He said compared to the W & LM on Koh Samui, Naka is quite rustic (completely outdoor bathrooms), nature focused. The property was a Six Senses hotel prior to joining Starwood, so that might give you some idea about the hotel.

    I didn’t like LM Koh Samui because it was too out-doorsy for me (out-door shower, out-door toilet, out-door bathtub and sinks) and he said if that was the case, I wouldn’t like Naka as it’s much more outdoor focused.

    He said the property is spectacular though!

  4. Koh Samui has fundamentally two seasons: warm and tropical most of the year, with a short rainy season generally during November. Samui Luxury Villas are very beautiful and it’s interior also so stunning.

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