Luxe Phuket and Koh Samui

Beaches of the palest white sand and azure seas and sacred temples, smiling Thai’s and of course exquisite cuisine …. What more could you ask for in a holiday.


Dropped like a giant pearl into the azure Andaman Sea, Phuket is a textbook tropical paradise of perfect beaches and forest-fringed cliffs.

Six Senses Yao Noi Phang Nga, Thailand With Smith Hotels (Check Availability)

Six Senses Yao Noi boutique hotel can’t help but appeal to your inner child. Staying in one of the island resort’s private pool villas feels like residing in a plush tree house. Perched on a cliffside, with jaw-dropping views over Phang Nga Bay's fantastical limestone pinnacles, they're built using local teak, topped with a palm-leaf roof, decked out in stylish bright linens and simple mango-wood accessories. This is a rustic, cosy escape in one of the world’s most beautiful locations. Soul soothing guaranteed.
Along with its remoteness, the appeal of Yao Noi is its access to some of the world’s best scuba diving and snorkelling sites around Koh Phi Phi, Krabi and Phang Nga. Other water sports, such as sea-kayaking and sailing, are also readily available. Lost your water legs? Landlubbers can enjoy elephant trekking, mountain biking, hiking and rock climbing. The resort runs boats to Krabi and Phuket should you fancy shopping or sightseeing.  What you should definitely make time for, however, is a visit to the Six Senses Spa. At the long house, windows open on to lush gardens, although there’s also the option of taking a treatment in one of the salas to become fully immersed in the outdoor world. If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends, a three-and-a-half-hour Signature Yao Noi Ritual – foot soak, steam, scrub, traditional Thai massage and spicy herbal bath – will have you feeling balanced and refreshed. To burn off some calories, ask staff to arrange an aqua yoga session in your villa's pool.

Trisara Phuket, Thailand With Smith Hotels (Check Availability)

The international jet-set comes to Thai boutique hotel Trisara because there’s nowhere else quite like it. Set over a private bay along Phuket's less developed north-west coast, each suite or villa has a jaw-dropping ocean view, its own pool and is a sanctuary of good taste. Its Sanskrit name means 'Third Garden in Heaven', and the exclusivity and top-notch service more than live up to it.
Once you’ve made the most of Trisara’s pools, spa and beach, there are more active pursuits on the menu. Treat yourself to a spot of tennis coaching at the resort's two floodlit championship courts. Hire a jetski, kayak or dive gear, then charter one of Trisara's yachts for a romantic cruise around Phuket and the local islands. Nearby Banana Rock Beach is a peaceful, private spot for swimming and snorkelling. Koh Wae is another uninhabited island beach close to Trisara. Alternatively, take a private helicopter flight to the famous Phang Nga Bay (aka James Bond Island); a sensational experience. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a Tiger Woods, golf can be arranged close by at Blue Canyon Country Club. No need to pack your clubs as Trisara has a set of Wilsons for you to use. If you’re more gourmet minded, budding chefs can enjoy private Thai cooking classes for one or two people to hone those spice-wielding skills.

Amanpuri Phuket, Thailand With Smith Hotels (Check Availability)

The renowned Aman resort group wasn’t kidding when it named this Phuket boutique hotel Amanpuri – Sanskrit for ‘place of peace’. With its secluded coconut plantation setting, private beach and glamorous pavilion homes, it’s hard to imagine a more restful island retreat.
On a quiet headland jutting out into the Andaman Sea, Amanpuri’s Pansea Beach is an unspoilt crescent of white sands and emerald waters. In the dry season, from November to April, borrow a free kayak, snorkel or body board from the Beach Club to explore the waters, or book a jet ski for a hit of adrenalin. The calm waters are ideal for PADI training; charter a boat from Amanpuri’s fleet to explore Phuket’s best diving spots. Thai boxing, Pilates and tennis classes are available for those who prefer dry land; the more meditative can have a go at a Thai cooking class or flower-garland-making instead. Staff can happily arrange access to nearby golf clubs, or a visit from a tailor to freshen up your wardrobe.

Sala Phuket Thailand With Smith Hotels (Check Availability)

You don’t have to die to go to heaven – you just need to go to Mai Khao Beach for Sala Phuket, whose spa and wine are award-winning, whose pool glitters temptingly from a green lawn, and whose irresponsibly romantic suites and villas come with open-air bathrooms and tropical gardens where birds sing gleefully.
Marvel at Phang Nga Bay’s sheer limestone karsts that jut improbably out of the glittering green water. Hop on a day-long boat trip around the bay, pausing to admire James Bond Island – immortalised in The Man With the Golden Gun – and Koh Panyee (the bay has 42 islands in total, plus many different species of mangrove); there are also plenty of untouched stretches of sand for you to wash up on. Snorkelling around here is dazzling, thanks to the coral reefs and kaleidoscopic resident fish. Take part in the hotel's cookery classes, which start between 12 noon and 3pm (flexible, subject to participants’ preferences) and last for two hours (THB1,600 for one person; THB2,500 for two). You'll learn to make gaeng kiew waan gai (green curry with chicken), tom yam goong (Thailand's famous spicy prawn soup) and nam tok nuea (chargrilled beef salad with chilli and mint). Mai Khao is part of Sirinat National Park, known for its unspoiled milk-white beaches; go for a long walk along the sand, keeping an eye out for turtles and tropical birds.

Koh Samui

Cellophane-clear waters, pastel coral beds, beaches overhung with palm fronds… With raw ingredients like these, it’s no surprise that Koh Samui is considered one of the world’s best holiday destinations.

Panacea Koh Samui, Thailand With Smith Hotels (Check Availability)

Panacea Retreat emulates its Greek namesake – the goddess of healing – with restorative sea views, lush vegetation and divine living spaces in its five generous villas. But what really strikes you is the near-obsessive attention to detail, from the traditional Thai design touches and hanging ornaments to the way the head chef crafts a bespoke menu for you. Its pièce de résistance is the Praana residence, which has a nightclub, cinema and karaoke system in the basement, plus a tennis court and – the knockout blow – a Muay Thai boxing ring.
Start the day with a swim and a sunbathe by your enviable infinity pool. Or, for guests of the Praana residence, you can test yourself on the tennis court, either with a partner or against the tennis-ball cannon. Your Muay Thai boxing lesson might provide a tougher test, especially with the distraction of 360-degree sea-and-forest views leaving you open to attack. Or, boost your culinary clout with a Thai cooking class. If you have any energy left to leave your villa, there’s a golf course nearby at the Santiburi Samui Country Club (+66 (0) 77 425 031), or you can share in Koh Samui’s passion for watersports and other aquatic activities such as snorkelling and scuba diving – a good place to start is The Dive Academy Samui (+66 (9) 24 643 264). For immersion into island culture and cuisine, there’s the Fisherman’s Village Friday Night Market, where you can try local seafood and other delicacies.

Samujana Koh Samui, Thailand With Smith Hotels (Check Availability)

If you wouldn’t last long in a survival situation, the Samujana Six-Bedroom Villa Plus could be for you. All four of these ultra-exclusive villas have more bathrooms than bedrooms – 10 in some; seven in others – meaning there’s no shortage of spaces to primp and pamper. The sleeping quarters don’t scrimp on luxuries either, with wedge-thick mattresses, contemporary artwork and uninterrupted sea views. Over-sized infinity pools are big enough to do laps in (or simply, doing nothing) and there are also various private cinemas, pool tables, gyms and gardens to keep you entertained. You’ll have lost your survival instinct completely by the end – though there’s always the poolside barbecue to contend with (gas-powered, unfortunately).
The north-east tip of the island is fringed with peaceful beaches, Hanuman bay is a five-minute walk from the villas, with sandy and pebbly stretches and calm sheltered waters. The semi-private patch of coast is is never lacking in sunbathing spots and there are loungers and kayaks for guests to use. Play on the floodlit, all-weather tennis court, nab the chef’s top tips in a cookery class or make your own chocolate at a workshop onsite. Yoga, Muay Thai and pilates instructors can be booked, but for something a little different pick up some circus skills, take to the decks in a DJ session or mix up some cocktails. Book one of Samujana’s stylishly outfitted catamarans and explore the gulf; and waterski or dive in to glimpse the unearthly coral gardens in Koh Tao. Guests can book a bespoke tour of the island, stopping by the titanic Wat Phra Yai Buddha statue, a tropical butterfly garden, Plai Laem temple and Na Muang’s waterfalls. Bomb through the jungle on an ATV or zipline through the canopy, bungee-jump in Chaweng or play golf nearby. Leave a rum distillery tour merry, say hello to mummified monk Luong Por Daeng (displayed at Wat Khunaram temple) or wander through kaleidoscopic markets in Chaweng, Maenam, Bophut and Lamai. 

The Library Koh Samui, Thailand With Smith Hotels (Check Availability)

The island of Koh Samui’s infamous Chaweng Beach is littered with hotels, but none of them comes close to The Library in terms of that all-out beach bliss-out factor. Standing out like a finely manicured thumb from the three-star crowd, this elegant and modern boutique hotel is most remarkable for its blood-red pool, the tall trees that seem to grow in, around and through the building, as well as the alabaster-white library complex that gives the hotel its name.
Charter a private boat with Tours Koh Samui and discover the hidden coves and dramatic limestone caves of Ang Thong Marine National Park, a 42-island archipelago north-west of Samui. Stop at Mae Ko Island and make the 40-minute climb to Thale Noi, an inland saltwater lake on the mountainside: dramatic views make it worth the effort. Take the pachyderm express to the top of a waterfall: water cascades over purple rocks at Samui’s tallest and most impressive cascade, Na Muang, and an elephant trek with Na Muang Safari Park provides a breezy shortcut to the falls’ upper tier. For the even more adventurous, Canopy Adventures in Bophut can take you on a treetop-to-treetop tour of the jungle, swinging along 500m of cable.

Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa Koh Samui, Thailand With Smith Hotels (Check Availability)

Vibrant Koh Samui retreat Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa boasts a blissful beach and verdant gardens. Romantics will love the Moroccan-style hanging lamps shimmering light on the rich ochre walls, the come-hither infinity pool and the massage huts; families will enjoy the kids' club and golden beach.
A giant catamaran glides into Anantara Bophut every Wednesday afternoon for a not-to-be-missed cocktail cruise to Orange Island. Soak up the sunset while nibbling on a selection of tongue-pleasing hors d’oeuvres. The hotel is a haven for water-sportsmen, catering to divers, snorkellers, kayakers, anglers, sailors and windsurfers (there’s even an ex-Olympian on hand to coach the latter). For the full low-down on eating, drinking, exploration and entertainment around Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa, check out our detailed destination guide to Koh Samui.

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