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Part of the Gulf of Thailand’s Chumphon Archipelago, Koh Samui is the country’s second largest island. While sister islands Koh Tao and Koh Phangan are known for scuba diving and partying respectively, Koh Samui is famous for its beautiful beaches and ultra-luxurious five-star resorts. There are other accommodation options for those that know where to look, from hotels that double as nightclubs in the party center of Chaweng to quaint B&Bs in laid-back Lamai.
Best Overall: Poppies Samui
Four-star Poppies Samui is TripAdvisor’s top-rated Koh Samui hotel. Located at the southern end of Chaweng Beach, it’s far enough from the main resort area to ensure peace and quiet yet it's still conveniently close to the area’s bars and restaurants. The resort has just 24 luxurious Thai cottages nestled in private corners of its magnificent tropical garden. Discover an idyllic system of streams, fish ponds, teak bridges, and waterfalls — all separated from the beach by a beautiful free-form swimming pool. The latter includes a rock pool jacuzzi.
All rooms welcome in ocean breezes through screened windows and inner doors, while the marble bathrooms have their own private garden and sunken bathtub. Spend your days at the beach or being pampered in the resort’s beachfront and pool-side massage salas, then return to your room for sundowners on your own private terrace. Poppies Restaurant serves Thai and international cuisine with a focus on freshly caught local seafood. On Saturdays, dinners are accompanied by traditional Thai music and dancing.
Best Budget: Chaulty Towers
A 15-minute walk from Lamai Beach, Chaulty Towers is one of Koh Samui's most budget-conscious picks. Despite low, low room rates (below $50 USD), TripAdvisor reviewers praise the hotel for its cleanliness and friendly staff. The latter includes an English-speaking owner and Rambo the dog. There are just six rooms here, giving the hotel an intimate, home-away-from-home feel. Standard Doubles and Deluxe Doubles sleep two, while the Family Room has space for four.
All rooms are equipped with an ensuite bathroom, TV and DVD player, air-conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. Store your snacks in the fridge/freezer and enjoy a cup of coffee on your private patio. Other facilities include a swimming pool and a restaurant serving simple Thai and western dishes. The hotel also offers a complimentary shuttle to the nearby beach or town and can arrange scooter rentals and inexpensive airport transfers.
Best for Luxury: Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui
Experience the peak of luxury at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui. Located on the island’s exclusive northwest headland, this five-star haven is far from the tourist hubbub and boasts a spectacular private beach, infinity pool, and tennis courts. Villas are perched on the hillside and exquisitely decorated with custom artwork and dark rosewood furniture. You’ll also have the luxury of your own private infinity pool. For unparalleled opulence, book a Private Residence complete with an al fresco dining pavilion and live-in butler.
Spend lazy days indulging in signature massages at the spa or sign up for one of the hotel’s unique experiences. These include overnight yacht trips through Angthong National Marine Park and training sessions with a professional Muay Thai boxer. When it comes to food and drink, you’re spoiled for choice. Hilltop Koh Thai Kitchen specializes in slow-cooked curries and local seafood, while Pla Pla is an atmospheric oceanside grill. At Asia’s only rum library, Rum Vault, you can taste rums from all over the world.
Best for Families: Lanna Samui
Lanna Samui may be one of the island’s chicest design hotels but it also welcomes families with a range of amenities just for kids. It’s a 10-minute stroll from Bangrak Beach and offers a complimentary shuttle to beachfront pool and restaurant, Chi Beach Club. Back at the hotel, there’s a dedicated kids’ pool and a Kids Club with craft classes, cooking classes, and a wealth of children’s books and movies. You can leave your little ones there while you visit the spa, or you can take them with you for their own Kids Massage.
The hotel offers three types of suites — studios, one bedrooms, and two bedrooms. All have full kitchens for easy self-catering while cots and extra beds are available upon request. Mom and Dad get spoiled too with spa bath toiletries, a TV, and Egyptian cotton sheets. Head to Vanilla Restaurant for lunch or dinner and sample organic, locally sourced Thai cuisine. For younger palettes, there’s also a choice of burgers, pizza, and pasta.
Best for Romance: Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa
Located at the western end of laid-back Bophut Beach, Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa is a tranquil choice for a romantic getaway. Reconnect with your loved one in the hotel’s lush tropical garden or by the inviting swimming pool. Active couples can rent paddle boats and canoes at the Beach Club, then unwind with a massage or body wrap at the spa. Choose a Garden or Beachfront villa and discover a contemporary Thai paradise complete with a Moroccan lounge and daybed, a private verandah and an open-air Balinese bathroom.
All room rates include breakfast. Celebrate a special anniversary with afternoon tea amidst the Louis XVI-style furniture and graceful chandeliers of Le Salon de Ti or sit down to a candlelit dinner on Zazen Restaurant’s sea-view terrace. The hotel also offers Romantic Island Getaway packages that include a five-night stay, a couples massage, scattered flower petals, and chilled sparkling wine on arrival. The highlight is a romantic dinner on the beach attended by your own private butler.
Best Boutique: Code
Design-driven Code is located far north near postcard-perfect Bang Por Beach. A minimalist sanctuary of graceful lines and pure white interiors, it offers 40 suites and one five-bedroom villa. All suites mesmerize with floor-to-ceiling ocean views, a generous living area with white leather sofas, and a private terrace. Luxuries like Egyptian cotton linens complement state-of-the-art technology and kitchen appliances. Some suites have direct access to the hotel’s infinity pool and all include a complimentary breakfast.
For lunch and dinner, enjoy organic Asian and Western cuisine at open-air Vanilla Fusion Bar & Restaurant. The spa includes a steam room, sauna, and outdoor jacuzzi, and if you like to work out on vacation, you can do so in the ocean-view fitness studio. Code also offers a wide range of activities; sign up for a cocktail class or Thai cooking lesson, explore the coast on a jet ski safari, or mingle with other guests at a barbecue pool party.
Best for Nightlife: Ark Bar Beach Resort
If you’re coming to Koh Samui to party, there’s no better address than Ark Bar Beach Resort. Located at the raucous heart of Chaweng Beach, it’s surrounded by bars and clubs and is a major nightlife destination in its own right. Every day, international DJs play house music around the Party Pool from 2:00 PM onwards, finishing up around 2:00 AM on the beach. You can also expect live music, fire shows, and themed pool and beach parties.
The hotel has three swimming pools and two swim-up bars (allowing you to replenish your drink without leaving the water). Fuel up ahead of a big night at one of two beachfront restaurants, both of which serve an eclectic range of local and international dishes. There are 300 rooms to choose from, all with simple tropical decor, TVs, and air-conditioning. A mini-bar and private balcony provide all the ingredients you need for scenic pre-drinks. Just don't expect any quiet nights — this hotel is recommended for party animals only.
Best B&B: Pink House Samui
Pink House Samui is the island’s top B&B according to TripAdvisor. Reviewers say their experience is made special by welcoming hosts Caroline and François, who are happy to help with everything from restaurant recommendations and trip reservations to scooter hire. The hotel is nestled at the foot of the Lamai Hills and is a five-minute scooter ride from the nearest beach. Inside its bright pink walls, six bedrooms await with unique themes such as Elephant, Bamboo, and Zen.
All rooms are clean and spacious with a flat-screen TV, mini-bar, and Wi-Fi. Some have private terraces and the largest is a family room with space for up to four guests. The complimentary breakfast is served on the ocean-view terrace from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM. Prepare to feast on fresh fruit, French bread, and delicious homemade yogurt. Other highlights of this cozy B&B include an infinity pool with beautiful coastal views and a living room with a lending library. Airport and ferry transfers can be arranged.
Best Hostel: P&T Hostel
Backpackers on a budget will love P&T Hostel on Bangrak Beach. It’s surrounded by restaurants, bars, and cafés and located directly across the road from Big Buddha Pier. From here, you can catch the ferry to Koh Phangan’s famous Full Moon Party.
Rooms range from private twins and doubles to mixed dormitories with six or eight beds. All options have air-conditioning, free towels, and complimentary high-speed WiFi. Some even have private balconies and most have ensuite bathrooms. Order tasty, affordable Asian staples from the restaurant and get to know your fellow travelers at the bar. There’s even an on-site travel agent and scooter hire shop, making it easy to book excursions at backpacker-friendly rates.