Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, Koh Samui, Thailand | HOTEL REVIEW

INTRODUCTION TO THE FOUR SEASONS RESORT, KOH SAMUI

On the quieter western coast of Koh Samui, The Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui sprawls over a headland, and features multiple beaches, and stunning Thai-inspired villas with panoramic views, but is held back slightly by the service issues we experienced, which are easily rectified.

Date of stay: July 2018
Room: One-Bedroom Pool Villa, Villa #602
Reviewed by: Chinmoy Lad

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PHOTOS AND VIDEOS by CHINMOY LAD

WHAT I LOVED

  • Location. Koh Samui is a small island, and less developed compared to its more renowned cousin, Phuket. However, there’s no denying that certain areas of Koh Samui (like Chaweng) can be rather busy. The Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui is set on the quieter western coast, and is the ideal location for a relaxing stay, but it’s only a 30-45 minute drive to the other (busier) side of the island for nightlife or for some street food.
  • Arrival. From a setting standpoint, this has to be one of the most spectacular arrivals, which really sets the scene for the destination. The arrival pavilion, though small, is set high up the resort and enjoys uninterrupted ocean views. There are a few easy lounging chairs to relax while staff await to take you to your room.
  • Design. Elegant, contemporary yet with traditional southern Thai roots in dark woods and thatched roofs, the sprawling villas are quintessentially Four Seasons and feature colours of the sea. The resort is designed by favoured Four Seasons architect and designer Bill Bensley, but this is one of his subtler works (compared to the usual eccentric geometric patterns and colourful features in his latter, signature resorts such as The Siam and InterContinental Danang).
  • Rooms and villas. The resort features an all villa concept, with all villas featuring expansive indoor and outdoor living spaces, private infinity pools (the entry level category, One Bedroom Villa, which we stayed in, features a plunge pool only, while all categories above that have larger pools). Some villas also have expansive views over the Gulf of Thailand, while the premier villas are the rather confusingly named Beachfront Pool Villa (not actually on the beach) and Beach Villa with Pool (actually on the beach) are the two highly prized categories. The villas are generously sized, starting at 103 sqm/1,108 sqft.
  • Residence villas. The residence villas deserve a mention here, available to rent as 1- to 5-bedroom. While some of the residences feature more hillside views (with glimpses of the ocean), due to the positioning of the residences on the jutting headland, a select few enjoy enviable unobstructed views of the Gulf of Thailand. Additionally, what makes the residence villas unique is that each villa has a customary lengthy private pool, while each master bedroom within a residence is almost its own villa, featuring its own private plunge pool and thus allowing for maximum privacy.
  • Views. Whether its shaded coconut grove and jungle views with hints of ocean from most of the villas, or the panoramic unobstructed 180-degree sea views from Koh Thai Kitchen‘s vantage point (as well as from some of the premium level rooms), the views at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui are simply stunning, overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.
  • Beaches. The resort features three beaches – one main beach, and two smaller coves that are typically used for private occasions. The sand quality is fine, and the beach is combed regularly.
  • Pool. The main lengthy swimming pool, fronting the beach but elevated and enjoying infinity edge views, is absolutely stunning and a great place to enjoy afternoons or early evenings with light snacks and refreshments. The pool is served by CoCoRum Bar, with a mix of seating and lounging styles.
  • Spa. The spa is in a lovely hillside setting and the spa rooms have a combination of indoor and outdoor spaces, including an outdoor bath in the lush green surrounds.
  • Mexican themed dinner at CoCoRum Bar. While on holiday, I typically tend to eat local as much as possible for meals (with the exception of one burger/sandwich/pizza here and there or for snacks). So when the team suggested we try the Mexican-themed dinner at CoCoRum Bar, I was a bit skeptical (especially considering the mediocre food served upto this point), but the private dinner, cooked and prepared in front of us behind the bar, was course after course of perfection – and the fish and avocado tacos we had were some of the best tacos we’ve ever had.
  • Rum Vault. A very cool concept – featuring locally bottled rums and prized rums – and laid out perfectly with the heavy metal door entrance.
  • Muay Thai ring. When in Thailand…the resort’s own Muay Thai ring is one of the most spectacular we’ve seen (although seemingly smaller in size), with panoramic ocean views.
  • Kids Club. The kids club at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui is very enticing.  The resort also arranges cooking classes for the young ones, muay thai or tennis for the kids, even a spa for the kids.

POINTS TO NOTE

Note: We have generally had consistently good feedback on the property from our guests, so we did have rather lofty expectations going on. We were extremely surprised by the issues we experienced below, which have been ironed out with management. We continue to receive favourable feedback from guests’ stays at the resort.

  • Welcome drink. We were one of three or four couples coming from Hong Kong on the same flight (and thus the same time) for the long weekend. While we were greeted by the Resort Manager Reza at the arrival pavilion, I quickly realised we were the only couple that wasn’t offered a welcome drink (although we were given cold, wet towels to freshen up). Normally, this would simply be an oversight which could have been overlooked, however, it seemed to be symptomatic of something much more…
  • Service and housekeeping. Regrettably, we had several service and housekeeping issues that are difficult to overlook at The Four Seasons Resort which dampened our otherwise enjoyable stay:
    • On the first afternoon, housekeeping came to clean the room at an inopportune time when my partner was in the shower, and was I out of the room. While such incidents can occur, it was the string of issues prior to this incident and during/after that make this worse:
      • I was out with key resort staff on a site tour, and was asked several times where my partner is by several different staff members. I told them she was sleeping in the villa as she was tired. Unfortunately, this message was never relayed to housekeeping – the whole incident could have been avoided with a simple walkie-talkie message.
      • While housekeeping unfortunately stepped in at the wrong time, instead of apologising and advising that they will return at a more convenient time, they asked my partner if they can clean the room (to which she politely replied ‘yes’), to which the housekeeping staff still did not offer to return at a more convenient time. So I came back to a bizarre scenario of housekeeping going about their duties inside the room while my partner waited in the outdoor terrace on a sunlounger, covered in a towel, dripping wet, which is simply unacceptable.
  • Food. Apart from the breakfast which was consistently good throughout our stay, and the incredible Mexican-themed dinner at Pla Pla, most other food we had during our stay was pretty mediocre, including some very low points:
    • Room service on the first night: spaghetti bolognaise was very dry and poorly made, and I had (I’m sad to say this) the single worst club sandwich I’ve ever had with dry, bread that was not even warmed up, nevermind toasted.
  • Mini-bar. While we have no complaints about a charged mini-bar (except that we think free mini-bars are the next trend here to stay, and would be great if Four Seasons got on board early and become a pioneer here), we were surprised at how it was charged. While many items were branded (or third-party, like soft drinks etc), there were some mixed nuts and cookie jars that had no branding on them and were in a Four Seasons label. At the Amans, for example, such items are homemade or locally made within the vicinity and not charged and replenished on a daily basis. We did not immediately see a price list (it was tucked away well under two or three items, not something you would immediately notice), and assumed they were similarly homemade or locally made and complimentary. They were also replenished daily. We were surprised they were charged, something we only found out on the final evening prior to departure when we received our folio upto this point. They were waived at the final bill after raising the issue, but something to be wary of as it’s not immediately clear what is and isn’t charged and the price list is tucked away in a hidden spot.
  • Departure.  Most luxury resorts will go out of their way for a send off, whether it’s a whole team lining up to wave goodbye (common for very small or private island resorts), a General Manager or Resort Manager or key member of staff at the departure lounge to bid you farewell and wish for a safe journey and a quick return to the property, or even simply providing a simple yet memorable departure gift or a snack to enjoy on the way home. At The Four Seasons, a buggy picked us up at our villa, drove us to the departure lounge, we got in our private car and left. There were no warm goodbyes at The Four Seasons Koh Samui, and no one to wish you a safe journey or for your return soon.

GENERAL INFORMATION AND GETTING THERE

  • Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui is a 30-40 minute ride from Samui Airport (USM). Since the roads are typically narrow and one lane only, this time can vary.
  • Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui is about a 1 hour ride from the busy area of Chaweng
  • Samui Airport is serviced by direct flights from Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore among others.

HOTEL FACT SHEET

  • LOCATION: Koh Samui, Thailand
  • OPENED: 2007
  • HOTEL ROOMS: 60
  • RESIDENCE VILLAS: 10
  • RATES FROM: USD 650/night++
    Rates are only an approximation and subject to change and availability

LOCATION

OFFICIAL HOTEL PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

© Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Special thanks to Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui for hosting us.

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