What to expect
- Sleep Quality
Last 5 reviews
I loved it!
Magnificant location, this place has amazing view with private beach. The staff are welcoming and professional, they made our stay wonderful. This place is one of the best hotel in Thailand, we couldn't ask for more.
Fantastic Panoramic Views from Hillcrest Pool Villa
I considered staying at Banyan Tree Samui a few times in the past but the fact that this property does not participate in the Accor program had been a turn off up to now. However with many hotel chains extending status into 2021 (including Accor), now was the perfect time to give it a try, especially since all other 5-star hotels in Koh Samui were closed anyway. The Banyan Tree brand is sometimes considered to be a notch below Ritz Carlton and Luxury Collection (Marriott) but in my opinion in Koh Samui it’s actually the opposite. This particular BT is one of the best resorts in Samui, which is already a hot bed of luxury hotels to begin with. Banyan Tree Samui is an all-villa property with all guests having their own private pool, similar to Conrad Koh Samui and Vana Belle (Luxury Collection). Those three are generally considered a step above Ritz Carlton where entry level rooms do not have pools and are not villas either. The BT resort is located in a secluded part of the island near Lamai. In my opinion it’s one of the better locations; I personally do not like the location of Conrad or Four Seasons much because they are too isolated and far from everything. BT has the advantage of being close to Lamai where there is a nice beach and some action, and not far either from the most famous beach and nightlife in Chaweng. So there is a lot to do nearby, yet BT is in a totally private area for the hotel guests only, sufficiently removed from the main road. The resort is located a mature wooded area with lots of greenery everywhere and the villas are in perfect harmony with nature, unlike some recent resorts in Samui where vegetation has been razed during construction making such resorts feel a bit artificial for the next few years. BT is set on two hills facing each other so you can get panoramic views of the sea from two sides plus a view of the hill in front. I guess if the resort had been full of guests we could have seen people on the opposite hill in front of us but since occupancy was low we could only see maintenance staff on the other side, once in a while. Even if there had been guests, the opposing hill is a bit far so I do not think privacy is impacted all that much. Upon exploring the resort I concluded that there are considerable differences between villas, not only between room types but also within room types. The exact physical location of each villa has an impact on the view but also on privacy because some villas can be somewhat close to a neighbor or might be a bit exposed to the pathway behind. Our villa was in an ideal spot on the resort by being at the far end of the pathway and was on the very top of one of the hills. The views from our villa were absolutely stunning and better than resorts where you get nice views of the sea only – I personally like the combo of hills/mountains and the sea. I would note that Vana Belle is set on low terrain so it cannot get the same views as BT; Ritz Carlton is hilly but the views are a bit less dramatic than at BT. The BT villa itself is built to a high standard with a grandiose feeling not only because of the view but also because of its very high ceilings (over 3 meters?) and is long but narrow. The shape of the villa maximizes natural light because the entire outward facing wall is a window from floor to ceiling; even at the far end of the villa, the shower has a glass door to allow you to go straight from the swimming pool into the shower if desired. The back of the villa was also designed to ensure good lighting everywhere because there was a frosted glass behind the rain shower, another frosted glass high on the wall above the toilet, and one even in the closet. For our villa this was great, but I would note that some villas had their frosted glass a bit exposed to the pathway so it might feel less private as it can allow to see a silhouette in the shower from the outside. The rest of the shower was visually pleasing – not only it’s very large but I liked the shiny black brick wall along with pebbles on the side which covered the drain. I don’t mind hotels which follow the green movement by eliminating plastic bottles of bathroom amenities, as long as they do not replace their products with cheap generic stuff in the dispensers. I was pleased to find the Banyan Tree signature smell from bathroom amenities as they are among my favorites. We also had an incense by the bedside with a different scent every evening which was a nice touch. From experience in Koh Samui the resorts which are set on hills tend to have fewer mosquitoes because there is not much stagnant water for breeding. Banyan Tree was no exception – we were not disturbed much by mosquitoes during our stay. Being on the top of the hill rather than right in the vegetation at the bottom probably helped too. The infinity pool was very large (4x9 meters) and was much larger than the simple plunge pools found at some competing resorts. Having the fantastic view from there meant that we had no desire to go to the main swimming pool and spent most of our time from the privacy of our villa. Aligned with luxury standards (and even more important during covid), breakfast was offered entirely a la carte and guests also had the option of ordering from the comfort of their villa. Given that we had so much outdoor space and the great views from our villa, this is where we had breakfast on most mornings. The quality of the food was excellent and they allowed us to order pretty much whatever we wanted: we could order off the menu and they would ask the chef if they had the proper ingredients. We enjoyed dishes such as stir-fried vegetables, pad krapow gai, pad thai, fried rice with shrimps, noodle soup, etc. The fruits were also varied and included upscale options such as mangoes and passion fruits. The restaurant itself is not that big considering the number of villas on the property but I guess they don’t need a big restaurant if many guests have their breakfast in their villa. The restaurant is near the beach with sea views so guests without views from their villa might enjoy a change in scenery. There was another restaurant set up high on the resort but it was temporarily closed. The main hotel pool is not very big and is not the highlight of the resort. This is similar with other resorts where all villas have a private pool: the main pool is not used by many guests. The same argument can be made as for the restaurant: guests without a sea view from their villa might find the main pool to be more of a draw since it has some water views. The beach is entirely private for the use of hotel guests only, and is set in a cove with shallow water without big waves. The sea floor was not entirely sand however therefore some places were not easy to walk in the water and the sand on the beach was not as soft and fine as other beaches in Samui. Consequently, other than being private I would not say that the beach is a strength of this hotel. Interestingly with the lack of guests in Thailand recently, sea turtles have been beneficiaries and have started nesting on beaches for the first time in years. Banyan Tree recently had several hatchlings. Service during our stay was excellent, from the pre-arrival e-mail exchange to the service during our stay. There was no sign whatsoever of cutbacks in staff due to low occupancy on the resort, in fact if one afternoon was a bit windy with leaves and branches falling on the resort, soon after we would observe staff clearing the grounds and paths. Housekeeping was done exactly when we requested, and if we ordered breakfast in our villa at 9am, then staff would show up at 9am on the dot. Bottom line, Banyan Tree is an excellent resort with varying degrees of privacy and views between villas. The lack of participation in the Accor program is a minus consequently the best fit for this resort would be occasional travelers who do not have membership in any hotel program and who are looking for a luxury experience with nice mountain and sea views with a large private pool and good dining. BT is probably among the top 5-10 best resorts on the island - I will be interested in returning to Banyan Tree but without ignoring other resorts, because competitors which are part of a loyalty program offer more generous elite benefits and competition is not lacking in Koh Samui with its very high concentration of 5-star hotels on the island.
Beautiful property with wonderful views overlooking the sea. It has a great restaurant, spa and excellent service. I really enjoyed the view of the hills and sea from the Edge restaurant. I would definitely recommend this property.
We took advantage of the drop-in prices due to the corona virus and booked a six-night stay at the end on March 2020. If you are looking for some peace and relaxation then this is the place, the resort has its own private beach and several on-site restaurants; each villa comes with its own private infinity pool and free Wi-Fi service (which dipped in and out which can result in a loss of the TV signal) but this apparently affects the whole island not just the resort. The rain shower is fantastic with great pressure. The bed was huge and extremely comfortable. Each villa comes with a personal smartphone already loaded with contact numbers and the villa host which you can take out of the resort and make free local and international phone calls. The villas are well spread out and the resort operates a number of buggies to transport you around the resort. The villa we stayed in B08 had three main rooms, a sitting area, bedroom and bathroom. Bedroom and sitting area each have its own TV with has various news stations; There is also a selection of movies on demand with come at an extra cost. Free tea and coffee facilities are available which are replenished on a daily basis. There is limited storage for suitcases and clothing so if you take more than one suitcase you will have to use the floor or part of the seating area, which is not ideal. During our stay a breakfast buffet was served at the Sands beach restaurant; the main European food was same as you get at any 5* resort, however they can cook you anything to order and the Thai dishes were superb much better than anything we had tried elsewhere on the island. There is a free shuttle bus service from the resort to Lamai and Central Festival Chaweng twice per day at 11.00 and 15.00 with a pick-up time of 21.00. The resort has an onsite Spa,but this was closed as was the The Edge restaurant due to the shortage of people staying at this time. We have stayed at many 5* resorts in Thailand and elsewhere and it is the interaction with the staff that make a huge difference. The staff at the Banyan Tree were engaging, friendly and couldn’t do enough to make our stay everything it should be, they are all very hard-working people, who were very professional during what must be a very difficult time for people working in the tourist industry. Thanks especially to Dao and Oliver, but the star performer for us was May nothing is too much trouble and she always has a warm and genuine smile. We wish all the staff good health throughout this time
A Week in Paradise
Every single part of our stay was magnificent: the arrival, the chef's dinner at Sands with Fire Throwers, the intimate chef's table dinner at Saffron, the breakfasts beachside at Sands and cliffside at Edge with dailing bubbly, our wonderful villa host Kate and her back-up Dao, the massages and Rainforest (a unique experience), the sea turtle laying eggs while we were there, the daily refresh of our ice/lime-lemon wedges/tonic/mango juice, and even the departure. And the villa itself was so amazing...we enjoyed the pool and jet spa every day, lounging with good books and even a puzzle to complete. Oh, and the sunrise over the sea...mesmerizing and every changing. We will definitely be back.
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