Words: Rhonda Bannister
Cradled in the Gulf of Thailand just an hour’s flight from Bangkok, the island of Koh Samui offers a special kind of laid-back luxury. Compact and easy to navigate, with a reputation for both spas and scenery, the island is home to many five-star hotels and resorts — but none quite like Silavadee Pool Spa Resort.
Tucked away in an oasis of lush greenery and bold granite boulders, between the beach towns of Chaweng and Lamai, Silavadee is one of Asia’s leading five-star eco sanctuaries. Little wonder couples seeking a romantic Samui escape are charmed by this hedonistic haven of privacy, peace, and tranquillity.
Look & feel
The story behind this unique Thai resort is worth telling. The property is privately owned and was developed by the Soonthonvasu family over many years. Travelling widely for business, the family educated themselves on how to create a luxurious and memorable guest experience. They researched the world’s best resorts and hotels — then built their own!
Surrounded by a sea of shimmering turquoise and fronted by a private beach, the resort radiates a beautiful sense of belonging. Designed to ‘fit’ the undulating landscape, 80 rooms, pool suites and pool villas have barely disturbed the lush vegetation. Just as the family envisioned. The vibe is restful yet indulgent, with curvaceous forms and natural timbers setting a warmly welcoming tone throughout — the only glitzy thing here is that dazzling Gulf of Thailand view.
Laneways crisscross the property, with each pool villa tucked away from its neighbour to ensure ultimate privacy. Buggies offer easy access to the reception, restaurants, and two ocean-facing infinity pools. There’s no affiliation with any international hotelier chain, so guests experience a very high level of personal attention, much like you would receive as a guest in a Thai home. And every detail honours the Soonthonvasu family’s pioneering commitment to sustainability and conservation. After all, this is a place where sea turtle hatchlings regularly leg it from the resort beach to the ocean!
Good to know: Silavadee means ‘beautiful rock’ in Thai.
Best room for two
Silavadee’s promise of ‘luxury with a breathtaking view’ delivers a thousand-fold in the decadent suites and pool villas. On our first visit several years ago, we stayed in an Ocean View Jacuzzi suite in the main hotel building and loved the space, views from up high, and the balcony jacuzzi.
This time, we upgraded to an Ocean View Pool Villa that was beyond heavenly! Seriously spacious and equipped with every comfort, bell, and whistle, the villas invite you to sink into the comfy couch, soak in the sweetly scented waters of the ginormous terrazzo tub, and swim in your own infinity-edge pool (with massage jets for a spa experience). Many happy hours were spent sprawled on sun loungers or lolling about in the water, sipping bubbly, and gazing at the mesmerising sea and sky beyond. What a way to unwind.
The resort’s organic design ethos flows inside where timber is the hero, floors and walls glow with its richness and warmth, and natural stone lends a cool touch to the bathroom. Just be warned — once you fall into the super-comfortable king-sized bed, you’ll find it hard to leave. But leave you must, because a breakfast spread fit for a king awaits at Moon restaurant, overlooking the main pool and the glistening Gulf of Thailand.
Food & drink
Some of Samui’s most memorable dining experiences can be found at the resort (so don’t be surprised if you never leave!), starting at The Height. As the name suggests, this elevated restaurant overlooks the beach and coastline from its intimate dining room and open-air deck. Sitting beneath the stars and lingering over the delectable Southern Thai dishes is a romantic interlude you’ll treasure long after you leave Thailand. We found ourselves here three times during our five-day stay; the food and service are that good.
A celestial dining line-up (Sun, Moon, Star) delivers all-day options. Drop by the Sun Lounge and Pool Bar for nourishing snacks and drinks or head to Moon for all-day dining with an international flavour. As mentioned, their breakfast spread is superb, with a Thai soup kitchen, an array of cold cuts, a four-page menu of hot and cold selections, freshly squeezed juices, and those naughty-but-delicious pastries. I loved a glass or two of bubbly with breakfast — very civilised and the perfect way to start a day of indulgent relaxation!
A floor above Moon, don’t miss the spectacular rooftop bar and restaurant, Star. Nab one of the sunken tables that seem to float in the infinity pool and watch the sky begin to ignite over Lamai Bay. You’d find us there early evening, before dinner, working our way through the excellent cocktail list and savouring the stellar views.
Plan on staying in? Don’t worry, you can also have your breakfast served poolside or organise a private dinner BBQ with a personal chef on your deck.
Discover your perfect Thailand island
With a private pool, two resort pools (one with a swim-up bar), and a glorious beach at our disposal, we weren’t exactly looking for things to do. But for more active guests, Silavadee offers a compact gym (with sea views, of course) and various complimentary and paid activities including yoga, Muay Thai kickboxing, Thai cooking classes, snorkelling, SUP, kayaking, and personalised day trips. For those wanting to make healthy lifestyle changes that go beyond the resort, a range of holistic wellness packages are also available.
For pure relaxation, head directly to the Silavadee Spa to peruse their long list of head-to-toe treatments that will have you both feeling on top of the world (see below). And if you must leave for a few hours, a resort shuttle runs guests to Lamai (about 10 minutes) and Chaweng (about 30 minutes).
Couples will love
Between the villas, the views, and the outstanding cuisine, there is everything for couples to love about Silavadee Pool Spa Resort as a romantic escape or part of a holiday in Thailand. One experience that really stayed with us was the Silavadee Honeymoon for Couples spa treatment. Imagine 270 minutes of pure bliss, starting with a herbal steam bath, body scrub and wrap, and a romantic Jasmine milk bath, and finishing with a massage and facial treatment. I still have dreams about this deliriously pampering experience!
Find out more at silavadeeresort.com