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.
Terrazzo bath for two
A short stroll to the quaint and quirky Fisherman’s Village
A welcome drink and fruit basket, 15-minute head and shoulder massage, and 10 per cent off at the Spa, restaurants and bars
In the know
Also need to know:
Couples should note that the hotel is popular with families, thanks to its kids' club, so it's busy during school holidays. Guests staying over New Year's Eve are required to attend the hotel's lavish gala dinner.
Beach gear is all you need – you’ll swelter in anything heavier.
Devil-may-care – you don’t have to.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
‘Did I hear you say Anantara Bophut?’ A face swivelled toward me just before take-off. ‘Definitely one of Koh Samui’s best hotels!' Diane had just overheard my last-minute call to Mrs Smith confirming our Thailand holiday rendezvous. ‘It’s right on Bophut beach, so you’ve chosen very well,’ she continued. ‘Fisherman’s Village is probably my favourite touristy area and Anantara is right next to it.’
This was great. A photojournalist and regular visitor to the island, Diane was not only a font of all Koh Samui knowledge – and a very discerning one at that – but she was also thankfully sitting in front of me, eliminating that potentially embarrassing moment when one of us tries to put on earphones to watch a film while the other person is still in mid-conversation.
Anantara Bophut suits a night-time arrival, which Mrs Smith and I discovered when she slammed on the brakes of our 4X4 and exclaimed ‘Wow! This must be it.’ In daylight we would have missed the avenue of flame torches that guided us over the ancient drawbridge and past the tropical gardens that led to Anantara’s main entrance – featuring a well-lit Hanuman fountain guarding the foyer. ‘We can always go back to those beach huts and “keep it real” like you suggested,’ I said wryly. Too late. Mrs Smith was already making a beeline for the tray of welcome cocktails in the doorway.
Much is said about Thai people’s friendliness, but it’s hard to appreciate the level of warmth and generosity until you witness it first-hand. While we wouldn’t argue with the complimentary lemongrass cocktail, 15-minute foot massage and instant room upgrade, it was the broadest of smiles from reception that made us feel the most welcome. ‘Does our room upgrade still have a sea view?’ I asked ungratefully.
Passing the private dining cabana and Anantara Bophut’s legendary infinity pool, we finally arrived at our second-floor suite. ‘Two views,’ the porter answered, opening the curtains to a double balcony overlooking the ocean. The two terraces, along with deep terrazzo side-by-side bathtubs and a super-size four-poster suggested that our new room was definitely bigger, if not better. As I left Mrs Smith doing the backstroke in the bath while munching on a succulent white pear and humming Kings of Leon, I played with the swivel TV that sat in the centre of the room to see if you really could watch it from the bed, sofa and balcony. Who said men can’t multi-task as well?
We hadn’t asked for a 7am wake-up call, but four birds squawking below our room duly obliged with the sort of high-pitched mating ritual that would shame any common cuckoo clock. The view that awaited us from our terrace(s) was worth any rude awakening. A guest was already doing laps in the 60ft palm tree-lined swimming pool below, taking advantage of the cloudless sky and fresh breeze brought by last night’s midnight storm. The perfect horizon was broken only by silhouette of Koh Phangan, the island famous for its Full Moon parties. Sipping our osmosis-filtered water, we admired the view for a silent 10 minutes until hunger tore us away.
Say what you will about buffets, but for a famished man a buffet breakfast is the feast of gods. My fruit platter would have a fed a family of six and I could not actually see Mrs Smith across the table until I had eaten my way down to the papaya. Butternut squash omelette with double brie and rocket was sensational and certainly filled a gap. And next – well, unfortunately the scowl on Mrs Smith face as I left the table plate in hand suggested I call it quits. There was some sunbathing, swimming and foot-massaging to fit in before lunch, after all.
Anantara translates as ‘endless water without borders’, which makes sense when stepping out in the sunlit gardens and encountering the resort in full glory. The hotel’s dramatic centrepiece is a lily pad-laden infinity pond, shrouded by a mini rainforest that leads to Full Moon, Anantara Bophut’s Italian restaurant perched on stilts above the water. Not far is the pool, and beyond that the beach.
The temple-like spa appears to ‘float’ in the water gardens, with 12ft-thick doors ushering in a sense of tranquillity. The silence was only broken by Mrs Smith laughing at the sumo wrestler-sized pyjamas they had given me to wear. I didn’t care. The ginger tea, foot-cleansing ritual and haunting flute music in the background had already put me in a trance. As Mrs Smith lay opposite, immensely enjoying a gentle aromatherapy scented rubdown, I embarked on my traditional Thai massage. Unless you’re muscles are tighter than spandex, answer the former when asked if you want your Thai massage ‘medium’ or ‘hard.’ The waif-like masseuse is stronger than she looks.
As we woke the next morning to the same glorious weather, beautiful view and tropical sounds, we knew what made Anantara Bophut so special. It could not be more Thai – you are constantly reminded of how special the location is, and how you couldn’t possibly be anywhere else in the world. Thailand is full of beautiful and famous islands, but few hotels can offer such a complete experience. Mrs Smith and I will go back. Will I have another ‘hard’ Thai massage? I’m not sure. Would I stay at the Anantara Bophut again? Most definitely.
99/9 Moo 1, Samui Island, Surat Thani, Koh Samui, Thailand 84320
3.0 mi / 4.8 km from city centre
- Valet parking
- Aerobics instruction
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- Tennis court
- On-Site parking
- Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
- Room service
- Onsite laundry
Head to High Tide for spicy Thai dinners in a laidback modern setting. There's also Full Moon restaurant, for succulent, chargrilled meat and fish.
Forget the restaurants and plump for a private seafood barbecue, served on your balcony or terrace.
Both restaurants stop serving at 11pm, but drinks are available until 12.30am.
Each restaurant’s most popular dishes are available from room service 24 hours a day.
Hanging lamps and ochre walls lend Eclipse Bar an air of Moroccan-inspired mystery; the tall rattan stools and soothing soundtrack provide a tropical-style chill-out vibe. Sup a signature Samui Sling on the garden verandah while the sun sets.
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