Michelle Jana Chan, writing for The Telegraph, discovers that Thailand’s party island is attracting flashpackers as well as backpackers. These travellers appreciate the finer things, and are looking for Koh Samui villa rentals with that little “extra”
Long known as a destination for backpackers, Koh Samui is sprucing up its image to appeal to a different kind of independent traveller: stylish, well-heeled and looking to be cosseted in a villa with butler service and world-class spa treatments, rather than party all night and crash out next day with a copy of Alex Garland’s dark debut novel The Beach.
The change is conspicuous all over Koh Samui. At the airport (now served by direct flights from Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore), I noticed as many smartly dressed British families and honeymoon couples from Seoul as I did Australian backpackers. Some luxury resorts are developing private residences to sell as upmarket second homes to these wealthier and more discerning visitors.
The shift of gear began five years ago, when a Four Seasons opened on the site of a former coconut plantation. It was the first property on the island with access to a private beach, and each of its 74 hillside villas, designed along traditional Thai lines, had its own infinity pool.
Since then a swathe of high-end hotels has opened, including Le Méridien, a Banyan Tree, the W Retreat and, last autumn, Conrad Koh Samui. It’s evidence that the island as we knew it, with its cheap bars and run-down hostels on Chaweng Beach, has moved on and up.
Nor is it just international luxury chains that are changing the face of the island.
Koh Samui Villa Rentals at Choeng Mon Beach, Chaweng, Thailand
Set in a true oasis among giant coconut palms within a fully walled private estate in a gentle elevated position and 5 minutes walk from white sand pristine Choeng Mon beach www.luxuryvillarentalskohsamui.com offer 3 large and luxurious private 3 bedrooms villas, ideally situated for you to enjoy a wonderful beach holiday in this tropical paradise setting. The beach is an unspoilt crescent of fine pure white sand, with breath-taking views across the sparkling azure-blue waters of the bay.