Top 10 boutique hotels in Thailand
A serious hotel boom in Thailand has seen a rise in one-of-a-kind boutiques, all of which offer effortless luxury, glamorous décor, and a high level of personal service. Here’s the best 10 sleeps for making you feel special from the minute you check in.
10. Kantary Beach, Khao Lak
The scene: It’s all grown-up glamour and modern design at this sleek set-up just a short sashay from the restaurants, cafés and bars of Khao Lak. Complete with a strict adults-only policy between November to April, you’re duly spoiled with a couple of freeform pools (one of which has a swim-up bar), well-equipped gym, and a high level of service from the eager-to-please staff. For eats and treats, there’s Café Andaman for all-day Thai and international cuisine, Similan for Mediterranean à la carte dishes, and the rooftop Otter's Bar for anytime cocktails.
The sleep: All of the 206 contemporary-styled suites and villas assure stylish décor throughout; think gleaming whites paired with earthy colour tones. There’s comfy beds dressed with white cotton linens, lovely bathrooms with bathtubs and showers, and private balconies overlooking the Andaman Sea. Nice extras include flatscreen TVs with cable channels, DVD players, tea and coffee-making facilities, and Wi-Fi access. The more splurge-worthy suites have private patios with open-air showers and direct access to the resort’s private white-sand beach.
Booking: Kantary Beach, Khao Lak
9. Dewa Nai Yang Beach Resort, Phuket
The scene: Characterised by effortless interior design and a knockout setting on private sands at Nai Yang Beach, this five-star playground feels grand but not at all fussy. There’s two pools (one is a lap pool for serious swimmers), well-equipped gym, watersports galore, and peaceful spa for all sorts of beauty rituals. Equally standout is the dining; mostly the Terrace Grill Restaurant for its Thai fusion cuisine, Bread & Butter Bakery for its baked goodies, and Bamboo Bar for its cocktails. And for a bit more panache, there’s a wine and cheese shop right in front of the resort.
The sleep: Each of the 96 individually-designed pool villas and suites has a welcoming, colourful and modern feel. Expect all-white décor with splashes of oranges and reds, fabulously large balconies, flatscreen TVs, Wi-Fi access, and spacious bathrooms with separate rain showers. The Junior and Family Suites come with a living/dining area and kitchenette while the decadent Pool Villas have a private plunge pool, four-poster bed, outdoor bathroom with bathtub and rain shower, and outdoor terrace with comfortable seating area.
Booking: Dewa Nai Yang Beach Resort, Phuket
8. Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort, Koh Samui
The scene: Taken over by luxe hotel group Outrigger in 2015, this five-star boutique sleep on Koh Samui’s gorgeous Hanuman Bay is perfect for stressed-out urbanites looking to slow down the pace a bit. And while the 450-metre beachfront provides a delightful backdrop, it’s the facilities here that really wow; mostly the black lava rock swimming pool, relaxing sun deck, and rather lavish two-storey Navasana Spa. There’s also three restaurants for surf-and-turf and international fare as well as a library for afternoon teas with finger-sandwiches and scones.
The sleep: The design style in each of the 52 sea-facing pool suites and pool villas is bold and stylish. Expect huge open-plan living areas, high ceilings, generous sun decks with luxe day beds, and high-tech essentials such as pre-loaded iPods, flatscreen TVs with cable channels and DVD players, well-stocked minibars, and free Wi-Fi. Plunge pools come with every single room, but for ultimate flashiness book one of the newer pool villas that have much larger terraces, private eight-metre swimming pools, and bathrooms with standalone tubs and rain showers.
Booking: Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort, Koh Samui
7. Anantara Layan Phuket Resort, Phuket
The scene: This classy resort at the end of Layan Beach ups the ante with top-notch facilities. There’s a superb watersports centre, well-equipped gym, Thai cookery classes, two outdoor pools, and a hilltop wedding pavilion just in case you fancy tying the knot or renewing your wedding vows. Further highlights include a sublime spa with seven treatment rooms, two excellent restaurants for Thai and Mediterranean-leaning menus, and the chance to enjoy wine tasting sessions with a wine guru who will teach you to swirl and sniff like a true connoisseur.
The sleep: Cream-coloured walls, gleaming wooden floors, customised artworks and Oriental design flourishes give the 30 rooms and suites their elegant edge. All are supremely spacious and packed out with lots of fancy extras; from Apple TV’s and Nespresso machines to Bose sound systems and free-to-use beach bags and books. There’s also 47 spacious pool villas that come with large terraces, private pools, and outdoor bathtubs. Some also have direct beach access from beautiful lawns filled with tropical greenery.
Booking: Anantara Layan Phuket Resort, Phuket
6. The Tubkaak Boutique Resort, Krabi
The scene: An intimate set-up with contemporary-cool Thai interior styling, this dreamy little hotel is set on the white sands of Tubkaak Beach. Everything here is geared up for relaxation; from the attractive L'escape Spa with its Oriental and traditional Thai therapies and treatments, to the excellent library filled with free-to-borrow books. There’s two restaurants for Thai cuisine and Italian specialties, a gym with state-of-the-art cardio equipment, and an artisan gift shop selling everything from delicately-woven silk scarves to intricately-carved wooden ornaments.
The sleep: While none of the 59 rooms, suites and villas is alike, all come with an outdoor sunken bath you’ll definitely spend a good few hours soaking in. Thoughtful touches include hammocks, free-to-use beach bags, sandals and towels, flatscreen TVs with satellite channels and DVD players, complimentary Wi-Fi, Bose sound systems, and Nespresso machines. The standalone beach pool villas are more expensive, but worth it for the coconut and teak wood detailing, indoor and outdoor shower, private pool with Jacuzzi, and easy beach access.
Booking: The Tubkaak Boutique Resort, Krabi
5. Zazen Boutique Resort, Koh Samui
The scene: Sitting pretty at the finest end of Bo Phut Beach, these four-star dwellings (named after a meditative discipline in Zen Buddhism) are low-key, luxurious, and immediately relaxing - especially for those seeking inner calm. Choose from rigorous or restorative one-to-one yoga classes, group cookery classes and divine spa treats - or simply channel your energy into diving, cycling, watersports, and swimming. Most exceptional is the high-profile restaurant that pulls focus on Thai food, gourmet French-influenced cuisine, and award-winning wines.
The sleep: Complete with a Thai décor scheme with Mexican design touches, each of the 26 bungalows encapsulate the resort’s peaceful and very high-end vibe. Expect customised Asian artworks, oversized beds raised on platforms, open-air bathrooms with large mirrors and rain showers, and modern must-haves such as flatscreen TVs, iPod docking stations and DVD players. Extras that make your stay just that little bit more special include silk dressing gowns and slippers, flip flops, free mozzie repellent, and towels cleverly-folded into all sorts of shapes.
Booking: Zazen Boutique Resort, Koh Samui
4. SALA Samui Resort & Spa, Koh Samui
The scene: For a brilliant blend of indoor-outdoor living, this five-star resort has chic written all over it - not least for its setting on the glistening sands of Choeng Mon Beach. There’s two beachfront pools, fitness centre, yoga pavilion, and showstopping spa complete with four private treatment rooms and four open-air massage salas that cleverly float on a lotus pond. For eats and treats, hit the beach bar for sundowners, the loaded wine cellar for global brands, and the two restaurants for Mediterranean-style cooking as well as Thai and international fare.
The sleep: With the exception of the Deluxe Balcony Rooms, all of the 69 spacious villas and suites come with their own private pools. Expect immaculately-designed spaces replete with white and neutral décor, king-size beds dressed with high-quality linens, open-air outdoor bathrooms with outdoor showers and bathtubs, stunning views of the surrounds. There’s no shortage of mod cons here, either. Expect flatscreen TVs with satellite and cable channels, DVD players, home entertainment systems, tea and coffee-making facilities, and free Wi-Fi.
Booking: SALA Samui Resort & Spa, Koh Samui
3. Buri Rasa Village, Koh Phangan
The scene: The kind of place where you wish you’d end up staying a lot longer than planned, this chic little gem is perfectly-positioned on a white-sand beach in Koh Phangan. There’s a gorgeous outdoor pool for all-day lazing, on-site cookery classes for those keen to learn Thai culinary tricks and techniques, and the excellent Beach Club Restaurant that’s one of the most established dining spots on the island. Equally worthy of your attention is the lovely Nam Thai Herbal Spa that offers blissful beachside massages and rejuvenating treatments.
The sleep: All of the uniquely-styled rooms are a good size, with many overlooking the pool or sea. Expect thoroughly modish Thai décor throughout; think carefully-selected wooden furnishings, king-size beds, private balconies or terraces, and spacious en-suite bathrooms with rain showers, bathrobes and toiletries. There’s also flatscreen TVs with cable channels and DVD players, free Wi-Fi, and tea and coffee-making facilities. Some room types come with upgraded extras such as pillow menus, complimentary high teas, and daily ice cream.
Booking: Buri Rasa Village, Koh Phangan
2. Code, Koh Samui
The scene: Fans of minimalistic contemporary design will adore this ultra-modern and award-winning property just a five-minute drive from the turquoise-tinted waters at Bang Por Beach. There’s a huge natural stone infinity pool, state-of-the-art fitness studio with cardio equipment, and tennis court with private lessons (optional). Most appealing is the Cinnamon Spa for its rich East-meets-West treatment menu, and the super-sleek Vanilla for its Thai fusion cuisine paired with wines from Francis Ford Coppola's Californian vineyard.
The sleep: All of the 40 oversized one- or two-bedroom suites come with sliding frosted glass retractable walls to create an open-plan studio space that’s chic and streamlined. Each has lashings of cream and white décor, an oversized bed with deluxe linens, customised teak furniture, and plenty of high-tech appliances. Highlights include Sony TVs, iPod docking stations, swallow-you-up soft white sofas, and private terraces with comfortable daybeds.
Booking: Code, Koh Samui
1. Layana Resort Koh Lanta, Koh Lanta Yai
The scene: It’s easy to see why first-timers and repeat visitors to the island Koh Lanta Yai all beeline for this outstanding five-star complex that’s exclusively for adults. There’s a salt-water infinity pool, DVD and book library, and excellent dining options - most tempting of which is Tides Restaurant for fresh-as-you-like classic Thai fare and seafood specialties. Also standout is the relatively new Linger Longer Spa that’s kitted out with a cave-like salt room as well as Jacuzzi, hydro massage pool, juice bar, and six air-conditioned treatment rooms.
The sleep: Each of the 51 ultra-luxurious rooms and suites dotted throughout the resort assures Thai design flourishes. Expect hardwoods and silks, large balconies, rather huge beds (king-size or twins) dressed with goose-down duvets, and daybeds that double up as a third bed if needed. Bathrooms have bathtubs and separate glass-enclosed showers, with some offering Jacuzzi tubs and open-air garden showers. There’s also generously loaded minibars, tea and coffee-making facilities, and flatscreen TVs with satellite and international channels.
Booking: Layana Resort Koh Lanta, Koh Lanta Yai
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