Samuiâ€™s accommodation scene has gone from scruffy to stylish in the last few years, and perhaps no property better exemplifies the trend than the Banyan Tree. Set on a series of terraces that cascade down a lush hillside to a horseshoe-shaped bay, the resort features 78 pitched-roof villas bedecked in sumptuous Thai silks and coconut-wood accents. Check-in at the ridge-top reception area is accompanied by sweeping views of the Gulf of Thailand, and while itâ€™s physically all down hill from there, the experience is anything but. Given that all the villas come with plunge pools and a full range of mod cons, youâ€™d be excused for never venturing beyond your front door. Yet you should, because the extensive facilities here include three excellent restaurants, two bars, a small but private beach, and (of course) an expansive spa, which just happens to be home to the islandâ€™s first hydrotherapy circuit. This tropical getawayâ€™s hallmark, however, is even simpler to describe: serenity.
99/9 Moo 4, Maret; 66-77/915-333; banyantree.com; doubles from US$790
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