Hot New Hotel: Kimpton Kitalay Samui

IHG Hotels & Resorts’ boutique-style Kimpton brand has opened a second outpost in Thailand and its first-ever resort in Southeast Asia.

On the grounds of Kimpton Kitalay Samui. (All photos courtesy of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants)

Planning a trip to Koh Samui later this year? You might want to consider the newly minted Kimpton Kitalay Samui on Choengmon Beach, a quiet cove just a 10-minute drive from the airport. Its name is a portmanteau of the Thai words for “song” or “singing” (kita) and “sea” (lay), an apt moniker for a place styled as an elevated version of a fishing village that aims to capture the laid-back lifestyle of its island home.

Thai studio P49 Deesign gave the resort a contemporary yet rustic look with traditional accents, including elements made from repurposed driftwood and pieces by local artisans. Earthy hues as well as wave-inspired furniture on the terraces add character to the 138 rooms and pool villas, while guests will find Thai basketry motifs on the bathroom floors and artwork on the walls. Inside the rooms, the handwoven ocean blue cotton robes were custom-designed by tailors on Koh Samui, and an oversize bathtub allows weary city-dwellers to bliss out with sea salt– and patchouli-scented bath amenities by the Harnn brand.

Travelers bedding down at the resort’s 21 garden and oceanfront villas can choose from a variety of one-bedroom options that promise between 171 and 224 square meters of living space, while the Two Bedroom Villa Kitalay, housed across three separate buildings, measures in at a whopping 628 square meters, including a large private pool just steps from the beach.

The plunge pool of a One Bedroom Oceanfront Pool villa.

A daybed on the balcony of an Essential Sea View room.

A view of the hotel from the beachfront.

Junio, the seaport-inspired kids’ club at Kimpton Kitalay Samui.

Kimpton Kitalay Samui also tempts guests with five drinking and dining venues. Lanai offers a variety of curated brews including Thai single-origin coffee, artisanal teas, and locally produced spirits. Fish House is a beach house–style restaurant where fresh ocean bounty is prepared in all sorts of ways: grilled, as a crudo or ceviche, in hearty soups, and as a filling in playful seafood bao. Guests can also look forward to poolside cocktails at Shades Ocean Lounge and Pool Bar, savor comfort food at the all-day Thai café, Boho, or sample a range of baked goods, sweets, specialty teas, and cold-press juices at Hom Baking Company.

The resort’s lifestyle programing ranges from the daily morning kickstart experience to Kimpton’s Social Hour, which provides an opportunity for guests to mingle with locals. Travelers bringing along their four-legged friends will be thrilled to know that Kimpton Kitalay Samui is a pet-friendly property where furry companions are given special amenities and treats, and even a pet spa experience.

Junio, the 500-square-meter, split-level kids’ club, has been designed to foster interaction, creative play, and active exploration. Little guests can learn new skills like tie-dyeing and weaving with coconut leaves, or they can roll up their sleeves for a day tending to plants and growing their own sprouts at the resort’s herb garden.

Spa-goers, meanwhile, will be pampered through the 14-step wellness ritual at Pimãanda by Harnn, or its signature treatment, Paradise of Wondrous Sea. There’s also a 24-hour gym and outdoor pool, and guests will get to sign up for a “Thai Hermit’s program” that teaches full-body stretching to calm the mind and give one’s energy levels a boost.

Doubles from US$264; kimptonkitalaysamui.com

The private pool of the Two Bedroom Villa Kitalay.

An aerial view of the same villa at Kimpton Kitalay Samui.

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