The Luxe List 2011, Thailand: W Retreat Koh Samui, Koh Samui

A fortress of black slate with sunken lounges and a sky-blue infinity pool, W Hotels’ first Thai outpost is an arresting sight. Even so, what wows most guests when they arrive in the lobby is not the cool design features, but the view. Perched on a hilltop at the quiet end of Bophut Beach, the resort boasts vistas that stretch as far as neighboring Koh Phangan.

Most of the 75 pool villas here are arranged in a grid beachside or on the hill; book an Ocean View Escape for the best outlook. Bangkok-based design firm P49 fashioned the interiors using tones of charcoal and red, with beanbag chairs, glittery cushions, egg-shaped baths, and plunge pools. Sip, the beachside bar, is another highlight, as much for its cocktails and party vibe as for its sea views, which can also be savored at the Japanese-inspired restaurant next door.

4/1 Moo 1, Tambol Maenam; 86-77/915-999;; doubles from US$554

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