The Luxe List 2012, Thailand: Akaryn Samui, Koh Samui

The fifth hotel by Thai-born hotelier Anchalika Kijkanakorn, whose Aleenta Pranburi property was largely credited with kick-starting Thailand’s boutique hotel boom, snuggles around a small rocky beach at Hanuman Bay, a five-minute drive north of Chaweng town. The 55 standalone pool villas are stylish and cozy, with creamy white walls, terrazzo floors, wood trim, and wonderfully plush beds, although the outdoor decks lack privacy.

There are complimentary yoga and Pilates classes several times a week and an innovative kitchen helmed by Spanish chef Iván Álvarez Parres, who worked stints in the kitchens of Juan Mari Arzak and the late Santi Santamaria. Parres recently opened the 26-seater tapas bar, Ochos, where two communal tables serve sharing dishes of Catalan fare such as escalivada (smoked eggplant topped with tomato and anchovies) and fried cod fritters with honey allioli.

63/182 Moo 5, Bophut; 66-77/914-700;; doubles from US$250.

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