The Luxe List 2012, Thailand: Conrad Koh Samui Resort & Spa, Koh Samui

One of the few west-facing resorts on the Thai holiday island of Samui, the Conrad commands panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand from all of its 80 villas, which are tiered down a hillside to ensure both privacy and unobstructed vistas. Mixing Thai heritage and a spare, sophisticated aesthetic, the spacious villas (starting at 96 square meters) abound in natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows, and open onto wooden sundecks and infinity-edge pools.

Come mealtime, you have a choice of five venues, including Jahn, which specializes in Thai and pan-Asian dishes; Zest, for Mediterranean-style cuisine either indoors or alfresco; and Azure Bar & Grill, for casual poolside dining. For a sundowner with a view, head to the Aura Lounge, a cocktail bar perched high above the resort. An on-site diving and sailing center is on hand for those of a more active persuasion.

49/8-9 Moo 4, Hillcrest Rd.; 66-77/915-888;; doubles from US$750.

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