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Hot List 2011

Banyan Tree Samui, Maret, Koh Samui 
$$$$

99/9 Moo 4

Maret, Koh Samui
Thailand 84310

Tel: 66 77 915 333

The party-happy sands of Chaweng are just over the ridgeline to the north of Banyan Tree's private, palm-lined bay, part of a hidden valley on the eastern shore of Koh Samui. In a feat of engineering and architecture, the villas dramatically ascend the hillsides on stilts, clinging to the slopes. The golf cart–driving chauffeurs mean it when they tell you to hold on. Each of the 78 villas has a sizable swimming pool outside and earth tones inside. No razzle-dazzle here. The real magic is in thoughtful details—a built-in head cushion in the bathtub, perfectly focused reading lights, and not one but four rain-style showerheads. Best of all, the resort delivers a real sense of place, particularly in the restaurants' authentic Thai dishes, the confident masseurs in the spa, and, of course, this being Thailand, a genuinely hospitable staff.
Which room to book: Royal Banyan villas have wraparound decks with fine views. Try I06 if you like heights or D02 if you prefer the beach. Standard-issue Garden Pool villa A09 is a deal, with its sunset view over the water off the back of the resort.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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