Hot List 2011

W Retreat Koh Samui, Maenam, Koh Samui 

4/1 Moo 1

Maenam, Koh Samui
Thailand 84330

Tel: 66 77 915999

Though W hotels typically wow with nifty design details, here the most eye-catching element is simply the view from the hilltop lobby, where the sea appears to merge seamlessly with the infinity pool. The sense of floating evaporates only when you peer down to the beach villas and back up at the rooms stepped into an adjacent hill. At night, the W's party vibe takes over—pan-Asian scenesters already have this 75-villa resort on their radar. If you don't feel like socializing, pop in the mix CD provided in your minibar, and you'll soon be at ease in your bachelor pad of a villa, with its red-and-black color scheme, sliding wall panels, beanbag chairs, and private pool. At the beach, which curves around a headland, villas have either a sunset or sunrise view, but a public access road means the area isn't completely private. Drink service that's limited to the bar area (and is not available in the beach loungers) is also a drawback, but the cocktails still come with fine sea views, as do the tables at the Japanese-inspired restaurant, Namu, where chefs work in an open kitchen.
Which room to book: Wow Ocean Haven villas 172 and 173 open onto the west-facing beach, for a flawless sunset. But the hillside Ocean View Escape rooms offer better overall vistas of the area.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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