Conrad Hilton in Thailand’s Koh Samui island is nothing less than amazing
THREE and a half seconds.
That’s how fast I could be out of bed and into our private infinity pool, ready to watch the warm sun rise over the Gulf of Thailand.
But I needn’t have rushed around our private paradise villa on the island of Koh Samui.
As I learned, life there is all about taking it easy, relaxing, enjoying the local food and snoozing in the breeze. Quite simply, it’s heaven.
Even the fleet of golf buggies which chauffer guests up, down and around the brand new 25-acre cliff-side retreat have to stick to a gentle speed limit.
Conrad is the little-known luxury arm of the Hilton group which gets its name from the firm’s original founder and heiress Paris’ great-grandad Conrad Hilton – but the brand is set to double in size by 2015 with 18 new sites around the globe, including New York and Dubai.
Eighty luxurious and modern private villas, each with their own 10m pool, have been built on huge concrete stilts into the cliffs on the island’s south-western tip, giving perfect and unobstructed views out beyond the white sands of Aow Thai beach.
It’s a work of engineering genius which has taken four years to construct after further three in the planning – but wow has it been worth the wait.
By day, the sea views were amazing. Smaller uninhabited islands are all that pepper the skyline between the swaying palm trees.
Then as darkness falls, the west-facing properties are bathed in bronze as the sun goes down on the Phang Ka Peninsula.
We found the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the view while sipping cucumber cocktails high above the waves in the Glow Lounge bar.
With the flicker of flames and the delicate Asian tinkers of the traditional Khim stringed instrument being played, it was like something out of a movie.
The resort has three wonderful dining options once you’re ready to eat out, each as exciting as the next.
The jewel in the crown being the 28-seater Jahn restaurant, which translates as moonlight in Thai and is the highest of the eateries.
It offers a mix of Thai and Pan-Asian specialties, with a bright green lemongrass rice which blows away any rice I’ve ever tried in my life.
Chef Konrad, who worked in London for 15 years, explained it takes some seven hours preparation and 8kg of lemongrass to create the uniquely Thai dish.
Less formal dining can be enjoyed beside the communal yet stunning infinity pool, which has part submerged loungers to help sunbathers keep cool and is just a stone’s thrown from the site’s 130m long private pier.
The Azure Bar is perfect for families and couples alike, with a mix of BBQ-style grub, from glazed chicken to chili calamari and clementine salads.
But we experienced the ultimate in private dining on our final night when we were booked in at the exclusive underground ‘Cellar’.
It seats just ten people in a small candlelit wine cellar, surrounded by some 300 bottles of plonk from around the world, for a stunning seafood menu including giant lobsters and spicy oysters.
And if that wasn’t enough, when we returned to our villa, our butler ‘Koh’ had readied a hot champagne bath for us, covered in rose petals with a plate of chocolate strawberries and a chilled bottle of champagne waiting on the side.
As all villas face out to sea, it’s beautiful to be woken in the mornings not by an alarm but by the sunshine.
You can sleep, shower and bathe with your blinds open as all of the properties face out to sea and aren’t overlooked at all.
The only time we pulled our blinds closed was for the in-room couples’ spa treatment, which is a must.
We opted for a Thai head and scalp massage, which lasted 45 minutes but certainly helped us relax even further.
There’s also a spa complex with a private, glass-walled sauna looking out over the sea.
It’s easy to nod off while you’re being given a massage but when you wake up you’ll feel you’re still dreaming. That’s how incredible Conrad Koh Samui is.
– For more info click here to visit the Conrad Koh Samui website