The other three Rs
Relax, rejuvenate and refresh at RenaiSsance Koh Samui Resort & Spa
Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa is a piece of tropical paradise truly realised. With its spacious villas, beach-side location, private and untouched beach, several F&B outlets, a spa, lush surroundings and various on-site activities, it has all the ingredients to make you want for nothing during your stay here.
There are eight room types being divided into two zones, starting from Deluxe Balcony to two-bedroom Beachfront Family Villa. The buildings housing suites and deluxe rooms are located across the street from the main lobby and further away from the beach while the villas are situated on a gentle slope that descends down to Lamai beach. Villa guests should stop by the deluxe side of the resort anyway to check out a passage which leads to the 50m Leelavadee Lap Pool. The passage, which is aptly called Mann Samui (Samui Curtain), is exotically draped in a curtain ivy, making it a great spot for an IG story.
After a quick check-in under the shade of an umbrella, with welcome drink in hand in the gorgeous open-air lobby, the walk to my, ahem, Garden View Pool Villa was flanked by leafy surroundings, which hides Balinese decors here and there, giving me a sense of arrival.
The Garden View Pool Villa is an impressive sanctuary. After lifting the latch of the main door, you'll be greeted with a sizeable tiled outdoor space before you reach a huge double wooden door of your villa. The living area/bedroom feels so spacious, thanks to the ceiling that's so high that I reckon you can do a six-person human pyramid. The underside of the roof shows rafters and beams, which add a rustic touch to the place. The four-post bed dressed with a white flimsy canopy that flutters with cool air from the AC, beckoning you to have a sound slumber or enjoying the lush outdoor through the large windows while relaxing on it.
The long bathroom has a vanity counter on one side where a Tokyo Milk set and other toiletries are neatly arranged and a big closet on the other. Walk down further, there are a room beautifully mosaiced in small blue tiles where you can shower or take a bath, and a separate toilet room. The bathroom is basked in natural light through a huge window and its door leads to an outdoor private pool. Here, two people can enjoy a luxuriating soak underneath the stars or sunbathe in privacy. Don't worry about prying eyes as the pool area is walled on all sides. Skinny dipping? Why not?
The villa gives off this tropical vibe with the right blend of rustic and luxury. It must be a heck of a place to keep up though, given its sheer sqm, nooks and crannies but it looked and felt spotless to me. Little details -- from the way five pillows are arranged according to size on the sofa to a bottle of water on each nightstand -- aren't left to chance, showing great attention to details. All these elements made me feel welcomed, at ease and special.
While many appeals within the villa may cause you to want to stay in, the resort gives you a lot of reasons to get out and explore. The breakfast service at all-day dining restaurant Banana Leaf starts at 6am and, besides the usual suspects you would come to expect from a respectable breakfast spread, there's a special daily mini menu. They aren't frivolous dishes by any means, too. I'm talking prawn ceviche on a tortilla shell, khao man gai, guay tiew ped and clam chowder in a hollowed-out bun. These items should make you look forward to breakfast every day.
Enjoy a few laps and the beautiful sunset at the beachfront swimming pool or better yet, take advantage of buy-2-get-1 offer on selected drinks at the pool bar from 5-6pm daily. But if you want to get tipsy for free, join the Beverage Ritual at the same pool from 4-5pm on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday during which a friendly mixologist will guide you through the process of making a signature cocktail. There's a big rock formation on the beach, which you should climb and up your IG game, but perhaps not after a few drinks. Thai restaurant tawaNN is where a seafood dinner comes with a view of Lamai Bay. Epicureans won't have any problem satiating their appetite as Renaissance hosts special promotions at its F&B outlets throughout the week.
The beach looks untouched, almost as if it belongs exclusively to the resort. This is where you can enjoy non-motor water sports or do some serious swimming. Some parts of it are rocky so you better wear beach shoes. There are also complementary activities scheduled throughout the week from sunrise yoga, body stretching, Thai boxing to sunset yoga. After a long day of exploration and activities, you can get pampered head-to-toe at Quan Spa, which opens until 9pm. I don't remember much about my spa experience as I quickly drifted away in bliss while getting gently kneaded (well, isn't that the gist and the point of going to a good spa?).
The resort provides a shuttle bus to Chaweng on a first-come, first-served basis. More interestingly, Renaissance has local navigators on standby who share their insights into attractions that are less explored. My navigator Oad recommended a nearby coconut farm where monkeys pluck coconuts for you to enjoy fresh. Striking a pose on a pile of coconuts is harder than you think. If you're cray cray for coconuts, check out the Coconut Museum in Ang Thong where I tried making colourful coconut-based desserts and learn about fascinating local culture surrounding the fruit.
About 5.5km from the resort, Wat Sila Ngu stands out among your average Buddhist temples as its convocation hall is made out of red clay. It may not look as colourful as an ubosot usually is but the relief inside was meticulously crafted and detailed.
Stop by The Road Less Travelled in Ang Thong for photogenic and healthy dishes worthy of being included in your food porn collection (or your third cup of coffee of the day if you're me). The LGBT-friendly restaurant has space for art exhibitions and performances on the top floor and several nice spots for your photo-ops. A really cool place.
Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa also offers a meeting package. Until Nov 30, when you book at least 10 rooms or more, you'll get exclusive rates on top of a long list of perks, which includes a one-hour welcome cocktail reception, meeting set-up, conference equipment and more.
For leisure travellers, there are various offers to choose from, that are valid before Xmas-and-New-Year season kicks in. Family Fun in Thailand starts from B4,900 and gets you 50% off on second room. #LoveTravels LGBT-Friendly Offer starts from B10,000 and includes various for-two privileges including four-hour navigator package. Its hetero counterpart Romance Getaway comes with round-trip airport transfer, in-room romantic set-up, and other honeymooner perks for the starting price of B12,870. Check out all of their offers at bit.ly/2oP1d3f.
Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa has all the right elements to elevate your stay to the next level while not making a hole in your wallet. Definitely memorable.