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Over the past two decades Koh Samui has progressed from a backpacker’s paradise to, in parts, a high end destination for a discerning global audience.
Accommodation, both in terms of villas and resorts, have been raising the benchmark for the last ten years and in recent years some world class luxury resorts and developments have sprung up around the island.
As well as luxury accommodation lovers some of the most discerning diners have found their way to Koh Samui and been impressed by many of the high end restaurants on the Samui’s fine dining circuit which is become world renowned.
Always on the lookout for the cream of the crop, we headed to the Conrad Resort to see why so many international guests return time after time, as well as lovers of fine dining, and to find out why this luxury hotel was named the Best Resort Hotel in Thailand by the Asia Pacific Hotel Awards 2014 -2015, the Global Winner of Luxury Hideaway Resort 2-14 by the World Luxury Hotel Awards and was announced one of the Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Thailand by the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice@awards 2015.
The Conrad Koh Samui is positioned on a secluded hill on the southwest tip of the island and comprises of one bedroom luxury villas as well as 2 and 3 bedroom luxury villas at its exclusive residential wing. This incredible resort is spread over an impressive 25 acres amid lush coconut plantations.
As soon as you approach the Conrad Koh Samui you start to get a taste of how well you are going to be looked after, security guards with walkie talkies greet you almost a kilometer away to ensure that you will meet no oncoming traffic on the winding road up to the resort.
As you make your way up the hill the full scale of the location starts to hit you and by the time you have been shown to your spot in the car park the jaw dropping panoramic views are pretty hard to ignore.
As you make your way towards reception it would be virtually impossible not to pause for a moment and allow your brain to comprehend the full magnitude of the incredible panoramic views. The impressive water feature at the entrance to the resort perfectly complements the uninterrupted views of the ocean, five islands and the mainland beyond.
One has to envy the reception staff, who greet you with the warmest of welcomes, from their hideaway perched on top of the mountain, they are able to enjoy the views from the moment they start work until they finish for the day and it would be very hard to imagine every getting tired of these, ‘have to be seen to be believed’, views. If you can bare to drag yourself away from the reception area, via the fleet of buggies, a great place to stop would be the Jahn restaurant where you will not only be able to enjoy a exotic blend of traditional Thai cooking with a western twist and western ingredients, but hospitality it would be very hard to find anywhere else on the island. It would be unfair here to call the staff ‘staff’ they come across more of a family of dedicated professionals who love nothing more than to add to your dining experience with first rate service, knowledge of the dishes being served, a solid understanding of wine paring and endless smiles and enthusiasm, in fact they seem to be enjoying the dinners experience as much as the diners themselves. It goes without saying that the Jahn has more of those fantastic views thanks to the floor – to – ceiling windows and of course it is beautifully appointed. Jahn is the resorts culinary jewel in the crown and offers memorable signature dishes for up to 28 diners. Here you can sip on one of the superb vintage wines that have been chosen with passion and flair by the in-house sommelier. This is a Thai dining experience like no other where East and West collide to create some masterful surprises such as Tom Yum Gung being presented in a glass tea-pot; your table host will be more than happy to explain why. And it’s not just the courses you order that will blow your mind here, but the amuse bouche, palate cleansing sorbets and petit fours that appear like magic when you are least expecting them. Particularly noteworthy dishes from the starter selection include Tomato & Alaskan Crab Salad with Alaskan King Crab, sida tomatoes, coriander, puff pastry and tomato sorbet, and Larb Gai made from corn fed chicken breast, lemon grass, cucumber, mint and kaffir lime. From the main course selection good choices include, Red Curry of Lamb made with New Zealand Lamb, holy basil eggplant, carrots and red curry sauce which is served separately so you can indulge in as much or as little as you choose and the Wagyu of Beef Massaman with Wagyu beef tenderloin, new potatoes, pearl onions, peanuts, red onion and lemongrass rice. For those who can’t resist the dessert menu the Pumpkin & Belgian Chocolate Delice of Chocolate & Egg custard, vanilla and peanut ice cream will not fail to delight.
A superb place to enjoy a pre or post dinner cocktail can be found just across from Jahn, on a stunning expanse of decking where you will find split level, and extremely comfortable seating as well as a open fire and pleasant melodies emanating from the tropical surroundings.
Jahn is open from 6pm until 23pm.
The Aura Lounge, another super dining option at the Conrad Koh Samui is refined yet relaxed, special but not pretentious. This is the perfect location for aperitifs or digestive’s and is also a sophisticated destination for memorable moments. Of course this is yet another deliciously secret spot to enjoy the golden waters of the Gulf of Thailand. The Aura Lounge serves premium spirits, delicious cocktails and superb vintages. This exclusive lounge also features dramatic open-flame pits and chic, oversized furniture. It is not hard to imagine why so many choose this location for special occasions.
The Aura lounge is open from 5pm until 11pm daily; dress code is smart but casual.
Set next to an infinity edge pool surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens the Azure Bar and Grill offers the opportunity to dive, drink or dine and is the perfection location for casual meals at all hours of the day.
At twilight, a magical transformation occurs when the music and lighting changes to reflect the colorful evening skies, making for a sophisticated yet relaxing ambiance that seamlessly glides from happy hour to dinner. Anticipate a savory dish pared with excellent wines and all night stargazing.
No trip to the Conrad should be complete without a trip to the Cellar, the resorts premier wine cellar that features over 3,000 vintages. This is the ideal venue for intimate gatherings, unique celebrations and interactive wine tasting evenings. Located at the highest point in the resort, guests enter this atmospheric room through a large wooden door to be met with an imposing table lined with specialty bottles and a variety of original artwork. The executive chef and the sommelier have worked together to produce carefully selected, complimentary menus making The Cellar an exclusive destination for memorable culinary experience and interactive wine sessions sure to please even the most passionate oenophile.
The cellar experience is available for up to eight people by reservation only, the dress code is smart causal.
And finally let’s take a quick trip to Zest, a restaurant where you can enjoy vibrant flavors in a dynamic atmosphere. Zest features both indoor and outdoor seating and is a smart/casual all day restaurant where, like everywhere else at the Conrad Samui, you can take in those spectacular ocean views.
Zest offers a superbly executed and expansive international breakfast that flows into an exciting lunch selection with vibrant Pan-Mediterranean flavors married to fresh, local and organic ingredients. Dinner becomes an elevated affair with a change of ambience to create a contemporary dinner environment.
What is particularly awesome about Zest is that the first two pages of the menu feature incredible dishes dedicated to the home cooking of Thai resident Chef Woody’s mother, who clearly holds some of the secrets of traditional Thai cuisine that she lovingly passed on to her son.
Zest is open from 7am until 10pm
The Samui Times team where blown away by the Conrad Koh Samui, the location is one of the key factors to the ingredients that make this the most phenomenal resort in Koh Samui, the staff are noticeably highly trained, highly valued and clearly find their work both rewarding and enjoyable. The layout of the resort is nothing short of masterful and ingenious and the attention to detail and extra touches put the icing on top of an unforgettable cake.
In order to make your visit to the Conrad Koh Samui even more enjoyable you are invited to take part in the Hilton Premium Club membership where for just 7,500 baht you can become a member and enjoy 25% discount on the total food bill when dining alone, 50% when dining with one guests, 33% when dining with two guests, 25% when dining with 4 guests and 20% when dining with four other friends. For more details on this outstanding offer and information on where else you can use the card just click here
For more information about the Conrad Samui click here to visit their website.