Brief Thoughts on the InterContinental and Conrad Koh Samui Resorts

Update: Full Reviews Now Available

  1. Conrad Koh Samui Part 1
  2. Conrad Koh Samui Part 2
  3. InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort

 

I’m in the midst of a long trip to Bangkok and Koh Samui and unfortunately the trip is sadly almost over. I stayed 2 nights at the InterContinental Samui Resort and two nights at the Conrad Koh Samui and both stays have been absolutely wonderful, but for very different reasons.

I felt compelled to write this post in case anyone is considering a trip to this island and having trouble deciding where to stay (and also because my trip reports are notoriously slow). The two resorts that I’ve stayed at on this trip are very different, so hopefully a few pictures and a brief explanation will help you decide!

 

InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort

I stayed here on my first two nights in Koh Samui, and it really was a fantastic stay. There are a couple of restaurants that are an expensive taxi ride away, so plan on doing most of your eating at the resort. The room service food was pretty good for the most part, so I didn’t mind staying in.

The views, however, were spectacular. Take a look at the huge open-air lobby and view from it.

I love the decor of the InterContinental's lobby!

I love the decor of the InterContinental’s lobby!

Panorama of the InterContinental Samui

Panorama of the InterContinental Samui

The view from the room wasn’t as great, but still pretty darn good.

Not ultra-spectacular, but still pretty darn good! And yes there's more to the right.

Not ultra-spectacular, but still pretty darn good! And yes there’s more water and beach to the right.

The resort itself was great. There were people around, but not a ton. There was never more than 8 people in the community pool at the same time. There were plenty of places to sit on the beach, and the water is warm and wonderful. There was free kayaking, wind surfing, and snorkeling , and there was also a long pier that made for some great photos.

Plenty of seating at the beach and fun activities at the InterContinental!

Plenty of seating at the beach and fun activities at the InterContinental!

Enjoying a coconut at the community pool's bar!

Enjoying a coconut at the community pool’s bar!

Twilight at the beach, with a fire going on the side!

Twilight at the beach, with a fire going on the side!

The entire resort was built with walking in mind. And I mean a lot of walking. Lots of stairs, steps, ups and downs. If you have trouble moving around much, this is NOT the hotel for you! I was literally exhausted each time I got back to the room. If you’re here when it’s hot, then it’ll be a rough walk.

From the IC resort's pool to the lobby is a LONG way!

From the IC resort’s pool to the lobby is a LONG way!

 

But if you prefer seeing people around and taking advantage of a great beach and pool, this place should be your choice. It’s a bargain when using IHG points at only 35k per night, and you get 10% of those back if you have the co-branded Chase credit card.

 

Conrad Koh Samui Resort

My next two nights were at the famed Conrad Koh Samui resort. It’s a spectacular resort but for very different reasons than the InterContinental Resort.

For starters, the lobby is not made for you to hang out in. It’s small but has great views. The only way to get around the resort is by a huge army of golf cards they have for you on-demand (they drive you anywhere you want to go on the resort).

Welcome drinks and the view from the lobby.

Welcome drinks and the view from the lobby.

A bad picture of one of the golf carts.

A bad picture of one of the golf carts.

Once you get to your room, you’ll find little reason to want to leave. The room and bathroom are huge, and oh yeah…your backyard has a 30 foot infinity pool with lounge chairs and a separate sitting area. And yes, the sunset was visible from the room.

Why would you ever leave your room?

Why would you ever leave your room with a view like this?

The sunset from my room's backyard was amazing!

The sunset from my room’s backyard was amazing!

The rest of the resort is great, but super quiet (FYI when I was here it was only 60% full). The resort pool was empty and so was pretty much everywhere else. Additionally, there isn’t a true beach at the Conrad. You’re not supposed to go swimming because of the reefs just off the beach, but kayaking and snorkeling is permitted and free. They also got rid of their pier because apparently it was built for lakes and not the waves of the ocean.

The "beach" at the Conrad.

The “beach” at the Conrad.

The Conrad's community pool was literally empty with no one else around.

The Conrad’s community pool was literally empty with no one else around.

There is also an island that they transport you to for free to hang out on, but in my opinion it’s pretty useless. It’s not private as there were other boats there, and there’s nothing to do there anyway. It also smells funny.

But again, this resort is all about the room. There really isn’t much reason to leave except to kayak or eat breakfast, which is free if you’re a Hilton Honors Gold or Diamond member.

I booked this before the Hilton devaluation while it was still 50k points a night, but now it’s up to 95k per night. A better deal would be to use free nights from the Hilton Honors Reserve card from Citi.

 

My Recommendation

Believe it or not, I preferred the InterContinental resort. Clearly these hotels are made for people looking for different types of vacations, so decide what kind you prefer. Both are spectacular and you’ll enjoy your stay no matter which you choose!

Full reviews will be coming later!

Comments

  1. Nice post. I’d never considered the IC Koh Samui, only the Conrad (of course). You’re making me think about adding a couple of days at the IC now, thank you for the heads up!

  2. How did you get to the resorts from the airport? I’m staying at the Conrad later this month and they are quoting $150 round trip. Did you find a cheaper option?

    • Travel Summary says:

      I actually didn’t pre arrange transportation, we just grabbed a taxi from the airport for 1500 baht for 2 people. I thought it was reasonable. Cash only though.

    • @mw – I’d suggest Mr. Samui for your airport/Conrad trips. Additionally, if you wouldn’t mind some unsolicited advice I’d suggest doing a day trip tour with him in the early part of your stay. The Conrad is super isolated, and you may end up longing for things to do and the tour is not only fun but will help you understand the “lay of the land” really well.

  3. Regarding getting to the Conrad…. I rented a car for about $40 a day. If you don’t want to rent a car, I believe I saw cabs at the airport going to the Conrad for around 800 baht – under $30.

    • How was your experience renting a car and driving around island? Booked at airport? Which company? Did you have to pay parking? How much is taxi from Intercontinental to Conrad? I have upcoming trip in Feb. Thank you.

  4. mw – we stayed at the Conrad in November. The restaurants were extremely expensive for Thailand and the car more than paid for itself between the Tesco stop and dinners out. Check out the Flyertalk thread for more ideas.

  5. I couldn’t agree with @Jeff more. If you still have some flexibility, you may want to consider spending a couple of nights in the fishing village of Bophut. The Conrad’s setting is spectacular, but it’s location is so far from virtually everything other than Green Ta’Lay restaurant that you are really at their mercy monetarily. For example, a 1 hr Thai massage is 300 Baht most everywhere on Koh Samui and it’s 3,000 Baht at the Conrad. I get that it’s a high end property, but they take price gouging to the extreme because their guests are such a captive audience.

Trackbacks

  1. […] say this primarily because of the recent Hyatt devaluation. I was in the middle of my vacation in Koh Samui when I decided to take advantage of Hyatt’s old award chart the day before their devaluation. […]

  2. […] I explained the significant differences between the InterContinental Samui and Conrad Koh Samui in a previous post in case you’re trying to decide which is more appropriate for your stay. I plan on doing a full […]

  3. […] posted my initial thoughts on the two resorts a while back, so I’ll expand on those thoughts in this post for the […]

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