- Singapore Airlines Business Class LAX-NRT-SIN
- Review: SilverKris Lounge at SIN
- Singapore Airlines Business Class SIN-BKK
- Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok
- Conrad Bangkok
- InterContinental Koh Samui
- Conrad Koh Samui Part 1 (Check-in and Room)
- Conrad Koh Samui Part 2 (Breakfast and Resort)
In Part 1 of my Conrad Koh Samui review I described the check-in process and room, and mentioned that I think there’s very little reason to leave the room except for a few specific instances. I’ll describe the things the resort has to offer to better explain my thought process.
Beach, Pool, and Fitness Center
The Conrad Koh Samui doesn’t have much of a beach because its coast is lined with mostly rocks. There are a few places where you can lounge on the little bit of sand they do have, but don’t expect to have much fun at this beach. I also noticed the wooden pier that I’ve seen in so many pictures wasn’t here, which was kind of a bummer. Still, the colorful water made for some great pics!
The community pool isn’t huge, but is still very nice. The infinity pool overlooks the ocean and has lounge chairs both inside the pool (in just a few inches of water – see pics) and outside for those looking for a tan. Just behind the pool is a bar/café in case you’re interested in grabbing a drink or some food. As a Hilton Diamond member, I received two drink certificates that could be used at this bar. I decided to have one of my meals here and deeply regretted it as it was probably the worst meal I had during my stay. The people working here at the time didn’t exactly seem motivated to work either as they probably saw a grand total of one person per hour.
I actually had a chance to meet Mark Palmer, who writes the law-based blog Travel Blawg on BoardingArea. He happened to be at the resort at the same time so I met him for drinks near the pool. If you’re interested in the business/law aspect of travel and haven’t checked out his blog, I recommend it!
The fitness center was just downstairs from the pool and was just as empty as everywhere else around the resort. There was a good selection of equipment, and the one employee that was there mentioned that there were free fitness activities (yoga, volleyball, etc.) every day of the week. I didn’t take advantage of this since I was here for only 2 nights, but I think it’s a great service to offer.
One of the unique selling points of this resort is that they can take you to a private island for free via speedboat. I was excited to see what it was all about, so I booked a ride for the island in the afternoon. The meeting point for the ride over was the lobby, and while I was waiting I talked for a bit with the guy who owns the boat company that the Conrad contracts to take people.
I asked specifically about what happened to the wooden pier I mentioned earlier. He told me that when the pier was built, it was built to the standards of a pier for a lake, so the crashing currents of the ocean deteriorated the pier to the point where they had to just remove it. That’s quite the oversight!
Anyway, we were taken on a 10 minute car ride down to the ocean where the speed boat was waiting. I jumped on the boat and we were cast off. The captain had some trouble with the engine, so we kept drifting into the ocean as he kept trying to start it. A few minutes of engine trouble turned into about 30 minutes of us just floating further into the ocean, and I was legitimately worried about if the thing would ever get started. After popping the engine open and knocking things around, we finally got the boat and our journey started.
The ride to the island took about 20 minutes. The water was choppy and the boat was bouncing quite vigorously as we were moving pretty fast. When we got to the island it was clear that it was definitely not private. There were plenty of other boats parked there and people in the water, and worse there was quite a bit of trash and other debris along the shoreline (only a small portion of the island is available to walk on). Most of the island smelled terrible actually. There isn’t much to see and there was absolutely nothing to do, so we went back towards the boat after our short expedition along the shoreline.
The two guys that brought us there laid out large towels under the trees for me and my friend and provided us with water bottles. We sat down on them and quickly found out there were plenty of ants and other creatures around us, both on sand and falling from the trees, and we decided it wasn’t really worth sticking around. We asked the guys to head back and they obliged…and that was our “private” island experience.
If there was a positive to take away from this experience, it was that we took a different route to get back that happened to take us right by the Conrad resort. It was quite a view to see how the hotel was built along the cliffs with all the stilts clearly visible.
If you plan on staying at this hotel, I do not recommend you take the ride to the private island. It’s simply not worth it, except for the view of the entire resort on the return.
Hilton HHonors Gold and Diamond members are given a breakfast for free as part of their benefits (Diamonds only get the free drink certificates I mentioned in Part 1 as an extra benefit). If you don’t have Gold or Diamond status, I don’t recommend staying at this hotel because of the significant cost you’re sure to incur with all the food purchases. Thankfully Gold status is easy enough to get – I recommend the Hilton Reserve credit card from Citi that provides 2 free weekend nights (can be used at this property) and Gold Status just for having the card.
As you might expect, breakfast came with an amazing view. There was a choice of sitting either inside or outside, and really you might as well just sit outside to enjoy the ambiance of it all. The breakfast area is mostly shaded and the birds are not bothersome.
The breakfast spread was pretty good, something I was very glad for considering the high food prices elsewhere on the resort. There were all the standard breakfast items you’d expect at a breakfast buffet like fruits and yogurt, snacks, bread and pastries, and a salad bar. Additionally, hot foods included an omelet bar and local foods like Thai noodles, rice, curry, and other meat/vegetable dishes. The spread was good, but definitely not the best I’ve seen a hotel.
Believe it or not, my favorite part of the spread was the fresh smoothies and juices. I had a chance to talk to the executive chef and I mentioned how delicious they were, and he said the guava juice was the most popular (and it was definitely my favorite) and that they only made a handful of the smoothies/juices in the morning. If you want the good stuff, you have to get there early before they’re gone!
If you’re looking to save money while you’re at the resort, I recommend having a late breakfast to make it more of a brunch. That way you hopefully only need to order one more meal in the evening before bed time.
Room service was an adventure. There’s a few options to get food outside the resort but it can be tough to arrange that, so eating at the resort is easiest. The prices are definitely higher because of that convenience as well. In general, I’d say you should expect to pay $20-$35 per dish. I suggest sticking with the Thai food, but there might be some Western options that are good as well. My friend and I found the Curry dishes to be very good, while some of the rice and noodle dishes were quite bland.
One of these meals is usually pretty small by American standards, so an appetizer, dessert, or smoothie might be worth considering to help fill you up, especially if you have a day filled with swimming or other activities!
The Conrad Koh Samui Resort is one of the best properties I’ve ever visited, mostly because of the room and private infinity pool in the backyard. It’s rare to have a hotel room that is so great that it’s almost not worth leaving, and even rarer that it’s the standard room at a property. I think this is a perfect resort for a honeymoon or romantic getaway as you’re afforded the privacy that you likely want.
On the other hand, I don’t really suggest doing what I did – spending just 2 nights here and spending them with a friend. The resort caters to couples and is pretty romantic, so while spending them with a friend is fine, it’s not really what this property was built for.
Two nights simply isn’t enough for how great this hotel is. If you’re coming all the way out here, stack nights from your and your significant other’s HHonors Reserve card to get 3 nights (Friday to Sunday night since you can only use them on weekends) and use points for the fourth and additional nights. I think 4 nights is an appropriate minimum amount of time to stay here.
I think the only way to top this resort experience is to get an over-water bungalow, and even those have drawbacks because of the unique way those properties are built. This is as excellent as an option there is for a romantic getaway in my opinion!