Hello from the Conrad Koh Samui!

Hello from the stunning Conrad Koh Samui! With the massive Hilton devaluation kicking in on Thursday, I figured I’d briefly share my thoughts of the Conrad Koh Samui, where I’m staying at the moment, given that this is one of the most aspirational Hilton properties out there. I just finished my first day, so these are just my initial impressions.

I booked a four night stay on an AXON award, which cost 145,000 HHonors points for all four nights. As of Thursday the same stay will cost a whopping 95,000 HHonors points per night, or 380,000 HHonors points total. That’s right, the cost for this stay is nearly tripling.

In looking at revenue rates for the Conrad for tonight, for example, it’s going for 40,000THB for the night plus tax, for a total of 47,480THB (a whopping $1,600USD+ per night).

With that in mind, here are my initial impressions:

The Rooms

Simply stunning. Aside from the resdiences, all the rooms at this hotel are one bedroom villas with plunge pools. And these aren’t rinky dinky plunge pools, but good size pools you can actually swim in.

The villas consist of one main room with a king bed, desk, and sofa facing a TV.


Bedroom


Bedroom

The bathroom is probably the same size as the rest of the room, with a massive tub, double sinks, walk-in shower, and partitioned off toilet.


Bathroom


Bathroom

The highlight of the room, though, is probably the patio, with two lounge chairs, a table with more chairs, and an infinity pool.


Patio


Pool with a view

Physically this is a stunning property. The rooms are in amazing shape, modern, and the (free) wifi is even fast, which I find to be extremely rare for resorts in Thailand. And the views from the rooms have to be among the best of anywhere I’ve ever stayed at. Usually I’m not a huge fan of villas or plunge pools since I’d usually rather hang out in the main resort area, but this is one property where I love just hanging around my room and on my patio.

The Resort

The resort is interesting. It’s built on the side of a hill, and to some degree you really have to wonder who came up with the idea of constructing a resort here. There are several “levels” of villas so that they all have unobstructed views. It’s actually kind of impressive how tall the columns holding up each villa are. Some must be 40 or 50 feet tall. This creates dramatic and unobstructed views from every villa.


View of the resort


View from lobby

The resort is the ultimate place to relax, which is to say there’s not all that much to do. There’s a pool and an artificial beach, but that’s about it. There’s one restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, one restaurant by the pool, and one fine dining restaurant that’s open five days a week for dinner. So the food options are somewhat limited, and the resort is in an isolated part of Koh Samui, so options to dine outside of the resort seem somewhat limited unless you want to drive for 30 or so minutes.


Pool

One thing that has been mentioned in the past about the resort that I never fully appreciated is the lack of stairs. As you can see in the picture above you have “rows” of villas, and the only way to get from one level to the other is by the extremely steep pathways connecting them. And we’re talking about really steep pathways. There are no stairs between levels, so it’s quite a haul. Fortunately they have buggies that drive you on demand, so don’t expect to do much walking around the resort.

The Food

While the other aspects of the resort have a “wow” factor to them, the food is mediocre. It’s not that it’s bad, really, it’s just not especially good. Prices are high, as you’d expect for a property like this, though I don’t think the quality is quite there. While the breakfast buffet featured a good variety of items, I didn’t find a lot of the stuff to be especially fresh. I’d be surprised if the croissants or pastries weren’t from the previous day’s buffet. Since the resort is isolated dining options outside of the resort are also quite limited. So I don’t think the food will disappoint, though I doubt it will delight either.

The Service

The service is friendly and well intentioned. The English skills of some employees are lacking a bit, though they’re all friendly. They’re also not especially polished, at least not as polished as you’d expect at a property that sells villas for over $1,000 per night. But in my opinion their friendliness more than makes up for any shortcomings in how polished they are.

Overall

This is a great place to spend 3-4 days (anything more than that would get boring for me). You can’t beat the pre-March 28 value you get on points staying here. Could I ever imagine spending the revenue rates to stay here? No way. But this is a really nice place nonetheless.

Comments

  1. Thank you soooo much for posting all this. I just booked a stay there for this December and can’t wait to go. The pool looks so nice… I am super excited to have a room with my own infinity pool ๐Ÿ™‚

    You mention it’s a bit boring and isolated for more than a few days. What about Koh Samui in general? Do you think it’s feasible to rent a car and drive around the island a bit to explore?

  2. Seems you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s a beautiful looking place, but there’s nothing much to do there. This is why Maldives always wins for me. You get an amazing room, plus you have some of the best diving in the world to occupy your time. I think I’d get bored very quickly at CKS

  3. Thanks for sharing this post Lucky! I just visited Koh Samui last year and have a glut of HHonors points I’d like to redeem before the devaluation. What are some of the other aspirational properties worth checking out?

  4. Are you essentially stuck there for 4 days or are there activities to do on the island/ability to get around.

  5. Thanks for the pictures and really looking forward to the full trip report. What are the Gold and Platinum benefits here?

  6. I seem to remember reading that there was a relatively well regarded non resort restaurant near the Conrad.

    While the daily cost of a rental car is not insignificant in Samui, I think the cost is recouped if having just one lunch or dinner off property each day.

    Apparently the per capita auto accident rate is higher in Samui than anywhere else in Thailand. Two British pedestrians were killed there just a couple of days ago.

  7. Great Post! Thanks for “taking one for the team” and getting this trip in for us. This hotel has been on my wish list for awhile! Still have my eye on it … but of course for fewer nights given the point devaluation ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Looking forward to my four-night stay over Thanksgiving weekend. Did you check out the gym? If it’s any good, then it’s gym, tanning and reading and some other stuff…. for four days!

    Car rental cost isn’t particularly prohibitive, but it is probably a good use of my Hertz points… what’s the parking fee, though, at the resort?

  9. Thanks for your honest review!

    I guess this is a place for lover and newlyweds.

    I took a look and can say I would be bored to death after 1 hour.

  10. Wow, you and Gary must have ESP. He just posted about a big discount on Japan Airlines to redeem miles for travel on Bangkok Airways to Koh Samui from Bangkok, Singapore, etc. I guess for whoever has Hilton points left over to use before the big devaluation on Thursday, it seems like the perfect vacation plan!

  11. Ben, what is the max occupancy of their standard room that we can get on AXON awards? Is it 2 adults + 1/2 kids or can they accommodate any more adults? Since you are there… can you please ask them and let me know first hand? Accordingly, I can book the room before 28th…

  12. #jealous Had no idea where Ko Samui was until I googled it. It’s off the coast of Thailand for anyone who was wondering the same thing.

  13. I had no trouble booking an Axon award with 3 adults. But I’m not sure how we’re going to figure out the sleeping arrangement.

  14. @ The Miles Professor — It’s only my first day, so I haven’t yet ventured outside the property. The Conrad is on the far end of the island, and my understanding is that there’s a lot more to do in the area near the airport, which is about 45-60 minutes away. Taxis are quite expensive here compared to elsewhere in Thailand since they all refuse to use their meters.

    Many suggest renting a car here. I’m not that adventurous, to be honest, with the number of mopeds and really narrow streets. It’s not something I’d feel comfortable doing. But it’s definitely an option.

  15. @ Zach A — I’d say the most aspirational properties are the Conrads in Hong Kong, Tokyo, the Maldives, as well as the Hilton in Bora Bora. Other than that Hilton has lots of city properties in New York, London, etc.

  16. @ AdamH — There are some activities. The hotel actually has a speedboat to an island about 15 minutes away with beautiful beaches and clear water. That’s a good way to kill a couple of hours.

    Going to see what other activities are out there today. There’s an activities desk for stuff to do outside the hotel, including elephant riding and a visit to the waterfall. I’ll report back on that later.

  17. @ Shanghai9 — Amenities seem identical for Gold and Diamond members. You get free breakfast plus free drinks once during your stay at the pool bar. They also give you a couple of vouchers whereby you earn bonus points if you spend a certain amount at the restaurants and spa. For example, one of the vouchers is for 2,500 bonus HHonors points if you spend at least $125 at the spa.

  18. @ Con — Depressingly enough, no rubber ducky or teddy bear. I may have to ask them about that!

  19. @ Ken Y. — The gym is okay. Has modern equipment, but not very much variety. Perfectly sufficient for a property like this, though. I believe parking is free, though I can look into that to verify.

  20. @ romsdeals — Hah, it is rare for me to spend four nights anywhere, though it’s not (quite) my first time.

  21. @ Mike Nash — Well it’s just my first night so don’t have all that much context yet. Breakfast is free.

    For lunch entrees, appetizers, and desserts are all around $15 each, and soda is about $5 each. So if you split a salad and get two pizzas and two sodas, for example, you’re looking at about $70 including tax and service charge.

    For dinner in the casual restaurant, the mains seem to hover around $20-25 each, and appetizers are around $15-20. So you’ll easily spend $100 for two people on dinner.

  22. @ Peetyrd — Haven’t been to the Conrad Maldives, though have been elsewhere in the Maldives. I’d say the benefit of Koh Samui is that you can “escape” if you’d like to, while you can’t in the Maldives. That being said, there are probably a few more activities at the resort in the Maldives than here in Koh Samui.

  23. Try Jahn. My girlfriend and I had a great meal there this summer although it is off the charts expensive for Thailand. We also booked a day trip of snorkeling and kayaking. It was fun, but I’ve been to much better snorkeling spots. Also, look for the Conrad Turtle. Mine is just sitting on my shelf waiting for the next Conrad redemption so he can get a friend.

  24. You have to ask about the stuffed toy. They are only bringing it on the last night now.

    Conrad Maldives is a much bigger property and has more activities; from water sports to yoga and the like. It also has more of a beach than Conrad Samui but neither is spectacular in my opinion.

  25. Glen- Yes, Green Talay restaurant is not that far away and Five Islands rest is slightly farther away.

  26. I was there last month and highly recommend looking at going to Green Talay to eat. It’s about 10-15mins away (depending on who is driving down the hill), but the service and food are both incredible, and more in line with Thai prices. I’ve heard they deliver to the Conrad but we just drove. The 5 Sails restaurant is also close by and had great food.

    Your review is spot on! As a Diamond member we got free massages, so maybe they have changed that recently.

  27. Don’t go on the complimentary 15 minute speedboat ride to another island. The “beach” there (at least last December) was covered w/ trash. In fact, there was no beach to speak of at all. They provided snorkels, but the water was too turbulent to see anything. You’d be better off paying for another tour, or staying at the hotel.

  28. Btw, I agree w/ your assessment Lucky. The hotel’s a great place to relax, but it’s isolated from the rest of the island, and you’re pretty much at their mercy for food and incidentals.

  29. We were just there several days ago. Missing it already! We took the boat trip at 12pm and returned at 1:15pm. The island was okay, water was calm, not much to do, not many fish to see, so we found the hour to be adequate.

    We got a free 30 min foot massage as we booked several months ago for being hilton gold, however we were told this has now changed.

    Conrad Turtle received on the last night.

    The taxis are quite expensive in Samui as compared to elsewhere in Thailand. All rates are negotiated, as they don’t use the meter. We found a great guide/ transfer from the flyertalk forums.

  30. Lucky,
    Maybe you posted somewhere on how you got to Kom Samui,(flight details)? Interested in going, just wondering what the miles/fees out of pocket is, to get there.

    Thanks

  31. How safe is renting a motor scooter? I’ve heard countless Thailand water ski scams, is the same thing to be feared for a scooter rental? Does the Conrad offer scooter rentals? And what are the chances of it being stolen?

  32. @ Mike Nash — The Conrad doesn’t offer them, to the best of my knowledge. I know lots of people do it, though it’s not something I’d do a) because I’m ridiculously uncoordinated and b) because I’d be afraid it gets stolen.

  33. To go to Samui – one of the most physically beautiful places in the world, with terrific nightlife and beaches and even some culture – only to stay on the resort grounds…would be a colossal waste of an opportunity. If you only want a pretty resort, save your time and money and go to Scottsdale. Samui has TONS to offer.

  34. Lucky- Just want to echo @Jacob’s post regarding flight details, etc. Interested, but am a Star Alliance guy so was just trying to figure out the best way. Also, you said taxi’s were expensive…can you give a hint how much? Thanks!!

  35. @ Paul — With Star Alliance your only option is Thai Airways from Bangkok to Koh Samui.

    Taxis are expensive by Thai standards, but not so much by Western standards. The 45-60 minute drive from the airport to the resort costs about $40USD, for example.

  36. Have just checked out of Conrad Samui this week and can honestly say it was the best resort I have ever visited. The wife and I spent 4 days there and only left our rooms to go on the complimentary boat trip every afternoon at 2pm returning at 4pm. For us this was the best time to go as there were times where it was only us two on the boat and even the island. The place you go to is beautiful and It was great having our own private island in the afternoons for snorkeling and relaxing. like the staff in the hotel the team on the boat were very tentative but also gave us our privacy once we reached the destination. returning from the trip we enjoyed the breath taking sunset from our private villa every evening. This became our daily routine and we both cant wait to return. Id recommend any of the villas on the first level to avoid an obstructed view of that magical sunset.

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