Back in the game

Koh Samui, known as Thailand’s posh island, gains even more glitter, as new restaurants, beach clubs, activities and premium resorts continue to open across the destination.

Koh Samui, with its glut of five-star hotels, glamorous boutique properties, well-maintained roads and manicured public spaces, has earned a reputation as the country’s posh island. Posh or not, Koh Samui was profoundly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and has only recently begun to bounce back, but not without some changes.

Lynn Grebstad, vice-president PR & communications of Skål International Thailand, details the pandemic’s impact on the fortunes of the once popular Chaweng Beach area: “One of the most notable changes is the shift of the island’s social centre towards the Bophut (Fisherman’s Village) and Bangrak areas, which now form the main attraction for visitors. Both locations are thriving with great new restaurants, chic beach clubs and boutique hotels.

Stunning sunsets on Koh Samui

“Bangrak, in particular, survived the pandemic fairly well, thanks to the growing international community on the island. People have been moving to the island from all over Asia for the past couple of years, providing a continued source of income for local businesses.

“Another plus for Fisherman’s Village is the continued popularity of Coco Tam’s, a vivacious beach haunt of Samui’s young people and hip Thai tourists who pack the place out almost every night, even during the pandemic. Fisherman’s Village and Bangrak are teeming with activity, with even local favourite Friday Walking Street extending their opening to Mondays and Wednesdays.”

Susan Field, co-owner of Tembo Beach Club & Resort, said Koh Samui is benefitting from the return of international travel and removal of most restrictions.

“The UK market, in particular, has shown healthy recovery, as have northern European countries,” Field told TTG Asia.

Field, too, has observed the emergence of several new resorts, beach clubs, restaurants and activities across the destination.

These add “significantly to the guest offering”, she opined.

“Koh Samui looks beautiful after two years of inactivity, and locally based companies and groups are striving to preserve the environment, taking a more sympathetic and eco-sensitive approach to building and renovating commercial and residential properties. The greatly enhanced infrastructure makes the island more pleasant and easy to move around,” she added.

Already home to the largest concentration of five-star branded hotels outside of Bangkok and Phuket, Koh Samui continues to welcome even more top-end properties. Brands such as Kimpton, Hyatt Regency and Melia are latest additions. These add to the posh island’s growing allure among travellers who favour the finest things in life.

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