Bo Put, Moo 4
A casual hotel restaurant along Chaweng Beach, one of Samui's most popular locations on its east coast, Poppies' roots on the island go back to the mid-’90s. It's a great spot for a good lunch with a view, and it’s known for traditional Thai cuisine (the grilled fish here is excellent) with a Western twist. Afterward, check out the hotel’s tropical gardens or go for a walk on the beach to complete the Thai postcard fantasy.
10/9 Moo 5
Sala is a departure from the traditional thatched bamboo villas of Samui. The look here is streamlined: all white and mahogany wood décor with minimal accessories. It still has everything we love for an indulgent stay, including bathtubs that could pass for small swimming pools. The pristine spa offers traditional Thai, Swedish, and a Chinese-Ayurvedic-Thai combination massage on its menu. Ask your clinician to have your treatment outside, where the ocean sounds will put you in a blissful state between sleep and consciousness.
Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui
219 Moo 5
Maybe it's the emerald jungle cliff on which it sits. Maybe it's the oceanside villas with private infinity pools. Or maybe it's that you can walk out of your room and take in what looks like the entire Gulf of Thailand. Whatever it is, this is one of those rare hotels that make you forget there is an outside world. Adding to that feeling, each villa has a private butler on hand for whatever you need. And what you need might be the fresh grilled island fish, spicy chicken satay, and a creamy mango smoothie. And while you’re at it, maybe an appointment at the spa? Get the lava shell massage. A skilled clinician will get your comfortable on a warmed bed in an oceanside veranda. She'll rub away any tension, stress, knots—you name it—with a heated lava shell filled with algae and seaweed gel. It's odd; it's therapeutic; it will leave you feeling like butter.
99/9 Bophut Bay, Tambon Bophut, Moo 1
We fantasize about making a permanent move to Anantara. The resort is on the larger size—106 rooms—but still feels quaint and private with its thatched roofs and intricate walkways woven through lush greenery. (And the greenery is everywhere.) It’s a playground for the active and curious. There's Muay Thai, paddleboarding, yoga, cooking classes, Pilates, weight training...we could go on. If you're looking to stay supine, the spa, with its ornate Chinese décor and pristine treatment rooms, is where you’ll have one of the most intense (in a good way), invigorating massages of your life.
99/9 Moo 4
Follow the island's eastern shoreline until you get to a secluded bay. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you get to a place that looks like it could be in a James Bond movie. Look up and you'll see private villas attached to stilts on the rocky hillside. This is Banyan Tree. It's more pared down than some of Thailand’s more opulent resorts but still totally considered, with individual swimming pools and hammocks, rain showers, and an incredibly attentive staff. The wellness program is the star here. And by wellness, we mean a huge spa that focuses on hydrotherapy (ask the staff to recommend a treatment that’s in line with your goals) and Thai massage. There's also a respected yoga practice. This is where you come to recharge. For a little more action, a hotel shuttle will bring you to Lamai, a charming little city five minutes away.