DestinAsian - - FLASHBACK -

IT MAY BE JUST A 15-DRIVE from the air­port or the ac­tion of Chaweng Beach, but this RitzCarl­ton feels a world away from the rest of Thai­land’s third-largest is­land. The sense of seclu­sion come cour­tesy of 23 hectares of lush, hilly grounds (a for­mer co­conut plan­ta­tion) that tum­ble down to a pri­vate cove on Koh Sa­mui’s north­east penin­sula. Tucked amid the green­ery are 175 sooth­ingly lux­u­ri­ous suites and pool vil­las, the best of which are tiered down a steep hill­side with com­mand­ing views of the Gulf of Thai­land. (Tip: Vil­las on the lower lev­els don’t re­quire as much stair climb­ing as those above). Six restau­rants and bars en­sure that guests will never run out of culi­nary op­tions, with stand­outs in­clud­ing the lav­ish buf­fet break­fasts at Shook! and beach­side ce­viche and crudo at Tides Bar. It’s worth book­ing a Sat­ur­day-night stay alone for the weekly Baan Talat, an al­fresco night-mar­ket ex­pe­ri­ence held in the court­yard be­low Shook! that sees an ar­ray of food stalls dish up Thai street-eat fa­vorites like fra­grant Mas­saman curry and sai

oua pork sausages. Ten­nis courts, a glass-walled gym, a muay thai kick­box­ing ring, and a gamut of wa­ter sports will help you work off the calo­ries, while the Spa Vil­lage, with its own ca­bana-lined swim­ming pool, health bar, and over­wa­ter mas­sage pavil­ions, is bound to im­press even the most sea­soned spa-goer. —66-77/915-777; ritzcarl­; dou­bles from US$568

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