Tongsai bay cottages and hotel. 5 Star resort hotel.
This unique hotel is situated in its own private bay in the North East of Koh Samui with its own private beach in a natural cove. The selling point of this hotel is that it is built in natural surroundings without damaging any of the natural flora or fauna and is eco friendly. Each of the 61 cottages are dotted around the bay hidden amongst the foliage some even have trees growing through the balconies. There is also a block of 24 suites that are down nearer the beach.
The resort was started over 25 years ago by a man who after seeing the bay decided to buy it and transform it into its current day state without damaging the look of the bay. Each cottage is individually made with natural materials without impacting as much as possible on the environment. It is very secluded and some distance away from other resorts. Bearing in mind that Koh Samui isn't that big it is quite cheap to take a taxi to Fishermans village where the food and atmosphere is fantastic or Chon Môn which is about three miles away.
The facilities in the hotel are excellent with two swimming pools one of which is an infinity pool which is peacefully secluded with children being banned from this area.
There is a gym (not that we made use of this facility good heavens above) three restaurants,( more about the restaurants later) a gift shop and an internet café. They are all very tasteful and only sell necessities as opposed to the usual tat. There is also a spa offering different forms of massage and various therapies. There is also a car hire shop where you can also organise various trips around the island.
We had the pleasure of staying at this hotel over the New Year Period last year. On arrival at Koh Samui we were met by hotel staff who took us to the hotel in a very welcomed air conditioned car. We were offered cold towels to freshen up from the humid heat and given an ice cold bottle of water. We were not permitted to touch our luggage at all and never saw it again until we were in our cottage.
At the reception check in we were escorted to the seating area in the open airy lounge and provided with a welcoming cool drink and ice cold towels again. From the open aired balcony there were great views across the whole of the bay. The check in clerk dealt quickly and efficiently with the formalities and told us all about the facilities of the hotel and how to get around the resort. Some of the cottages are quite a distance from the restaurants and there are little electric buggies that whisk you off to these whenever you feel the need as it is quite hilly and maybe a bit awkward for someone with mobility problems.
We stayed in a garden cottage with views across the bay to Chon mon. Each cottage has a small enclosed courtyard then you enter your cottage proper. To the left there is a large bathroom with a floor to ground window which lets in natural light. Then you walk into the bedroom area where there is a large four poster bed wardrobe and bedside cabinets. Six steps lead down into the sitting area with a large settee television and fridge tea and coffee making facilities. Fresh fruit is left in a bowel each day. Through big double glazed patio windows you walk down more steps leading to the secluded private balcony with sun loungers and a massive open air bath.
Each cottage is unique and tastefully decorated with locally produced art works. There was a little card on the coffee table reminding you that from time to time you may see various animals in the resort and yes it included snakes. Fortunately we saw no snakes otherwise I would have been off like a shot. Mind you stomping around the grounds like a demented elephant probably sent them scuttling away.
The walkways and paths down to the beach area were beautiful with lots of different plants coconut trees and flowers of all shapes, sizes and colours. There were a couple of lanai's dotted around the beach area which gave some protection from the sun. As soon as the pool boys saw you coming they immediately brought fresh towels and iced water. The beach although sandy was somewhat sharp sand which although not the best of sand was not a problem. There was a flag system in place which warned if it was safe or not to swim. To get a drink all you had to do was raise a flag and someone would be at your side in seconds to take your order.
I can not write this review without mentioning the staff of Tongsai bay as they were absolutely fabulous and nothing was too much trouble. They seemed to be on hand where ever you were and went out of their way to ensure your comfort. They were always smiling and greeted you wherever you went.
Each evening the bed was turned down and towels arranged in the shape of elephants, lotus or swans. It was amazing what you could do with a towel contorted into such elaborate sculptured shapes. The pampering saw no bounds.
As for the restaurants the largest restaurant was in the main building and was called Chef Thoms Thai restaurant which offered all kinds of Thai and international cuisine.
It was here that breakfast was taken and freshly cooked in front of your eyes. There was a bakery section where different kinds of continental breads and patisseries were freshly baked. There was a large self service fruit bar and freshly squeezed fruit drink station. On New Years eve they held a gala dinner here which was extortionately over priced. More expensive than we would have paid for a night out in London or comparable style and quality.
The next restaurant was called butlers which was child free and very peaceful seating only 20 diners so a reservation was a must. On offer was mainly Asian cuisine and was quite expensive but of very high quality.
Floyd's Restaurant (Of Keith Floyd fame) was an open aired restaurant down near the beach which was absolutely wonderful. The menu was mainly European with food that attacked most of your senses, the smell, the appearance, the taste and texture. The combinations of ingredients was stunning and unusual in that you would not think of cooking some of the dishes that way yourself. The food was of an exceptionally high standard. The waiters remembered your likes and dislikes and drinks orders. Service was quick and unobtrusive. This was a very romantic setting with the sea lapping against the shore and the moon shimmering across the bay. What more could you want.
To the side of Floyds there is a bar which offered combination cocktails which were very moreish. Having worked our way through the whole list of cocktails (It would seem rude not to) and having found the ones we liked we stuck with them. YUM!
Well that is my little review of the Tongsai bay resort on Koh Samui which I am sure does not do it the justice that it deserves but hopefully you will glean some useful information from it.
I would suggest you have a look at the web site to get a better idea of what it looks like. It has been voted one of the top 100 hotels in the world and I can certainly vouch for that. I would highly recommend this hotel for the peace and tranquillity comfort and sheer indulgence and would love to be there right now. Does anyone want to take me; any offers would be gratefully appreciated!!
Update. Some have asked how much it was. We paid £230 a night for the accomodation which is very expensive compared to similar 5 Star accomodation.
I am a frequent visitor to Koh Samui for the past 10 years. It has changed so much however it's still a great holiday island and most people love it and say they will return. Because of the growth in the number of hotels there are of course hotels & resorts that are better than others. The best way to check is have a look at http://www.samui1st.com and read the guest reviews. Apparently more reviews are added each day so you can generally get a good idea about a particular hotel or resort from guests who recently stayed there. Personally I prefer Maenam Beach because it's ideal for swimming however if you want to be near the nightlife then opt for Chaweng or Lamai.