I’ve wanted to go to Koh Samui since 2014 when I first lived in Bangkok. It probably doesn’t have the most stunning beach in the world (in my view, that’s still the prize of Maldives) but it was said to be more exclusive than say Phuket or Koh Lipe or Krabi. Somehow we never got around to it. So when friends were taking a quick retreat there this October and asked if I wanted to join, I couldn’t resist.
After extensive research (mainly by my friend), the choice went to Celes Beachfront because true to its name, it was right on the beach. Photos revealed an infinity pool, a well-reviewed restaurant, and the rooms looked quite chic. Price-wise the entry-level rooms didn’t come with a massive price tag for the island (I paid about 125USD per night inclusive of breakfast for the deluxe (cheapest) room).
Celes Beachfront Resort is on Bophut, and right on the fisherman’s village. It takes 15 minutes to drive from the airport. What we loved most was the privacy of the beach. Though it’s a small strip, and the sand, trees and foliage are what my Italian friend affectionately calls a ‘savage’ layout, nothing beats the peace of not having to fight for space at the beach. There are boats and jet skis on the water, and there were mornings when we were the only ones there.
Of course, you can get a one-hour aromatherapy massage for 500THB (USD16) from a makeshift spa on the beach and in Celes Spa, that price ricochets to 2100THB (USD69). But the quality of the spa, the professionalism of the therapist (Pen) who really focused on my upper left-back, the oils they used and the care given was well worth it. I slept like a log after that massage and couldn’t recommend it enough. I also had the deep clean facial which was equally invigorating.
The Seagrille restaurant was where we had our breakfast buffet and also where we had our dinner on the first night. We had the scallops and prawn Pad Thai and my God it was delectable and so well presented. Breakfast wasn’t phenomenal but it had all the staples you need – from scrambled eggs to order, to fruit salad, to French toast. All our mornings were spent at breakfast, overlooking the beach. For evening meals we usually went to Cactus restaurant which was right next to the resort or the restaurant at Karma Villa which was after Cactus restaurant. Cactus is local fare and alot cheaper. Karma Villa is expat prices again and while the food is amazing and the shabby chic deco super charming, prepare to open your wallet and dig inside if you want to order a few dishes.
Some hits and misses but the hits were my late check-out at 3pm as my flight was at 5.50 pm, I really appreciated that. Generally, the Thai hospitality industry is good (polite and attentive) so no real complaints.
We were apprehensive about this trip because we realised that October was when the rainy season begins. I checked online for any discussion on late October in Koh Samui and the main message was its unpredictability. As my plane descended into Koh Samui Airport on a Saturday morning, raindrops pelted on the windows. It rained when I arrived at the hotel. It rained for most of that weekend with a few breaks. It started to change by Monday. And for Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday we had nothing but amazing clear skies and beaming sunshine 🌞 We were there in the second last week of October. If I would ever visit Koh Samui again though I wouldn’t risk it and would just come between February to September.
One of my favourite things about Thailand is their excellent aptitude for boutique resorts. From Hua Hin to Phuket and now to Koh Samui, they always offer various possibilities for a unique, non-chainey, cute and sweet experience. If you don’t want to splash out on your beachfront vacation and want to be in an environment where everything is catered for, then this is a great Koh Samui choice indeed. And even if you do want to splash out, they have beautiful sea-facing private pool villas which more or less charges up to 500USD per night. As for me, after 6 days on this resort, I will definitely recommend it as a perfect Thai boutique retreat for those who want quiet restful days, a private beach, delicious seafood, and a wonderful spa.
For more information, the hotel website is here
If you want to read my other experiences in Thai beach resorts, click here.