Among all the Thai beaches I have been to, Ko Samed in the gulf of Thailand, just 200km South of Bangkok, remains my favorite. And my favorite hotel on the island is Villa Samed Resort, a small resort with a handful of bungalows under the palm trees, just steps from the ocean and with its own little white sand beach!
Location: Villa Samed is on the island of Ko Samed (not to be confused with the much larger Ko Samui) just 2-3h South of Bangkok. You can read my “Escape from Bangkok” post to find out how to get there and around. Its beach is on the Western shore, South of the main town and beach, close enough to provide access to stores and restaurants (15min walk), but far enough to not feel commercial. If you keep going South, you’ll share even smaller beaches with just a handful of people. Villa Samed is best reached by taxi and speedboat from Bangkok – the hotel will arrange it for you.
Service: One of the reasons I like Villa Samed is the excellent service: It’s well managed, making it a lot more reliable and better maintained than some of the other, similarly priced hotels on Ko Samed. When we arranged pick-up, our driver was early and drove safely (both very rare in Thailand), handed us off to the waiting speedboat and got us to the hotel beach quickly. Staff welcomed us to the resorts and carried our luggage to the beach. Our room was ready and the check in was quick. Housekeeping was very much on top of their game and our room was cleaned promptly and thoroughly every day, making it a very pleasant place to be. The restaurant staff did equally well, was friendly and kept the breakfast buffet well stocked and delivered drinks or food orders quickly and exactly as ordered!
Room: Our room was in one of the bungalows (shared between two rooms) and facing the Ocean in the second row. Each bungalow has a small balcony to welcome you before you enter. The rooms are pretty large, with one queen and one single bed, a small table and a TV, small safe and fridge. It also had a daybed near the window to relax and a wardrobe. The furnishings are simple, made from local wood and with local decorations like artwork and colorful pillows. The towels were formed to swans on arrival, a nice touch! There is a strong air conditioner, but between the shade of the palm trees and the ocean breeze, you can probably do without.
The bathroom is equally simple with a shower, sink and toilet. There is cold and hot water throughout the day and we didn’t have any issues with hot water or electricity as you sometimes find in the islands. The provided soap and shampoo are pretty basic, so you should bring your own.
Samed Villa Resort has multiple room types, mostly distinguished by size and location. I would recommend to go with the seaview or gardenview villas – they are very nice and just steps from the ocean. The slightly cheaper, rear-facing rooms are not nearly as nice, in the back of the resort and feel more like a dormitory – you’d miss out on what is so nice about Ko Samed with all its little bungaglows! If you are on a budget, I’d suggest the cheaper Tub Tim Resort next door!
Restaurant/Amenities: The room rate includes a buffet breakfast at the hotel restaurant. It’s a nice outdoor setting (with a roof), overlooking the beach. The selection is typical for a mid-scale Thai hotel, with a small selection of fresh fruit, toast and some eggs and sausage. There is coffee, tea and juice for drinks. The quality and taste are good, but neither the selectin or quality are as good as you can find at the larger hotels in Bangkok!
Villa Samed has its own beach right in front and is one of the few hotels offering their own beach loungers. If you prefer to dig your toes into the sand, you can walk around the hotel to one of the next beaches and stretch out there.
While I enjoy the simple massages offered by locals right on the beach, the sand and mosquitoes can be bothersome, so the Samed Spa is a nice and more comfortable alternative. It’s housed in a beautiful wooden building at the back of the resort. It’s air conditioned and the massages are done on futons separated by curtains making them semi-private. The therapists are well qualified and the prices are only a little more than at the beach, around USD15-20.
While not really an amenity, the gardens are worth mentioning: The landscaping is beautiful and lush and very well maintained, making it a beautiful place to hang out or enjoy from your balcony!
Conclusion: With rates starting at under USD60 for a garden view bungalow in low season. The well run and maintained resort with large rooms and competent service are well worth the money! The stand-alone bungalows under the palm trees make for a much more remote feeling than the city beaches of Phuket or Ko Samui and you pay less as well. With plenty of even more remote beaches on one side, the fun Silver Sands bar on the other and lots of restaurants in walking distance, it’s a great balance between peace & quiet and fun. I’ve stayed a few times and look forward to my next visit! You can book the resort and arrange transportation here!
And credit for the photos in this post go to my sister – the internet ate all of my photos from that trip!