“Standards of hotels in Thailand are the best in the world,” says Andrea, our Product Manager, emphatically upon her return. “I mean, Lewis Hamilton was there in the Royal Villa. I think he was in hiding, didn’t he just move to Mercedes?”
Andrea is correct. I Googled it.
However, reasons regarding Lewis Hamilton’s disappearance are of little interest. Never ones for celebrity prattle, we’re more excited about the room he disappeared to. And incidentally all the other rooms at Conrad Koh Samui.
Andrea has just come back from a tour of Thailand and couldn’t wait to give you guys out there in Interwebland a thirst for the Thai life. Nobody in the office knows Thailand quite as well, so be assured this all comes on good authority.
She stayed at Conrad Koh Samui, Hilton Phuket, and a new one, Hilton Pattaya.
The royal treatment started long before touching down in Thailand and Koh Samui, however. Travelling from Heathrow to Bangkok via Dubai, with Emirates, Andrea managed a neat little upgrade to business class. And very fancy it was too.
“I’d never flown with Emirates before, so I was quite excited. And it was the A380. There’s a minibar and a big bar at the back, the seats completely recline back, and the service and the staff are absolutely brilliant.
“We got an A380 to Dubai and a 777 onwards to Bangkok. We got business class both times, but you really notice it in the A380. If you can, I’d say it’s well worth paying the extra.”
Hotels in Thailand: Conrad Style
After a 6-hour flight to Thailand and a few hours wait in Bangkok for the connecting flight – plenty of time for a swift shop – she continued to Koh Samui. Arriving at Conrad, one of a family of lavish, luxury retreats from the Hilton dynasty, Andrea says that despite the undeniably grand and modern reception, herself and visiting party agreed the overarching feeling was of intimacy.
“It’s for people looking for that ideal hideaway. It seems more geared towards couples.”
The Conrad villas are embedded into a lush green and surprisingly steep hillside, kept very quiet and what makes for an impressive façade of stepped roofs poking from the foliage (see top image).
“You can call a buggy to the room which arrives within five minutes, so the position on a cliff isn’t an inconvenience,” says Andrea. “And the view is sensational. You overlook the five islands.”
The islands in question include Koh Phaluai, Koh Chuak and Koh Nok Taphao. Incidentally these are mostly privately owned conservation areas and cannot be visited by the public. They do however occupy most of a stunning horizon as you stare from the edge of an infinity pool. And every villa has its own.
So despite these factors that clearly point to a couples’ resort, these are contemporary-styled and spacious rooms, and views, that will instantly wow. But that wasn’t all.
“A lot of us are fortunate enough to have spent time in quite a few spas around the world,” says Andrea. “We all said this was one of the best treatments we’d ever received.
“The people, the treatments, the layout and the views – all the rooms are elevated on this cliff top.”
With this in mind, the steam and sauna provided a novel surprise.
“It’s a glass box. You’re actually overlooking the whole ocean.”
Evening consisted of a meal at acclaimed Jahn Restaurant. Incidentally, in Thailand ‘Jahn’ pronounced ‘Jan’ means ‘plate’. Pronounced ‘Jaaan’ means ‘moonlight’. Mind you both would seem somehow appropriate. The Thai Fusion cuisine was spectacular fine dining, served with Masterchef-esque panache. Afterwards a pool bar cocktail by moonlight seemed the fitting closer.
Hotels in Thailand: The Hilton on your Phuket List
After a morning minibus tour of the island Andrea left her party for Phuket.
Namely, the Hilton Phuket.
“It’s the hotel for people used to and confident with the Hilton brand. It’s a bigger hotel than any of the others on the island.
“On Phuket you get a lot of high-end boutique properties, but this one is much bigger. There are lots of luxury amenities, and it’s very good for families.”
While many traditionally-designed hotels in Thailand occupy the Phuket area, the concave architecture of Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa, to give it its full name, looks almost science fiction. But the family-friendly atmosphere is clear as it perches serenely within 75 acres of perfectly kept grass, palm trees, lakes and endless beachfront. You can leave the children at Kidz Paradise Club while you enjoy a well-deserved spa session.
Hotels in Thailand: Pattaya’s Place-To-Be
A transfer through Bangkok to Pattaya now, and even the intrepid Andrea was in unchartered territory.
“I’ve never been to Pattaya before, but the Hilton Pattaya was absolutely stunning. I was blown away.”
Pattaya’s image is changing hugely these days, reflected vividly in the contemporary styling and modern feel of this brand new Hilton hotel. There’s an entire shopping mall underneath, for example. And the sky bar Horizon, whose inauguration was to rapturous welcome recently, is Pattaya’s place-to-be.
“I actually thought I was in one of the higher room categories,” explains Andrea. “But it was a second room category and we still had a bath tub on the balcony.”
At that, it’s a pretty large balcony.
There’s a nautical theme to the hotel’s restaurant, Flare. As you enter, green chiffon curtains and drapes hang like seaweed. And the seafood and steak menu?
“The food was probably the best I’ve ever tasted.”
And if that’s stirred some desire within you then there’s good news, we have some superb travel deals for the following hotels in Thailand:
Hilton Pattaya – Deluxe Seaview Room
– Book by 28 Feb 13
– Valid for travel: 01 May-31 Oct 13
– SAVE 15%
– 7 Nights from £826 per adult
– 14 Nights from £1117 per adult
Conrad Koh Samui – Oceanview Pool Villa
– Book by 30 Nov 12
– Valid for travel: now-31 Oct 13
– SAVE 20%
– 7 nights from £2214
– 14 nights from £3586 per adult