Recently, I was in Koh Samui and visited the Banyan Tree Samui Hotel.
Winding our way up the steep road we reached the top. Looking through the entrance door the panoramic view of the beach and resort was right in front of me. Cascading down the bush-clad hill were the villas, each with their own pool. The horseshoe-shaped bay is the resort’s private beach. It’s one of a hand-full of resorts in Koh Samui to have their own beach.
I had arrived for a morning of pampering. But, before heading off to the spa I was treated to a delicious, sweet tropical drink and a coconut cookie.
Unique to several of the Banyan Tree spa is the ‘The Rainforest’. It’s a holistic, hydrotherapy wellness experience designed to heal and soothe and this is what I had come to experience.
In the spa, the hostess took me though ‘The Rainforest’ experience on an i-pad, step by step. I still didn’t really know what to expect but got into my swimsuit with great anticipation for the journey.
The treatment started with a walk through a rain forest. Showerheads sprayed cool then warm water on me. It was surreal and I felt the water was falling from the heavens. This was followed by time in the steam room. It was hard to sit it out as the air has heavy with moisture, but I did. Sweaty and completely cooked, I moved to the next area to cool off. Pulling a lever I activated a bucket of cold water, tipping it over my head. Literally, taking my breath away, I was ready to find more heat. This time into the sauna.
The multiple hot and cold treatments had certainly woken me up and made me feel invigorated. My circulation was now pumping! Now the hydrotherapy massage.
In an elongated pool, I moved from one water feature to another. Firstly, hot and cold water spurted from jets massaging my joints and back. It felt like a full-body workout. Some of the jets pummelled my back so hard, it was difficult to stand up. As I moved around the pool experiencing different levels of manipulation, pressure and water temperatures my body began to limber up. What a massage!
The experience climaxed with a full-body, bubble massage. Lying on the curved recliner in the water I clutched the handles as the intense bubbles massaged every part of my body.
Leaving the water therapy pool, l was guided to a moulded, heated tile bed. Relaxing with a cup of herbal tea and tucked up with a towel I could have fallen asleep. Reluctantly, the treatment had finished. As I walked from my water-fuelled drowsy state, the final act in ‘The Rainforest’ was to stimulate the soles of my feet by walking over rounded river stones.
The experience was invigorated and I felt completely energized.
Having built up a healthy appetite I headed to the restaurant on the beach, Sands. Enjoying the relaxed vibe, I ordered a Mai Tai cocktail and ate the best soft-shell crab pad Thai in the world. Within a stone’s throw of the ocean, I was keen for a swim.
The resort is beautiful. Private villas in the bush provide a great get-way. The resort is far from your standard hotel. The bedroom and bathrooms in the villas are beautifully appointed and open onto a private pool and outside lounging area. The villas also have a sitting room with TV. They’re luxurious and are some of the best I’ve ever seen.
Service is everything at the Banyan Tree Samui. All the guests are given a smartphone so they can stay in contact with their concierge hostess and access information about the resort at any time. They look after their staff, who in turn take huge pride in their work. Defying all industry norms, nearly 50 per cent of the staff who were at the Banyan Tree Samui when it opened 10 years ago are still there. They deliver consistent, excellent Banyan Tree service.
The Banyan Tree is also big on sustainability. They go above and beyond to look after the environment, supporting local communities. Nearby, the Banyan Tree Phuket was built from an old tin mine, made safe before the resort was built.
If you are looking for some time away from where service and privacy are important, in a stunningly, beautiful setting this might be the place for you.