The Conrad Koh Samui was one of THE default choices to redeem your Hilton Honors rewards points before the recent Hilton Honors devaluation. Rates on hilton.com hover around $850 – $1,200 for the property depending on the season. I'm not sure if enough people pay these rates or if they sell for less through tour operators.
These days 95,000 points are required per night. The better deal seems to be Cash+Points with 38,000 points and $202 which is very reasonable compared to SPG. Hilton points are rather easy to get and $202 is a very fair price for this property – see below.
The hotel at least was fully booked at the time of my arrival (early May).
However it's less a hotel as collection of very private villas – I saw less than 10 people during my 2 day stay (and I spend most time on the property).
Location (Sightseeing, Airport, Business)
The hotel sits on the southwest tip of the island. It's very visible even from afar. There is not much else there – just jungle and a couple of small villages (and some restaurants). The Intercontinental is about a 15 minutes drive away and the main town is about 30-40 minutes away. If you stay at the hotel for more than 2-3 days rent a car as taxis are very pricey.
Check-In (Friendliness, Efficiency)
Very interesting lobby – which is a small room only at top of the hill. However very warm check in with a cool towel and a refreshing drink.
It was quick too and after passports are copied you are being taken to the villa where the main check-in happens.
My concierge was really friendly and walked me through the villa and explained my Diamond benefits. I received an upgrade to an Ocean View Villa (but all villas have that?), free buffet breakfast and an alcoholic drink per night to spend at the Azure bar.
Rooms (Cleanliness, Space provided)
Now what strikes you immediately when you enter your villa is the view towards the gulf of Thailand. It's just breathtaking and it's easy to spend a couple of hours just looking at the sea. It's that impressive – really!
The hotel is only a couple of years old so the villas have all major amenities. A huge shower, a big bathtub and enormous wash basins.
The main room has a large bed and a work desk. The best part is the patio with benches and sofas and your own very private pool. I tried to make out anyone else but all pool areas seem hidden from views by a meticulous design 🙂
If there is any sun you will most likely spend your day 'hiding out' at your own pool and hitting the Wifi. There seems to be no reason to leave at all.
The hotels steep walkways and dangerous edges of the infinity pool make it a bad choice for kids. The pool is good but the beach is pretty bad and rocky. While there is a kids club I don't think kids would enjoy this hotel much – there are better choices nearby like the Sheraton Krabi which is an excellent playground for kids.
Sleeping (Mattress, Comfort level, Noise)
The mattress had one of these extra paddings which I asked them to remove on night 2 – which made it really enjoyable.
Interestingly there is no surf at all to hear – I remember sitting at the patio at the Hyatt Regency Kauai and it was really loud. Here you can't hear a thing – if you'd not see and smell the ocean you would certainly not hear it.
It's so quiet though – just a couple of frogs roaring – amazing atmosphere.
Food (Breakfast, Executive Lounge, other food & drinks)
The breakfast happens in a rather 'intimate (small) breakfast room with not a lot of seating. The selection is ok but the quality of items (charcuterie, cheese, salads) was excellent. Some items like noodles or the coffee were just average though. However the views even from the breakfast patio easily make up for that – just breathtaking!
I went out to the Green Talay restaurant one night which is nearby and had some excellent curries. The owner David is a really friendly fellow! The hotel provides a car service which was THB 500 for the return trip.
The other night I had food at the Azure bar and was quite surprised – the Pizza was good and not too expensive. It wasn't fantastic food but I'd absolutely come back and eat there again.
Service level was just stunningly good. Fluent English speakers who knew what the guest demanded. Everyone was courteous and absolutely ready to provide great service to customers. At every interaction you could see this shining through. It was a s good as in the Conrad Hong Kong which for me is still the high watermark for good service.
The hotel is a bit off the map but it has a unique view that will form a permanent memory for life. You will be longing to get back there just for that view and villa comfort. Trust me – I do now!
It's a shame that Hilton did devalue the award chart so drastically but the cash & points rate is still a good deal compared to other chains like Starwood. I hope I can be back one day.