Set on a hillside on the south dast coast of Samui with stunning views over Lamai bay, Banyan Tree is the epitome of an idyllic get-away retreat. On arrival, flower garland in hand, sipping fresh, ice cold coconut water and looking out on to the sapphire waters of the Gulf of Thailand, I can't help but feel peace and serenity take over.
As we're escorted up the steep hill through towering palms and aromatic lilies to our villa, our personal host, Saya, hands me a phone that I can apparently use to contact her with any request, anytime, day or night, (I don't of course, I couldn't possibly). She tells me that the resort is at capacity. It feels so quiet, but maybe that's its secret. The villas are so spacious and hidden that they could be private residences and personal service is such that we feel like we're the only people here.
It's the same on arrival at the resort's spectacular Rainforest Spa. Unusually, I'm given my own personal spa guide, a 'Hydrothermal Host', who takes me through each stage of the extensive hydrotherapy/thermal circuit (the only one on the island, I'm informed) then personally escorts me to my treatment room.
The level of service and intimacy continues for the rest of our stay. On our last night we head for a romantic dinner at Sands, the resort's informal beachside restaurant. Just before we leave we're handed a Thai lantern, taken down to the sea, told to make a wish, and release it. I get a tad emotional.
Banyan Tree are renowned for their eco-friendly, world-class luxury spa resorts and but this one has something a little bit magical.
The Room: Ocean Pool Villa A102, is set high in the hills with panoramic views of the gulf. A living room, with mini bar, flat screen TV, and huge comfy sofas leads on to a bedroom with kingsize bed and direct access to a private infinity pool. Facilities include: A double walk-in monsoon and multi-jet shower and good supply of Banyan Tree own brand toiletries. An outside dining area and glass surround, double day bed, and relaxation deck with bean bags. Turn down service with pillow aromatherapy and macaroons.
The Spa: The Rainforest Spa is located down the hill hidden amongst the trees, contemporary in design with a nature inspired décor, using natural materials to bring the outside in; a forest within a forest. Facilities include a personal hydrotherapy/thermal circuit with ice drench buckets and jet stream massage showers, a foot spa, sauna and steam rooms and a complete hydro-jet pool and heated stone relaxation beds.
The Treatment: Rainforest Experience. A personal hydro and thermo circuit is followed by a 'balancing' massage. Warm oils are used to relax the muscles with sweeping and stretching movements to open the back and spine releasing tension. A Swedish style massage finishes the treatment with a pressure point head massage. Heated eucalyptus towels are place around the neck to awaken the senses.
Other treatments include: Thai Essense, a coconut scrub is used to cleanse and exfoliate the skin, followed by a hot stone massage with clarity oil working on pressure points to help discharge toxins.
To Eat:Saffron for delicious grilled fish and Thai curries. The chef asks for your preferences and creates a personal menu for you. (There's the personal service again!) Sands for informal pizza, pasta and romantic beachside dining. The Edge for international à la carte.
The Deal: Prices at Banyan Tree Koh Samui start from £495 per night in a Deluxe Pool Villa on a bed and breakfast basis, inclusive of a 20% Early Bird Advantage discount. Book a stay at Banyan Tree Samui seven days in advance with the Early Bird Advantage and enjoy 20% off the Best Available Rate. This offer is available from 1 August 2013 to 21 December, 2013. For reservations and enquiries, please call +66 77 915 333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org