Where to stay in Koh Samui

Electric nights versus bookish beauty on Thailand's paradise island.

W Retreat

What's so special?

The owners of the W chain know how to make hotels that stand out from the crowd. Their Koh Samui outpost is no exception. There are cushioned seating areas sunk into the pools, top-notch villas, free mini bars stocked with drinks and Hagen-Dazs, and even your own teddy bear, who sports a dressing gown.

How they rate it

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The W is like a "disco-ball twinkling in the hillside", says Kate Leahy in The Sunday Times Travel. "The wow' factor whacks you in the face as you enter," says Huffington Post. The villas are impressive, with "king-sized beds, flat screen TVs, indoor and outdoor monsoon showers and a double circular tub". There is also a spa and infinity pools in the grounds; each suite has its own private pool. "By day, the atmosphere is post-party relaxed (massages on the beach are the norm); by night, it's electric," says Leahy.

The menu

The Kitchen Table serves breakfast, la carte lunch and dinner, or go to Namu for oceanside Japanese dining and "try the incredible lobster noodles", says Huffington Post.

The cost

Doubles start from £315, B&B. For more, visit www.starwoodhotels.com, or call 00 66 7791 5999.


The Library

What's so special?

The accommodation at The Library is a little different from your average Koh Samui beach hut. It is glossy and high-end, with striking design elements making it feel more like a slick design hotel than a beach resort.

How they rate it

This hotel has "bookish beauty white sculptures of readers pepper the gardens," says Leahy. There are 26 studios and suites, which are "minimalist: glossed white floors, striking red and black furnishings, frame-free beds and indoors Jacuzzis (suites only)". Push your budget and book the Bookmark, "a giant seaside suite with triple king-size bed, open-air lounge and a garden with deckchairs". The hotel pool is eye-catching because it is "lined with red, orange and yellow tiles, giving it a blood-red glow". The actual library is a shelf-filled sanctuary.

The menu

The Page serves up organic meals and 101different sundowners "try the Lychee Caprioska", says Leahy.The food is a mixture of Thai and international cuisine. Cooking classes are also on offer. You can book a private, butler-served meal on the beach.

The cost

Doubles cost from £186, including breakfast.Find out more at www.thelibrary.co.th, or call 00 66 7742 2767.


Three new French ski retreats

Doubles cost from €900, half board (Lapogeecourchevel.com).

L'Heliopic, Chamonix, is situated in a fantastic location at the foot of the Aiguille du Midi cable car, which links Chamonixwith Mont Blanc. "Interiors display a simple palette of soft greys and inviting browns, with wool throws and bunk bedsfor children in the larger rooms." There are books, board games and DVDs to borrow and an in-house ski shop. "A Nuxe spa and indoor pool elevates it to new heights."

Doubles cost from €140, room only (Heliopic-hotel-spa.com).

Koh-I Nor, Val Thorens, is a new lodge that "sparkles just like the 100-carat crown jewel after which it's named". The Koh-I Nor is located in Europe's highest resort.

It has 63 rooms and 35 private apartments, "all with easy access to the interlinked Trois Valles ski area". Inside, "everything seems to be on a grand scale", with two restaurants looked after by two-Michelin-starred chef Yoann Conte, a spa, two pools and a fitness centre.

Doubles start from €390, half board (Hotel-kohinor.com).

Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings accounts and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance.

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping, among many other titles both online and offline.