Top 10: most insanely beautiful luxury hotels in Thailand

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (November 9, 2015): Top 10 best luxury hotels & resorts in Thailand.

A veritable paradise of sugar white sand, crystal clear waters, and dramatic scenery, Thailand’s tropical beaches are renowned around the globe for their beauty, and as a consequence, unfortunately, mass tourism has spoilt some of them. Remember the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role ? Well, these days you have to look a little harder to find the utopian Thai paradise as described in Alex Garland’s 1990s cult backpacking novel, although little gems still shine brightly on the Thai island Koh Phi Phi, where the movie was filmed. Despite being a magnet for budget and backpacker travelers, Thailand also happens to be home to some of the world’s most ultraluxurious resorts, whether it be beach enclaves, urban hotels or jungle retreats. Here’s my selection of the top 10 most exclusive and luxurious resorts in Thailand, and while all of them are stunning hotels, the number one resort is an absolutely amazing, out-of-this-world place.

There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite Thai hotel in the comments section, or take my poll at the bottom of the page!

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COMO Point Yamu is a new Phuket luxury resort located at the tip of Cape Yamu overlooking the Andaman Sea and the dramatic limestones of Phang Nga Bay. Interiors by Italian designer Paola Navone offer a unique expression of contemporary Thai luxury, alongside a COMO Shambhala wellness retreat and two world-class restaurants for Thai and Italian cuisine. Its location above the Cape, overlooking Phang Nga Bay, affords a 360 degree spectacular Andaman Sea views, but not direct access to private beach. However the resort does have a private COMO Beach Club on a small island, 40 minutes by complimentary boat shuttle from the hotel.


Nestled across 60 acres of beautifully landscaped tropical grounds and rice paddy fields in Thailand’s Rose of the North – Chiang Mai – is The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai. The luxury resort’s design draws heavily from the architectural and cultural influences of the historic Lanna Kingdom. Ancient palace-like structures, traditional Lanna-style villas and delightful colonial mansions house luxurious accommodation, some of the finest of restaurants and superb recreational facilities Thailand has to offer. All of the spacious accommodations feature separate sitting areas and some have their own private outdoor plunge pools.

  • Hotel websiteThe Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).
  • Review: read here my review of The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai.


Set on a tropical, palm tree covered cliff, with a private stretch of pristine, white sand, the Four Seasons Koh Samui perfectly blends in with its spectacular natural environment. This is Koh Samui’s best luxury property and a wonderful place to experience Thai island perfection in your private hillside luxury villa, shaded by coconut groves and overlooking the mystical Gulf of Siam and the talcum-white sands of the private bay. All villas feature a private outdoor deck, aqua-inspired interiors and a lovely infinity pool. The resort has a superb spa, tucked away amid the gentle sights and sounds of the jungle, far from hectic urban life.



Situated at the heart of the stunning Phranang Peninsular on the edge of Krabi Marine National Park, Rayavadee nestles discreetly amidst tropical gardens and coconut groves against a backdrop of sheer cliffs, lush jungle foliage and the clear waters of the Andaman Sea. In addition to stylish, five-star accommodation, Rayavadee also boasts fine cuisine, one of the most unique relaxation spas in Thailand and warm, attentive service. Surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, the resort is also the perfect Thailand honeymoon destination and setting for intimate, personalized wedding celebrations.



For more than 135 years, travelers have followed the Chao Phraya River to stay at the legendary Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. A luxury five-star hotel in one of the world’s most exciting cities, the hotels enjoys a reputation for style, service and excellence. Timeless yet contemporary, classic yet cutting-edge, the hotel’s unique blend of luxury and comfort make this haven of calm on the banks of the river the ultimate Bangkok address. The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok features 339 rooms (most with river views) and 35 suites, in addition to no less than 9 outstanding restaurants and bars.


Encircling the sparkling waters of a saltwater lagoon, Banyan Tree Phuket is a tropical fairytale where the roads are lined with casuarinas and palms, the fields are bright with Allamanda blooms and the Bang Tao Bay always sparkles in sapphire brilliance. The hotel is a glorious spread of elegant Thai architecture complemented with every modern amenity imaginable. The hotel is cradled within Laguna Phuket’s exclusive community, a 400-hectare former abandoned tin mining site that includes 3 km of sandy shores and is home to more than 30 restaurants and bars (with free use of inter-resort transportation by shuttle vehicle or lagoon boat).

  • Hotel websiteBanyan Tree Phuket
  • Other accolades: Banyan Tree Phuket also features in my top 10 list of Phuket’s best ultra luxury hotels.
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and one lunch or dinner for 2).
  • Review: read here my review of the Banyan Tree Phuket.


This timeless retreat on the west coast of Phuket is in harmony with its idyllic setting. Ancient Ayutthayan architecture determines the design of its pavilions and villas, which overlook lush vegetation and the pristine Andaman Sea. Interspersed throughout a mature coconut plantation, the Thai-style Pavilions and Villas are approached by elevated walkways, and all have a private outdoor sala (room) for dining and relaxing, shaded by tropical flora. Sloping roof lines frame soothing, spacious interiors, furnished with Thai textiles, art and antiques. The resort is the flagship hotel of Aman, the world’s most exclusive hotel brand.


A natural paradise surrounded by majestic mountains, Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle puts you in an exquisite bamboo jungle close to some of Thailand’s oldest civilizations. Here, you can ride an elephant, take a nature stroll, and discover the customs of northern Thailand’s most colorful hilltribes. Four Seasons Tented Camp contains just 15 tents, where you can stretch out in 54 square metres (581 square feet) of living space appointed with leather-and-hardwood bush chairs, paddle fans and a hardwood desk, or soothe your muscles in a custom-made wooden hot tub on the outdoor deck.



Six Senses Yao Noi sets the highest benchmark for island resort living in Asia. The attention to detail and focus on the unique destination reinforces the Six Senses brand’s commitment to sustainability. The 56 pool villa accommodations provide generous personal space and present an uncompromised lifestyle. Some overlook the striking limestone monuments that rise out of the Andaman Sea, providing an idyllic backdrop for days of tranquil indulgence. Natural materials used in the modern architecture, together with a beautiful island setting and excellent personal service, support the Six Senses philosophy of creating exceptional experiences.

  • Hotel websiteSix Senses Yao Noi
  • Other accolades: Six Senses Yao Noi also features in my top 10 list of Phuket’s best ultra luxury hotels.
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a complimentary 50-minute massage for up to two people, per room).
  • Review: read here my review of Six Senses Yao Noi.


Remote yet accessible by a 90 minute flight from Bangkok on the resort’s private plane, phenomenal Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s 4th largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, in the Gulf of Siam. One of the most exclusive resorts in the world, Soneva Kiri offers an unrivalled combination of luxury, environmentally friendly design and unforgettable, authentic Thai experiences. The 36 resort villas (including 11 private residences) are amongst the largest in the world. Located on the idyllic beach or sunny slopes in the rainforest, all have stunning infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies, and impeccable service courtesy of private butlers. Highlights include the open air cinema Paradiso, Benz’ mangrove restaurant, the chocolate & ice cream parlour, the children’s den and the spectacular Treetop dining pod.

Contact me to receive a complimentary room upgrade at the time of booking at Soneva Kiri.

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  1. Very strange selection in my opinion.
    I worked for the last 15 years in Thai luxury travel industry and here’s my selection:

    Out of the list above only a few hotels fit the top 10:
    Soneva Kiri
    FS Tented Camp
    Six Senses Yao Noi (although the beach is a compronise)
    Rayavadee (although 50% of customer complain about noisy boats at the beach crowded with day trip tourists).

    FS Samui – the beach is too shallow, swimming in low tide is not possible though gets a little better in winter months. Their residences however are superb.

    Banyan Phuket – it’s ok if you like to live a kilometer away from the beach.

    Mandarin Oriental Bangkok – too old, the buildings a old with rediculously low ceilings in the rooms. Peninsula is so much better in every aspect. Overpriced.

    Amanpuri – super old, some things feel antique – bathrooms for instance. Extremely overpriced. Don’t understand why would anyone want to pay that money for what they offer.

    Point Yamu – no beach! Some rooms designs are interesting but that’s not enough. W Retreat Samui is much better for that matter.

    Dhara Devi Chiang Mai – wierd combination of Thai and colonial architecture. The Thai part is a bit like a residential development. Four Seasons Chiang Mai would be my first choice.

    Among my personal favourites:

    Anantara Maikhao Phuket – fantastic beach, great value for money, villas no further than 3 min walk from the sea. Top choice in Phuket.

    Trisara – the beach is shallow, the rooms overpriced but still it;s a better choice than Amanpuri, villas have great sunset views.

    Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan – the most beautiful beach in the Gulf of Siam, great value for money, have beachfront pool villas (most Thai luxury 5* hotels dont)

    W Retreat – to choice for trendy design lovers, good location, beach 4/5

    Banyan Tree Samui – the biggest1 bedroom pool villas in Samui, have separate living room, good location, beach 4/5 (better than FS)

    Vana Belle Koh Samui – another perfect beachfront unaffected by low tides. New and reasonably priced.

    Santiburi – though less expensive but super popular and has the best beach in Samui.

    Pimalai Resort Koh Lanta – the best kept 5* secret, magnificent beach, biggest pool villas in it’s class, fantastic management by a dedicated GM.

  2. Thanks for sharing your favorites and views. You have a lot of insider knowledge. The list is a reflection of my own favorites of course. I am not a fan though of the W Retreat (don’t like the beach) nor the FS Chiang Mai. Kind regards

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Review: inside Bangkok’s most iconic hotel, the Mandarin Oriental | Jungle Dispatch
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