Top 10 most insanely beautiful luxury hotels in Thailand

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (February 17, 2020): Top 10 best luxury hotels & resorts in Thailand.

Synonymous with sugar white sand, turquoise waters, and tropical scenery, Thailand’s incredible 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. Despite being a magnet for budget and backpacker travelers, Thailand also happens to be home to some of the world’s most ultra-luxurious resorts, whether it be beach enclaves, urban hotels or jungle retreats. Here’s my selection of the top 10 best luxury hotels & resorts in Thailand, and while all of them are stunning properties, the number one resort is an absolutely amazing, out-of-this-world place.

There is more information (with trip reports & YouTube clips) below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Leave a comment, or take my poll below.

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10. KEEMALA PHUKET

Curving shapes and a highly unusual architecture are the inventive dwellings of Keemala, an all pool villa wonderland nestled well away from the Phuket crowds and overlooking Kamala Village and the Andaman Sea. For fun seekers the resort is close enough to Kamala Beach and the liveliness of Patong Beach and all the dynamic action that Phuket has to offer, yet far enough removed to step back and take time to enjoy the tranquil surroundings of the rainforest and a plethora of holistic activities and cuisine to aid wellbeing. Shaded by an enchanted canopy of rainforest and connected together by a network of jungle walkways, the resort’s 38 villas are designed for guests wishing to experience a rustic, yet lavish, escape. Some villas are built in the canopy, featuring two floors complete with a private pool, upper level master bedroom, and a large lounge and dining area on the lower level.


9. FOUR SEASONS RESORT KOH SAMUI

Set on a tropical hillside that unfurls into the ocean, Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui is an away-from-it-all escape that perfectly blends in with its spectacular natural environment. This is one of Thailand’s best luxury hotels and a wonderful place to experience Koh Samui’s island perfection. The resort’s hillside luxury villas are shaded by coconut groves and overlook 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. Guests here start their day in paradise with yoga, enjoy healing rituals inspired by nature at the Secret Garden Spa, relax to ocean sounds with a massage on the beach, savor afternoon tea at Koh Thai Kitchen, or pamper themselves with one of many private dining experiences.


8. RAYAVADEE KRABI

Rayavadee is situated in the heart of Krabi’s beautiful Phranang Peninsula on the border of Krabi Marine National Park, an area renowned for its natural beauty and rich flora, fauna and marine life. When the resort was built more than two decades ago, it was with the idea of creating one of Thaialnd’s best luxury hotels that offers living in balance within a unique environment. The 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.


7. THE SIAM HOTEL BANGKOK

The Siam hotel – opened in 2013 – is in a category of its own and unique to the Thai capital. With only 39 suites and 3 acres of property along the river, guests are able to experience a resort atmosphere and a level of exclusivity that is not available at Bangkok’s larger luxury properties. The suites at the Siam are amongst the largest in city, all outfitted with plush furnishings, super-sized king beds and lofty ceilings. Each room has been individually designed with original turn of the century oriental artwork and antiques. Guests can also choose for an intimately private pool villa and bask in either Thai, Chinese or Colonial surrounds. Every villa is awash with lush internal gardens and features a private swimming pool and open-air roof terrace, perfect for private sunbathing, evening cocktails or tête-à-tête dining.


6. BANYAN TREE PHUKET

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 luxury hotel is a glorious spread of Thailand’s elegant 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). This is the perfect destination for travelers who seek a luxury hideaway, a golf getaway, a relaxing staycation or a base from which to explore this beautiful island’s heritage, culture and stunning beaches.

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


5. AMANPURI, PHUKET

Amanpuri (which means “peaceful place”) was the very first Aman, which is known today as the world’s most exclusive hotel brand. The luxury hotel is located within a former coconut plantation overlooking the Andaman Sea on the west coast of Thailand’s island of Phuket. Amanpuri is entirely self-contained on a verdant peninsula sloping down to Pansea Beach and its pristine, sheltered cove. This timeless retreat is in harmony with its idyllic setting, with ancient Ayutthayan architecture determining the design of its pavilions and villas, which overlook lush vegetation and the pristine Andaman Sea. Interspersed throughout a ltropical garden, 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.


4. FOUR SEASONS TENTED CAMP GOLDEN TRIANGLE, CHIANG RAI

Hidden within exotic bamboo jungles overlooking Myanmar and Laos, this luxury hotel offers tailor-made, all-inclusive experiences in an exquisite bamboo jungle close to some of Thailand’s oldest civilizations. The Four Seasons Tented Camp at Golden Triangle contains just 15 tents, where guests can stretch out in 54 square meters (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. At night, sundowners are offered at the Burma Bar, then afterwards, guests enjoy unforgettable dining experiences in a safari camp atmosphere at the Nong Yao Restaurant. A stay at the lodge includes a comprehensive list of activities, such as walking with the resort’s resident elephants, or absorbing the tropical tranquility with an open-air massage among the treetops.


3. SIX SENSES YAO NOI, PHUKET

Six Senses Yao Noi sets the highest benchmark for island resort living in Asia. Located beyond Phuket in awesome Phang Nga Bay, there’s a sense of privacy and adventure. The resort’s 55 elevated pool villas present generous personal space and a variety of views. Sea view villas offer glorious vistas over Phang Nga Bay, while mountain view villas face a plantation of rubber trees. Natural materials used in the modern architecture, together with excellent personal service, support the Six Senses philosophy of creating exceptional experiences. There are dining options aplenty at Six Senses Yao Noi, with several restaurants and bars, and an international wine cellar. The Living Room presents Thai and world cuisine and an open grill, while The Hilltop offers Thai set dinners and light lunches. There’s also an excellent Six Senses Spa, and the property offers many exciting excursions and activities.

  • 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: get complimentary VIP perks 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 my review of Six Senses Yao Noi here.


2. ROSEWOOD PHUKET

At an exquisite location along a 600 m (2000 ft) beachfront at Emerald Bay, Rosewood Phuket is a tropical beach hideaway akin to an ideal ocean village. Innovative design with subtle Thai influences blends organically into a lush natural landscape, while sun-weathered shores and glistening, crystalline waters help celebrate luxury island living. The environmentally sensitive, contemporary architecture style utilizes indigenous materials such as stone and timber throughout and features floor-to-ceiling windows in all private and public areas to offer a fully immersive experience of the hillside forest surroundings. Featuring 71 pavilions and villas, the resort offers a secluded island escape and celebration of the brand’s ‘A Sense of Place’ philosophy, taking inspiration from the natural landscape, diverse cultures and unique sensibilities of this distinctive southern isle.

  • Hotel website: Rosewood Phuket
  • Other accolades: Rosewood Phuket also features in my list of the best new hotels of 2017.
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out,’ a Sense of Place’ amenity and greeting card from management, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Review: read my review of Rosewood Phuket here.


1. SONEVA KIRI, KOH KOOD

Remote yet accessible by a 60 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. Soneva Kiri is not only the best hotel in Thailand but also one of the most exclusive resorts in the world, offering 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 get complimentary Soneva ambassador benefits at Soneva Kiri (e.g. resort credit, two personalized Soneva experience, and more).



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14 Comments

  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. I’ve only stayed at one of these (the Four Seasons Koh Samui) and I thought THAT was the best hotel in Thailand, but it really does seem like some of these ones you ranked higher than it would definitely give it a run for its money. Soneva Kiri looks amazing!

  3. You should try
    1. Pimalai Krabi for a superb pool villa with ocean view plus pristine beach!
    2. Hansar Bangkok is also amazing especially Virtigo Suite.
    3.The Barai Suite in HuaHin also features many amazing factors such as complimentary 60-min spa and nice big private pool!
    4. High Season, Koh Kood – Amazing pool villa at reasonable price
    5. 137 Pillar Bangkok – rooftop pool with breathtaking panoramic view of Bangkok. Huge suite and great club benefits.

  4. Nice selection of comments here.
    Banyan Tree Samui – nice resort but I did not feel the service was good
    Amanpuri – my first visit was about 15 years ago and it was fantastic. Visited again in 2018, what a difference in service, very poor at those prices.

    Yes, for luxury hotels it’s all about the service.

  5. The absence of Trisara is a major oversight. So often rated best resort in Asia AND has only Michelin star restaurant in Phuket, one of few in Thailand. Unfathomable it’s left off. And the newly renovated MO Bangkok, so often rated #1 hotel in the world?

  6. Re: Anantara Maikhao Phuket

    Best beach by far, particularly if you walk 200-300m north and stay on the beach with the Nature reserve behind you. Shade from the trees in the morning.Absolutely idyllic for a Phuket beach. Just silence and birdsong. DO NOT book a two bedroom villa. These are opposite the main entrance to the resort and are mostly timeshare with the Chinese as the main owners. The villas are massive and beautiful but the noise levels generally in the area is excessive. There is also a childrens pool area where organised sports are regularly run which add to the general ‘lack of peace’.
    Breakfast is usually hectic and competitive although the food is great. Staff were great when we there and the Manager was exceptional. However too many kids for our liking , maybe this resort is better for young families. The only peace we got was on the brillian beach.

  7. Amanpuri , just comeback from them.. july 2020!!!
    Its crazy OVERPRICED!!! What they give for this price, sorry it’s shocking! Restaurant is bad and overpriced. Food looks bad but yes, ingredients is fresh.
    Don’t book Garden pavilion , its small and ugly. No sun inside, no flower , only greens.. so choose only OCEAL PANORAMIC POOL PAVILION. But also its gonna be maximum 30% view of ocean ..

  8. The hotel is nice, no complaints , the service staff is amazing and helpful, my only problem was with front office staff you were not really warm in welcoming the guest, no smile on the face ,lack of training I feel personally and location attitude, the breakfast was good Over all I am satisfied with the service but not happy with the front office who are the face of the hotel

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