The coastline of Koh Samui in Thailand is dotted with resorts whose dense tropical grounds spill onto the island’s incredible white-sand beaches. Our investigators visited more than 100 of these properties (and took thousands upon thousands of honest photos along the way) to determine the ones that are the most charming, well-designed, and one-of-a-kind. Here are Oyster’s top picks for boutique hotels in Koh Samui. 

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Melati Beach Resort & Spa

Bophut, Ko Samui, Thailand

Located on the northern end of Koh Samui, about 15 minutes (by car) from the bustling center of Chaweng, this luxury beachfront retreat is surrounded by jungle. Its 77 large villas have soaking tubs on private balconies, and most have private gardens with plunge pools. There are two communal outdoor pools as well (one is adult-only), along with a full spa, fitness center, yoga studio, two restaurants, and four bars. It's also worth considering the Royal Muang Samui Villas, which offers similar amenities and slightly more elegant rooms. 


Mantra Samui Resort

Bophut, Mae Nam, Ko Samui, Thailand

A luxury boutique perched on a hill overlooking Koh Samui's northern coast, the 74-room Mantra Samui Resort has stunning ocean views. In addition to the requisite infinity pool with a swim-up bar, spa with an extensive treatment menu, and ocean-view restaurant serving modern Thai and international cuisine, the hotel goes above and beyond with a fully equipped gym with a smoothie bar and squash courts, a private movie theater with regular screenings, free cooking and yoga classes, and free access to an extensive movie library. Rooms are modern and stylish, with decadent bathrooms featuring soaking tubs plus scenic balconies. Note that the hotel is not on the beach, but does provide shuttle service to nearby beaches throughout the day.


Silavadee Pool Spa Resort

Lamai Beach, Ko Samui, Thailand

Lush green foliage, gurgling water features, and breezy Thai wooden pavilions greet arriving visitors at this luxurious retreat of sprawling villas. The expansive rooms here are modern and minimalist, with sleek, rustic-style furnishings made of local Thai hardwoods. In addition to its prized private beach and two gorgeous infinity pools overlooking the ocean, Silavadee Pool Spa Resort has plenty of facilities: bikes to borrow, a small but scenic gym, and a game room, as well as everything explorers need for kayaking, snorkeling, beach volleyball, and beach soccer, all free of charge. The two on-site restaurants serve fresh Thai and international cuisine throughout the day.


The Sunset Beach Resort & Spa, Taling Ngam

Taling Ngam, Ko Samui, Thailand

With just 21 rooms and villas spread around sprawling beachfront grounds, the Sunset Beach Resort & Spa feels relaxed, intimate, and welcoming, an atmosphere only accentuated by its modern, Balinese-meets-Thai style. Lodgings are divided into Jacuzzi Rooms and Pool Villas, all of which are decorated similarly in a modern, Thai-inspired style of open-air floor plans, hardwood floors, and white walls, with natural wood accents throughout (all rooms have outdoor space, plus flat-screen TVs, DVD players, minibars, beach baskets with beach towels, and plug-in insect repellent). The serene pool has a swim-up bar, bicycles are available to borrow, the spa has outdoor treatment pavilions, and the restaurant's cuisine is top-notch. 


The Kala Samui

Maret, Ko Samui, Thailand

The Kala Samui is an upscale boutique resort perched on a rugged hillside overlooking the ocean. The property has 32 bright, spacious rooms with ocean views and eight handsome villas with private pools and outdoor showers. Hotel highlights include 26th Degree Restaurant, which serves tasty fusion cuisine, and Rabbit Bar, a quiet spot with cocktails and bay views, plus an infinity pool and spa. There's little within walking distance aside from other resorts, but the hotel offers free shuttle service to Lamai and Chaweng. 


Sea Dance Resort

Bophut, Ko Samui, Thailand

Sitting in a quiet cove 15 minutes north of Chaweng Beach, the Sea Dance Resort is a small intimate resort with extremely personalized and attentive service (the staff knows everyone on a first-name basis). Its 20 stylish rooms are decked out with fine wood desks, rattan chairs, 32-inch flat-screen TVs, and chic open-air bathrooms with rain showers, while villas all come with their own plunge pool. There is also a large pool right by the small beach with lounge chairs and natural shade, and a fine Thai restaurant and wine bar set under a spacious thatched dome roof. The resort is a perfect choice for those looking for a quiet escape that's still near enough to the party areas. 


Bo Phut Resort & Spa

Bophut, Ko Samui, Thailand

Bo Phut Resort is an upscale boutique on the Gulf of Thailand with lush gardens, a white-sand beach (overlooking the island of Koh Pha Ngan), and easy-going vibes. The 61 rooms and villas come with minibars and flat-screen TVs, and many have sea views, though some interiors are slightly tired. There's a lovely pool with plenty of seating that's just next to the crystal clear sea, and the hotel has cordoned off a section of beach for its guests. The Bo Phut also features a full-service spa, a fitness center, and two restaurants. For rooms that look ultra-fresh and contemporary, travelers may want to consider The Library, which is closer to the nightlife in Chaweng and has similar rates.


Pavilion Samui Villas & Resort

Lamai Beach, Ko Samui, Thailand

Located right on Lamai Beach, one of Koh Samui's most popular destinations, Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort is a beach hotel surrounded by tropical gardens, with 70 modern rooms and villas, beachfront dining, a private pool, and a full-service spa. Lodgings are spacious and Thai-inflected, all with private patios and soaking tubs, and higher-tier villas with private plunge pools and beachfront views. Children are welcome and there are meeting rooms available, but the resort is predominantly popular with couples, who appreciate the romantic beachfront restaurant and poolside bar, as well as the in-room massages. It's worth noting that some rooms have been more recently renovated than others and that the restaurants and bars are pricey for the area.


The Sarann

Chaweng, Ko Samui, Thailand

This tranquil resort is popular with families and couples looking to escape the Chaweng party scene. The small boutique is not on the beach but the bay, and the water here is rocky and coral-filled, but some nice sand is just a quick stroll away (plus the Sarann makes up for it with its lovely infinity pool and great water views). Rooms here are all very big, with wooden floors and desks, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, hot water kettles, and free Wi-Fi; some come with pools, terraces with hot tubs, or balconies depending on the type. There's also a tiny fitness center, spa, and fusion restaurant that overlooks the sea. 


Rocky’s Boutique Resort

Lamai Beach, Ko Samui, Thailand

Rocky's is an intimate, upscale resort with as many staff members as guests. The spacious grounds have lush tropical foliage, there are no neighboring resorts, and the small beach -- though not particularly impressive -- is private, all of which adds to the secluded feel (there are daily free shuttles to nearby beaches in Lamai and Chaweng). All 50 rooms have attractive Thai decor, with white walls, teak furnishings, red couches and fabrics, and traditional artwork. Two restaurants, two freeform pools, and resort-wide free Wi-Fi are a few of the notable perks.


The Coast Resort – Koh Phangan

Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand

The COAST is a small, sleek beach boutique hotel, just minutes from central Haad Rin, known for its monthly full moon parties. The rooms are small but get plenty of light, and even the room doors are made of glass for better views of the tropical surroundings outside. The highlight of the resort is its beachside infinity pool, which has an adjoining pool bar with seats in the water. It's a great spot for young couples who want to enjoy the full moon festivities, but also want a relaxing, upper-mid-range escape from the crowds. It is, however, one of the most expensive resorts in the Haad Rin area and pricey by Koh Phangan standards.


Poppies Samui

Chaweng, Ko Samui, Thailand

Located on the quieter southern end of Chaweng Beach, Poppies Samui is a classic, upper-middle-range property with 24 quaint cottages spread amid lush landscaping. Aside from a lovely stretch of sandy beach with lounge chairs, umbrellas, and drink service, the property has a small outdoor pool. The hotel’s restaurant earns good reviews for its tasty cuisine. It’s one of the nicer choices in the area, and plenty of repeat guests appreciate thoughtful touches like fresh fruit in the rooms and cakes in the evening. 


Samui Resotel Beach Resort

Chaweng, Ko Samui, Thailand

Located at the quieter southern end of Chaweng Beach, Samui Resotel Beach Resort sits on a white-sand beach on the Gulf of Thailand. The 79 rooms and villas have a sleek, minimalist look and come with free Wi-Fi, minibars, and balconies or terraces. Some have sea views and private or semi-private swimming pools. Samui Resotel's centerpiece amenity is the outdoor pool -- long enough for a genuine lap swim -- with a swim-up bar.


The Briza Beach Resort Samui

Chaweng, Ko Samui, Thailand

The 57-room Briza Beach Resort on Koh Samui sits right on beautiful Chaweng Beach and is a reasonable walk along the sand to Chaweng's nightlife. All rooms are enormous villas, and include two-floor duplexes, though the style in some is dated. Most villas come with private plunge pools, and others have direct access to a shared pool. Free breakfast is served at the cute beachfront restaurant. Common areas and reception can be a hike from rooms, and the grounds are not well-lit at night. The four-pearl Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort offers a large pool, beach access, and better restaurants, along with slightly more modern rooms -- it will be far more expensive.


View Point Resort

Koh Tao, Thailand

The View Point Resort certainly lives up to its name. The location high atop a hill at the end of Chalok Baan Khao Beach makes for great views and plenty of privacy, and it is a short (steep) stroll down to the sand and village. The restaurant here is quite atmospheric, set at the bottom of the hill next to the sea. Cottages have charming, rustic Thai stye, but note that cheapest cottages overlook the gardens; you'll have to upgrade for sunset views over the sea. The Pool Villas are the best, but priciest, bet. Arriving to the resort by road is a twisting, torturous trek, but for some guests, that's all part of the adventure. It may also be worth considering the similarly priced Chintakiri Resort, which also has great views.