Samui Wining & Dining
W is for Wonderful
Nothing is too much trouble at Samui’s very own ‘hip luxury’ W Retreat.


W is for WonderfulStepping into the ‘Interaction Tunnel’ entrance to Samui’s new luxury resort W Retreat lets you know straightaway that this place is something very different. It’s lit by lasers at night, projecting images of fish or stars onto the floor, which move away when your feet come near them. From there it’s only a few steps to the W Lounge, a vast floor of water with rounded seating areas sunk into it, and clear views straight across the Gulf of Thailand. The DJ plays the latest tunes as the sun goes down and the staff toss fluorescent balls into the water for splashes of extra colour.


W Retreat bills itself as ‘hip luxury’; something a bit different and definitely less formal than many other five star resorts. All the usual things are here – fine dining, spa, massage, pool and pristine accommodation, but they’re done just that bit differently. The décor is a mixture of modern, chic and stylish, with bright cushions scattered about on huge day-beds by the bar. The villas all have private pools; literally one jump away from the deep bath inside, so you can hop in and out of each as the temperature takes you. There are stocked wine fridges in the kitchens and red teddy bears on the beds.


And in the living area, in front of the huge flat-screen TV, there’s not just a comfy sofa but a huge beanbag too. And in the rare event that there’s a squabble over who gets the beanbag, not to worry. The staff operate a Whatever/Whenever service – whatever you want, whenever you want it, whether it’s a spare beanbag, a champagne picnic hamper breakfast or a five-course Japanese menu paired with wine and sake.


Set where Maenam and Bophut beaches intersect, W Retreat opened on Samui in November 2010, one of 41 W Hotels around the world and the first one in South-East Asia. It’s in a secluded, private spot on a peninsula separated from the rest of Samui – an island within an island designed to be a home away from home. You could literally spend a couple of weeks’ holiday here without going anywhere else.


You can start your day off with a leisurely breakfast to line your stomach for all the relaxing and pampering booked in for later – the Kitchen Table restaurant has a luxury buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, set in a sunny room below the W Lounge and with an outside terrace. If you fancy learning how to make the meals yourself, just ask the staff about the Wish Workshop, where you can learn everything from how to be a top chef to how to begin Thai kickboxing.


And talking of kickboxing, you might want to check out the state-of-the-art SWEAT gym if you’re feeling energetic or want to build up some guilt-free pamper time for later. SWEAT has all the equipment you’d expect from a 21st century gym, from the new fitness machines overlooking the sea to the weave ceiling, I-pod docking stations and LCD TVs. The yoga room is just beside it and there’s also a watersports centre, the SWING tennis court and not forgetting WET, the big swimming pool with plenty of day-beds beside it to relax after your swim.


But pampering is definitely the main order of the day at W. There are so many spa, body and massage packages available that you’d need several weeks to get through them all. The spa packages can each be tailor-made according to how you want to feel after them. You can try ‘Well Detoxed’, with a body-scrub, body-wrap, massage and shampoo; ‘Well Restored’, designed to bring you back up from feeling under the weather, or ‘Well Chilled’, using bath, body-scrub and massage to get rid of any stress. There’s also ‘Thaimazcal’, the sauna and steam packages which include body-scrub, exfoliation, juice and massage, and can be booked for couples or groups.


For massage, you can try the W signature ‘Away Massage’ for 90 minutes or 2 hours, where you pick your own blend of massage oil and get your feet washed first. You can opt for light, medium or heavy touch, and a consultation beforehand lets the masseuse know which areas to tackle or avoid.


If body, face and top-to-toe is more your thing, you can try a body-wrap, coconut exfoliation, an hour-long facial, a firming or brightening skin treatment or a vanilla and chamomile bath. There’re manicures and pedicures available, too, as well as waxing, hair treatments and haircuts and styling, so plenty to pick from to keep you totally pampered.


By now it’s probably time for dinner. And Namu is the Japanese restaurant on the site; a small cosy space where you can sit at a table overlooking the water, take a seat at the counter and watch the chefs prepare your food, or go outside to SIP, the adjoining bar area where you can have your sushi sent straight to your sunbed before playing Connect 4 on the four-foot high board. Or you can just sit in your glow-in-the-dark green fluorescent seat overlooking the sea. SIP is at the exact point where the two beaches meet, so there’s usually a cool breeze coming in off the water – something that can be very welcome on Samui.


And then it’s evening. As W puts it, ‘After a long day on the beach, it’s time to party’. This philosophy goes all the way across the resort, with staff changing into their ‘night uniforms’ and the music even piped to speakers carefully hidden under the plants outside. Sit in the W Lounge after your massage, sipping cocktails and listening to the DJ set ... then get up the next day to do it all over again. W certainly puts the ‘w’ in wonderful.


Laura Canning


Copyright 2019 Samui Holiday Magazine. All rights reserved Siam Map Company Ltd.