Representing all the reasons LOFT loves Samui, W group’s first Southeast Asian venture, W Retreat Koh Samui & The Residences is a far cry from the everyday resorts populated by tourists.
Recently opened in November, the 75 guest retreats and 17 Residences are located on a secluded Samui peninsula occupying two sandy beaches with hills keeping itself separate from the rest of the island. The W Retreat Koh Samui bills itself as ‘luxury with a twist’, designed to bring together the varying components of its surrounding landscape with luxury dwellings.
The completion of the project, which began seven years ago, is a joint venture between Thai developers Amburaya Hotels & Resorts and Istithmar World – one of the world’s largest privately held real estate developers, more widely recognised for The Palm Trilogy in Dubai.
The architectural design was handled by MAPS Design Studio – whose Ista Hyderabad project in India was voted ‘Best Spas 2008’ and ‘Best New Hotels 2008’ by Conde Nast Traveler – with Thai-based design firm P49 Deesign working closely with the Starwood and the owners’ teams to develop the interior plans and area program.
The hillside and flat beach zones lead to the emergence of two personalities within the design of two different accommodations. Hillside retreats are built high up the hill; with ocean views with the islands beyond, whereas the beachside zone retreats have been designed to feel like islands within an island.
In keeping with an emphasis on environmental sustainability, many of its public spaces are non-air conditioned but employ expansive interiors and high ceilings, open to the outside, and guestrooms have been designed to maximize natural airflow. Exterior finishes have been kept simple but stylish with a ‘driftwood influence’ applied to wooden finishing. The Zen influence is prevalent throughout, which P49 developed into a distinct ‘Thai Zen’ aesthetic with local elements and a relaxed beach vibe seamlessly blending with modern and understated guestrooms.
As day turns to night, even the lighting concepts help to shift the mood, with warm red LED lighting concealed behind bookshelves in guestrooms and lanterns adding a festive air to the resort, resulting in a well-developed luxury holiday concept that caters to the tastes of holiday makers looking to escape the typical tourist haunts in Samui.