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Best luxury beach resort in Southeast Asia

Best luxury beach resort in Southeast Asia

Old Mar 10, 19, 6:55 am
  #1  
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Best luxury beach resort in Southeast Asia

We're looking for a luxury beach resort in Southeast Asia for mid-April this year with a nice beach.
We value good service, but it doesn't have to be over-the-top luxury. Basically something like the Conrad Koh Samui (which we loved), but with a beach.
The beach doesn't have to be Maldives quality. Just a nice beach like you'd find in the Mediterranean. And relatively clear water. It doesn't have to be perfect, but please not green with seagrass etc.
Finally, there should be some water. E.g. at the St. Regis Bali, the beach was ok, but it was low-tide 90% of the day, so there was only mud instead of the ocean. And when there actually was some water, the was so little movement in the water (no waves etc. - since the waves were breaking far away from the beach) that the water was just heating up in the sun, more like a pond. I don't want to know the bacteria concentration in there. It just wasn't very inviting.

We'll fly into SIN and out of KUL 10 days later.
Bawah Reserve looks amazing, but I decided I don't want to spend that much. I'll save that for a great trip to some amazing hotel in the Maldives, not a new and relatively unknown hotel that doesn't even have shower cabinets.
I'd pay up to 800$ per night if it's really worth the money. Wouldn't mind paying much less than that.

Right now I'm thinking about the Andaman Langkawi (or the Datai), which we have heard very good things about. I've been to Langkawi before, though only to the St. Regis.
We would probably do 2 nights SIN, 2 nights RC LGK, 4 nights Andaman, 2 nights SR KUL.

But maybe somebody has a better idea?

Some hotels we've stayed at:
St. Regis Langkawi: Loved it, but the sea sucks. Beach is artificial, but ok.
Conrad Koh Samui: Fantastic hotel, but the beach sucks. No sea movement/low-tide.
St. Regis Bali: See above, sea sucked.
Vana Belle, Koh Samui: Quite nice, but a lot of sand in the water from what I remember. Beach didn't feel private.

Hotels we've considered:
Amanpulo: Too far away
Anything in Phuket (Amanpuri, Trisara, Six Senses, ...): Beaches not good, low-tide etc.
Four Seasons The Nam Hai, Hoi An: Looks great, but quite far from SIN, expensive now (800$ per night) - almost the same price as Bawah Reserve
Bawah Reserve: Too expensive, not sure if worth the $$$
Six Senses resorts in Vietnam: Quite far, didn't like the style (neon green pillowcovers etc., looked cheap)
Sanchaya: No nice beach/sea (tons of shipping vessels in clear view of the beach)
Nihi Sumba: Expensive, difficult to get to (not enough time), fully booked
Soneva Kiri: Sandflies at the beach, looks a bit dated, style doesn't look very nice (lots of cheap yellow, lots of vegetation, like staying next to a lake etc.), expensive, difficult to get to (need to transfer in Bangkok)

Anything we've missed? It's such a shame that there are so many amazing hotels in Southeast Asia, but almost none seem to have a nice beach.
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Old Mar 10, 19, 9:20 am
  #2  
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Why are you ruling out Amanpuri? The beach is rather good, as is the water in April - no strong currents etc (which usually isn't an issue until well into May). These pics are taken during a mix of late April/early May, mid-summer and September: https://www.thesuitelife.com.hk/aman...-site-visit-2/
Trisara admittedly doesn't have a great beach.

Re: FS Hoi An/Danang - USD 800/night is nowhere near rates at Bawah Reserve, even with incidentals etc.
Have you looked at InterContinental Danang as an alternative?

This is rather confusing - you're basically ruling out anything with a nice beach by saying "it doesn't have a nice beach" or "too far" or "too expensive" etc and then stating that "so many amazing hotels in Southeast Asia, but almost none seem to have a nice beach."
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Old Mar 10, 19, 9:50 am
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I haven't been to Phuket before, but I've heard that Phuket's beaches aren't that great and that they also suffer from the same "low-tide" phenomenon as Bali. In other forums people have told me I won't like the Amanpuri beach.
For instance, apart from Amanpuri (which also costs north of 800$), I found this review: https://thegoodthebadandtheluxurious...risara-phuket/
And at the end you have a photo of the beach during low-tide. Doesn't look great.
The photos of the Amanpuri beach look... ok. But it doesn't seem like they even have a bar on the beach?

You're right, Bawah is much more expensive, but at least it includes the transfer from SIN. But like I said, I have canceled my reservation because I decided I don't want to spend that much on a hotel.
Usually, I'd find anything over 300-400$ very expensive, I don't think I've ever paid more. And I'd like to keep it like that. But like I said, I might be willing to splurge on an exceptional experience.
I don't think it's unreasonable to not what to spend thousands of dollars in one of the least expensive regions of the world? And yes, Amanpulo is quite far from SIN/KUL and there are probably hundreds of beach resorts closer to SIN, and yet none or very few seem to have a nice beach. I've asked in other forums as well and several users echoed my sentiment: "Please let me know when you've found something, I have also been looking for years."

Except Amanpuri, what would you recommend?
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Old Mar 10, 19, 10:50 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by ChocolateFactory View Post
We're looking for a luxury beach resort in Southeast Asia for mid-April this year with a nice beach.
We value good service, but it doesn't have to be over-the-top luxury. Basically something like the Conrad Koh Samui (which we loved), but with a beach.
The beach doesn't have to be Maldives quality. Just a nice beach like you'd find in the Mediterranean. And relatively clear water. It doesn't have to be perfect, but please not green with seagrass etc.
Finally, there should be some water. E.g. at the St. Regis Bali, the beach was ok, but it was low-tide 90% of the day, so there was only mud instead of the ocean. And when there actually was some water, the was so little movement in the water (no waves etc. - since the waves were breaking far away from the beach) that the water was just heating up in the sun, more like a pond. I don't want to know the bacteria concentration in there. It just wasn't very inviting.

We'll fly into SIN and out of KUL 10 days later.
Bawah Reserve looks amazing, but I decided I don't want to spend that much. I'll save that for a great trip to some amazing hotel in the Maldives, not a new and relatively unknown hotel that doesn't even have shower cabinets.
I'd pay up to 800$ per night if it's really worth the money. Wouldn't mind paying much less than that.

Right now I'm thinking about the Andaman Langkawi (or the Datai), which we have heard very good things about. I've been to Langkawi before, though only to the St. Regis.
We would probably do 2 nights SIN, 2 nights RC LGK, 4 nights Andaman, 2 nights SR KUL.

But maybe somebody has a better idea?

Some hotels we've stayed at:
St. Regis Langkawi: Loved it, but the sea sucks. Beach is artificial, but ok.
Conrad Koh Samui: Fantastic hotel, but the beach sucks. No sea movement/low-tide.
St. Regis Bali: See above, sea sucked.
Vana Belle, Koh Samui: Quite nice, but a lot of sand in the water from what I remember. Beach didn't feel private.

Hotels we've considered:
Amanpulo: Too far away
Anything in Phuket (Amanpuri, Trisara, Six Senses, ...): Beaches not good, low-tide etc.
Four Seasons The Nam Hai, Hoi An: Looks great, but quite far from SIN, expensive now (800$ per night) - almost the same price as Bawah Reserve
Bawah Reserve: Too expensive, not sure if worth the $$$
Six Senses resorts in Vietnam: Quite far, didn't like the style (neon green pillowcovers etc., looked cheap)
Sanchaya: No nice beach/sea (tons of shipping vessels in clear view of the beach)
Nihi Sumba: Expensive, difficult to get to (not enough time), fully booked
Soneva Kiri: Sandflies at the beach, looks a bit dated, style doesn't look very nice (lots of cheap yellow, lots of vegetation, like staying next to a lake etc.), expensive, difficult to get to (need to transfer in Bangkok)

Anything we've missed? It's such a shame that there are so many amazing hotels in Southeast Asia, but almost none seem to have a nice beach.
Sounds like you've ruled out some of the best luxury beach resorts in SE Asia...

I'll add Amanoi to the list.. you mentioned that you're ok with not Maldives quality so I think it would fit the bill... with fourth night free you can probably get around $800....

But I'ld really consider Amanpulo... if you're looking for a great beach....

FDW
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Old Mar 10, 19, 10:51 am
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Originally Posted by ChocolateFactory View Post
I haven't been to Phuket before, but I've heard that Phuket's beaches aren't that great and that they also suffer from the same "low-tide" phenomenon as Bali. In other forums people have told me I won't like the Amanpuri beach.
For instance, apart from Amanpuri (which also costs north of 800$), I found this review: https://thegoodthebadandtheluxurious...risara-phuket/
And at the end you have a photo of the beach during low-tide. Doesn't look great.
The photos of the Amanpuri beach look... ok. But it doesn't seem like they even have a bar on the beach?

You're right, Bawah is much more expensive, but at least it includes the transfer from SIN. But like I said, I have canceled my reservation because I decided I don't want to spend that much on a hotel.
Usually, I'd find anything over 300-400$ very expensive, I don't think I've ever paid more. And I'd like to keep it like that. But like I said, I might be willing to splurge on an exceptional experience.
I don't think it's unreasonable to not what to spend thousands of dollars in one of the least expensive regions of the world? And yes, Amanpulo is quite far from SIN/KUL and there are probably hundreds of beach resorts closer to SIN, and yet none or very few seem to have a nice beach. I've asked in other forums as well and several users echoed my sentiment: "Please let me know when you've found something, I have also been looking for years."

Except Amanpuri, what would you recommend?
Generally speaking, I'm not a huge fan of beach resorts in Thailand, but the beach at Amanpuri is VERY different from the beach at Trisara, although they are only separated by about 2-3 miles as the crow flies - it's a very nice beach and I've never heard that particular beach compared to beaches Bali-wise.
And thank the stars they don't have a 'bar on the beach' - how AWFUL would that be? They do have a beach club and they do have service at the beach though if that's what you're looking for.
Hell, nevermind Amanpuri, the beach at Anantara Layan, which is pretty much right next to Trisara (around the corner), is very different from the beach at Trisara. Budget wise, that might be more of what you're looking for.

There are plenty of resorts with great beaches, there are plenty of luxury resorts with great beaches, there are plenty of luxury resorts with not so great beaches and there are plenty of resorts with nice beaches that aren't luxury (just on Phuket itself - Andaman White Beach Resort, Le Merirdien Phuket, JW Marriott Phuket, The Racha all of which have issues - the last one is nearly perfect save for the huge mass of tourist boats that come over every day).

Within Phuket itself, you might find some joy if you go further north towards the Khao Lak area.

If it's just a matter of amazing beach, then you'll struggle to do better than Pulo - it's not that hard to get there from Singapore to be honest although it does take an extra flight, and is a bit longer time wise. You can take the 09:30am out of Singapore and you should be able to connect with the 16:30 flight from Manila.

But if you're restricting yourself to many different factors - namely budget, time, distance from Singapore etc then you're going to have to pick whatever is available - you can't have it all...?

If you're open to adjusting even one of the factors above then it does open up quite a few opportunities.

Hell, if you really don't want to budge too much on budget (and this would then be off topic) go to Cempedak Island or its sister property, or Batu Batu from Singapore (relatively 'reasonably' priced private islands) or Redang Island in Malaysia. But again, you're not going to necessarily get EVERYTHING you want - you'll have to compromise somewhere at some point or open up your options entirely.
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Old Mar 10, 19, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingDoctorwu View Post
Sounds like you've ruled out some of the best luxury beach resorts in SE Asia...

I'll add Amanoi to the list.. you mentioned that you're ok with not Maldives quality so I think it would fit the bill... with fourth night free you can probably get around $800....

But I'ld really consider Amanpulo... if you're looking for a great beach....

FDW
Amanoi is ruled out because it takes too long to get there. The OP basically wants:
- something within a couple of hours reach
- direct flight
- amazing beach
- probably a luxury resort
- not more than $300-400/night
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Old Mar 10, 19, 11:38 am
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He/she wants the best without the pricetag of the best. I am afraid that does not exist.
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Old Mar 10, 19, 11:54 am
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Agree that Amanpuri and Amanoi would be the best.

If you do not mind crowds at the beach during the day, I can recommend Rayavadee, Krabi. Cheaper than the Amans, nice (a bit dark, but still) bungalows and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but - as said - the longtail boats ++ will arrive there with lots of other tourists during the day. They cannot enter the Rayavadee private area (where the loungers are and where the service you require is), but will be at the beaches right in front of you.
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Old Mar 10, 19, 2:05 pm
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Rayavadee looks too crowded, like a typical family resort.
Hardware also looks more like 4 stars? Water doesn't seem very clear, but might be ok.

Cempedak looks very nice! Any downsides to it? Seems like it might rain quite a bit in April? In all the videos on YouTube it was overcast or raining. Hmmm...

I've never stayed at an Aman before. Not sure if I want to since I'm afraid I'd never want to stay anywhere cheaper again.
Amanoi definitely looks very nice. Beach looks nicer than at Amanpuri.
The thing with both Amanoi and Amanpulo is simply that they are quite far from SIN. No, not terribly far away, but we'll be flying from ARN, so we will already have quite some time on the plane.
We then have 10 days on the ground in total, and I want at least 3-4 nights in SIN/KUL, leaving only 6-7 nights for something else. And then Amanpulo/Amanoi simply is quite far. I think it's better to go there on different trips.

I'm really torn on Amanpuri. After having read some more reviews, it sure looks nice. I just don't think I can make myself pay 1200$ per night or more for that. For that it just doesn't have the wow factor for me, judging by photos.
But like I said, I can imagine one would think otherwise after having stayed at an Aman.

And just to comment on @scented's reply: I was really trying to avoid that misunderstanding. I'm sorry I obviously failed. I am not looking for the best of the best. In fact, I'm a bit happy I haven't experienced it yet because I feel, it becomes harder and harder to go for less expensive options, the more you've seen. I'm just 32 years old, my girl-friend is 25. We still have time to do that later. Basically all I want is the level of service of a Conrad or St. Regis. Just give me the Conrad Koh Samui with a better beach and I'll be happy. I think we paid 280€ or so for a stunning pool villa at the Conrad Koh Samui (granted, we purchased points). I'm sure the service was far from what you'd get at an Aman, but it wasn't 3-star family hotel either. My girl-friend got sick and they couldn't have done a better job organizing an ambulance to the private hospital etc.
Yes, there was room for improvement (they didn't notice I had gone to the beach - I had to walk back and get a towel), but that was forgivable.
Also, the beach doesn't have to be perfect. Mr. Samui took us to a public beach with 2-3 star resorts on Koh Samui, and that was nice enough. Much better than what the Conrad had.

Cempedak really looks quite nice and it's easy enough to reach from SIN. The alternative would be to just go for Langkawi as planned - although we've been there before.
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Old Mar 10, 19, 2:06 pm
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Originally Posted by chinmoylad View Post
Hell, if you really don't want to budge too much on budget (and this would then be off topic) go to Cempedak Island or its sister property, or Batu Batu from Singapore (relatively 'reasonably' priced private islands) or Redang Island in Malaysia. But again, you're not going to necessarily get EVERYTHING you want - you'll have to compromise somewhere at some point or open up your options entirely.
Cempedak island looks really nice. How does it compare with Bawah Reserve?
I plan to go to Singapore next August and I am looking for a beach resort close by. Langkawi or Phuket would be nice but it will be the rainy season. That’s why I am currently considering Bawah. Bali is another option but I’ve been there several times already.



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Old Mar 10, 19, 3:36 pm
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JW Marriott and others at Pho Quoc - no idea on price, but there are also many other hotels around there
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Old Mar 10, 19, 4:21 pm
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Wow, that’s a massive resort. It seems like the beaches in Vietnam are generally better than in Thailand for example.
But the more I think about it, the more I think we need to stay closer to SIN.
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Old Mar 10, 19, 4:25 pm
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What about the Surin next door to Amanpuri? Or something in Khao Lak? The Sarojin perhaps?

The beach that the Surin and Amanpuri share is great (and I'm used to Australian beaches). Khao Lak beaches are really good.
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Old Mar 10, 19, 4:36 pm
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The Surin doesn’t get very good reviews. Apparently it’s just a Novotel? Not really a luxury brand... (Yes, there is something in between Novotel and Aman. )

I’ve heard that Khao Lak beaches are better, but it seems like there’s almost nothing to do around the resorts? I’m also not sure if they have any good hotels there, it seems like the place isn’t that developed yet.

Any comments on the Andaman/Datai? My father recently stayed in both Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak and the Andaman (Langkawi) and he said the beach at the Andaman was much better than all the other beaches. He’s not a luxury traveler, so I wouldn’t put much weight into how we perceives hotels, but for a beach I’d trust him.
So I’m still leaning towards that, maybe in combination with Cempedak Island.
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Old Mar 10, 19, 4:43 pm
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I've only been to Langkawi once, but I would definitely not return there if a nice beach was a deciding factor for my vacation.
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