Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Luxury Hotels and Travel
Reload this Page >

Review: Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, Thailand

Review: Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, Thailand

Old Jan 22, 19, 11:34 pm
  #1  
formerly known as deathscar
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: Virtuoso | SPG | Hyatt Prive
Posts: 1,813
Review: Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, Thailand

Disclaimer: I was hosted by Four Seasons. Not under any obligation to review on FlyerTalk, all opinions expressed below are my own etc.
Feel free to message me for bookings etc.


More photos and 360s are at my review at https://www.thesuitelife.com.hk/four...-hotel-review/

Overall, I have to say that in relation to my expectations going in, this was one of my most disappointing experiences (Amanbagh being the other one - which was entirely service related, but the service at Amanbagh was never this bad, it was just disappointing for an Aman. Also, Amanbagh has an absolutely splendid and unique location - Four Seasons Koh Samui has nothing of the sort, it's just standard Koh Samui). It seems like they just had a really, really horrible weekend - feedback from guests has generally been positive, nothing quite to this extent though there are certain disappointments.

The villas are really nice, the location is quite good and it does tick everything for Samui (which not all resorts do - e.g. Conrad Samui has beautiful villas and a view but no beach to speak of; Banyan Tree started off nice but has gone down the usual Banyan Tree route etc).

PHOTOS AND VIDEOS


Hotel villas




Residences




The confusingly named Beach Villa, which is actually beach front, unlike the Beachfront Villa, which is not actually on the beach


Pool


Spa

WHAT I LOVED

  • Location. Koh Samui is a small island, and less developed compared to its more renowned cousin, Phuket. However, there’s no denying that certain areas of Koh Samui (like Chaweng) can be rather busy. The Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui is set on the quieter western coast, and is the ideal location for a relaxing stay, but it’s only a 30-45 minute drive to the other (busier) side of the island for nightlife or for some street food.
  • Arrival. From a setting standpoint, this has to be one of the most spectacular arrivals, which really sets the scene for the destination. The arrival pavilion, though small, is set high up the resort and enjoys uninterrupted ocean views. There are a few easy lounging chairs to relax while staff await to take you to your room.
  • Design. Elegant, contemporary yet with traditional southern Thai roots in dark woods and thatched roofs, the sprawling villas are quintessentially Four Seasons and feature colours of the sea. The resort is designed by favoured Four Seasons architect and designer Bill Bensley, but this is one of his subtler works (compared to the usual eccentric geometric patterns and colourful features in his latter, signature resorts such as The Siam and InterContinental Danang).
  • Rooms and villas. The resort features an all villa concept, with all villas featuring expansive indoor and outdoor living spaces, private infinity pools (the entry level category, One Bedroom Villa, which we stayed in, features a plunge pool only, while all categories above that have larger pools). Some villas also have expansive views over the Gulf of Thailand, while the premier villas are the rather confusingly named Beachfront Pool Villa (not actually on the beach) and Beach Villa with Pool (actually on the beach) are the two highly prized categories. The villas are generously sized, starting at 103 sqm/1,108 sqft.
  • Residence villas. The residence villas deserve a mention here, available to rent as 1- to 5-bedroom. While some of the residences feature more hillside views (with glimpses of the ocean), due to the positioning of the residences on the jutting headland, a select few enjoy enviable unobstructed views of the Gulf of Thailand. Additionally, what makes the residence villas unique is that each villa has a customary lengthy private pool, while each master bedroom within a residence is almost its own villa, featuring its own private plunge pool and thus allowing for maximum privacy.
  • Views.Whether its shaded coconut grove and jungle views with hints of ocean from most of the villas, or the panoramic unobstructed 180-degree sea views from Koh Thai Kitchen‘s vantage point (as well as from some of the premium level rooms), the views at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui are simply stunning, overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.
  • Beaches. The resort features three beaches – one main beach, and two smaller coves that are typically used for private occasions. The sand quality is fine, and the beach is combed regularly.
  • Pool. The main lengthy swimming pool, fronting the beach but elevated and enjoying infinity edge views, is absolutely stunning and a great place to enjoy afternoons or early evenings with light snacks and refreshments. The pool is served by CoCoRum Bar, with a mix of seating and lounging styles.
  • Spa. The spa is in a lovely hillside setting and the spa rooms have a combination of indoor and outdoor spaces, including an outdoor bath in the lush green surrounds.
  • Mexican themed dinner at CoCoRum Bar. While on holiday, I typically tend to eat local as much as possible for meals (with the exception of one burger/sandwich/pizza here and there or for snacks). So when the team suggested we try the Mexican-themed dinner at CoCoRum Bar, I was a bit skeptical (especially considering the mediocre food served upto this point), but the private dinner, cooked and prepared in front of us behind the bar, was course after course of perfection – and the fish and avocado tacos we had were some of the best tacos we’ve ever had.
  • Rum Vault. A very cool concept – featuring locally bottled rums and prized rums – and laid out perfectly with the heavy metal door entrance.
  • Muay Thai ring. When in Thailand…the resort’s own Muay Thai ring is one of the most spectacular we’ve seen (although seemingly smaller in size), with panoramic ocean views.
  • Kids Club. The kids club at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui is very enticing. The resort also arranges cooking classes for the young ones, muay thai or tennis for the kids, even a spa for the kids.

POINTS TO NOTE
  • Welcome drink. We were one of three or four couples coming from Hong Kong on the same flight (and thus the same time) for the long weekend. While we were greeted by the Resort Manager Reza at the arrival pavilion, I quickly realised we were the only couple that wasn’t offered a welcome drink (although we were given cold, wet towels to freshen up). Normally, this would simply be an oversight which could have been overlooked, however, it seemed to be symptomatic of something much more…
  • Service and housekeeping. Regrettably, we had several service and housekeeping issues that are difficult to overlook at The Four Seasons Resort which dampened our otherwise enjoyable stay:
    • On the first afternoon, housekeeping came to clean the room at an inopportune time when my partner was in the shower, and was I out of the room. While such incidents can occur, it was the string of issues prior to this incident and during/after that make this worse:
      • I was out with key resort staff on a site tour, and was asked several times where my partner is by several different staff members. I told them she was sleeping in the villa as she was tired. Unfortunately, this message was never relayed to housekeeping – the whole incident could have been avoided with a simple walkie-talkie message.
      • While housekeeping unfortunately stepped in at the wrong time, instead of apologising and advising that they will return at a more convenient time, they asked my partner if they can clean the room (to which she politely replied ‘yes’), to which the housekeeping staff still did not offer to return at a more convenient time. So I came back to a bizarre scenario of housekeeping going about their duties inside the room while my partner waited in the outdoor terrace on a sunlounger, covered in a towel, dripping wet, which is simply unacceptable.
  • Food. Apart from the breakfast which was consistently good throughout our stay, and the incredible Mexican-themed dinner at Pla Pla, most other food we had during our stay was pretty poor, including:
    • Lunch on the first day at Koh Thai Kitchen and Bar: the noodles were a bizarre combination of far too hard (well beyond al dente) and far too soft, and the curry had no flavour
    • Room service on the first night: spaghetti bolognaise was very dry and poorly made, and I had (I’m sad to say this) the single worst club sandwich I’ve ever had with dry, bread that was not even warmed up, nevermind toasted.
  • Mini-bar. While we have no complaints about a charged mini-bar (except that we think free mini-bars are the next trend here to stay, and would be great if Four Seasons got on board early and become a pioneer here), we were surprised at how it was charged. While many items were branded (or third-party, like soft drinks etc), there were some mixed nuts and cookie jars that had no branding on them and were in a Four Seasons label. At the Amans, for example, such items are homemade or locally made within the vicinity and not charged and replenished on a daily basis. We did not immediately see a price list (it was tucked away well under two or three items, not something you would immediately notice), and assumed they were similarly homemade or locally made and complimentary. They were also replenished daily. We were surprised they were charged, something we only found out on the final evening prior to departure when we received our folio upto this point. They were waived at the final bill after raising the issue, but something to be wary of as it’s not immediately clear what is and isn’t charged and the price list is tucked away in a hidden spot.
  • Departure. Most luxury resorts will go out of their way for a send off, whether it’s a whole team lining up to wave goodbye (common for very small or private island resorts), a General Manager or Resort Manager or key member of staff at the departure lounge to bid you farewell and wish for a safe journey and a quick return to the property, or even simply providing a simple yet memorable departure gift or a snack to enjoy on the way home. At The Four Seasons, a buggy picked us up at our villa, drove us to the departure lounge, we got in our private car and left. There were no warm goodbyes at The Four Seasons Koh Samui, and no one to wish you a safe journey or for your return soon.
Also had an issue with the bath tub which I detailed in an earlier review - unfortunately we only tried to use the bath tub really late into our stay (and very late at night). They did offer to move us for the final morning but we were checking out that morning.

As always, feel free to ask if you have any questions or clarifications about my experience there and I'll do my best to answer.
nmuva98 and BESVISOR like this.
chinmoylad is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 4:10 am
  #2  
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeHyatt Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 6,598
​their duties inside the room while my partner waited in the outdoor terrace on a sunlounger, covered in a towel, dripping wet, which is simply unacceptable.​​​​​​
I think I would have left at that point unless some major apologies and service recovery were coming my way. Should never happen. Atrocious for what that resort charges and how they see themselves as market leaders.
Aventine is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 8:15 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Programs: HH Gold, SPG/Marriott Plat
Posts: 51
I just think it's way too expensive for the destination / area. Doesn't feel justified at all!
Lambi is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 9:09 am
  #4  
formerly vienna-resident
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Montepulciano, Tuscany
Posts: 809
Sounds like my last FS experiences in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Dubai: beautiful resorts, but mediocre food and severe service shortcomings...
livefromtuscany is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 9:16 am
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: IAD/DCA
Posts: 31,510
do any/some treat industry guests 'worse' ?
unfortunate when things have gone downhill
(dubai reportedly depend on agent/status/etc)
Kagehitokiri is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 9:50 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Here there and everywhere
Posts: 6,135
I have never liked this resort. For some reason, no matter who is in charge, the food, service and comfort levels fall short of expectations.

Interestingly, this was Bill Bensley's first resort design, so there are some real quirks. The rooms are all modular, so even if you stay in a residence, the bedrooms are tiny, and although there is a reasonable amount of outdoor space, the interior spaces are cramped.

I don't know if they fixed this yet, but when I stayed, there was no door on the toilet, so you had to close the drapes at the window so that the pool man (or anyone else on your pool terrace) could not see you.

I also have a problem with the super-steep incline of the resort, as although you can walk to the beach, trying to negotiate the hill up to reception/restaurant is virtually impossible, so you are forced to call for a buggy.

This resort is owned by Bill Heinecke of Minor (Anantara etc) and I guess that if he did not have a couple of Anantaras on the island, he would have rebranded the Four Seasons, as he did in Bangkok.
scented likes this.
vuittonsofstyle is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 9:54 am
  #7  
ABG
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Canada
Programs: Virtuoso TA, Four Seasons Pref Partner, Rosewood Elite TA, Ritz Carlton STARS TA
Posts: 4,143
Does this stay date back to June 2018 when you first posted negative reviews about the hotel?
You make it sound as if you went last weekend
ABG is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 9:54 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,971
Koh Samui usually gets service right while hard product disappoints some -- one of Bensley's earlier projects and you can tell.
Jeff Rednour was GM before moving on to Doha (great service reports under him), now Sean Mosher (I do not know him, though has worked in Langkawi and Bali)

Originally Posted by vienna-resident View Post
Sounds like my last FS experiences in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Dubai: beautiful resorts, but mediocre food and severe service shortcomings...
KL might be early days
Dubai has various reports of inconsistent service (and discriminates), although under Leonardo Baiocchi gotten much better
Langkawi has no excuse...
scented is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 9:58 am
  #9  
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeHyatt Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 6,598
Originally Posted by vienna-resident View Post
Sounds like my last FS experiences in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Dubai: beautiful resorts, but mediocre food and severe service shortcomings...
Dubai JB had a few hiccups like the check-in, hideous spa and a poor spa treatment but it was overall a very good stay. I'd go back.
Aventine is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 9:59 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Here there and everywhere
Posts: 6,135
Originally Posted by ABG View Post
Does this stay date back to June 2018 when you first posted negative reviews about the hotel?
You make it sound as if you went last weekend
Is this addressed to Chinmoylad or someone else? If me, then I have stayed a few times, including the year it first opened.
vuittonsofstyle is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 10:06 am
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: IAD/DCA
Posts: 31,510
Originally Posted by chinmoylad View Post
[2018] 29 June-3 July: Koh Samui (first 3 nights at Four Seasons

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jan 23, 19 at 10:14 am
Kagehitokiri is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 10:11 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,971
Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
Is this addressed to Chinmoylad or someone else? If me, then I have stayed a few times, including the year it first opened.
I think it was addressed to Chinmoylad.

Originally Posted by Aventine View Post
Dubai JB had a few hiccups like the check-in, hideous spa and a poor spa treatment but it was overall a very good stay. I'd go back.
I agree about the tiny treatment rooms and I also had a few problems, but funny you point out the Spa, since it has won numerous awards under Hayley (who has left) and even ranked highly in a few Gallivanter's Awards for Excellence regarding Spa.
vuittonsofstyle likes this.
scented is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 10:23 am
  #13  
formerly known as deathscar
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: Virtuoso | SPG | Hyatt Prive
Posts: 1,813
Originally Posted by Aventine View Post
I think I would have left at that point unless some major apologies and service recovery were coming my way. Should never happen. Atrocious for what that resort charges and how they see themselves as market leaders.
Indeed - that was the worst bit. A true luxury resort would have ensured housekeeping wouldn't walk in at all as she was showering, but it happened, despite the multiple points during the past hour when it could have easily been prevented - but okay, understandable. However, surely at that point housekeeping should never ask "is it okay if we clean the room now?"

Originally Posted by Lambi View Post
I just think it's way too expensive for the destination / area. Doesn't feel justified at all!
Yea especially the top resorts in Samui charge as much/nearly as much as Phuket's top resorts, without delivering anywhere near the quality and overall experience.

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
do any/some treat industry guests 'worse' ?
unfortunate when things have gone downhill
​​​​​​​
That would definitely be an industry first!

Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
I have never liked this resort. For some reason, no matter who is in charge, the food, service and comfort levels fall short of expectations.

Interestingly, this was Bill Bensley's first resort design, so there are some real quirks. The rooms are all modular, so even if you stay in a residence, the bedrooms are tiny, and although there is a reasonable amount of outdoor space, the interior spaces are cramped.

I don't know if they fixed this yet, but when I stayed, there was no door on the toilet, so you had to close the drapes at the window so that the pool man (or anyone else on your pool terrace) could not see you.

I also have a problem with the super-steep incline of the resort, as although you can walk to the beach, trying to negotiate the hill up to reception/restaurant is virtually impossible, so you are forced to call for a buggy.

This resort is owned by Bill Heinecke of Minor (Anantara etc) and I guess that if he did not have a couple of Anantaras on the island, he would have rebranded the Four Seasons, as he did in Bangkok.
​​​​​​​
Still an issue (see my bath tub photo) - as you note, the toilet is just behind this.
Agree on the incline - it's very, very steep (though not as bad as Kata Rocks in Phuket) and you really need the buggy. And it's a large footprint so you can't really walk to places but I'm okay with that (see Amanoi also) - just have to account for it.
Regarding Anantara - surely they could charge slightly below current rates and rebrand it a top-level/luxury Anantara? The resort is still very nice, and far, far better than the other Anantaras on the island.

Originally Posted by ABG View Post
Does this stay date back to June 2018 when you first posted negative reviews about the hotel?
You make it sound as if you went last weekend
​​​​​​​
My apologies, yes - it's from the June 2018 stay, now with photos/videos and more detailed comments.
vuittonsofstyle likes this.
chinmoylad is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 10:29 am
  #14  
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeHyatt Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 6,598
Originally Posted by scented View Post
I think it was addressed to Chinmoylad.



I agree about the tiny treatment rooms and I also had a few problems, but funny you point out the Spa, since it has won numerous awards under Hayley (who has left) and even ranked highly in a few Gallivanter's Awards for Excellence regarding Spa.
It can happen at any spa due to human "error". The make up treatment was excellent.

However, surely at that point housekeeping should never ask "is it okay if we clean the room now?"
I don't say this often but those housekeepers should probably find a new line of work. Totally unbecoming of a top-of-the-line FS resort staff member to say that to a guest and let them drip and wait outside of her own room!!!
I know my partner would not have accepted that kind of attitude along with all the other intrusions. @chinmoylad I know you're on an industry rate stay but did they give any sort of service recovery?

Last edited by Aventine; Jan 23, 19 at 10:35 am
Aventine is offline  
Old Jan 23, 19, 10:52 am
  #15  
formerly htang333
Four Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Wi-Fi
Programs: Virtuoso, FSPP, Rosewood Elite, RC STARS, Belmond Bellini, Hyatt Prive, Shangri-La, SPG LP, etc...
Posts: 1,074
Thanks for the detailed review, @chinmoylad !

Just booked clients for 4 nights at the Tented Camp followed by 6 nights here in the Beachfront Pool Villa (they didn't want the Beach Villa with Pool to avoid privacy issues). However, the service issues are making me nervous. Might have to reconsider to avoid disappointment.
BESVISOR is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread