Category Archives: Category: Hotels

2 award nights at Conrad Ko Samui

In case you missed the beginning of the trip, we flew out to Bangkok with Thai and, after a week ‘roughing it’, we were looking forward to our next miles/points redemption. The Conrad Ko Samui is a brand new property on the south-west corner of Ko Samui and boasts some incredible views across the Gulf of Thailand: Picture12It is a catagory 10 property in the Hilton family, featuring only private villas and retailing at ~$600-$900 per night, or 95,000 HHonors points. Picture30 Picture31 We were using our two free weekend nights courtesy of the co-branded Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card. When redeeming the vouchers, you are directed to the HHonors Diamond desk, and it’s worth noting that, as is often the case, you may want to call back a couple of times if you don’t at first get the answer you’re looking for. At first we were told (by a very experienced agent) that redeeming the vouchers at this particular property was unfortunately out of the question. I’d read enough times online that people had done just that, so I was pleased to find an agent a couple of days later who booked us in no problem. The card also gives you Gold status for as long as you keep it, which gives you complementary breakfast, a good shot at room upgrades and some other benefits too. All of which is definitely worth the $95 annual fee if you make even just a handful of stays over the course of the year. The Conrad Ko Samui hangs on a steep hillside overlooking the sea. As the taxi pulls up over the crest of the hill, you arrive at possibly the best reception area in the world: Picture11 Picture28 Picture10 Buggies take you from reception on the hilltop, through the villas down below and all the way to the pool and the beach. Picture7 Picture26 Picture21 Each room is a separate stand-alone villa, each with its own pool: Picture29 Spacious bathrooms: Picture27 View from villa pool: Picture22 Picture5 Picture4 We were visiting over Songkran, Thai New Year, so the Conrad had a number of special events happening, from volleyball with the employees… Picture6 … to the famous Thai game of ‘get the tennis ball in the tin’ Picture19 The staff’s willingness to join in and have fun with the guests is topped only by their attention to detail – have you ever come back to your room to see this?: Picture16 I can only imagine the cleaners’ horror that I hadn’t in fact been wrapping any of my cables like so! Incredible.

Meals at the Conrad Ko Samui certainly fit the price range you’d expect from such a property, but the quality is outstanding. Breakfast is included, as usual, for HHonors Gold and Diamond members and has a bit of everything (including a taste of home): Picture20 Picture25 The main pool sits at the foot of the property just above the beach: Picture24 Picture23 Picture17 You can also, free of cost, take kayaks out on the sea to play around. The views are breathtaking. Picture15 Picture14  You can also sign up for one of the speedboat rides out to a private island 20 minutes by boat from the resort. The beach is a good deal bigger than the one right by the property, though watch out for jellyfish – you have been warned. You pass the front of the resort on the way to the beach: Picture9 We couldn’t help but notice that IHG guests got to ride in a personalised, branded boat… come on Hilton 😉 Picture8 After spending our Citi two reward nights at the hotel, we couldn’t bring ourselves to check in anywhere else on the island so we used cash + points to stay a third night. Cash & points can be a great redemption – we redeemed 40,000 Hhonors points along with around $250 – in other words less than half the full points cost, plus well less than half the $$$ cost. Availability for this can be tougher to come by, however – in fact as I’m writing I can’t see any at all over the upcoming months. I guess we lucked out.

Thoughts on Landing

A truly wonderful property, worthy of it’s category 10 ranking. Be ready to spend a bit of cash on food and drinks, but there are few more memorable properties out there. For what it’s worth, we didn’t leave the resort once in 3 days, which is not normal. But based on the quality and beauty of this place, and the fact there’s not a huge amount to do on the island, it’s hardly surprising.