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Thailand tour part 1 – Koh Samui and the W Retreat Hotel

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We started our two-week round trip in an Airbus A340 with Thai Airways, from Zurich to Koh Samui via Koh Phangan to Bangkok, and back again. Check out what stylish hotels our tour operator had up his sleeves!

For passengers with claustrophobic tendencies, we recommend seats 31E and F. Not only are these seats directly behind business class giving you lots of legroom, you also get served your food first. Checking in online really paid off. With Thai charm and sufficient tailwind, we reached Bangkok in just 9.5 hours.

The ATR 72-500 Bangkok Airways aircraft

Bangkok Airways’ ATR 72-500

Shortly after landing, we continued to Koh Samui with “Nemo”. To our surprise, we didn’t have an ordinary plane but an older plane from Bangkok Airways: an ATR 72-500 that showed off an old-time charm with its patina and colorful fish paintings. Despite the antiquated outfit, we enjoyed a smooth and convenient flight. At the airport in Koh Samui, we felt like we had landed in the middle of a golf course: a perfect lawn, a beautiful green area and little minibuses that reminded us of golf carts. These minibuses waited for the guests and brought us to nice little palm huts. The airport had a very open style and radiated a classic island feeling.

Relaxed atmosphere at the baggage claim in Koh Samui

Relaxed atmosphere at the baggage claim

The chic W Retreat Hotel

In Koh Samui, we spent four nights at the W Retreat Hotel. Immediately on arriving, we were welcomed with a breathtaking view of Koh Phangan. The stylish, urban architecture and interior boasted a confident aura and set a new standard in the primarily pragmatic Koh Samui. The “Kawasaki green” lounges built in the water invites one to relax and is an eye-catching feature. In the evening, one of the resident DJs throws his electro beats at you and fine drinks are served. A passion fruit caipirinha is a delicacy you shouldn’t miss.

W Retreat lounge with a view of Koh Phangan

W Retreat lounge with a view of Koh Phangan

The hotel has a rather diverse range of guests. Here, you find nouveau riche, traditionally wealthy, honeymooners, young and old, and, of course, travel bloggers from travelmemo.com. The nationalities reach far and wide, including visitors ranging from China to Australia, Switzerland, and Germany to Mexico. Most people were not really talkative; perhaps, some are following the dictum that one does not talk about money. Perhaps it’s also because the hotel grounds are very large and you rarely bump into other guests. We also noticed that many only stay for a couple of nights and then move on. Some people might find the atmosphere a bit cool and impersonal. However, the excellent service, the breathtaking design and the great location make up for it, allowing you to quickly forget the reticent guests.

W Retreat hotel's private pool is a perfect place to relax

The private pool is a perfect place to relax

It’s the small details that make the W really big. According to the motto, “whatever, whenever”, the hotel reads your wishes in your eyes. The beer at the beach is served in dedicated coolers and the “sweet spots” offer chilled drinks and ice cream around the clock (free of charge, of course). In the evening, homemade pralines and popcorn are waiting for you in front of the TV. And in bed, the teddy bear who’s been wearing a tie during the day has been dressed in pyjamas by room service. These countless details give the hotel a special flair. What the reticent guests don’t do, the staff can do really well. We had long and very enjoyable chats with various W employees that brought back the personal touch.

W Retreat Hotel's lobby also looks really good at night

The lobby also looks really good at night!

The hotel might have a slightly decadent taste but, honestly, we found it to be great. Although we went without the champagne spa treatment with champagne bath, champagne scrub and champagne massage (because one should rather drink it), we had a wonderful and relaxing time. The unique architecture and the urban hipster design in this marvelous island scenery combined with the daily goodies make this place real in location. The W hotel chain will increase their portfolio to more than 60 hotels worldwide, with each one of those hotels designed in a similarly stylish concept.

Breakfast buffet at the W Retreat Koh Samui

Breakfast buffet “Kitchen Table” at the W Retreat Koh Samui

The famous Chaweng Beach

Chaweng Beach, a world-famous beach on Koh Samui, is probably the most lively and most touristy place on the island. Even though it seems that everything was built and arranged for tourists, a distinctively Thai feeling is still noticeable here. In addition to the many little booths that mainly sell products made in China, there are countless Thai massage salons. Amidst the many tourist shops, in which busy Thais clamor for the favor of tourists, we found the most special gas stations we could ever have imagined.

Whiskey bottles filled with fuel - fueling up, Thai edition…

Fueling up, Thai edition …

All over the island, we found whisky bottle gas stations. We were told that the minimum fill-up at a conventional gas station is two liters. But because the Thai sometimes like to only fill up one litre at a time, you will often find recycled whisky bottles filled with gasoline amidst the air mattresses and sun hats.

Want to know how the journey continues? Read part 2 about: Koh Phangan and the Anantara Resort.

Anantara Rasananda Resort pool

Part 2: Koh Phangan and the Anantara Resort

Book your Thailand tour with Nezasa

Nezasa.com is a start-up whose mission is to enable customers to build individual high-quality trips with just a few clicks online. The entrepreneurs want to combine the convenient service of a travel agency with the simplicity and cost structure of an online provider. Individual travelers know all too well the endless and nerve-wracking search for hotels, flights, transfers, potential activities and whatever else is needed. For nights on end, they search the Internet for credible reports, suitable websites and competent operators. If it gets too tedious, the only way out is to visit a travel agency.

Building individual trips is especially difficult in Asian countries. It’s here where Nezasa steps in with their easy-to-navigate travel site that enables planning and booking a trip with just a few clicks.

Nezasa.com offers online bookings for individual tours with local support

Book individual tours with local support

  1. Choose the destination: jungle, historic places or just relax? Sounds good in this order.
  2. Personalize the selected trip: A different hotel, an upgrade, or extend/shorten the stay in a particular place? To each their own.
  3. Booking: Don’t forget to book. Now you have your customized trip at your fingertips.

The Nezasa portal is a great help and provides perfect service, good prices and an appealing design. The Nezasa team is constantly working on providing new and trendy destinations and they’ll gladly assist you with their insider know-how.

Check out our trip as it is published by Nezasa.com and customize your own tour!

Many thanks to the Nezasa team around CEO Manuel Hilty for supporting this trip!

Read part 2 of our tour about: Koh Phangan and the Anantara Resort.

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About Author

Michael Bachmann is a co-founder of the online gourmet magazine gourmetathome.ch. As a passionate hobby chef and connoisseur he takes to Asia as often as he can. In his day job he is responsible for design and communication as well as modern user interfaces at a web agency. In his spare time he is a travel blogger here at travelmemo.com.

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