It's eighty-six degrees, the sun is shining, and its light is reflecting back off the pure white sand, which feels warm between your toes. You adjust your Tom Ford sunnies and take a sip of cool water from the freshly cracked coconut at your side. A faint breeze, laced with jasmine, disrupts the pages of the book you’re finally reading. It’s so good, but you close your eyes for just a minute. You’re awoken by your boyfriend thirty minutes later, “Babe, c’mon, its’ time for your massage”. Why can’t he always wake you up like that? A small but surprisingly efficient woman manipulates your stress away. Back in your room, you decide to take a dip in your private pool before dinner. Its absolutely quiet and you can see the stars, for the first time in who knows how long. After an outdoor shower, you slip in to a bright, silky dress and notice how tan it makes you look. You celebrate with a lemongrass ginger martini, delivered by your butler. Just a little lip gloss and mascara and you’re ready to go…but not before you post an envy inducing Instragram shot, hashtag: #justanotherdayinparadise. It’s a gorgeous night out, and wine goes down easily, tempering the satisfying spices of your Pad Thai. Carbs can’t count here. And everyone is so friendly! Must be why they call it The Land of Smiles. You hear the DJ before you see him, what’s stopping you from staying for one more?
Set in the Gulf of Siam, the tropical paradise of Koh Samui is known as ‘the new Phuket’, a less developed option that has come to the jet-set forefront with the openings of super-luxe resorts such as the Four Seasons and the W Retreat. In the last decade, it has evolved from full-moon-party-crazy backpacker escape to sophisticated Southeast Asian utopia, attracting pretty people like Bar Refeali. We even hear David and Victoria Beckham built here, upsetting some local monks in the process. Chill out, monks – its the Beckhams!
On Koh Samui, each beach - and it is really all about the beaches - has its own personality, though, all have wide expanses of sand and tranquil turquoise waters (boring, right?). Lipa Noi, on the Western coast, is relatively serene, save for the Nikki Beach outpost at its center. There, you’ll find all the usual champagne popping and peacocking you’ve come to know and love from the global beach club brand. The ladies look like the Real Housewives of Bangkok, so even your smallest, most sparkly bikini won’t raise eyebrows. On Chewang, a public beach rife with water sports and casual bars (and a dash of just the right amount of seediness that you’d expect in Thailand, should you be looking for any, ahem, funny cigarettes), you’ll find The Library, a boutique hotel famous for its red-tiled pool, which is perfect for a mid-day bite al fresco. A collection of popular watering holes, cafes and restos surround Bhoput, making it another nightlife capital. Though best of all may be the deserted islands of the Ang Thong Marine Park archipelago, just off the coast, a dreamy destination that feels like a scene straight out of The Beach. The best way to get there is by private boat, dusting all the tourists in your wake.
Packing for this oasis of SUP-ing, sunsets, and snorkelling couldn’t be easier, and any male travel companion will be very impressed if you take only a carry-on. A free spirit’s wardrobe of casual Lemlem kaftans, flowy maxi-dresses from say, Temperley, for a oceanside DJ set, simple tanks (Tibi always works), wrap skirts (thank you, DVF) and perhaps yoga clothes will do you well. Add bright, printed bikinis (think Zimmermann) and a wide-brimmed straw hat for beach days, or statement jewels and a cute clutch for evening. The only question is, will you tell your friends about your exotic island discovery, or, keep it all for yourself?