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The new destination for luxury escapes starts with W – UPDATED

August 10th, 2012 6 Comments

You might remember I took some time off in February for a much needed vacation and to celebrate my 30th birthday. I posted this pic to let you know I was still alive :)

For two weeks, we ventured to the other side of the world – a whole 24 hours away – to Vietnam and Thailand.  On the trip we visited the central coast of Vietnam (more to come on that), Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon), the island of Koh Samui in Thailand, and Bangkok.  What an adventure!  Asian culture is quickly becoming one of my favorite to experience, although I’m not so sure it’s my favorite for R&R.  There’s just too much to do (and eat) instead of just relaxing by the pool. (Click here to see my advice on exploring Asia.)

That being said, being a world away makes it so much easier to disconnect from work and stress.  We chose Koh Samui, an island off the eastern coast of Thailand for it’s remote location and promise to not be like Phuket, which seems to be like the Cancun of Thailand.  On this island there are a variety of luxury hotels – Four Seasons, Aman, Conrad, Le Meridian, etc – but we chose to stay at the new W Retreat.

As I wrote in my piece for the Huffington Post, I’m not really a fan of the W cookie cutter formula. However, their resorts have been said to set the bar higher for luxury within the modern decor and still allow for a little fun.  I can tell you without a doubt, they absolutely deliver!  Check out the video of my room and pics from the trip below. You’ll only find the Retreats in exotic locations so be prepared to plan an escape, not a quick getaway.  And just get ready to relax!!!

PLEASE NOTE: Gary Leff’s website is BookYOURAward.com.  He is the reason I was able to make it to Asia flying business class using miles.


Gary, who has been quoted and referenced in every publication you can dream of, wrote a glowing article about the quality of the above video and the future of hotel reviews being video for USA Today.  I’m honored!

(Full Disclosure: I was provided a media rate for my stay at the W Koh Samui.)

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  • Looks outstanding – glad you had a great trip! Loved my 2 bedroom ocean villa at the Conrad, but the W is probably the better property.

    • As you could see from the video I visited and toured the Conrad. That place is impressive! But also scary getting up and down the cliffs…The beach was a killer for us as well. Stunning decor though!! I wouldn’t be upset staying there :)
      Sent from my iPad

  • pietje

    Be sure to also Check out the Intercontinental Resort Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam . Their Lobby and especially their Airbar leaves you with a really big smile on your face! Absolute and instant WOW-Effect garantueed.

    • I’ve written up several Intercontinental resorts. The Montelucia is a 7 out of 10 (great easy escape in Arizona) while the Cozumel Presidente is a total wreck. Their properties have yet to WOW me. Of course, I used to say that about W’s as well, so I keep an open mind.
      Thanks for the rec!

      • pietje

        They, as many other chains, do have som older and some newer properties. The One in Koh Samui is brand new (opened up in February for Soft-Opening, should be fully operational by now). Treat yourself with the ClubIntercontinental Package which gives great value, as we did this and were impressed (~125$ for Butler,Airport Transfers, Massage for 2, 3 hours of Free Cocktails in the Airbar in a private section, Soft Drinks throughout the whole resort, Pressing service upon arrival or departure). We were impressed.
        But to be fair, the W seems impressive, perhaps still a bit better than the Intercontinental.

  • Alex

    Hi Mary,

    You’ve put together a great post here! Samui is such a beautiful island – it’s no wonder it’s proving a hit with tourists. Wonderful beaches, relaxed bars and shops, and the night life can’t be beat.

    Best wishes, Alex