“Do you live an intercontinental life?” – “Yes I do!” would probably be the answer, at least that would be mine, following the motto of Intercontinental Hotels. In February 2012, I visited the new Intercontinental Resort Koh Samui in Thailand to see if it could live up to the Intercontinental standard I knew from the rest of the world during its soft-opening phase.
During a soft-opening phase, the corresponding hotel is already open under certain conditions. In the case of the Intercontinental Resort Koh Samui, this meant that the hotel was only filled with 32 guests. The complex has a total of 79 rooms, suites, and beachfront villas, as well as 7 swimming pools. During a soft-opening phase, the staff is also put to the test with real guests. At Intercontinental Koh Samui, the French “pre-opening team” was also present to give the hotel crew the final touch. All of this takes place very discreetly (to my surprise). However, the soft-opening phase also has its other side: it is not surprising that the fine-dining restaurant on the beach was not yet open, but only opens on the actual opening on April 1, 2012. That’s just how it is in the life of a Luxvisor editor.
The lobby or main building is the central hub of the entire resort and at the same time the most striking building on the property. The majestic two-story building complex stands high up in a jungle-like thicket with a large open-air terrace. The entire building is built without doors and windows. Only the restaurant has such. The lobby and reception are located on the upper level, as well as a bar (Serene) and plenty of seating. There is also the obligatory Internet room, which is labeled as an “office.” To my surprise, there are giant 27-inch Apple computers inside. These are, of course, top-of-the-line, stylish, and hip. However, I tried in vain to print my return ticket somewhere. There are simply no printers available. The nice man at the reception desk understood immediately and, thanks to my BlackBerry, I was able to send him the ticket to the reception computer. The printout was prompt. Technology that inspires and all without an “apple.” Who would have thought…
On the lower level of the main building, there is an “all-dining” restaurant with a terrace. There is also an open-air bar, a swimming pool, and several large sunbeds (double beds). Of course, everything with a gigantic sea view! In the evenings, a different DJ played every night, and it was noticeable that the quality of the DJs was quite impressive. They did not rely on local “village DJs,” but always had international DJs from England, New Zealand, and Australia. However, since it is still the soft-opening phase, the DJ usually played for himself, his bar staff, and of course, occasionally for me. The atmosphere did not reach boiling point! A shame, but understandable.
But it was precisely in this area of the resort that the Intercontinental-Life factor was clearly noticeable. It is a difficult feeling to describe, but it is equally present in every good Intercontinental hotel. You are in an Intercontinental hotel and feel at home, no matter where the hotel is!
Food & Beverage (Restaurant)
At this point, I would have liked to write a report about the fine-dining restaurant “Flames” on the beach. Unfortunately, it was not yet completed and therefore not available during the soft-opening phase. So, I had no choice but to put the all-day-dining restaurant “Amber” in the main building to the test.
The “Amber” restaurant offers Asian, and specifically Thai cuisine. Upon arrival at the restaurant, we immediately put the staff to the test with an unusual request. My guests and I did not want to sit in the restaurant itself or on its terrace, but on one of the double beds between the bar and restaurant on the open terrace, so we could observe the sunset at the same time. The staff quickly understood our request and complied without hesitation. Good job!
To my surprise, the food was far above the average of an all-day-dining restaurant! Excellent work was done here. The service was very attentive, with attention to detail, and with constantly vigilant staff. Many European restaurants could learn a thing or two from this. Verdict: surprisingly good!
The beach area is accessible through a central entrance and also directly through the beach villas. The beach area includes a bar, the not-yet-opened fine-dining restaurant “Flames,” and an infinity pool. Comfortable loungers and double beds are available. The pool area is separated from the beach area by an artificial stone wall. However, the wall is a bit too high to jump down into the sand, so you have to walk down the steps each time. This could have been better resolved! Both visually and organizationally…
Nevertheless, the staff here is very attentive. They automatically provide the desired lounge chairs, offer water with ice, lemon, or lime. Throughout the day, there are also refreshments such as fruits or juices, all of which are complimentary.
However, there are two criticisms. Firstly, the bar staff at the beach bar were a bit too friendly. They were standing behind the bar in a group of three and had been trying desperately to crack jokes for over 30 minutes while introducing themselves multiple times by name. Asian hospitality is appreciated, but this was too much! Finally, I was even coerced into filling out a survey and noting all three staff members’ names to give them special praise. And all of this on the first day. This was a very pushy tactic that is not in line with the “Intercontinental life.”
Sports & Fitness & Spa
Of course, there is also a fitness area with a breathtaking sea view. Mountain bikes are also available for rent, and various classes can be arranged upon request. There is also a spa, although I did not personally test it.