The 35 minute drive was quick and easy with Anna (who usually works with Korean guests) chatting to me and fast WiFi.
At the Four Seasons Koh Samui Jeff (the General Manager) and his management team were waiting for me. They dramatically opened the doors to the reception area with its breathtaking views over the Gulf of Siam (Thailand) to Koh Phangan. I was given a welcome drink and two new adorable soft toys that I have decided to rename Khloe and Sam. Then there was a shoulder massage for both me and Issy, my lady had a perfect technique and it was very relaxing, despite all the people around.
Next it was a golf cart ride to villa 404. This villa has some of the best views in the resort and I was stunned by its infinity private pool and more views of the Gulf of Siam to die for. There was a cake for Issy and sparkling Thai Monsoon Valley wine for me on ice.
After a shower I met Jeff and his management team in the bar of KOH where we tried some of the signature cocktails, enjoyed the views from the terrace and got to know each other a little better.
Chef's Table Dinner in KOH
Then it was a Chef’s Table dinner hosted by Jeff in KOH. It was an incredible evening. Chef Wit cooked perfect food using the best of ingredients (eg scallops, grouper etc) while Sommelier Marielle gave a witty and informative description of the 6 paired wines and Nikky explained the dishes with infectious enthusiasm. It was also made much more enjoyable by having a detailed menu by you to refer to. Places like Bo.Lan in Bangkok would benefit from such an approach.
For me the pork and crab dumpling soup and the Wagyu beef with herbs and chilli dip were highlights but the meat in the Phanaeng lobster curry was so tender and the grilled chicken salad with wild ferns and coconut & roast chilli paste such a fresh interesting taste.
I loved the New Zealand wines (ie Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc & Wairau River Pinot Noir) and it was fascinating to try a fortified Muscat from Thailand’s Monsoon Valley as a dessert wine.
If you want a very special evening, I would highly recommend the Chef’s Table. Over dinner Jeff explained a course he had been on related to glassware and the difference it can make to the way even water tastes. It was another ‘only at Four Seasons experience’ in Koh Samui.
I got back to my villa to find Issy in bed wearing a Four Seasons robe made for him, I was so thrilled by this, and the incredible evening, that I emailed various senior Four Seasons staff around the world.
First Full Day
A Sunday Breakfast Like No Other
My first full day started with Sunday breakfast in the wine cellar. I was the first guest ever to have done this and three champagnes had been selected for me to try (ie De Vilmont, Louis Roederer & Veuve Clicquot Rosé). Reto (the Swiss Director of F&B) joined me and Chef Guillermo started us on delicious hard cheese and cold meats (eg chorizo) & pickles before producing a trio of warm egg dishes.
Reto explained Louis Roederer was now the Koh Samui hotel’s house champagne and De Vilmont a champagne from a small house that he finds interesting. The Veuve Clicquot was picked because of my obsession with that champagne house. Manager Glenn did a great job of serving in a very confined space and the Parma ham, with quail eggs and truffle oil was one of the best breakfast egg dishes I have eaten. A landmark breakfast, with entertaining Reto, I will never forget.
The first activity of the day was kite making. It was just me and a small girl being taught. The frame had already been made and our instructor was patient with me and helped with the cutting & glueing. There was not enough wind to test whether my creation could fly, thank goodness.
Next it was a Thai massage class in the outside Yoga Sala. It was a stunning venue but rather humid and so the spa gave me a massage outfit to wear that was cooler. I did this ‘training’ with a Singapore couple and was given a member of Four Seasons staff to practice on. She was small and I was nervous that my bodyweight would hurt her. Learning about Thai pressure point manipulation massage was interesting, and our instructor was excellent, but you really need your own partner to practice on.
I went back to my villa to relax and swim. The rest of the Veuve Clicquot Rosé from earlier had been sent over and put on ice. It was a perfect way to spend the afternoon working on www.sifrew.com in the pool sipping champagne.
Late in the afternoon it was my Siam Fusion Massage, with my massage instructor (Jimmy) again. This massage uses the techniques I was learning earlier; warm herb compresses (rather like hot stones); and Swedish techniques with aromatherapy oil. It all started with a foot bath where Jimmy demonstrated his incredible touch. During the massage there was heavy rain but the massage was so relaxing I forgot about this.
There was due to be a Beach BBQ that night but the bad weather meant it was moved to Pla Pla Restaurant. There was a live ceviche station and they were freshly BBQing lobster, beef etc. Mustafa (from Chiang Mai Four Seasons) and his wife asked me to join their table and I loved chatting to them about the Middle East, Four Seasons etc while drinking perfect very dry Grey Goose martinis.
That evening I returned to find Issy wearing his own massage outfit.
Second Full Day
My second full day started with a swim and then a Thai breakfast feast, cooked by Chef Wit again, in KOH’s Private Sala. This is a private table placed at a stunning vantage point. It all seemed like far too much food but the chicken satay, Chiang Mai sausage, Morning Glory etc were so mooreish that I ended up eating far more than I intended.
Then, overly full, I had my Meditation Class at the Yoga Sala again. The technique of focusing on your breathing, to cut out the distraction of your 6 senses (eg touch, taste, hearing etc) was explained and then practiced. I think it is a useful skill I will try to develop more.
Next I went back to villa to swim, rest and sort out the www.sifrew.com ’business’ cards Four Seasons Hong Kong are having printed for me.
In the afternoon my scuba diving did not happen but I was taken on a tour of the resort seeing some of the best Residences, the new luxurious four seat cinema and stunning Muay Thai boxing ring instead.
That evening started with me being taught how to make rum based cocktails at the Beach House. Reto joined me and explained they are introducing a new Caribbean rum bar by the new 50ft main swimming pool that is being built and that was why he had suggested this activity. It was fun watching the rain come in while sipping the products of my labour and chatting to him about luxury hotels around the world.
I then went to KOH’s bar for a very dry martini and met Reto one last time and suggested, although Bermuda is not part of the Caribbean, serving a ‘Dark & Stormy’ (dark rum & ginger beer) cocktail in the new bar would be fun. I knew Sheila Gosling (of Gosling's Rum) when I lived in Bermuda.
Back at the villa I found Issy wearing a Muay Thai boxing outfit that blew my mind, more emails were sent to senior Four Seasons staff around the world. Then I went into the villa bathroom and found the bath set up for me to have a petal bath with candles, doing that was as good as I hoped it would be.
I then ordered the Thai Lao Korean BBQ. It arrived with a friendly member of Four Seasons staff who showed me how to BBQ the meat and make the soup. The hotel also sent me Veuve Clicquot. I had such a perfect evening eating the Thai spicy beef & prawn papaya salads and BBQing the bacon, prawns, beef etc. If you stay at Four Seasons Koh Samui you must make this dinner on one of your evenings. It was so much fun and so delicious, and I cannot even cook.
I ended that night swimming drinking the Veuve Clicquot, and then the Thai sparkling wine, while watching very impressive lightening in the distance.
Sad Last Day
My last day began with 8am ‘Spiritual Enlightenment’ ‘training’ at the hotel’s Spirit House. I did this with a Chinese family and was interested by the candle lighting (Catholic parallels?) and the Buddhist concepts of offerings and praying to ancestors.
The member of staff who gave this training then took me to the beach for my final breakfast. He said he had never known of a guest having breakfast at the secluded private beach table. It was the perfect way for me to end my time at Four Seasons Koh Samui thinking, when I visited Koh Samui in the 1980s, I would never have dreamt that I would one day end about eating Eggs Benedict, and drink sparkling wine, at 9am at such a table in Koh Samui.
Back at the villa heavy rain set in and I spent my time packing and arranging for various gifts from Four Seasons, and members of the ‘gang’, to be shipped back to the UK.
Jeff came to say goodbye to me, I was given Four Seasons Koh Samui ‘homemade’ toffees and I got a hotel Mercedes back to Samui airport.
7 out of 5 ‘teddies’ - Four Seasons Koh Samui went far beyond what would even be expected of a Four Seasons. From the stunning Muay Thai boxing outfit for Issy; to the descriptions of the wines at the Chef’s Table dinner that were better than ones I have heard in Michelin starred restaurants; to three champagnes served at breakfast in a glamorous & unusual location; to breakfast on my private part of the beach - the three days have left me with so many special memories that will last me a lifetime. However, it is not just these highlights that made this hotel ‘break’ my new 'teddy' scoring system. Every member of staff I met embodied the Four Seasons ethos with golf cart drivers taking such an interest in me, gardeners greeting me with genuine warm etc.
Four Seasons Koh Samui is a stunning hotel that anyone, who is able, MUST stay in. I intend to return to it very soon.
I was last in Koh Samui in the 1980s, staying in a hut on Big Buddha Beach, before Four Seasons, Banyan Tree etc arrived on this tropical paradise and it had always been a dream to return. The Four Seasons Mercedes was waiting for me at the airport with flower garlands and they had sparkling wine for me and juice, and a baby seat, for Issy.
Si Frew has lived in the UK, Bermuda, Qatar, Cyprus & the Cayman Islands. During this time he met Whoopi Goldberg (in Claridge's), Mike Tyson (in the Concorde Lounge at JFK) , Gordon Ramsay (in the Doha Four Seasons), Chris Eubanks (in The Dorchester), Cherie Blair (in Bermuda & again in the Doha Four Seasons) etc. There are funny stories attached to all these interactions, feel free to ask Si about them when you meet him.