So you've booked a ticket to Koh Samui... and now you're wondering where to stay.
First of all, great choice! Koh Samui is often overlooked in favour of its two well-known neighbours: the diving island of Koh Tao and the full moon party hotspot of Koh Phangan. But even though it may be less known, a few days on Koh Samui is the perfect way to get a taste of Thai island life. It was the first Thai island I visited and one I'll definitely be going back to!
Finding a hotel on Koh Samui
Thailand is where many backpackers begin their gap years and long-term travellers set off on their round the world trips - and the prices in Thailand usually reflect that. But compared to the surrounding islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui (or Ko Samui, as it's sometimes written) can seem a little on the pricey side. Rest assured, it's totally worth it, but that doesn't mean you want to pay over the odds, right?
For some reason I still can't figure out, there's one very budget-friendly hotel in Koh Samui that feels a long way from a budget hotel. It's the perfect place to enjoy the chilled and luxurious vibe of Koh Samui without splashing out for a fancy Koh Samui resort, and it's called Escape Beach Hotel.
I'll admit, when we saw the price of the Escape Beach hotel, we were a teeny bit worried and wondered how it could be so much cheaper than the other options we'd shortlisted. But it had great reviews so we went ahead a booked - and it turned out to be a great decision!
Here are ten reasons why I loved Escape Beach and recommend the hotel to every traveller visiting Koh Samui (whatever their budget).
10 reasons why Escape Beach is the best hotel in Koh Samui!
Okay... full disclaimer, I haven't stayed at any other hotel on Koh Samui. But you know what? I won't even look elsewhere next time I go back.
It's rare that I say that about a hotel - not least because I just LOVE experiencing new sides of old places - but Escape Beach seemed like such amazing value for money compared to the surrounding hotels and was exactly what we needed. Here are some of the reasons why I loved it there:
1 - The (pseudo) infinity pool
Who doesn't love an infinity pool (or an almost-infinity pool)? Okay, so the pool at Escape Beach isn't quite an infinity pool but it's the next best thing. The beach-side edge drops straight down onto the sand so you get the same effect. Not to mention it looks like an infinity pool in pictures.
I know it probably shouldn't be the case, but an infinity pool - or any cool-looking pool, for that matter - can completely sell a hotel to me. Luckily, there's more to Escape Beach than the pool, but it was still a MASSIVE highlight of our stay there and one of the reasons we chose it.
2 - The direct beach access
The pool at Escape Beach drops vertically down onto the sand... but you don't have to jump out of the pool to get to the beach. Either side of the pool are steps - a few steps down and you're on a beautiful Thai beach (or perhaps even in the clear Thai sea, if it happens to be high tide). What more could you want?
3 - The adorable bungalows
It's easy to get distracted by that pool, but let's talk about the rooms themselves.
Every room at Escape Beach is a bungalow. There are premium rooms available, but our standard room did the trick nicely. It was clean, spacious and even had its own little balcony. For a little bit extra, you can also snag a bungalow that overlooks the beach and enjoy the sunset views with a cocktail in hand (see below) without even leaving your balcony. Well, that's if you can snap one up one in time - we just missed out!
4 - The decor
You'll probably want to spend most of your time at Escape Beach on the (actual) beach, by the pool or just relaxing away from it all your private porch. But when you do retreat to your room, you won't be disappointed.
The rooms at Escape Beach hotel are straight off a dreamy, hipster Instagram feed, with slogan prints, stone bedside tables and wicker baskets to fill your own feed with. Warning: you will find it hard not to Instagram this place.
I'm pretty sure the rooms were only recently decorated - it looked like some were still in the process of being decorated while we were there - so hopefully they stay as picture-perfect as they were during our stay.
5 - The pizzas
I know you don't go to Thailand for pizza, but it doesn't hurt to enjoy one anyway, right?
As much as I hate to admit this, we ended up eating pizzas for most of our meals during our stay at Escape Beach. It's bad, I know. But the pizza was just so damn good that we couldn't help ourselves. Plus, there are plenty of Thai-inspired options so you don't feel quite so guilty!
6 - The value for money
Whether you're on a budget or not, Escape Beach is very friendly on the purse-strings. It may not be cheap compared to the majority of Thailand, but it's way down at the lower end of the price spectrum for accommodation on this specific part of Thailand and compared to most hotels in Koh Samui.
Put it this way: For the same price on Koh Samui, you can find little more than a hostel or low-rated hotel - away from the beachfront.
Related Read: Check out this post if you're wondering how much to budget for Southeast Asia.
7 - The location
It's easy to think you have to stay in Lamai beach when you visit Koh Samui. And while Lamai beach was my favourite part of the island, I'm still glad we stayed where we did.
Why? Because everything is nearby when you're staying on a small island, especially if you have a scooter. Lamai beach may be better for bars and restaurants, but our little corner of the island felt secluded, safe and almost like our little secret - an experience that's hard to find on an island getaway.
8 - The clientele
I always say it's the people that make every travel experience and that can be true at an island resort, too.
My biggest fear about visit a Thai island was that I would feel old. At the fresh old age of 26, I know I'm really not that old, but I still feel like I missed the mark for full moon parties, hostel dorms and all the other joys of backpacker life (even if I did enjoy my day as a "backpacker" in Pai!).
Escape Beach is a small resort and there was an interesting mix of guests: travellers of different ages, different nationalities and different group sizes. We even met a couple of other digital nomads. Escape Beach is the kind of resort where you could drink cocktails all night if you wanted, but you could also just enjoy a relaxing day by the beach without worrying about the guy in room 6 having one too many at happy hour.
9 - The extras
There's no way you won't be spending time at the beach during your stay at the Escape Beach hotel - something the resort is prepared for. As well as providing the usual beach towels, you'll also get a cute beach bag to take out with you - perfect if you forget your own and don't want to take a load of sand home with you. It's a small touch but it's the kind that makes a big difference. Plus it looks super cute hanging on the wall if you don't take it out!
10 - The sunset views
I'm not sure how this one ended up right at the end because it was easily in our top 3 highlights. Not only does the pool at Escape Beach have an amazing view out over the sea (up close) and the mountains (in the distance) but it's also positioned perfectly for watching the sun set over that sea and those mountains.
After a long day of exploring Koh Samui, soaking up the sun or catching up on work, there's nothing better than jumping in the (almost) infinity pool to watch a colourful sunset with a Thai rum mojito in hand.Check the current prices to stay at Escape Beach or read more reviews before booking.
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