It is astonishing how much the charming tropical Thai island of Koh Samui has changed just over the last 10 years.  Expansion of the airport and direct flights from cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore have transformed the island from a backpackers’ haven to a sophisticated and vibrant resort island with leading international 5-star resorts, fabulous restaurants, and a wide choice of private holiday villas all over the island.

Holidaymakers looking to rent a villa in Samui are spoiled for choice by the Elite Havens collection which offers a superb range of luxury beachfront residences on some of the islands most beautiful beaches, spectacular hillside retreats with jaw-dropping views and palatial pleasure palaces with every  imaginable luxury, available for rent.      

There’s nothing quite like a villa stay for those who want to relax and be themselves among friends and family, where you have the flexibility and total freedom you never quite get in a hotel. 

In Samui, whichever villa you decide on, the relatively small island – you can drive around it in just over an hour –  means you are never very far from anywhere.

It’s an easy island to explore and fall in love with.    

Villa Neung is a chic designer villa with beachfront access to the idyllic Laem Noi Beach – an unspoiled white sandy stretch on the north-west coast, fringed by coconut palms and washed by a shallow blue sea. 

Designed for luxury tropical living, the villa has its own 15-metre beachfront pool, three ensuite double bedrooms and an airy, open-plan living and dining pavilion with stylish Thai-inspired interiors, making it an appealing beach holiday escape for families or small groups of friends.

Villa Nueng - Stylish villa facadeVilla Neung

The villa’s own staff will take care of absolutely everything, preparing delicious Thai and western meals to order, booking spa therapists, organizing tours and activities, perhaps setting up a picnic or candlelit dinner on the beach, and even watching over the young ones while you take a break.

For a change of scenery, a number of rustic beachside restaurants and bars are just a stroll along the beach and it’s only 20-30  minutes’ drive to the chic boutiques, trendy restaurants and nightlife of Maenam, Fisherman’s Village in Bophut and Chaweng.

Another beachfront gem is the beautiful Baan Puri at Lipa Noi on the island’s laid-back west coast.  It’s a tranquil sanctuary of Thai-inspired pavilions set in lush tropical gardens around a pool right on one of Koh Samui’s most beautiful beaches. 

Six luxurious ensuite double bedrooms make this a blissful, beachside paradise for families, or parties of friends of up to 12, with stunning sea views and glorious sunsets.

For families there’s plenty to occupy all ages from tots to teenagers.  The pool has a safe shallow zone and energetic youngsters will love the villa’s expansive beachfront lawn which slopes down to a white sandy beach and shallow sea, for endless hours of seaside fun and games.  

Baan Puri - Villa ambience at nightVilla Baan Puri

Villa staff are there to provide a 5-star experience, preparing gourmet meals, romantic dinners under the stars, arranging spa and yoga, and keeping an eye on the little ones while parents take a break.  A ‘home cinema’ is a big hit with families, offering an endless choice of movies, TV series and games for evenings and rainy days.     

Far from the tourist crowds, Lipa Noi has its local charms of rustic, beachfront bars and as well as the island’s coolest beach club – Nikki Beach.

The special beauty of Koh Samui is the contrast of its lush velvety green hills which form a striking backdrop against the island’s endless bays and beaches.

Anyone looking for a supremely private hillside retreat will find it in Villa Zest. Set high in the hills in the north-west of the island, above the main town of Nathon, Villa Zest overlooks a jaw-dropping vista of the island’s entire west or ‘sunset’ coast with the island archipelago of Angthong National Marine Park in the near distance.

Evoking a Hollywood film set, with a 22-metre infinity pool suspended dramatically above the steep mountain slope, this stunning residence has five super spacious ensuite bedrooms for up to 12, arranged on different levels to give each a spectacular view.

Villa Zest - Stylish villa facadeVilla Zest

An expansive open-plan living and dining area in dazzling white terrazzo with sleek contemporary interiors opens onto the pool terrace creating one sensational seamless space with poolside salas – for sundowners, al fresco parties and dining above it all, courtesy of your own resident chef and villa staff.   

Families with young children will especially appreciate the villa’s outdoor play area with a tree-house, trampoline and zip line. For a day at the beach, the gorgeous beaches at Bang Po or Lipa Noi are just 15-20 minutes away.  

Another secluded hilltop sanctuary is Villa Suralai.  Tucked away in the jungle clad hills above Fisherman’s Village on the north-east coast, this exceptional, stand-alone villa which combines striking Thai-inspired architecture and elegant contemporary design, is a peaceful retreat to relax and recharge from today’s stressful lifestyles. 

The villa overlooks a stunning sunrise-to-sunset panorama of Bophut Bay, while its north facing aspect means lower temperatures than on the beach, with cooling day time breezes and balmy evenings. 

Six luxurious double bedrooms all with their own terrace, overlook the 24-metre infinity pool and gardens, to views of the sea and surrounding hills, comfortably accommodating up to 12 guests.  

Above it all, a vast living and dining pavilion with a soaring cathedral ceiling and expansive terrace give the villa an uplifting sense of grandeur and space – as perfect for a moment of quiet of solitude admiring the view or sunset, as for house parties and larger events such as weddings.            

Suralai - Villa and the glistening poolVilla Suralai

Taking care of everything at Suralai is your own staff led by a highly experienced villa manager and resident chef renowned for his exceptional Thai and western cooking.

Samui’s vibrant shopping and dining scene at trendy Fisherman’s Village and its ‘must see’ Friday night market is actually within sight of the villa, and the beaches of Bophut and Chaweng  a few minutes further away.  

Also in the Bophut Hills, sitting majestically at the summit of a private hilltop estate is Praana Residence, with breath-taking 360 degree views of the sea, hills and valleys as far as the eye can see.     

If you’re looking to splash out on that fabulous villa for a large party of friends or family, or perhaps a wedding of other special occasion, this is the one for you.

Unquestionably one of the most extravagant private villas in Samui, Praana Residence is a palatial ‘pleasure playground’ with six exquisitely furnished double bedrooms for up to 12 guests, a 30-metre infinity pool and one floor dedicated entirely to pleasurable  pursuits, health and fitness.  The villa also has a tennis court and even a Muay Thai boxing ring with its own pool.    

Praana Residence - Summer getawayPraana Residence

Tropical living at its finest centres around an opulent living and dining pavilion, while days are spent by the villa’s magnificent infinity pool where shaded salas provide respite from the sun, and a place to enjoy al fresco dining and barbecues cooled by the soft mountain breezes.

Praana Residence has its own team of skilled local staff, to ensure your experience is truly something exceptional.  Gourmet Thai and international cuisine is prepared to order by your resident chef, while your villa manager will arrange for tours and others activities.

With a private nightclub, games room, wine cellar, spa, sauna and steam room, and gym, and a children’s nursery fit for a royal palace, Praana Residence leaves you wanting for nothing, its sheer size, space and outlook are the backdrop for the ultimate villa holiday and for memorable occasions in this tropical island paradise. 

Family Fun on Samui

Samui is wonderful place to show the youngsters some of the exotic animals, birds and reptiles indigenous to Thailand.  Samui Elephant Haven provides a sanctuary for rescued elephants that previously endured difficult lives that included logging, elephant riding, street begging, and performing in circus shows.  Join the morning or afternoon program where you are welcome to feed, walk with, and watch these gentle giants roam, as they forage, socialize and bathe and enjoy the peaceful life they deserve. 

Elephant Sanctuary in Koh Samui

How about a day at Paradise Park Garden for some family fun?  Set in the mountains at Khao Pom – Samui’s highest point – this sprawling, 20-acre nature  park overlooks awesome views of the surrounding countryside and the magical Five Islands on the southwest coast.  Young ones can get up close to many species of birds including macaws, parrots, love birds and parakeets that live there, as do deer, goats, emus and a pony in a separate enclosed area.  Stay for a Thai lunch followed by a swim in the incredible infinity pool. 

Island safari

Don’t miss Samui’s spectacular islands for a day of ‘island hopping’.  Hire a private speed boat, pack a picnic and head for the Ang Thong National Marine Parkan archipelago of 42 magical karst islands about an hour from Samui.   Towering limestone islands, thick jungle, white sand beaches, mangroves, waterfalls and soaring cliffs, hidden caves, lakes and lagoons are just waiting to be explored, along with a rich variety of exotic wildlife and sea treasures.  Organised day-tours include lunch, refreshments and supervised snorkelling and kayaking excursions.

Kayak on Angthong National Marine Park

If its thrills and excitement you’re looking for, you’ll be amazed by the variety of action activities available on Samui. From kite surfing at Nathon, off-road safaris on three and four-wheeled ATVs or 4WDs, bungee jumping, zip-lining through the rainforest, canopy walks and waterfall hikes to high-speed Go-karting.

Zip line in Koh Samui

At the beach, jet packing is a relatively new activity, while a jet ski safari is something exciting and thrilling for the whole family to enjoy together.  On Chaweng Beach, and inflatable playground Aqua Park offers youngsters, endless fun and challenging water activities in a safe environment.

Jet ski in Koh Samui