Koh Samui has transformed itself considerably since the island first became known as a paradise destination back in the 1980s. Today, the majority of visitors from around the world are sophisticated travellers with high expectations regarding the quality of accommodation, dining and diversions on offer.
Until around five years ago, a handful of 5 star hotels dominated the luxury accommodation scene, but nowadays demand for private rental villas has escalated to such a level that even resorts are offering this type of accommodation as part of their room inventory.
Staying in a rented holiday villa offers guests added privacy, especially during the busy holiday seasons when even the most luxurious hotels tend to become crowded. What's even more appealing is that modern villa designs mean travellers need not miss out on the facilities and services of a high-end resort. In fact, they can enjoy similar levels of comfort and keep it all for themselves.
Obviously, such facilities and services vary greatly depending on the private villa you choose and the management company or staff that look after it. Some properties are relatively modest, offering just two or three bedrooms, but the vast majority were designed with families and larger groups.
The best rental villas come with everything from an infinity pool, gym and spa to private movie theatres rooms and gaming rooms. Many are fully staffed, with extra hands available to help at special events such as birthday celebrations or to prepare a family dinner in the villa's own kitchen.
Beyond the comfort and privilege of the villa, Koh Samui also offers visitors myriad attractions and pursuits. Guest that love the ocean can head out into the big blue with one of many dive operators, either on a diving courses or excursions for those who already have a license. Meanwhile, those more interested in local culture can visit the famous Big Buddha statue overlooking Bangrak Bay, or explore Uncle Nim's Magic Garden, a sculpture park hidden in the hills above the island's west coast.