Koh Tao, a little island in Thailand's Gulf of Thailand, has evolved from a backpacker's scuba diving paradise to a legitimate beach destination. Previously, luxury hotels and villas on the island were unheard of, but now there are several 5 Star hotels on Koh Tao for those with a little more cash to spend.
Koh Tao is today more popular than ever. In former years, scuba diving was essentially the main reason people came to Koh Tao, but now visitors simply come to enjoy the island.
The majority of resort-style luxury hotels offer a wide range of services.
For budget establishments, buildings may be inadequately maintained as a result of the increased number of inexpensive resorts and hotels. It's likely that the area smells or is dirty, or that the equipment, such as the air conditioning, isn't working properly. Of course, it varies with each hotel, but in general, a luxury hotel is cleaner, well-maintained, and more pleasant, which is exactly what you want from a holiday.
In most cases, luxury hotel suites have larger rooms, as well as dining and living areas, as well as kitchenettes and other associated rooms. This makes them ideal for larger families and those who like to enjoy space when on vacation.
Jamahkiri is a magnificent resort built into the side of one of Koh Tao's hills with spectacular views across Shark Bay's waters. There are also numerous spa and massage treatments available, making this a great location for a couple of days of relaxation. Its position up a steep and rough dirt road only accessible by 4 wheel drive makes getting anywhere else on the island challenging at best - thus staying longer than a couple of days here may drive you insane if you want to do more than eat, sleep, and be pampered.
Monkey Flower Villa, which opened in 2007, was one of the first private villas on Koh Tao and has a reputation for providing outstanding, personalized service and a home away from home atmosphere. Each villa is spacious and well-appointed, with stunning sea views, seclusion, and a fantastic private pool. A driver is also available to transport visitors to and from the villa and other locations on Koh Tao, making it quite convenient to explore the island. Guests are also provided with a mobile phone so that they can contact the villa if they require assistance while out and about. The property is set back on a hillside, five minutes from the beach, and offers peace and quiet.
Anankhira, perched above Koh Tao's main strip Sairee Beach, is a far more convenient location from which to explore the island, with exquisite Balinese-style chalets that each have their own private plunge pool. There's peace and quiet, as well as privacy. While the distance to the beach isn't great, there are a lot of steps, so it's still a long walk.
Thipwimarn is set high above Sairee beach, so you get amazing sea views but also have a long walk up and downstairs to get to the beach, which is half the price of Anankhira and thought to be just as nice by some tourists. If you're looking for a secluded location close to the pool and a sun lounger, this shouldn't be an issue. Not so much if you want to get out and about on the island. It has a restaurant that receives a lot of good reviews and would be a good complement to Jamahkiri.
Koh Tao Montra is a brand new hotel on Sairee Beach, close to Sairee Village and Mae Haad, so if you like to party, you'll be within walking distance of the beachside nightlife hotspots as well as Mae Haad.
The Montra is one of a new series of hotels on Koh Tao that set a higher bar for lodging than previous generations. There are vast, luxurious accommodations and expansive grounds to relax in, as well as access to the plethora of excellent Thai and foreign restaurants on Sairee Beach and Mae Haad. Montra is a fantastic choice because of its large swimming pool and friendly personnel.
The Dusit Buncha Resort, located in the north of Koh Tao, boasts one of the best settings for breathtaking sea views on the island, looking out directly over the ocean and the lovely neighbouring island of Koh Nang Yuan. It's no surprise that it's a romantic spot, and the hotel suites are designed to give visitors privacy in their rooms as well as access to the small beach in front of the Dusit Buncha, which is always empty. After their stay, guests consistently give the Dusit Buncha positive feedback.
The resort is also ideal for people seeking solitude and quiet. If you wish to explore the island, be aware that it's a short taxi trip back to Sairee Beach for the main drag of restaurants and nightlife. Also keep in mind that because the resort is constructed on a cliff, there are many steps to climb and descend as you walk around the Dusit Buncha grounds.
At The Rocks, there are only three villas, ensuring peace and seclusion. Each villa is tastefully designed and spacious, making it ideal for a romantic getaway or a honeymoon destination. Breakfast is delivered right to your villa balcony, allowing you to wake up to the beauty of the sea.
The Rocks, like Monkey Flower Villa, has a strong reputation because of the outstanding service provided by the proprietors, who live nearby and are always there to greet guests and assist with any questions. The Rocks, like practically all villas on Koh Tao, is situated on a steep slope that is accessible by foot, but visitors wishing to explore the island should consider renting a bicycle.
Sensi Paradise is a traditional premium hotel on Koh Tao. It is not strictly a five-star hotel, but it has the atmosphere of one.
Sensi, which is located directly on the beach, provides the sense of space and independence that comes with morning walks along the beach and retiring to elegantly built rooms situated amongst well-sculpted tropical gardens that mirror traditional Thai design while providing modern convenience. Despite its popularity, Sensi Paradise has maintained its high standards and continues to provide the same high-quality, relaxing experience.
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