If you’re researching Thai-island resorts for a family vacation, then you’re already crushing this whole parenting thing. But still, certain Koh Samui resorts are more kid-appropriate than others. Maybe you’re looking for a hotel far from Chaweng Beach’s party epicenter, or one set on a quiet cove with white sand and calm water. Perhaps you require a dedicated kids’ pool, nightly entertainment, or round-the-clock on-call medical care. Whatever your family’s particular needs, here are the resorts that Oyster’s expert investigators have deemed the most kid-friendly in Koh Samui.
The Santiburi Resort is one of the priciest, poshest resorts in Thailand, yet it's a surprisingly casual place, with a kids' club and activity room, along with a petting zoo and rabbits in the garden. A pristine and lovely beachfront and nearby championship 18-hole golf course are just a few of the attractions; there's also a huge swimming pool, a kids' pool, a sports complex with a tennis court, three restaurants, an orchid house, a spice and fruit garden, and plenty of lawn and garden space (45 acres of palm gardens, to be exact). The contemporary villas and one- and two-bedroom duplexes come packed with amenities.
The Melati Beach Resort & Spa is a luxury beachfront retreat on the northern end of the island, a 15-minute drive from the attractions and dining options in Chaweng. There are two outdoor pools (the main one is massive, freeform, and features an infinity edge), along with a game lounge, water sports at the beach, two restaurants, and kids' club with supervised activities.
The resort has seven stunning swimming pools: a huge infinity pool down by the beach, another dazzling one upstairs near the lobby, and five other color-themed ones tucked throughout. As if the pools weren't enough, the beach here is long and exclusive to resort guests. There are also a full Water Sports Centre on the beach, a small fitness center, free bicycles for use, and several restaurants. It's almost a world unto itself.
While this beachfront resort is certainly not for budget travelers due to the hefty price tag, there aren't any airs being put on here. Instead, it's a low-key chilled-out vacation spot located on a beautiful stretch of beach. Sumptuous buffet breakfasts are included in room rates, plus there is an on-site pizzeria and free mountain bikes available for use. Suites and villas are ultra-spacious, with large terraces, huge bathrooms, teak floors, and whirlpool tubs with separate showers; you get a lot of fine living space with any room you choose here, and the resort will add extra beds for families with children.
A modern boutique resort set in the hills of northern Koh Samui, the 74-room Mantra Samui is filled with artsy, whimsical decor, including a converted vintage Volkswagen minibus in the lobby. In addition to the requisite infinity pool, the hotel goes above and beyond with a well-equipped gym with squash courts, private movie theater with regular screenings, free cooking and yoga classes, game room, kids' club, in-room computers with free Internet, and thousands of free movies. Its open-air restaurant serves Thai and international cuisine, as well as the free breakfast buffet. Note that the hotel is not on the beach, but does provide shuttle service to nearby beaches throughout the day.
The mid-size, upscale Muang Samui Spa Resort may be right in raucous Chaweng Beach, but it's set in a green garden between the main road and the beach, so it's easy to escape the noise and crowds. Spacious (slightly worn) rooms come with teak wood floors, flat-screen TVs, and large terraces. There's a large pool with a kids' area, a playground, plus the busy beachfront with sun loungers. Samui Seafood Grill restaurant is one of Chaweng's most famous and popular fresh seafood joints. It features a giant wooden boat in its interior where live music and Thai dancing is performed. Staying here isn't cheap, but beach hotels in Chaweng tend to be overpriced as a rule.
All 50 rooms at this beachfront resort feature balconies and daybeds (standard rooms start at about 375 square feet, and there are three private two-bedroom pool villas are available for larger parties). The resort also offers free kayak rentals, supervised kids' play area, kiddy pool, kids' menus and nightly entertainment in the restaurant, and babysitting services available upon request. The private beach in front of the resort is small and the sand isn't the finest, but daily free shuttles are offered to nearby Lamai Beach and Chaweng Beach.
The Sea Koh Samui Boutique Resort & Residences is an upscale resort on the beautiful beach in Bang Por, a sleepy village on the north coast of Samui, away from the nightlife. Its 25 spacious suites and villas feature separate living areas, full kitchens, and palatial bathrooms with stone whirlpool tubs and walk-in rainfall showers -- some include private pools. The resort has a lovely outdoor pool as well as a kids' pool, while the open-air eatery sits right on the beach and serves free breakfasts, as well as Thai and international dishes for lunch and dinner. A kids' menu is also available.
Located on quiet Plai Laem Beach on Koh Samui's north shore, the four-pearl Deva Samui Resort is an excellent resort for those who want to escape the crowds that plague most of Samui's beaches (but is only a 10- to 15-minute drive from the airport). Spacious rooms have flat-screen TVs and can include outdoor whirlpools or direct pool access. There are three swimming pools, beach access, beachside restaurant, and kids' club and play area. Prices are almost unbelievably low, especially for how nice the property is.
Chaweng Regent Beach Resort is a quiet, modern resort, a short walk from central Chaweng's shopping and dining. The 139 spacious rooms and villas come with free Wi-Fi, minibars, flat-screen TVs, and DVD players, and many have balconies or terraces with sea views, though some look a bit dated. The resort features a big stretch of white-sand beach with day beds and kayaks, and calm water that's suitable for swimming most of the year. Guests can also swim in two freshwater pools, one of which is a 2,900-square-foot, multilevel beachfront pool and the other a 4,735-square-foot garden pool, both with children's pools.
The 79-room Baan Samui is a mid-range, colorful resort that sits in the middle of Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui's most popular beach town. All rooms feature flat-screen TVs, but no water views. There is a big pool by the beach with an artificial grass deck and a kids' section. There's no kids' club, but the Relax Room features cool cushions, chairs, and book, plus there is a library with books, computers, and free Internet. Though breakfast buffet is included in the rate, prices are high for a resort without a fitness center or spa.
When it comes to beachfront views with little interruption, the Thai House Beach Resort is hard to beat. Regular shuttles make it easy to visit nearby attractions and participate in outdoor activities and water sports. The waves are rather calm here and there are markers in the water indicating where to swim. Children can stick close to their parents or play in the kids' pool. Guests can book either a room or villa; all include the same modern amenities, like free Wi-Fi, cable television, and a DVD player. Babysitting services are also available, and there is a 24-hour doctor on call.
First Bungalow Beach Resort is a large, mid-range property on Chaweng Noi, a pretty beach with far more sand and space than the bigger Chaweng Beach just to the north. The 174-room resort offers access to some restaurants and shops, and bright rooms ranging from bright standards with free Wi-Fi to Beach Bungalows steps from the sand. Other features include a large swimming pool (one of Samui's larges) and a restaurant. The resort draws long-term repeat visitors, and is famous for being the first-ever resort in Samui.