Conrad Koh Samui
What's the story? The newest member of the Conrad family is much like a favourite aunt: big, cosy and eager to spoil. Located on the relatively untouched southwestern tip of the Thai island of Koh Samui, it sprawls over 10 hectares of lush grounds on a hilltop overlooking Aow Thai Beach. Big in every department - size, service, amenities and smiles - it has 80 detached one- and two-bedroom villas, all decked out with traditional Thai artefacts and silks.
What are the stand-out features? The biggest 'waaaah' comes courtesy of the 10-metre infinity pool in each villa (or the 22.5-metre pool, if you're lucky enough to have checked into The Royal Villa). The super-comfy beds and stone baths are so big they should come with their own post codes. And don't be put off by the fact the property is perched on steep-sided hills - chauffeured buggies whisk guests, 24 hours a day, from A to B - or to C, to see the sea, if you so wish.
What's the food like? This five-star resort appears to have an insatiable appetite for chefs with Michelin-star credentials. Executive chef Konrad Inghelram and executive sous chef Joe Diaz (the pair worked together at hip London restaurant Quaglino's) help make it one of the island's brightest culinary stars. Inghelram trained at the Michelin-starred Au Chapon Fin, in France, while Diaz has worked in five Michelin-starred restaurants, including El Bulli, Plaza Athenee and The French Laundry. Casual fare can be found at Zest, with its Mediterranean-influenced cuisine, or poolside, at the Azure Bar and Grill. But if you want to eat like a king, head to the cliff-side restaurant Jahn (Thai for 'moon') and delight in its Thai and pan- Asian menu (think wild red snapper with sweet corn, mango salad, seared scallops and tamarind glaze; Brittany lobster green curry with lemongrass rice, lychee, baby eggplant and carrots; and duck breast with mushroom duxelle, green peas and foie gras). A sunset cocktail at the adjacent Glow Lounge (above right) is a must.
What if I want to be pampered? The spa has eight treatment rooms and a private outdoor terrace overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. There's a hot spa pool, saunas with cold plunge pools, a floatation room and a beauty salon.
And if I'm feeling energetic? A fitness centre, an on-site diving and sailing centre and a yoga pavilion should be more than enough. If you're in the mood to explore, ask the resort's staff about day trips to the Ang Thong National Marine Park for some snorkelling or kayaking in the archipelago's emerald waters (keep an eye out for dolphins) and on the journey home, you might get a glimpse of David Beckham's sprawling seaside mansion.
What's the bottom line? Nightly rates start from US$437.
Conrad Koh Samui is at 49/8-9 Moo 4, Hillcrest Road Tambol, Amphur Koh Samui, Sur, Thailand, tel: 66 77 917 888; conradhotels1.hilton.com.