Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui : Perfect service, hard product to renovate urgently

After a short flight from Bangkok, we arrive in Koh Samui early afternoon. The weather is beautiful!

As a reminder, here is the itinerary followed:

#TypeReview
1DiarySummer vacations in Thailand
2LoungeCathay Pacific First Class Lounge, London Heathrow Terminal 3
3FlightFinnair Business Class, London Heathrow – Helsinki Vantaa, Airbus A350-900
4LoungeSalon Finnair Business Class, Helsinki Vantaa
5FlightFinnair Business Class, Helsinki Vantaa – Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Airbus A350-900
6HotelSheraton Grande Sukhumvit, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok
7HotelKimpton Maa-Lai, Bangkok
8DiaryBangkok J1
9DiaryBangkok J2
10RestaurantRestaurant Saneh Jaan, Bangkok
11LoungeBangkok Airways Lounge, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi
12FlightBangkok Airways Economy, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi – Koh Samui, Airbus A319
13HotelVana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui
14DiaryKoh Samui J1
15DiaryKoh Samui J2
16LoungeBangkok Airways Blue Ribbon Lounge, Koh Samui
17FlightBangkok Airways Economy, Koh Samui – Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Airbus A320
18HotelThe Peninsula, Bangkok
19RestaurantLe Normandie, Bangkok
20LoungeJapan Airlines Sakura Lounge, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi
21FlightFinnair Business Class, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi – Helsinki Vantaa, Airbus A350-900
22LoungeFinnair Business lounge non-Schengen, Helsinki Vantaa
23FlightFinnair Business Class, Helsinki Vantaa – Londres Heathrow, Airbus A350-900
Today’s itinerary

Booking

As for the Finnair ticket, the Sheraton in Bangkok and the Bangkok Airways itinerary, I reused the original reservation made for February 2022 by moving it to August 2022 in this Luxury Collection property on the Thai island.

We hesitated for a long, long time about which property to attend. In particular, we hesitated with the Kimpton which has just opened, as well as with the W which also appealed to us.

The big hesitation was notably on the fact of reserving rather a suite with private swimming pool and a very beautiful sight, a villa also with private swimming pool much more isolated, and with a sight much less direct on the sea since the room.

Prices were roughly equivalent, with a premium of about £100 per night for the villa. Nevertheless, having booked in the middle of the pandemic and while the restrictions still existed, I got an excellent rate around £250 per night. We therefore decided to keep the large suite with private pool and breathtaking view of the ocean, following the advice of Bertrand who had already stayed there, without breaking the bank!

Arrival

Prior to our arrival in the hotel, I contacted the General Manager and told him that we were celebrating our 3 year engagement, and asked him to have a suite in this category with the best view possible.

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He answered in the affirmative, saying that he had passed the information on to his team.

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We arrived at Koh Samui airport in the early afternoon, and the driver I had previously booked was waiting for us at the airport exit. It is in a very nice Mercedes E Class that we transferred to the hotel, and it will take a little less than 30 minutes to get there.

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Upon arrival, we are greeted by the baggage handlers and our Butler who will take care of us during our entire stay. She will be very responsive, helpful, and above all, extremely kind.

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We do the check-in from the outdoor patio of the hotel, outside, with a welcome cocktail. After these formalities, our Butler, Tik, will accompany us to our suite.

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Suite

Our suite was located in building 7, one of the closest to the reception.

Nevertheless, we will have to climb two floors each time, the different buildings not being provided with elevators.

Note that the accesses to the suites are rather basic, the exteriors rather unkempt, and deserve a great maintenance to be with the standards of a property which wants to be luxurious.

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Our suite was located on the top floor of this building, at one end. This is the case of all the suites of this category, located on the highest floors, and at the ends of each building.

From the entrance, on the right, is the checkroom, closet, and luggage storage area. It is quite small in size, and doesn’t really allow you to unpack all your stuff for a whole week.

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Opposite, there is a large office, which allows to work serenely.

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To the right is the bathroom area, which runs the length of the building. A double sink is available, with a large space to settle. On the right is the toilet, and on the left is the shower and bath combination. Note that the bath is very spacious, allows you to take a bath for two, and to admire the magnificent view since it opens onto the terrace.

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Back in the main room, there is a large King size bed, which will be comfortable, and a stairs leading down to a small lounge area, a piece of furniture of doubtful taste since it is a piece of garden furniture installed inside, and finally the superb terrace and its totally clear view on the Thailand sea.

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On the terrace, there is a small coffee table and an armchair, and two deckchairs that allow you to rest facing the ocean. The private pool is of rather nice size. Note the promiscuity with the neighbors which can be quite unpleasant depending on them. Our neighbors are not particularly noisy. The outdoor furniture could use a good paint job or a replacement without a doubt.

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Overall I do not appreciate at all the style of this suite, very basic, not at all to the standards of luxury of a property of this kind that practice this type of price. I must admit that I am very disappointed.

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Finally, here is the video tour:

Hotel facilities

Like any resort, the property is equipped with a fitness room, a spa, a small swimming pool (not necessarily essential since each room has a small private pool), as well as a completely private beach.

Beach

The beach offered by the Vana Belle is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Firstly, it is totally private, no passage of tourists in bathing suit one in front of you when you are installed on one of the transats of the hotel. It is also very quiet, with zero boat traffic! This will be one of our favorite parts of the hotel and we will make excellent use of it. Note that the service is also excellent, with a towel service, unlimited water is brought regularly by the waiters, and a call button is very convenient to order either cocktails or food.

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Pool

When you have a private pool, the interest to use the common pool remains limited. Nevertheless, it is rather well made, even if it seems a bit small.

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Gym

The hotel’s fitness room is located in a building near the reception, accessible either on foot or by buggy. It is adjacent to the spa, and well equipped. But we won’t use it.

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Spa

We will book a spa treatment once, as a couple. It will be excellent and my wife will benefit from it another time.

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Food options

The hotel has a number of dining outlets. There are not more because the property is rather small with less than a hundred rooms, there are nevertheless two establishments that allow to vary the pleasures. It is essential when you are a rather isolated property, and that the moves on the island are not necessarily simple without renting a car.

Dinner service – Panali

We had dinner almost every night at the Panali restaurant, located by the sea.

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The service is absolutely excellent, the waiters and waitresses very nice, and very attentive. The food is absolutely exceptional, the Thai dishes are of an unequalled quality, much better than many restaurants in the capital.

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This is where we dine most evenings, preferring Thai food to the so-called international food.

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You can see it by the following pictures, but I would especially appreciate the crab fried rice. The satays will also be exceptional.

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Room service

The room service is quite efficient, and offers different dishes from the restaurants. We will use it two evenings.

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Dinner service – Barbecue on the beach

One of the evenings of our stay, we decided to take advantage of the all-you-can-eat buffet offered by the hotel on the beach. A little disappointing because it was not very varied, compared to similar formulas already experienced in Indonesia.

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Breakfast service – Kiree

As for the breakfast service, it is served from 7am to 10:30am at the Kiree restaurant.

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We will eat there every morning of our stay.

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The offer is interesting, since a buffet is obviously proposed, but many dishes are ordered a la carte.

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Every morning we order various dishes, egg dishes of course but also sweet dishes. The buffet items will be quite excellent, especially the pastries, surprisingly excellent for an Asian country.

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The bread will also be of excellent quality, which is quite rare. In the end, isn’t it the basics that count?

Service

As for the Kimpton in Bangkok, the service will be absolutely perfect during our entire stay.

During this stay, we had a small incident that forced my wife to go to the nearby hospital at the very beginning.

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The General Manager of the property gave a beautiful bouquet of flowers to wish my wife a speedy recovery

The staff was absolutely delightful in arranging cars to take us to the hospital, adapting their service and menu to fit the dietary restrictions resulting from this hospital stay.

Really perfect.

Departure

The night before our departure, I will receive the pro-forma invoice by e-mail, and the whole will be accurate.

Fifteen minutes before our departure, the driver will pick up our luggage and load it into the car, then we will proceed to the check-out formalities.

It will take a little time, but we will be driving to the airport 2 hours before our flight to Bangkok.

Bottom line

A very good stay, thanks to the superb view from our suite and the excellent service of our butler and all the staff. Nevertheless, no upgrade for us, and especially a big renovation absolutely necessary for the rooms. This becomes urgent to maintain the reputation of the property, especially because of the new openings on the island that create new competition.

Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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