I posted my initial thoughts on the two resorts a while back, so I’ll expand on those thoughts in this post for the IC.
- Singapore Airlines Business Class LAX-NRT-SIN
- Review: SilverKris Lounge at SIN
- Singapore Airlines Business Class SIN-BKK
- Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok
- Conrad Bangkok
- InterContinental Koh Samui
- Conrad Koh Samui Part 1 (Check-in and Room)
- Conrad Koh Samui Part 2 (Breakfast and Resort)
The InterContinental in Koh Samui is a good 45 minute drive from USM airport in Koh Samui. I decided not to book transportation prior to arriving and instead booked it directly at the airport. There was a counter for a transfer service and when I asked, I was told it would be 1,500 Baht or roughly $50. This was in line with the pre-booking service offered by the InterContinental, so it didn’t make much of a difference.
The only real downside is that we had to pay in cash, but that wasn’t a huge deal since I had plenty on me. The ride over was in a nice Toyota SUV, and while the ride wasn’t the most scenic, it was at least comfortable.
How I Booked the Hotel
There are plenty of chain hotels to choose from in Koh Samui; Starwood, Hilton, and InterContinental all have nice hotels here. The thing that drew me to the InterContinental was the price on points – just 25K per night, which is an amazing deal in my opinion. Sweetening the deal is that I get back 10% of my points for having the IHG credit card, so it actually ended up being only 22.5K points per night.
I got an 80K point bonus for signing up for the credit card, so that bonus can get you 3 nights at this resort. I really think that’s a fantastic value.
We got to the hotel and were immediately impressed with the lobby of the resort. It’s completely open air and is huge, much bigger than the Conrad’s, and the views were outstanding. The check-in process was very quick and we were walked to our room, and the luggage arrived shortly after that.
The room itself was nice, but not over-the-top amazing. It was very comfortable and had everything you needed, but was nothing compared to the Conrad resort.
The King Size bed was facing a 42” TV that was sitting atop a desk that doubled as a work station. At the foot of the bed was a couch and coffee table. The view from the room and balcony was amazing – all different shades of blue water with small islands in the distance.
The closet contained a bath robe, slippers, an umbrella, and a safe. The bathroom had dual sinks and a separate shower and tub. The shower was kind of cool because it wasn’t enclosed – it was just a shower head and rain shower head off to the side of the bathroom. There were plenty of bath amenities next to the tub, and on the other side of the sinks was the toilet.
The balcony wasn’t very big but featured two seating areas – one for lounging and a more standard table. The lounge area wasn’t particularly appealing or comfortable as it didn’t provide a view of the water. Sitting at the table was more appealing, but I preferred to go down to the pool area if I wanted to lounge or sit outside.
Inside the room were some interesting items. On the coffee table was a copy of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. There was also a pamphlet on different activities we could purchase, most of which were extremely overpriced. One of the cool features was a button on the phone that said “Instant Service for anything you want…anytime!” I thought that’s a nice touch for a resort like this to have “One Button To Rule Them All” as it gives the impression that they’re all about service, even if I never have to use the button (and I didn’t).
Unfortunately there’s no free breakfast offered for IHG Platinum guests at InterContinental hotels. That’s a bit of a bummer because food prices on resorts like this are generally extremely expensive, but that’s just something I’d have to deal with.
Room Service prices were just as expensive as at the Conrad; somewhere in the $20-$35 range for a dish. I actually thought there was a noticeable difference in how good the food was at the InterContinental compared to the Conrad. Again, sticking to the Thai dishes was a good idea as I was happy with every meal I had here.
This resort is very different from the Conrad with regards to how you get around. Like the Conrad, this hotel is built on a steep hillside so you know there would be a lot of inclines. The Conrad dealt with this by employing an army of free, on-demand golf carts to get people around the resort. The InterContinental dealt with it by having stairs. Lots and lots of stairs.
It’s obviously not a huge deal to walk down, but man is it a challenge to get back up to the lobby or your room if you’re near the top. Just imagine spending time swimming in the ocean or pool and then having to take all the stairs back up to your room. Absolutely exhausting!
The time it affected me most was after I was kayaking for about 45 minutes or an hour. Kayaks are free to use, and my friend and I decided to go far out into the water and race back to shore. When I got back I was exhausted, and the never-ending stairs sure didn’t help! It probably would have been more prudent to enjoy a coconut by the pool before making the hike back to the room.
Otherwise, the resort pool is nice and has plenty of seating around it. As you can see from the image below, there’s a poolside bar where you can enjoy drinks and the pool at the same time. The beach is a true beach – unlike the Conrad – and there’s plenty of places to lounge and plenty of water activities. You can walk into the water and swim around on the beach, which is not completely private but is very secluded.
There was also a ping pong table, showers, a restaurant, and a sitting area around a bonfire near the beach. There was plenty to do here, and that was very appealing to me since I was traveling with a friend. It was also noticeable that the other people at this resort were relatively young compared to the few that I saw at the Conrad.
The differences between the Conrad Koh Samui and the InterContinental Samui resort are huge, and they’re really for different types of people if you ask me. If you’re traveling with a friend, looking to mingle and be social, or want to save money, then the InterContinental is the resort you’re looking for on this island. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway where you don’t want to see anyone else and would rather be in your room, then the Conrad is for you.
Again, I encourage you to read my post on the differences between the two resorts where I discussed the differences between the resorts to help you choose. Personally, as a single, young traveler, I’d pick the InterContinental any day. With that being said, the Conrad was such a unique experience that I’m glad I had a chance to stay there.