Further AfieldTravel

The Insider Reviews Explorar Koh Samui – The Island Paradise you Never Knew you Needed

The adults only resort & spa is nestled among the tranquil coast of Mae Nam with an unrivalled beachfront location and exquisite tropical surroundings. 

The Explorar Adults Only Resort & Spa is the second edition to the new player among world-class venues in the ever-popular destination of Thailand – its predecessor being situated just opposite on the island of Koh Phangan. And what a resort it is: blending Eastern and Western design accents and a beguiling fusion of nature and nurture, it’s far more than just a resort stay – it will leave you relaxed, replete, and reluctant to leave. 

We were greeted at the reception with an ice-cold towel and refreshing welcome drink before heading to our private pool villa, featuring a contemporary modern design – simple yet elegant and comfortable – with a double sea-facing bed, ample wardrobe space, comfy slippers, Duchess coffee machine, raindrop shower with double sink, and sweeping outdoor terrace with sunbeds and a private infinity pool that overlooks the stunning beach. Whether waking up with the dawn, catching the sun’s graceful descent below the horizon, or glittering night sky, the myriad of colours painted across the skies were nothing short of magical.

After a leisurely dip in our pool, we wandered over to the nucleus of the hotel – the al fresco pool bar and restaurant, which is lively around meal times and their signature Happy Hours. The pool itself is a unique selling point of the hotel with its olympic-sized proportions, infinity waters overlooking the shimmering sea, swim-up pool bar (the staff are most accommodating for bikini-based cocktails), and is charmingly decorated with giant rubber duck inflatables, adding a delightful splash of colour as they peek out at you from amidst the dense foliage. Pathways to the main entrance, spa and pool are labyrinthine with enchanting hanging tropical plants, whispering in the breeze, as well as towering palms and even an occasional hammock, if you need a snooze en route back from an indulgent meal or simply need a quiet spot to contemplate life’s adventures. 

At the main restaurant by the pool you can choose your breakfast, lunch and dinner in the restaurant with indoor, outdoor, and seafront dining available, the latter which decadently cements your holiday vibes, as you dine while wiggling your toes in the sand.  The breakfast buffet is a glorious spread of hot Western cooked dishes, a range of fresh juices, egg station, Thai and Asian delicacies plus sweet things such as pancakes, waffles, and rice puddings. One of the most welcoming parts of our stay at Explorar was the genuine warmth of the staff, for whom nothing was too much trouble; one morning at breakfast despite traveling with our favourite English breakfast tea we had left it in our room, and the waiter kindly called housekeeping and asked them to deliver it to the restaurant. A surefire way to keep Brits happy at breakfast is to indulge them in their love of tea.

After a languid day by the pool eating and drinking (the Seabass Ceviche was a triumph, as were the coconuts branded with the Explorar logo), we returned to our sumptuous pool villa to watch the sunset. Despite being one of several pool villas that reside along the beach, the level of privacy is unmatched, with a backdrop of absolute tranquillity and sounds provided solely by the gently crashing waves and the soft cajoling of the bullfrogs, suggesting at times you are quite alone on a private island. As the resort is adults only, there’s no chatter of tiny humans, which sets the scene for a more romantic and secluded vacation stay. For dinner we ordered a delicious Yellow Curry Crab pasta which was fresh and tasty, and a Beef Carpaccio that was melt-in-the-mouth tender, and decorated with edible flowers and capers. In fact, all of the food from the Explorar’s extensive menu was beautifully presented as a work of art on your plate. The menu – served throughout the whole day – included Thai classics like Pad Thai, Papaya Salad, noodles, curries and stir-fries, plus some tempting Western dishes such as steaks, burgers, ceviches, and some outstanding pizza from their woodfire pizza oven (the Margherita was a win). Expect a talented band of Thai musicians at dinner on the candlelit beach, plus traditional Thai dancers with tinkling sounds that echo the whispering melodies of the tropics. 

We also visited their soothing spa, with a multitude of treatments from scrubs, to facials, and their signature Thai massages. After being treated to a foot spa and scrub we reclined on sumptuous double-sized massage tables – which was infinitely preferable to the standard ones as there’s less chance of rolling off in a daze – we enjoyed a fabulous massage from their trained staff. If we would have had more time (and been more so inclined) we may have visited the full service gym, complete with free weights, machines and cardio equipment. But, the beach was calling… As a guest you can recline by the pool on one of their comfy loungers or head down to the private beachfront, where there are perfectly positioned Lazy Boys, plus tables and umbrellas for your every comfort. We were lucky with the weather too and witnessed some stunning clear sunny days where the blue of the sky was such a striking phenomenon it looked almost unreal. 

We were sad to leave our pool villa and the Explorar, which very quickly felt like a home away from home, with the incredibly welcoming staff, every comfort of the rooms and facilities, an experience so complete that we didn’t need to leave the resort once. A highly recommended stay for couples of all ages and those travelling without kids, and even solo travellers looking to spoil themselves in abundant tranquillity and lavishness without pretension.

The Explorar Adults Only Resort & Spa is located at Mae Nam Beach on Koh Samui and features an all day dining restaurant, 50m infinity pool, private pool villas, working space called The Exchange, Hummingbird sanctuary and a plethora of fine dining options. For reservations please visit their website or Instagram for more information. 

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