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10 of the Best Villas in Bang Por-Nathon, Koh Samui

The modest, beachside village of Bang Por is little more than a loose collection of local seafood restaurants, minimarkets (handy for basic provisioning) and low key resorts, the latter offering varied but simple dining options. The area is also home to several established spa and wellness centres. The main island ring road runs quite close to the beach in Bang Por, which is very narrow with shallow waters but pleasant views across to neighbouring islands. A steep hill rises north from Bang Por, the road bending west at its crown before dropping towards Nathon, the island's main port and commercial district. Nathon is also a good place to buy simple souvenirs and to experience a little authentic local culture. There's a fresh market and moderately sized Tesco Lotus supermarket in town for more comprehensive provisions.


Villa Riva

Villa Riva

Thailand  »  Koh Samui  »  Bang Por-Nathon

Villa Riva’s sprawling Thai-style buildings with red-tiled roofs, gave us the initial impression of entering a boutique hotel rather than a private residence. But clever design and furnishings turns what could have been an imposing structure into an intimate luxury villa.

With bedrooms and living areas housed in separate buildings, peace and quiet is easy to come by. On the other hand, Riva's excellent facilities make it a great villa for socialising. We spent our afternoon sunning ourselves on the pool deck, attempting to swim the full 32-metre-length of the pool, and exploring the beach and rock pools, before enjoying sundowners as we watched fishing boats coming and going and the sun sinking into the bay.

A seafood dinner was enjoyed alfresco in the barbecue sala alongside the pool. The villa’s elevated position on the headland means it catches the breeze perfectly, but on a still night, the sala has a ceiling fan to cool. And of course, you can always refresh with a moonlit dip in the pool that appears as an extension of the sea.

Music piped through indoor and outdoor speakers added to the mood (there’s an extensive selection of music with controls throughout the clubhouse and in the sala). Ending the evening on a high note, we retreated to the home cinema, reclined our seats to near horizontal and, at the touch of the iPad control, settled in with popcorn and drinks for a few hours of entertainment. After a good night’s rest in fluffy white bedding, there was nothing nicer than waking to the sounds of the birds  – knowing that we didn’t have to get up just yet, but could indulgently savour the view from the comfort of our bed. Once we did manage to get up and about, the smell of breakfast on the go and coffee brewing drew us to the dining room where we could continue to enjoy the ocean views.
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Blue Samui

Blue Samui

Thailand  »  Koh Samui  »  Bang Por-Nathon

There's something refreshingly independent about Blue Samui. The secluded setting is quite unusual for a fast developing island because there are no other properties surrounding the villa (bar one, a little further down the hill, which barely enters the view). This means you quickly relax into your own, private world – shoes and watch off, beachwear on. Once you've stocked the fridge at one of the island's big supermarkets, the urge to venture out fades, at least during the day. The homely atmosphere, combined with abundant on-hand facilities lets you set your own schedule and this generally involves little more than eating, lounging, reading and drifting into the view. Of course, unless you're someone that sees cooking as a leisure activity, the lack of a chef means dining out becomes part of the routine, but with a hire car there are plenty of options close by. The two on-site staff are very keen to please and will happily serve snacks and drinks so you don't have to leave you sun lounger too often. A poolside barbecue is also a must at least once during your stay. The evening light makes those breathtaking views almost surreal. Although the guest bedrooms share a bathroom, the rooms themselves are nicely furnished, spacious and the wide verandah is almost an extra lounge. The views from the nicely hidden bath tub in the master suite make bathing a special pleasure that adds to the indulgence in what, for us, was a pleasingly private and relaxing island retreat.
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Villa Nava

Villa Nava

Thailand  »  Koh Samui  »  Bang Por-Nathon

We felt instantly at home at Villa Nava; partly because of the villa’s comfortable furnishings and convivial layout – it seems the most natural thing in the world to walk through the front door, drop your bag and grab a stool at the big white breakfast island to chat with whoever’s in the kitchen – and partly because Irene, the villa’s lovely manageress, radiates a motherly warmth that just makes you feel relaxed and looked after straight away.

Irene met us at the foot of the steep hill that Nava is built on and smilingly escorted us up to the villa, where, on entering through the double doors, we were greeted by the beautiful view out over the pool and palm tops to a sparkling ocean dotted with tropical island gems. Pristine forested hills and Samui’s attractive coastline disappear southwards, with Nathon town’s long jetty just visible in the mid distance.

Villa Nava’s living room, dining area and kitchen are almost totally surrounded by glass (most of which folds back to create a bright open-sided space) providing easy access to the pool and the breezy sala where, come evening, we sat on black-cushioned sofas toasting the magnificent sunsets.

The bedrooms, split two in the main house and two in the guest bungalow, are well set up for a couple of families or for an extended family (as long and grandma and grandpa are not hampered by stairs – as there are quite a lot of them between the bungalow and the main living floor), and we liked that all the rooms offered pleasant outdoor terraces for a quiet read or rest.

The villa is self-catering, but Irene will help with the shopping and even organizes for meals to be delivered from some nearby restaurants. Alternatively, a local cook will come to the villa and prepare mouth-watering Thai cuisine for a very reasonable charge.

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Emerald Beach Villa 4

Emerald Beach Villa 4

Thailand  »  Koh Samui  »  Bang Por-Nathon

As an independent couple with plenty of travel experience, we found Emerald Beach Villa offered everything we needed on a beachside break and represented good value when compared to similar accommodation in a hotel. It would work equally well for a family. An agreeable, practical space, clearly designed for outdoor living, we spent most of our time either by the pool, on the beach or in the fan-cooled dining pavilion with the sliding doors flung open to catch the sea breeze. The rear pavilion is something of an anomaly, especially the 'greenhouse' lounge which gets very warm during the day. The bedrooms however, are spacious, cool and comfortable, although with so much glass the morning sun tends to flood in so light sleepers may find early rises become the routine. The upstairs twin bedroom is great for older kids (say seven years and above), but families with toddlers may find the steep stairs and upper landing that lead to it a concern.

Renting a vehicle is highly recommended if you plan to eat out a lot, although the in-villa menu suggestions are varied if you opt to pay extra for an in-house chef. A jolly cleaner arrives every morning after breakfast and again in the evening, she's accompanied by the helpful villa manageress who deals with special requests and will even nip to the local shops to buy basic provisions. Essentially, it is the beautiful garden, quiet beach and stunning views that appeal most. The somewhat remote location makes the holiday home (villa may be a tad generous) feel your own as soon as you arrive and although the neighbours are very close by, walled grounds create a pleasant, personalised holiday environment. As a private alternative to Samui's more upmarket resort accommodation it is an attractive choice.

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