10-bedroom Villas in Laem Set, Koh Samui, Thailand

The little-visited stretch of flat, soft sand at Laem Set stretches around three kilometres from the traditional fishing village of Hua Thanon to the sheltered, rocky bays of the Laem Set peninsular. Fishermen moor and unload their catch daily close to the village market, providing excellent photo opportunities, not to mention a great source of fresh seafood. This is also the island's only remaining Muslim enclave, where the mosque is still the centre of the community. The peninsular itself boasts some of the island's quietest beaches and coves. A handful of small resorts and restaurants are scattered around the local area. Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary is also located here, an internationally renowned centre for alternative therapies and treatments. For more sophisticated shopping or nightlife options, Lamai is the nearest tourist town (5km) and the road that leads to it is lined with restaurants and resorts offering everything from Thai staples to fine international cuisine.

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YL Residence No. 17

YL Residence No. 17

Thailand » Koh Samui » Laem Set

Arriving at YL Residence for a friend's birthday weekend, I initially thought I'd come to the wrong place. On first inspection, the collection of modern, white buildings seemed to be part of a resort - and indeed it could be - but instead, the owners choose to rent the entire place as a private residence, which provides a unique opportunity to share a stunning space with a close group friends or family.

The suites and communal areas are all exquisitely furnished and the entire property is incredibly well staffed. This means you can either choose your spot and stick to it, or make the most of what is essentially a millionaire's playground. Our host had plenty of people dropping in and out throughout the weekend, plus 20 of us staying over, so it was easy to drift between different scenes and social groups at will.

The poolside party included parents and kids, who tended to favour the sun deck and pool lounge, the drinkers meanwhile hung out in the club house bar with their ipods permanently plugged in to the Bose music system, the beach bums switched between the sand, the sea and the games room, while the inner circle often retreated with the birthday boy and his partner to the master YL Suite, which became affectionately known as "the lux lounge". Every space had its own dedicated staff with exquisite meals, snacks and a full range of drinks served at almost any hour. The barbecue was a particular treat and big enough for a banquet. Unequivocal extravagance!      

As an extended party pad, YL Residence is hard to beat, but not everyone would choose to stay here on a wild weekend. Unofficially, it is the largest villa in Thailand so rock star connotations are virtually unavoidable, but the property also manages to hold onto its natural side thanks largely to the dramatic beachfront setting and the forest of coconut palms and casuarina trees that fill its grounds (a fellow guest suggested cutting a few of them down to build a 9-hole golf course!). Even for those on a more sedate holiday, the villa offers a one-of-a kind experience. The staff, cuisine and multitude of diversions make it a rounded luxury holiday haven. The only drawback being that without a gang of fellow guests to share its vastness, one could feel a little lonely and isolated.
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