My beef with the lack of all villa chain hotels…

I shared my unhappiness when the Westin Ubud hotel plan was unrolled, since it wasn’t an all villa hotel.

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Here’s my love for all villa hotels. In non-all villa hotels (take, for example, the Le Meridien Khao Lak), villas are more expensive and the resort is usually pretty crowded (unless it’s a suite-villa property, in which case villa prices are always through the roof).

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Le Meridien Khao Lak Suite Price

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Le Meridien Khao Lak Villa Price, a HK$750 (US$96) premium, not that worth it for a same size room plus internet

I mean, it does feel like a resort when there are all villas. True, they cover a lot of land and are really expensive, but the hotel chains do have a lot of all villa hotels, where I’ll explain later.

Take the W Retreat Koh Samui, an all villa hotel. Last time we went (hopefully they still exist), they had golf carts running up and down the hotel, which is actually popular in Koh Samui and most other villa hotels. The only other time I had the chance to do this was in the Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket.

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W Retreat Koh Samui, an all villa hotel

Phuket is actually a fun beach destination as apart from the beach there are also other attractions such as bird parks and shopping malls with elephants. As far as I know there is one chain (i.e. SPG, IHG, Hyatt, Marriott AND Hilton) all villa hotel within all five chains (Krabi is NOT in Phuket and so the Ritz-Carlton Phulay Bay doesn’t count, sorry), the Naka Island (which we booked). I’m not sure if the new InterContinental Rawai will be an all villa or not, though for the rest of them, all chains have at least one hotel in Phuket and none are all villas (except the Naka Island).

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Redeem more miles but for a better stay at the Naka Island Phuket, an SPG Category 6 Limited Participation property

Okay, so enough about Phuket – I’ve been wanting to go to Bali for a long time. The beaches are wonderful and I’ve heard really good things about the people and the vibe. However, putting Accor aside I can again only find one chain, this time from Marriott (Bulgari Bali Uluwatu). I’ve heard bad things about pest control in this place, but at least it’s an all villa property.

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You cannot redeem for the Bulgari Bali Uluwatu, but it is still part of Marriott

So, many of you will be thinking this is because of costs. However let’s move to Koh Samui. Land in Phuket and Koh Samui are of similar price, but I can name the following all villa hotels: W Retreat Koh SamuiConrad Koh Samui, Le Meridien Koh Samui, Vana Belle (A Luxury Collection Resort) Koh Samui. That’s four, not much, but better than one.

Koh Samui is one of those destinations where the interestingness rests purely on beach. There’s not much vibe (and that’s saying a lot given that I have visited a few markets), and the city itself hasn’t that much to do.

The same goes with the Maldives. All the villa hotels seem to be stuck there too. I can name the W Retreat Maldives, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, Conrad Maldives and Holiday Inn Maldives. While that makes sense (i.e. there’s pretty much nothing to do on the islands most resorts are located so the resorts being better do make sense), it’s rather shameful that that isn’t available in Okinawa, Phuket or Bali too.

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Why don’t we get this in more exotic destinations?

So enough ranting. My point is, if there are so many luxury chain all villa hotels in Koh Samui, Maldives and Bora Bora, why can’t they be in more exotic destinations like Phuket, Okinawa, Bali or Sanya?

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