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When you associate Thailand more with full moon parties and SangSom buckets than family travel it can be tricky trying to figure out whether it’s good idea to go back with your kids in tow – I’m here to firmly say YES! GO! Especially as the Bandara is such a family friendly hotel in Koh Samui.
Koh Samui is a beautiful island and while Chaweng Beach is far more busy and touristy than the first time I visited waaaaaay back in 2005 there are still some beautiful, peaceful and very family-friendly areas on Koh Samui to explore.
We took our girls to Thailand in February 2020 (yes, right as the pandemic was starting – we had no idea what was coming!) and we flew straight to Koh Samui from Heathrow via Bangkok. When we reached Koh Samui I knew we would all be exhausted from the long haul flights, jet lagged and in need of some downtime after a busy half term at school. Choosing the right hotel when you travel as a family is really important.
A family friendly hotel in Koh Samui
I wanted to a hotel that:
- Would give us somewhere to rest and recuperate, ideally in a little luxury
- Allowed us all to have our own space to sleep comfortably – my girls hate sharing a sofa bed
- Had enough going on so no one got bored
- Was within walking distance of bars, restaurants and markets without being loud and busy
- And was in a location that allowed us to explore some local culture
Yes, I know – I have high expectations.
Bandara Resort and Spa, Samui
We stayed at the Bandara Resort and Spa, in Bophut in February half term and it was the perfect family-friendly hotel in Koh Samui for us. Situated in the north of the island the Bandara is a warm and welcoming hotel offering the fabulous service that Thailand is renowned for.
Where is the Bandara Resort and Spa, Samui
Bandara Resort is in the peaceful north of the island. Near the Fisherman’s Village night market and close to Bophut on the North coast of Koh Samui, but away from the main hustle and bustle of the area. We could walk to the restaurants and night markets in the evening, but when we got back to the hotel, all was quiet.
The hotel is right on the beach and the coast is fairly well protected from the weather so the sea is calm. We were there for a storm and of course the waves did come up a bit but on the whole the sea was far calmer than it was round at Tongsai Bay hotel (slightly further North East) where my parent happened to be staying at the same time. I think this location is perfect for a family friendly hotel in Koh Samui..
Family friendly accommodation in Koh Samui
Room layout can make or break a hotel in my opinion. It’s one of the most important considerations when choosing your family friendly hotel in Koh Samui.
The accommodation at Bandara Resort and Spa, Samui is spread through beautiful gardens. There isn’t a high-rise in sight here at the Bandara with the 168 rooms all being mostly on the ground floor or first floor.
We stayed in a ground floor family room with doors leading straight into the garden.
A family room can accommodate 2 adults and 2 children comfortably. I didn’t think to find out if they could accommodate a cot or third child as number 3 wasn’t on the cards at the time we visited. Each of the 38 family rooms are on the ground floor and you can access the garden and children’s pool right from the room.
The room has a King bed for the parents and bunks beds for the children, the two areas of the room have a sliding, dividing wall which means you don’t disturb each other too much. The kids absolutely loved having their own personal space and not having to share a sofa bed! As they’ve gotten bigger they really dislike sharing a sofa bed.
The Facilities, family friendly hotel in Koh Samui
The hotel has two main pools plus a small children’s pool. This one is great if you have tiny, non-swimmers. The hotel is right on the beach and the bar and restaurant are both on the beachfront. There are plenty of sunbeds available around the pool and on the beach and there are also giant bean bags which are great for the kids to chill out in.
The gardens are absolutely stunning, just walking through them to get to the beach or the pool is an experience in itself. One of our favourite things was wildlife spotting as we wandered to and from our room. We regularly saw butterflies the size of your hand and some fascinating frogs came out at night time.
There is a kids club, a nice air conditioned space with activities for the kids. At 6 & 8 years old ours wanted to spend most of their time in the pool and on the beach but they did decide to head to the kids club on a couple of occasions, especially when there was a craft activity planned.
There are laundry services available but we found a little local laundrette just over the road which was far cheaper. As we were making an unexpected stop in Sri Lanka on the way home (you can read about that unexpected adventure here!) it was really useful to get all the laundry done.
There is a formal spa in the grounds of this family friendly hotel in Koh Samui but we didn’t ever use it. I much preferred the large massage beds on the beach front. There’s nothing more lovely than a Thai Massage listening to the gentle lapping waves and enjoying the beach view.
Eating at Bandara Resort and Spa, Samui
We stayed at the resort on a bed and breakfast basis. This worked out really well for us as it meant we could venture out to eat every night. As a side note: If you’re stuck on which board to stay read my post here to help you choose you meal plan.
Breakfast was served in the restaurant overlooking the beach. The views are just heavenly. There is a good range of food so most tastes will be catered for.
Lunch is available in the hotel from the bar or in the restaurant. We often ate from the beach venders though. There were two ladies who pulled their boat along the beach each day serving very typical Thai street food. My favourite being Papaya Salad. This is the spiciest salad you’ll ever eat but it is delicious!!
We ate out for dinner almost every night, but if you wanted to eat in the hotel there are themed nights and great Thai and international cuisine available.
In summary we loved Bandara Resort and Spa for our family holiday in Koh Samui, Thailand. The accommodation is perfect for families, it’s relaxed, right on a beautiful stretch of beach and it in a great position to access local culture, bars, restaurants and more. Check availability and prices for this hotel here.