Koh Samui has no dearth of resorts to relax or a few days and admire the beauty of this stunning island. From Accor to IHG to Marriott to Hilton to several other local and international groups, there are plenty of hotels in Koh Samui.
On our recent trip to Samui, we planned to stay with IHG. However, we were torn between InterContinental Koh Samui and Kimpton Kitalay Samui. Both looked great, had excellent reviews, and were exactly the same price on the dates we wanted to visit.
I wanted to go to Kimpton, and my partner, to InterContinental.
And, like how all happy couples decide on everything they don’t agree on, we decided to split our stay and spend a few days at both resorts. And we are glad we did that.
There were a few similarities. At the same time, they couldn’t have been more different.
InterContinental and Kimpton, both had a very similar check-in experience. We were asked to wait on a couch while they completed the check-in formalities. Nice views, welcome drink, and a very lively atmosphere.
Check-in staff were trained well, were polite and patiently explained everything about the resort. Both offered us tips on how to make the most of the stay at the property.
Room upgrade, breakfast, and other elite member benefits.
Diamond Elite welcome amenity.
Kimpton rates include breakfast. Our InterContinental rate was without breakfast. As a Diamond Elite welcome amenity, we opted for breakfast at InterContinental.
At Kimpton, we were offered a 300THB ‘Raid-the-bar’ voucher. There was some confusion around it while redeeming. We were told to choose anything from the menu at the bar while ordering. Later, they were unable to redeem it as only drinks from the menu were allowed and nothing else. Our order included food as well. We used the voucher for drinks later in the evening.
There was a bit of difference in how both resorts handled the welcome amenity part, though.
At InterContinental, they proactively presented the welcome amenity options. In fact, the lady checking us in recommended to go with the complimentary breakfast.
At Kimpton, I had to remind them about the welcome amenity choice. It was then that they offered the drink voucher.
We got upgraded to an ocean view room at InterContinental.
Kimpton refused an upgrade. According to them, there were no higher category rooms available. We were offered a paid upgrade to a villa at a discounted price, though. We didn’t go for it.
Later, when I checked on the app, there were a few higher category rooms available on the same dates. However, it was just 1 or 2 rooms left for each category. So, the reason given to us was understandable.
They could have upgraded us to a villa. But the price difference we saw in the app was huge. So can’t blame them for that.
Early check-in and late check out.
Both properties readily offered us early check-in and late check-out. We just had to ask once, and they were happy to extend it.
As a member, the experience at InterContinental was a little better than Kimpton.
You know that feeling at check-in where the hotel doesn’t want to hear the word ‘member’. I got that feeling at Kimpton. I could be wrong, but it felt like they were doing the bare minimum required by IHG. Without any genuine interest.
InterContinental, on the other hand, was much more, for a lack of better word, member-friendly. They were genuinely interested in offering elite benefits and helping us with queries and our requests.
It could be just the person checking us in or the hotel policy. No way to find out.
I would still go to Kimpton again, as elite member benefits were a small part of the otherwise great experience.
When it comes to food, Kimpton takes the cake.
When it comes to breakfast, Kimpton Samui win hands down. Kimpton has a better spread of food and a longer menu to order from (all included in the breakfast).
Breakfast at InterContinental, in itself, was also excellent. Kimpton was just better.
When it comes to variety and flavors, we preferred food at Kimpton. However, when it comes to overall dining experience, InterContinental is way ahead.
Room, views, and more.
This is where InterContinental outshines Kimpton Samui by a mile. Just make sure you have a room with the ocean view at InterContinental or a villa by the beach.
Whether you are staying for a night or for a week, you can’t help being mesmerized every time you look outside your room at InterContinental. This view is what made our trip to Samui complete.
Being top IHG brands, rooms at both hotels are designed pretty well and have everything you expect from a luxury brand. It’s just the views, and the balcony, that makes InterContinental so much better.
Kimpton also offers some beautiful ocean views, but they are no match to InterContinental’s.
Kimpton’s social hour and other perks.
Kimpton is known for its unique Kimpton perks. And Kimpton Samui doesn’t disappoint when it comes to these little extras.
There’s a yoga mat, a tote bag to carry to the pool or the beach, and a more few nice little thoughtful things. Then there’s ‘social hour’.
Kimpton Social Hour is sort of a happy hour, for hotel guests to enjoy complimentary wine, beer, a cocktail, or a mocktail, and light snacks or canapé in the evening. Often there are popcorn, sandwiches etc. as well.
All these perks are exclusive to Kimpton and not offered at InterContinental. Of course, there are always certain things you can request for, e.g., a Yoga Mat.
IHG has two excellent properties in Koh Samui. And it’s not easy to choose one. Good news is you won’t be disappointed with whichever option you go with.
Kimpton is more young and more fun. You see people together, swimming, chatting. There’s music. More open, more social.
InterContinental is more classy and relaxing. More private spaces. Soak in the views. Watch the sunset.
If I have to pick one, I would go to InterContinental Koh Samui. Primarily for views and better service.
PS: There’s a brand new Holiday Inn Resort in Koh Samui as well.