We’ve never done a straight hotel feature before – previous resort posts have had an angle: Koh Samui’s best eco resorts, great places for families, etc. However, a recent visit to Sea Dance Resort so charmed us – we had to tell you about it.
NOTE: As with everything we write – both on our blog and in The Koh Samui Guide – we’re completely anonymous, not compensated in any way. This is a totally independent review.
Sea Dance Resort, Koh Samui: Perfect for you?
Koh Samui’s #1 boutique hotel? This little resort even circles the #1 TripAdvisor spot for all Koh Samui hotels, keeping pace with some of Asia’s best-known brand names in hospitality – much larger resorts with bigger budgets, more staff and years in business. Winning formula? Looks like it! Here are 4 ways to tell if it’s the right resort for you…
Casual, thatched roof charm. In a word – Sea Dance is lovely. If you’re looking for fuss – head elsewhere. It’s calm, quiet, and did we say lovely? Graph fuss and formality on one axis, with cost on the other, and Sea Dance Resort hits the sweet spot – a perfectly casual island beach resort at a moderate cost.
#2. Couples? Families?
As with many Koh Samui favourites (notably Tongsai Bay, SALA Samui and Hansar Samui), it’s equally suited for honeymooners as it is for families with children. Its small size and tucked-away location means it’s quiet, yet is very friendly. Honeymooners can look forward to candlelit beach dinners, while kids (and babies) are extremely welcome (and might be put to work picking up fresh mangoes fallen from the resort’s large tree).
#3. The Sea Dance mindset?
In the owner’s own words: “We want Sea Dance to offer both the comforts, amenities and luxury that one longs for when vacationing, while at the same time emphasize exceptional quality and services over glamour. We call this ‘going back to the basics’…”. They’re some beautiful basics, we assure you.
#4. It’s perfect for you if…
Sea Dance Resort will really suit those with fond memories of ramshackle beach bungalows, who want the same ambiance, with a little more comfort. Broadly, it ticks everything we’d want in a relaxing beach holiday:
- It’s a quiet resort, with lots of character
- It has an environmental ethos, as well as its own hotel garden
- It’s ideally suited to both couples and families
- Its beach is beautifully clean, with no jet-skis
Sea Dance Resort: Top 5 FAQS
#1. Is Sea Dance on the beach?
Oh yes indeed it’s beachfront. In little Hanuman Bay between Choeng Mon Beach and Chaweng Beach, Sea Dance shares a small beach with just one other hotel – another favourite spot, Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort. Of the two, Outrigger is the prestigious, high-end presence, while Sea Dance feels much smaller and is very charming.
Sea Dance Resort shares this little beach with Outrigger Resort
#2. Where is Sea Dance Resort?
The two hotels are very much in their own realms, so the Sea Dance stretch of beach remains very quiet (and much more so than a large beach like Bophut, Choeng Mon or Chaweng). We think Outrigger as your only neighbour is a lottery-win: they recently took over a resort that had made huge progress in regenerating an offshore coral reef, and they also have great pizza and a beautiful spa. Walk between the two resorts (at lower-ish tide) to alternate your sunset cocktail spots.
#3. What’s nearby Sea Dance?
As for walkable – let’s discuss Sea Dance Resort’s walkability. The resort sits some distance from the main road, down a dirt track. There’s not much on your door step (as you’d find staying on Bophut or Choeng Mon beaches), but it is walkable to Choeng Mon – just a kilometer or so, approximately 20 minutes’ walk. You’ll want to be a ‘sensible pedestrian’ though, as there are no sidewalks and traffic can come around this winding road quite quickly. At night? Definitely take a taxi or be sure you’re wearing reflective clothing. In most every case, we recommend hiring a car to properly explore Samui.
Sea Dance is quiet and just the right amount of secluded: from its gravel drive, it’s a 20-minute walk to Choeng Mon Beach (with 7-Eleven and other conveniences just a two-minute walk, on the hotel’s main road).
#4. Wait, isn’t it … on Bophut Beach?
Wait… but isn’t Sea Dance in Bophut? As with many places on Koh Samui, the addresses can be very confusing. Agoda lists Sea Dance as ‘Choeng Mon’ and many other spots call it ‘Bophut’. Both are technically correct (it’s nearest to Choeng Mon town, but within the Bophut administrative area), yet it’s on neither Choeng Mon nor Bophut beaches. Even more confusing – Sea Dance often sits at #1 on tripadvisor for Bophut hotels. However, it and the current 2nd place spot – Bo Phut Resort & Spa (which is on Bophut Beach) – are a car ride of at least 15-20 minutes between each other.
TIP! Want a better sense of the island – what’s where, how to get around and every question in between? Here’s a reader review of The Koh Samui Guide: “I’ve gone from knowing nothing to feeling like I know Koh Samui like I know the back of my own hand.” [Woohoo!]
The Koh Samui Guide: Instant PDF download + total travel sanity-restorer
#5. How far is the airport?
Another point in favour of Sea Dance Resort is its proximity to Koh Samui Airport – just 5 minutes’ drive. Whereas many resorts with similar seclusion require a long drive of 30-45 minutes to Samui’s west coast, Sea Dance allows you to start your holiday sooner, and makes a crack-of-dawn departure a little more palatable.
Sea Dance Resort life: What to expect
Food and drink at Sea Dance + Sea Salt restaurant
Unless you rent a car, walk next door to Outrigger or the approximately 20 minutes to Choeng Mon, you’ll be (very happily) hanging out at Sea Dance. The resort’s owner is a restauranteur in Dubai – you know the food will be good! In an happy chain of events, one of our favourite restaurants – Rock Salt – recently relocated from a small beach near Lamai to Sea Dance Resort; reinvented as Sea Salt. The food is as good as ever, and the staff even sweeter. We’ve since spotted Chef David Lloyd stocking the swim-up bar with gin and tonic varieties on Instagram – it just gets better.
Sea Dance Resort pool + pool bar
The pool is absolutely beach-front – a long-legged frog could make it between the two in one jump. Besides its view, the pool’s two best features are the swim-up pool bar and in-built paddling area (which you might see as a children’s pool or shallows for reading a book).
The shape and set-up of the pool and bar areas make it easy to find both shade and sun throughout the day. An abundance of pool beds sit on the wooden pool deck, on a small grass lawn just below the pool and on the beach as well. Tucked in the very corner of the beach/pool area is a coconut-thatch sala – truly THE spot to cuddle up and watch a sunrise.
You might prefer to stay in the pool, in which case Sea Almond is your swim-up pool bar. Already dried off and showered? There are dry-land bar stools, too. (See the bamboo pools that act as both roof supports and wine bottle holders – architectural genius!)
TIP! Sea Dance has a pretty sweet pool bar – but it’s got some competition. See Koh Samui’s best swim-up pool bars and decide for yourself.
Sea Dance has one of Samui’s best swim-up pool bars
Activities at Sea Dance Resort
Sea Dance Resort will really suit guests hoping to do a lot of nothing but, when excess energy strikes, his and hers kayaks are available (use them take a sneak peek at Outrigger’s coral reef, just off shore!). Kayaks and snorkel equipment come with life jackets. As a great rainy day option, you can take a cooking class with the chef as well (learning exactly what’s growing in the Thai herb garden).
Sea Dance Resort: Your room choices
Like your privacy? All rooms at Sea Dance are freestanding cottages and small villas. How to choose between the two? Consider how much time you plan to spend in your room, and whether you want it to include your own outdoor space and pool. If you’ll spend all day on the beach anyway, a garden cottage would be perfect and at a slightly lower room rate (we translate any room savings to more passionfruit mojitos).
Décor: Bamboo, rattan, coconut thatch and polished concrete make it a beautiful, restful environment and rain-head showers add extra happy points.
TIP! Best room for families? A brand new 2-bedroom pool villa has a king bed and two twins in a second room, with your own pool as well.
Of course, Sea Dance Resort isn’t a secret. We thought this exciting discovery was one we’d made on our own – only to find it’s rightly received all kinds of praise – even a recent Travellers’ Choice Award. Sea Dance has only been open for just over two years, and they don’t really advertise. This recognition comes entirely from guests’ rave reviews.
Read others’ reviews and peruse your room choices for Sea Dance Resort. Enjoy!
Top images used under license from Shutterstock.com