Anchored onto the northern headland and gazing down the full length of Sairee beach, the long-running Koh Tao Cabana continues to bring one word to mind – elegance.
While said elegance doesn't come cheap, if you're looking for a luxurious option on Ko Tao within easy walking distance of "the scene", then Koh Tao Cabana probably belongs on your shortlist. Grounds are sprawling and considerable effort has been made to design them in a way that delivers quite a bit of privacy, the pool in particular works well to deliver a great and relaxed setting while remaining hidden away from prying eyes.
Rooms likewise are scattered across the grounds and while the resort has a (somewhat maddening) 16 different classes of rooms, they broadly fall into three categories. Those in the garden area, which are mostly referred to with the White Sands descriptor – surround the pool and run back from there.
The second collection, called "cottages" wrap around the headland and enjoy ocean views. The third is a collection of villas many of which have private splash pools aimed at families and honeymooners, which we were unable to see, or even get near – so please refer to their website for more details on those lodgings.
We were shown one of the White Sands rooms, set in the upper floor of a two floor (separate rooms upstairs and downstairs) rounded villa well back in the grounds behind the pool. Reached via a wraparound staircase with cool, randomly assorted painted tiles underfoot, the room was expansive and lovely – if a little dark. The main bedroom, with the mosquito-shrouded bed, looked out to sea, while to the side a separate alcove had a lounge area with a flatscreen TV and a small desk.
The room had a super-sized balcony with recliners ideal for canoodling and a table setting (for breakfast perhaps) and while this was definitely a garden view room, you could just see a hint of blue through the trees. There is a faint Moroccan theme through the resort and this really came into play in the impressively designed and decorated bathroom which exceeded our expectations.
The attached Rim Lae Restaurant sits right by the water, set over the rocks at the end of the beach. It's ideally placed for sunset as you escape the direct blast of the sun but you'll get to see the colours play across the beach. The food – we tried one of the Thai salads – is good, but prices are high.
The rates we were quoted as a walk-in bore no resemblance to what was on their website, and the attached prices should be taken as an indicator only (they have 16 different price brackets) so be sure to check their website and shop around online for a competitive rate.
Once you take into account what some of the mediocre places on the beach charge, the rates at Koh Tao Cabana don't seem that unreasonable, especially given the spaciousness of the grounds, the well-positioned restaurant and the very obliging staff. If you want something more isolated but still in this part of Ko Tao, consider Thipwimarn further around the headland, but otherwise, if it fits with your budget, this is a recommended option in the area.
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 2nd November, 2016.