Koh Samui—Thailand’s mellow island alternative to lively Phuket—has a new paradise on its picture-perfect shores. The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui opened in October on 58 beachfront acres, not far from Wat Phra Yai, the colorful temple known for its golden Big Buddha. Though the resort is rife with the brand’s trademark high-gloss style—spacious suites, manicured gardens, polished service, and all—it also incorporates the spirit of its gilded neighbor with traditional touches like stilt-house-style villas dressed in carved teak furnishings and natural stone. Along with the requisite luxuries (including a 40,000-square-foot Spa Village), the 175-room property incorporates the local scene into its everyday experiences, too. Guests can train with a Muay Thai champion in the boxing ring, swim with more than 50 species of fish in the private reef, and dig into pad thai and sukiyaki at the on-site street market.