Le Meridien opens its first property on Samui with a nod to the island's original Chinese settlers.
Le Meridien made its debut on the tropical island destination of Koh Samui in September taking over the premises once managed by the Langham. By replacing a reserved English ambience with Parisian chic, the resort owner hopes guests will enjoy a sophisticated French lifestyle that idolises the arts, culture and fine food.
Located on Lamai Beach on Samui’s eastern side, Le Meridien Koh Samui Resort and Spa is inspired by the Chinese community who lived on the island in bygone days with its 77 guestrooms and villas are designed with a contemporary Chinese courtyard house ambience.
Guests coming to the resort will be treated to Le Meridien’s “signature arrival experience” featuring “The Sampan’s Diary”, a custom artwork created locally for the resort. A long, multidimensional piece that leads the guest to the hotel’s front entrance, this so-called diary is a poem painted with Chinese characters on cobblestones that tells a story of a Chinese migrant’s journey to a faraway land. Once through the hotel doors, you will be enveloped by Le Meridien’s signature scent, sound and use of light.
Le Meridien Koh Samui Resort and Spa uses its “Hub”, an arrival lobby, to transit its guests to their room. Equipped with a wine bar and small library, the Hub is also a gathering place where you can catch up with your friends on e-mail or celebrate the end of the day with a glass of wine or cocktail.
Choices of accommodation vary from Veranda Suite to Pool Access Suite to Ocean Front Pool Villa. Each type of room tells a story about Chinese immigrants and their lives. The Plunge Pool Suite, for example, offers a secluded, internal open-air plunge pool in the centre of the room along with enclosed veranda deck and day-bed seating. This suite type, it’s said, implies an early stage of the immigrant’s journey – where they lived a humble and simple yet luxurious life. This type of suite is an ideal room for honeymooners on a budget or couples whose pockets can’t stretch to the Ocean Front Pool Villa.
My room is a Pool Access Suite – one of several nice villas with a lovely tropical garden located around the big swimming pool. The suite itself is divided into three sections – wood deck, bedroom and restroom. This suite category, according to the immigrant’s story, is for the Chinese who earns enough to afford the luxury of living by the water. The deck, my access point to the pool, is furnished with a comfy coach and sizeable table and is big enough for a small pool party. It’s a great room for a bachelor.
Beyond the sliding door is the bedroom with working table one side and television set on the other. Every detail is finely finished in contemporary Thai and Chinese decoration. The restroom is spacious and connects with the bedroom. There is the wet area with a large wash basin and a generous allocation of toiletries. Opposite is the bathtub that’s sunk at ground level. In the far corner is the little isolation booth with a toilet, facing the standing shower. The designer lets the sunlight flood through the restroom, making it seem far larger and more luxurious than it really is.
Le Meridien Koh Samui Resort and Spa serves breakfast at Latest Recipe – its all-day dining restaurant – that is situated over the oceanfront pool. Latitude 9 bar at the Hub, in the lobby, offers fresh fragrant coffee and chilled drinks over the “pool”. For those who is in search inner peace and spa retreat, Le SPA offers a selection of holistic menus to revitalise mind and spirit
AT A GLANCE
High point: A lovely beachside resort, with Chinese courtyard villas and tropical garden, on Lamai Beach.
Low Point: The lobby area is perched quite high and you have to climb to get your room key. It’s not friendly to the elderly or the disabled.
Pay for it: The resort is offering an opening package to Thai citizens starting at Bt2,999. For the best deals, visit www.LeMeridien.com/kohsamui.
Call it: (077) 960 888
Browse it: www.LeMeridien.com/kohsamui.