Tranquillity in the sun
Santiburi Beach Resort on Samui boasts a true taste of Thainess
Stretched out along Maenam Beach on Samui's northern tip, Santiburi Beach Resort has been flying the flag for charming Thainess for decades. Unlike many trendy and hip hotels - where smart staff in fashionable uniforms are sophisticated, occasionally pretentious and often less helpful, Santiburi retains its dignity as an old-school kind of hotel. Here, the staff wear traditional Thai costumes, the general manager is always available and guests are guaranteed round the clock attention.
Santiburi Beach Resort is a member of the "Leading Hotels of the World" and its surrounded by six hectares of tropical garden overlooking 300 metres of beach completed with swaying coconut palms. All weekenders want to do is veg out on the beach. The prospect of eternal days of blissful sea breeze, frothy novels and morning yoga to keep you from morphing into a true sloth seems like heaven.
The resort offers two types of accommodation - Equatorial Duplex Suites and private villas. The suites are located in the main building and afford a wonderful view of the pool and the tropical garden, while the private villas are scattered around the lush gardens.
For my one night at Santiburi Beach Resort, I check into an Orchid Villas with a garden view.
Thainesss is Santiburi Beach Resort's pride. Inspired by authentic Thai house and architecture, the villa is laid-out in L shape and makes the best of wood with polished auburn hardwood floors and wooden furniture. With open-air terrace, living area, bed and restroom, the resort is more than spacious enough to let your hair down and stretch your legs.
The living room features a comfy sofa set facing a flat-screen TV that adjoins a low-sitting bed. The large restroom, with separate shower and bathtub, are behind the sliding door, Two deep washbasins sit in front of giant mirrors, facing each other. One is for her, the other is for him.
Santiburi Spa, set amidst the leafy garden, offers various choices of treatments, varying from traditional Thai massage to Athletics' Massage, facial treatments and body wrap. The hotel has two tennis courts and for those on a golfing break, the resort can arrange tee times at Santiburi Samui Country Club - a championship course 10 minutes away.
Santiburi Beach Resort serves breakfast at Sala Thai restaurant with a selections of Thai and international food. Dinner is available at Rim Thalay Beach Bar restaurant, which is noted for a its fantastic selection of seafood BBQ and grills with spicy dips.
Santiburi Beach Resort is a fine and comfortable place with a large tropical garden, making it ideal for peaceful walks. While it hasn't been designed to compete with Samui's hip and fashionable hotels, it is scheduled to undergo major renovation works later this week - check the website for details.
In the meantime, with its large pool, peaceful and private beach and elegant Thai villas, the resort is perfect for a family holiday.
At a glance
High Point: A peaceful private villa with strong sense of Thainess.
Low Point: Party-goers and young travellers will probably find it too far from the nightlife at Chaweng Beach. It's also pricey, compared with Six Senses and Sala Phuket that share Samui's North beach.
Find it: Maenam Beach, Koh Samui's northern tip
Pay for it: Orchid Garden Villa starts from Bt18,870 per night. The hotel, however, offers different prices. Check the best deal and promotions on the website.
Phone it: (+66 (0) 77) 425 031-5
Browse it: www.Santiburi.com.