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Perfect for a calming and relaxing break

 

ERIC SCOTT October 24, 2012

 

MY WIFE and I stayed for seven nights at the year-old Le Méridien Koh Samui Resort and Spa, a unique five star resort on the island’s Lamai Beach which is a six minute taxi-ride to the main town or a 20 minute walk across the sand.

This however is not to be recommended without sand-proof shoes because the beach is gritty and my open sandals made the walk fairly uncomfortable.

We stayed in a second storey terrace suite, one of 63 at the resort, which we found very comfortable with a ceiling fan outside and self–regulated air conditioning inside, plus an electric mozzie zapper, which worked perfectly for we did not get bitten once during out stay.

An unusual feature of the suites is the “outdoor” bathroom with deep bath tub and separate shower. It was great to leave the air conditioning to take the evening or morning shower in natural temperatures.

There were lots of comfortable lounges inside and out and a huge king-size bed that looked as if it had come straight from some potentate’s bedroom.

The room was regularly stocked with free bottled water, although there was no problem from drinking from the tap. The mini bar and snack were well

The suite features vary. Some have enclosed veranda, a open air terrace like ours, a private plunge pool or direct access to a shared salt water pool.

We did overlook a more expensive suite, one of four that had access to a salt water pool, but all in all preferred the privacy of our place. Those pool suites were perfect for families with small children though.

There also four luxury villas that offer privacy and include outdoor courtyard, sun lounges and a private salt water pool.

I really loved the ambience of the resort. Everything was on hand; the staff were as warm and welcoming as the weather, the food was excellent and the service first class.

The resort was not crowded during the last week of September (Queensland school holiday period) and the sky was generally overcast, which was great for lying around the pool and getting a tan without burning under a tropical sun. The patrons were an unusual lot and covered many different nationalities from both Asia and Europe.

There was always a pool bed to relax on and the square infinity pool was kept at a perfect temperature. Nor was there any chance of going thirsty with the pool barman making regular rounds to take orders.

Drinks were average priced for a five-star hotel around $10 for s cocktail or a glass of wine and $5 for a small bottle of local beer, which is a top brew. It’s two for one during happy hour from 4-6 pm.

The signature restaurant, Latest Recipe, faced the sea and while open to the elements, did attract cool breezes from the sea, so we were never uncomfortably hot. Food was good quality, with a huge buffet breakfast that covered everything from bacon and eggs to Thai dishes plus plenty of fruit and yogurt, smoked salmon and other deli goodies, enough for almost any taste.

On the first morning, I found the bacon and hash brown salvers to be cold, but a word with management soon had that fixed. It was a hot breakfast every day after that. The lunch and dinner menus were a mix of Thai and Western foods and the two meals we ate there were flavoursome and nicely presented, It seemed that every member of the staff was there with one object in mind – to make the guest happy and to keep them relaxed.

It worked for us, for we were very reluctant to end our stay.

We also enjoyed the luxury of a one hour signature Thai massage in Le Spa. This cost 3000 baht or $95 each. Now, you can get a Thai massage from around $10 anywhere on the beach or in town, where every other shop front advertises all sorts of massage menus, but there is a huge difference between lying on a bed fully clothed in view of the street and lying stripped to undies in supreme comfort in softly scented air and the muted sound of traditional music in the background.

Even the entrance to the spa is elegant with an air of mystery as you walk down the candle-lit corridors to the massage rooms. My wife and I were in the same room and the masseurs were absolute experts. That perfumed hour just sped by and at the end bodies were glowing and peace of mind supreme.

Another fascinating feature was the 19.19 ceremony each night. At that auspicious time hotel guests gathered in the reception area around the “Feng Shui” inspired water feature and then after a walking lantern ceremony joined the staff in the ankle-deep pool. Then burner were lit in huge lanterns and held until they took off like miniature hot air balloons high into the sky.

We made our wishes as the lanterns soared heavenwards. It was a strangely spiritual experience.

If there’s a call for a special celebration meal guests can use the 224-metre ocean pier floating over the Gulf. Ir’s a popular spot for romantic dinners, cocktail parties, and receptions. At 9 am each day too there is a special occasion: a shoal of fish swims into an open area at the end of the pier ready for their daily feed.

Hotel guests have a great time hand feeding the fish, which swim back into open water when they’ve eaten their fill.

Back in the hotel there are saunas and steam rooms available, as well as a well furnished gym. Free internet is available too in the main lobby area.

It’s a great place for a calming and relaxing break.