Where serenity meets luxury (parties included)
On a rainy Bangkok rush hour traffic kind of day, there are places in the world where you often go every time you close your eyes. Koh Samui is one of those places. The gem of southern Thailand has become a five star holiday destination and attracted travellers across the world. It is the kind of place where you simply arrive and allow the island to pamper your body and mind. That breeze, stunning view, fresh smell of the ocean, and the renowned Thai hospitality encourage all your inner senses to connect with the island and disconnect from your business affairs.
I first visited W Koh Samui the end of 2018. A household name and one of the island’s premier luxury brands; the hotel hosted a very special dinner by chef Mads Rufslen. The dining part was awesome, but what really captured my attention was the eye-opening, 270 degree panoramic view of the Andaman sea as guests are welcomed. That sight has to be one of the most memorable first impression for anyone. The iconic WOO bar sits to the right, but the view was so seductive most people would step towards the famous W sign for some “influencing". We all have seen pictures of it, but the actual experience of sight, sound, smell and serenity surpasses your expectations.
The first dinner was for a very good cause; chefs from all six Marriot Group hotels on the island gather to cook special dishes with wine pairing from Italasia for the inaugural “Operation Smile Dinner". A dollar from every room reservation plus proceeds from other dinner events go towards the local charities, helping and curing rural Thai children suffering from orofacial cleft. Six courses were meticulously prepared by top chefs from Le Meridien, Renaissance, Vana Belle, Sheraton, W, and The Ritz-Carlton Samui, paired with top Italian wine selections, all for a very affordable price.
A good vibe seems to flow so naturally here. I have also learned that W employs a very interesting character entitled “W Insider". A position acquired here by a soft spoken but strikingly handsome Mr. Kent Komisawa. The “Insider"
isn’t quite a concierge, nor a butler. He is not a local, or even a pretentious guest. He seems to be your “friend", and seems to know very well about you, your lifestyle, and in my case, mutual friends. He’s on point with anticipating what you need while on premise. Not so surprisingly, we naturally gave all these information away on social media, and W totally capitalizes on it. An amusingly clever move, I thought. He knows a lot about the island. We have become friends; he now visits my Bangkok music schools sometimes to catch up with his nephew who studies there!
After a productive but relaxing day, we walked down the beach for a rendezvous dinner with Chef Teerapat Kaewphirom, the maestro at Namu, the hotel’s Japanese fusion joint.
This was to be my second dinner with the talented chef, so I knew what to order. Starter,Yellowtail Jalapeño, was sourced from Japan twice a week. Wagyu Gyoza was wrapped lightly charred with a touch of spiciness. A delicious Crab Salad was followed promptly by my guilty pleasure, Lobster Udon. Carefully pan-fried using special house jalapeño oil, imported lobster is seared with garlic butter, topped with spicy bean sauce. The chef insisted that he only keeps the lobster for a few days to secure freshness. The final treat was the wagyu steak and fried rice; a simple dish, very well executed. Altogether, Namu instinctively exudes the definition of the brand; ultra luxury served with total comfort.
A retreat to Koh Samui reminds us to appreciate living. Subsequently, W adds a touch of class, friendliness, lots of detox and retox, while being unpretentious. Come with the right attitude and you sure will be rewarded.
By Dr Akkrawat Paye Srinarong Editor in Chief Robb Report Thailand