By Kupluthai Pungkanon
For this visitor, relaxing in the ocean view pool villa of the world-class Ritz-Carlton taking in the tropical blue waters lapping on white sand against a backdrop of coconut trees was a truly memorable experience.
Located on the north-eastern part of the island close to the airport, the 5-star hotel occupies a vast 58 acres of former coconut plantations that stretch from hilltop to beach. The resort’s landscape and architecture have been designed harmoniously with nature and are rich in colour and texture. Concrete walkways link one part of the resort to another though the friendly staff are always on hand to drive guests. That said, more shady trees would be welcome.
The luxury resort features 175 suites and pool villas boast contemporary interiors in soothing tones. Expansive windows and verandahs invite natural light in and the furniture is designed specifically for comfort, the perfect place to admire the panoramic views over the Gulf of Thailand.
Further treats can be found in its gastronomic experiences, knowledgeable chefs, fresh ingredients, service mind and friendly staff. The Sea Salt Shack by the resort pool faces the tranquil beach and offers a healthy and international casual lunch along with Thai favourites and refreshing fruit and coconut juices. Highlights include Tacos Crispy Grouper with chili mayo and green mango slaw, Koh Samui Ceviche with its lime, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaf, Thai chilli and shallots. Yellowfin Tuna Crudo comes with a spicy lime dressing, mint, chilli powder, red shallots, and cracked rice a Margherita Pizza topped with fresh mozzarella, blistered cherry tomatoes and local basil.
At night, the Sea Salt Deck serves freshly caught seafood and grilled specialties to the sound of live music and has a thrilling fire show on selected evenings.
The culinary journey continues at Pak Tai restaurant, which is a colloquial name for the south of Thailand. Pak Tai presents traditional hot and spicy southern cuisine using fine ingredients with lots of herbs sourced from local markets daily and offers views over the swim reef from its private dining alcoves.
Shook is the venue for breakfast and serves innovative Asian and Western creations, from healthy to traditional Thai dishes to freshly baked pastries and homemade Granola, which runs out pretty fast. At night, the restaurant morphs into The Ranch at Shook and dishes out grilled steak and seafood with robust flavors.
Tides is an ideal spot for sun-lovers to unwind with a refreshing cocktail from the poolside bar and a citrus-cured specialty from the cevicheria. Tides Upper Deck offers great views of the sunset that are best enjoyed with one of the many inventive cocktails. Afternoon Tea and dinner meanwhile are served at The View Dining at The Peak, the highest area of the resort. It is said that on a clear day, guests can see nearly Koh Pha-ngan Island. Here, handcrafted sandwiches and pastries are offered with a choice of tea, tea-inspired cocktails or champagne. A full menu is available for dinner and on Saturdays, guests can enjoy "Baan Talat", a weekly outdoor dining experience that serves an authentic street food.
For the little ones, there’s a Ritz Kids programme featuring a playroom, beach activities, snorkeling discoveries in the unique swim reef and fish-feeding experiences. The latest addition to the beach is the first Ocean Pool in Samui, which offers a deck on the floating barricade in the ocean. For sport enthusiasts, there are two floodlit tennis courts.
Total relaxation for mind and body can be enjoyed at Spa Village, which offers uplifting traditional Thai healing practices that incorporate coconut, herbs, water therapy and fresh flowers. There are eight treatment salas, three massage pavilions, a yoga pavilion, a lap pool with cabanas and a Health Bar. The signature experience is the Songkran shower, which is inspired by the traditional Thai New Year involving the joyful throwing of water, followed by a body scrub with herbal exfoliation and a Thai massage with a hydrating coconut oil.
Find out more or make a reservation at www.ritzcarlton.com/kohsamui.