Hotel Review: Eco Luxury at Tongsai Bay, on the Isle of Koh Samui, Thailand
Tongsai Bay has been included in the ‘Small Luxury Hotels of The World’ collection for over twenty years and the moment you step out of the chauffer driven car that meets you at the island’s tiny palm fringed airport it’s easy to see why. It is a secluded, luxurious resort with impeccable service and views comparable to paradise on earth.
A private peninsula on the northern tip of the paradise isle of Koh Samui with spectacular views over the Gulf of Thailand. Set in 28 acres of tropical gardens – infused with the heady fragrance of Ruby red Hibiscus, Orchids, Frangipani and sweet Jasmine; shaded by lush coconut groves that stagger down the hillside to a secluded private beach. It is an intimate enclave with only 83 rooms, spread out amongst spacious villas, cottages and suites.
The setting is a haven of tranquillity yet only ten minutes’ drive from the airport and Chaweng Beach – a lively resort with designer boutiques, bustling markets, bars and restaurants. The islands ‘Big Buddha’ and several other important shrines are also a short drive away.
Building the Eco Dream
This beautiful family owned boutique Eco retreat exudes a sense of calm and well-being that will immediately cocoon you in its warm frangipani scented embrace. It really is a special place, borne out of one man’s dream to create an exquisite resort without cutting down a single tree or causing any damage to the natural surroundings.
Akorn Hoontrakul, then chairman of The Imperial Hotel Group, saw the beautiful peninsula from the sea and fell in love with it. He bought the land within seven days and set about building his dream of an Eco luxury resort with a protected nature reserve. Tongsai Bay opened in 1987, it was the first 5* resort on Koh Samui.
Today Akorn’s family and a loyal staff, some of 20+ years; continue to preserve his eco-friendly ethos through several ‘Green’ projects which include one the island’s largest garden kitchens where staff develop micro-organisms from their own fruits to produce natural cleaning agents.
Many new hotels look to Tongsai to emulate their Eco tourism standards, working to preserve the natural environment in Thailand and internationally for future generations.
Elegant split level villas, suites and cottages with large terraces, some with private pools all facing the bay. For the ultimate in luxury and privacy, Grand Villas are perched high on the hillside with spacious outside living areas on massive teak decks that open onto spectacular sea views.
All villas come with a terrazzo bath tub for two, king day bed, loungers and a fully stocked bar. The design is a perfect fusion of traditional Thai and contemporary luxury. Dark woods, white linens, sumptuous soft furnishings and an on call staff provide a stylish retreat for discerning travellers.
Views from the large terraces are magnificent, for day time relaxing in total privacy relax in the deck tub or laze on the day bed, gazing at the turquoise sea with a glass of chilled champagne from your private bar in hand.
Nature saves it’s most dramatic views for night time at Tongsai Bay; upon hearing a distant roll of thunder and a crack of lightning, snuggle up on the super comfy super king bed and watch mesmerised as tropical storms light up the night sky, it’s a truly unforgettable experience!
Tongsai welcomes guests from all over the world seeking privacy, luxury and total relaxation. To preserve this peaceful idyll and protect the environment, no motorised water sports are allowed in the bay. Kayaks, snorkels, hobbie-cats, windsurfs and paddle boards are available to guests upon request.
Two freshwater swimming pools with waiter service including the bringing of freshly iced towels to soothe hot brows. WIFI, golf carts, tennis court, conference facilities and movie nights on the beach. Car hire and island tours at the excursion desk.
For indulgent pampering jump in a golf buggy or stroll over to the gorgeous Prana Spa, a haven of relaxation set in a tropical cabana surrounded by lush jungle and exotic flowers. For a complete bliss out try the amazing ‘Return to Prana’ an indulgent 2.5 hours of therapeutic healing, detoxing and restorative pampering.
Three restaurants offering an eclectic choice of culinary delights, Po Lad is the go to place to grab a delicious snack or a lazy lunch with home style foods and full bar.
Breakfast is served in the open air dining room of The Butler’s, an elegant shuttered plantation style room overlooking the bay. Butlers also offers evening dining three nights per week with a tantalising menu of Asian influence along with Mediterranean and international dishes, prepared by Michelin trained Chef Eak.
For an elegant dining experience book a table at Chef Chom’s and enjoy dishes originally crafted in the kitchens of the Thai Royal household. An extensive wine menu, European spirits and beverages are available.
For the ultimate in intimate dining beneath the stars – call the concierge and a butler will sweep in and the lay the table on your terrace with crisp white linen and silver, serve dinner then depart – leaving you to dine in complete serenity, with a view of the luminous moon upon the bay that is so beautiful you will remember it forever more.
Samui is a beautiful island with a dense jungle interior, beautiful waterfalls and many stunning beaches. Tongsai can arrange car hire or a private taxi along with several tours including a 4x 4 jungle safari and Scuba Diving in Ang Thang National Park, an archipelago of 42 pristine islands set in the crystal waters of Thailand’s turquoise Sea.
If you want to travel like the locals, hire a moped in Chaweng and whizz around the island, camera in hand snapping Instagram worthy pics, stopping off wherever takes your fancy.
There really is something to suit all tastes on Samui, from party town Chaweng to the rustic Fisherman’s village, a traditional Thai resort with lovely wooden houses overlooking the sea.
For culture and history, the island has many temples and shrines, don’t miss a steep stair climb up to the 12 metre high Big Buddha and get your reward, a bracelet and a blessing from a monk – and…If the macabre is your thing go and see the mummified monk at Wat Khunaram – Luong Pordaeng died in 1973 but he now sits in a glass case for all to see…strange but true!
Address: 84 Moo 5, Bo Phut, Koh Samui, Surat thani 84320, Thailand
Phone: +66 77 913 750
For more details of the Small Luxury Hotels of The World collection, visit slh.com
*All image credits to StorringtonPR.com