When you visit a tropical island in Southeast Asia, you expect a little rain in the Winter. But since the rainy season ends in November, when I took my vacation in January, I didn’t expect torrential downpours, thunder, lightning or flooded streets. Unfortunately, that’s what Mother Nature had in mind. While the weather wasn’t ideal, staying on Koh Samui —Thailand’s third largest island located about an hour’s plane ride south of Bangkok — was an adventure I’ll never forget and I would do again.
We spent 5 days on the island and split up our time between an AirBnB and Le Meridien, a 5-star beachfront resort located on the east side of Koh Samui. I’ll admit it… in all my travels, I’ve never stayed at an AirBnB, but when all the resorts were booked over New Year’s, AirBnB was the best option and I’m happy to say I was pleasantly surprised.
Our AirBnB was more like a condo/hotel. We were picked up by a driver at the airport and taken to our 2bd/3bth place that sat high on a hill above the bay near Big Buddha Temple (a major tourist attraction on the northeastern side of the island). A man named Jacques checked us in and gave us the key and lowdown on the place (how to operate the A/C, our WiFi password, a couple restaurant recommendations, etc.). After he left, we were off to explore the island ourselves. We rented a scooter — which I would highly recommend to anyone planning a visit to Koh Samui (it’s way easier than taking a taxi). And I discovered that one of the best things about staying at an AirBnB: you can make your own breakfast and a even cook a few light meals instead of constantly eating out.
But, let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to be pampered on vacation? For me, unwinding and spending time at a posh hotel is my idea of a relaxing vacation… and Le Meridien Koh Samui did not disappoint.
Immediately after the taxi pulled into the octagonal porte cochere, I forgot about the rain pelting my face and felt an immediate sense of calm. We walked through the narrow entryway framed by walls of water and walked up a set of stairs to an impressive lobby lounge that had an open courtyard filled with water. The design of the beautiful space was a fusion of Chinese-Thai architecture, seamlessly blending the indoors and outdoors.
Later, I came to find out that the resort’s design and construction was based on the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The principal designer worked with a Feng Shui expert to ensure the scope of the project implemented these sacred principles. The layout of the property incorporated the use of flowing water, which represents luck, wealth and happiness… ah… now I see why arriving felt so good 🙂
Aside from the resort’s stunning design, I appreciated the customer service as we were greeted by name, and genuine smiles from the staff. The concierge sat with us during check-in to help us plan out our stay and take full advantage of the property even though it was raining.
Since the weather was less than ideal, we spent a fair amount of time at the gym – anyone who knows me knows I don’t take a break from working out on vacation – but I did relax and decompress at the spa and had one of the best Thai massages I’ve ever had. As my therapist kneaded out my tight muscles and stretched my arms, legs and back using her own body weight, I could feel my body and mind relax. In addition to the gym and massage, we took a private cooking class and learned how to make three classic Thai dishes: Yum Poo Nim (Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab), Gaeng Kiew Waan Gai (Gren Curry with Chicken), and Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Soup). Each recipe was simple and super tasty… can’t wait to make them again at home.
While we had a starlight dinner scheduled on the resort’s private pier, due to the rain, the staff set-up a romantic dinner for two on the second level of the main restaurant, overlooking the palm tree lined pool with the Gulf of Thailand in the background. The setting and food was divine.
In a nutshell… even though the weather was not ideal… the resort and all its amenities and staff was the cherry on top of my trip to Koh Samui, Thailand. Can’t wait to go back!
#takemeback #paradisefound #cantrainonmyparade #sunshineamidsttherain #lemeridienkohsamui
Ocean Front Pool Villa
Outdoor Tub next to Pavilion
The Spa… yup, sometimes I just have to spontaneously invert myself
Walkway with lantern toward the massage room
Traditional Thai ingredients for our private cooking class
Learning the tricks of the trade from Suppakon Bunyawong, Chef de Cuisine
It’s official… I am certified to cook three classic Thai dishes 🙂
Dinner for two
Deep fried vegetable spring rolls with sweet plum sauce and spicy prawn salad with garlic, chili and mixed fresh herbs
Green chicken curry with eggplant, Stir-fried beef with green peppercorn, Wok-fried morning glory with soy bean paste and oyster sauce, steamed jasmine rice
Green chicken curry
Since we ate so much tasty Thai food… there was a fair amount of working out with my bf and partner in sweat, Brett Hoebel