Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Koh Samui -- Dial M for Marvellous, Magic, Massive ...

Imagine the best Aussie beach house along Palm Beach or at Lorne. Now helicopter it up to Samui and drop it right on the sand at Bo Phut. In essence, you now have Villa M.

Three stories.  Five bedrooms. Light. White. Airy. With a jacuzzi on the top balcony.

But there's a lot more to it than that ...

The bookshelves -- dark wooden affairs which reach from floor to incredibly high ceiling -- are the first clue. The works of Rudyard Kipling, Vikram Seth, the entire crime collection of  Agatha Christie, and Bimbashi McPherson - A Life in Egypt. The latter is written by a relative of the super-cosmopolitan Australian owners of this pile.

Neill McPherson grew up in Asia, as did his wife, Leslie. (If the surname sounds familiar, you may have heard of their daughter, Elle.) 'Neill grew up in Hong Kong, Manila, Jakarta, Singapore ... and is still growing up,' laughs Leslie, who was born in Singapore before moving to Hong Kong.

This Asian sensibility is fused tastefully throughout the house. Recycled teak wood floors. Black-and-white prints of coolies at work. Sepia-tone scenes of old Malaya. Camel-bone inlaid furniture from Rajastan. All carefully selected and artfully displayed.

Folding glass doors open on to a pool deck, and beyond that -- framed by a couple of coconut trees -- the sand of Bo Phut Beach and grandstand views of Koh Panghan. It is a truly inspirational view to wake up to, especially from the top-floor bed which faces directly out to sea.

For sheer livability, Villa M is a great choice. For a start, you have Khun Ake who manages it. A lively and likable youngster who is full of local tips, he also appears magically each morning to prepare your breakfast in the fully-functional Aussie style kitchen. Full oven. Even a dishwasher!

If you have a large family sharing, or many couples, there are several corners in which people can happily lose themselves. Out on a balcony, in the plunge pool, a sofa-clad reading nook, lounge big-screen plasma. (And with a capacity of 10 people, the cost works out at about AUD$60 per person per night in low season ... ridiculously excellent value.)

Best of all, you are within a 100-metre stroll of the great shops, cafes, bars and restaurants of Fisherman's Village.

Leslie tells me they didn't come to Samui to buy a house, let alone build one as they did with Villa M. But I'm sure glad they did!

Koh Samui has that effect on people, jing jing.

Stu travelled to Koh Samui with assistance from Bangkok Airways www.bangkokair.com

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