Thursday, 25 November 2010

Koh Samui -- A new player on the beach at Bo Phut.

It's a delightful evening on the beachfront at Bo Phut, Samui, with just the faintest tinge of wind rustling the palm trees in front of Bistro H. Silvery reflections of the full moon complete the postcard-perfect scene of classy beach-side dining. 'The moon is a bit late tonight, I'll speak to engineering about that,' jokes the good natured Indonesian GM, Indra.

It's just one day past the Full Moon Party which has been celebrated across the water on Koh Panghan, clearly visible from this vantage point at the front of the new Hansar Resort and Spa. A khum loy lantern is lit on the beach and floats whimsically skyward. The wheeeeeeeEEEEE-bang of a firework rocket somewhere further down the beach towards the hip and happening Fisherman's Village.

We are enjoying a meal which I've been looking forward to since Indra mentioned their chef Stefan had done a stint as the personal chef for the Jordanian royal family, or Michael Jordan, or someone very lofty in any case, jing jing.

And so it begins to appear. Abalone from Hokkaido. And wagyu sirloin that tastes just as you'd expect a cow that's raised on a steady regimen of beer and massages to taste. (Hmm, I wonder if my meat tastes like that?). Some very fine wine, Chilean if I'm correct, accompanies it. I'm sure the King of Jordan wishes Stefan was back there now.

Over dinner, Indra tells me about this all-new hotel-resort brand. 'Hansar is a play on the Sanskrit word meaning fun and playful. We're trying to hire happy people.'  The hotel is relying on all Thai input, including the architects to carve a unique look and feel for itself. If you imagine the Alila in Cha-Am (see earlier blog), it feels a lot like that, because the property was originally ear-marked to be an Alila. But it has been tweaked with some less austere, more quirky, touches -- such as the off-kilter woodwork resembling wonky bookshelves -- in the reception area.

The rooms are delightfully appointed with huge balconies and day beds, and huge rain showers (no the showers aren't on the balcony, they're behind an arty screen in the bathroom, but I didn't know how else to punctuate that sentence.)

The grounds are dominated by water ponds and an infinity pool with pool bar overlooking the beach.

The unassuming young Thai owner drifts past in shorts and t-shirt, very understated, and certainly not one whom you'd pick as the scion of one of Thailand's richest companies, ThaiBev. (Ever drunk a Chang beer? Well, you just put a dollar in his pocket.)

The top suites here, on the leading edge facing the sea, go for around 15000 baht ++ per night, and the rooms start at around 5500++ baht. 'We're fully booked over Chinese New Year already,' says a delighted Indra.

So if you're looking to an alternative to the incessant activity of Chaweng, think about the beach at Bo Phut. The Hansar is feeling playful. Are you?

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