Boutique villas to check into: Samujana
When I found out I was flying up to Koh Samui to spend four days in Samujana, a villa estate, I wondered if cabin fever would get to me. Thankfully, it never set in. And as the laws of inertia would have it — I found it hard to leave.
Getting there is easy enough. There are no connecting flights to deal with or long-drawn multiple-transport transfers to endure. An 80-minute flight connects Singapore Changi Airport with Koh Samui, while a 10-minute drive takes you from the airport to the estate itself. Located on the northeastern coast of Koh Samui, it's the ideal spot for a weekend getaway, especially for those who have already busted their annual leave quota. You could arrive early on a Saturday morning, depart before Sunday draws to a close, and still find yourself with plenty of time to enjoy the island.
The first thing that strikes you about the villas at Samujana is their decidedly cool and calm aesthetic. It might be sited in one of Thailand's most popular island getaways, but it proudly strays from the tropes of the archetypal Thai resort. There are no oversized Buddha statues or carvings of bucolic tableux to speak of. Instead, island life comes to you in subtle whispers of white sandstone underfoot, inviting daybeds, and infinity pools that dip into the horizon. The beautifully appointed villas are practically a case study in contemporary villa living, a keenly executed blueprint bearing the indelible mark of award-winning architect Gary Fell.
While I shared a villa with four others, the sheer size of the five-bedroom villa meant that the rooms were well-spaced, affording us a good measure of privacy. Each bedroom came with its own king-sized bed and adjoining bathroom. Mine proffered something extra - a breathtaking view of the Samui's shoreline. Flanked by floor to ceiling glass panels, the room let in plenty of natural light. It wasn't hard to rise each morning when greeted with a spectacular view of pristine blue skies atop a glittering sea.
The villa proved to be more than just a place to rest our head. It came with its own built-in cinema, gym, and game room. But with the weather on our side, we found ourselves spending most of our time by the pool. And why not?
The pools here take the paradigm of the infinity pool to another level altogether. With gin-clear waters and views of the sea and verdant hills beyond, it made for the perfect spot to unwind. You could dive in for an early morning dip or sneak in for a midnight romp. One evening, I lay on my back, buoyed by the cool water beneath, and came face-to-face with a dark, cloudless sky flung with stars. All was quiet. I could feel my body softening into itself, perhaps an outcome of the relaxing massage I had earlier in the day, or the liberating weight of my worries melting into the shadows. Far removed from Koh Samui's tourist strip and daily grind of work, I had the space and luxury to ease into a quiet haven.
What the property does well is balance private sanctuaries with social spaces, a formula that bodes well if you're travelling en masse. Throwing a bachelorette party or planning a guys-only weekend? You can comfortably house the entire group by booking out one of their 27 villas ranging anywhere from three to eight bedrooms.
Samujana's ideal of luxury strays from the conventional path. Instead of having a Michelin-starred restaurant on the property, their food and beverage programme takes on a two-pronged approach. You can order from the in-villa menu or customise your own private dining experiences, of which the latter stands out for its quality of partners. We savoured an excellent sushi lunch crafted by a Japanese chef, a barbecue dinner complete with inventive cocktails, and a multi-course wine pairing dinner - all served in the comfort and expanse of each villa's dining area.
It doesn't take long to discover that Samujana dances to its own rhythm. Well, more specifically, one dictated by you. The estate's highly personalised approach to activities means that a muay thai session can be arranged for those looking to throw some punches while yogis yearning to get their om on can head to the beach for a private yoga session. The resort's own catamaran, one of the finest on the island, is available for charter too. Head out for a sunset cruise, pop the champagne, and have a dip in the sea before returning for dinner. We did just that and returned all the wiser for failing to slather on the sunblock. If champagne cruises are not your idea of a day out at sea, you can also sail out for snorkelling trips or excursions to neighbouring islands, too.
When you check into Samujana, there's no better way to experience the property than to give yourself over completely to hedonism. I would even recommend switching off the Wi-Fi to ground yourself in the moment. But if you have to keep your phone on, be sure to drop some killer (humblebrag) pixel postcards on Instagram for everyone stuck in their cubicles back home.
For more information and reservations, click here.