Samui Wining & Dining
Exclusive Inclusive

A hidden world awaits your spa and dining experience at Spirit House.


Exclusive InclusiveIt’s all pure fantasy. Good fun but not real. Those movies – dinosaurs on a lost plateau somewhere; the land that time forgot. Villages in a tropical valley, unchanged for centuries. They’re intriguing but you’ll never see anything like this in real life: impossible. It just couldn’t happen.


Well, not the dinosaurs or lost plateaux, maybe. But there is a world that time’s passed by. It’s an old, rustic village. A northern-Thai hamlet, with a temple, houses, a chedi, salas and a tumbling rocky waterfall, all grouped around a small lake. And it’s not thousands of miles away, somewhere in the rural north. It’s right in the middle of Chaweng.


The first time that you approach Spirit House Restaurant & Spa Resort, the impression is that it’s a ruin. Old crumbling brickwork, jagged in places, seems to have dropped away allowing the inner timbers to show through. Huge mature trees tower above. It seems a small place; just an old building on two floors – and then it hits you. You notice the new fittings and fixtures. The lights are recessed and modern. It’s spotlessly clean. And it’s not overgrown: all the trees and bushes are neatly clipped.


But what you can’t see is what’s tucked away behind. This really is a ‘hamlet’, with paths that wend their way between hidden and delightful old buildings. It’s a voyage of discovery, just to wander around. But, in actual fact, all of this was deliberately created this way in the first place. That in itself is surprising, but what’s much more dramatic is that all the materials, the old red bricks, the tiles and the timbers, are the genuine article. They were painstakingly shipped here from villages in old Chiang Mai and Ayudhaya. Even the quaint folk-style murals and paintings were produced by artists from these regions, brought to Samui just for this purpose.


The wat (temple) at the entrance houses a first-class Thai restaurant with some unusual and also traditional dishes on the menu. The path alongside leads past this through the middle of a large but hollow chedi (pagoda), revealing the spa reception area within. And, moving past this, you really are in an ancient village! Next to a dramatically-gnarled rock-face, down which tumbles a cascade of water into the plunge pool, sits the herbal steam room. There’s a single massage room attached to this, too. Set back alongside, under the dappled shade of a tangle of giant trees, there’s a double-massage ‘house’. And in front of this, at the edge of the lake, is a traditional open-sided sala which you can choose for your treatments, if your prefer. And, away from this, at the edge of the forest (or so it seems!) is another rustic ‘ruin’, but containing thoroughly-modern changing rooms and showers, and equipped and staffed to deliver 21st century pampering and rejuvenating therapies and treatments.


There’s nothing at all like this anywhere else on the island: probably not even in all of Thailand. And, although several spas have somehow driven their roots into and amongst majestic natural boulders and pools, this really is a step back into the past, to a place where time runs at a different pace. Even the location – bustling Chaweng – seems to have somehow evaporated into a vague memory that just can’t be related to: it’s probably out there, somewhere … perhaps.


The massage options and treatments are exactly what you would expect from a quality spa. There are full body massages, real reflexology (not just foot-rubs) and head, neck and shoulder options. There’s a full range of rejuvenation and pampering treatments, facials, manicures, pedicures and the oft-needed aloe-vera sunburn package. And there are couple-based programs, too. Weddings on Samui are popular and The Spirit House offers a whole set of choices, from accommodation to various combinations of spa and dining options to go with this, including entire wedding packages. But one of the most popular choices is that of a spa treatment together with a dining option. And these divide themselves cleanly into two.


Firstly there’s the ‘Indulgence’ approach. This has been tailored for the bride-to-be who wants to enjoy herself. The person who revels in the finer things of life. The joys of the moment. The luxury of being pampered; along with the included chocolates, champagne and flowers. And also a super meal in the evening to go with this – taken wherever you want: upstairs in a private room, open to the stars above the ‘temple’; in a dreamy sala at the edge of a lake bubbling with fountains, it’s your choice. Maybe go for the Golden Net Eggs (chicken, peanuts and bean sprouts wrapped in an egg-net) to start with, followed by Red Duck Curry, or the imported Beef Fillet with Lemongrass and Black Pepper. And, of course, there’s a whole lot more to choose from.


Or, if you’re of a more ethereal disposition, consider the ‘Spirit Sense’ option. Your choice of spa treatments but this time followed by the finest of spa cuisine, perhaps beginning with the ancient recipe of Wild Rainbow Lilies: wild betel leaf with steamed sea prawns, shredded coconut, peanuts and spices? Follow this with steamed or braised fish (red snapper or sea bass) with sea prawns, coconut and a glass noodle salad. And the healthy brown-and-wild-rice option enhances this perfectly. Naturally there’s imported beef and poultry on the menu also. But you’re most welcome to pick-and-mix from any of these: it’s entirely up to you.


And it’s definitely worth mentioning that not only is the service here absolutely first-class but, additionally, the reasonable prices overall will surprise you. Did they have American Express in ancient Ayudhaya? You’re certainly not going to need it here.


To get there is painless too. Just head south down the one-way system of Chaweng Beach Road until just before you reach the two-way traffic at the Laem Din junction. Here, there’s a right-turn into a small side street. At the very end of which you’ll find Spirit House Restaurant & Spa Resort – just look out for the ruins. Or, even easier still, just give them a call and they’ll come and get you from anywhere!


Rob De Wet


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