Samui Wining & Dining
Pampered Inside Out
The Spirit House Restaurant & Spa takes your mind, body and soul to another level.

 

Pampered Inside OutRest and relaxation mean different things to different people. But for most holidaymakers, spending the first few days on Samui by the pool with a good book tends to fit the bill. And that gives your body time to get over the jet-lag and frees your mind from the everyday stresses of work and home life.

 

After a while, however, your mind and body will crave new stimuli. And yearn for activities where you can have some fun, learn something new, experience the unexpected and still feel relaxed and at peace. And that’s exactly what the Spirit House Restaurant & Spa Resort has to offer.

 

If you haven’t been before then you’re in for a very pleasant surprise. Set just off the Beach Road in the southern part of Chaweng, near the junction to Laem Din market, the Spirit House is like nothing else on the island. A passing glance and you might think that it’s an old ruined temple in need of some repairs. But look closer and you’ll see a great deal more.

 

It’s been lovingly re-built, brick-by-brick using materials especially brought down from the old capital city of Ayutthaya. A spiraling chedi, Buddha images and natural teak wood give the impression of a traditional Thai village with a central temple, courtyards, out-buildings, lily pond, cascading waterfalls and a herb and spice garden. The temple has been converted into a restaurant decorated with ancient wall drawings, silk curtains, soft furnishings and discreet lighting. And above the ground floor restaurant and cocktail bar are smaller, intimate dining areas and an innovative open-air ‘Kantoke’ style seating area with low tables and comfortable cushions. A private dining sala and separate terrace overlooking the lily pond offer further options for romantic dinners just for two.

 

It’s best to wander around the gardens and the spa during the day to fully appreciate all of the intricate detail. And rather than simply dine out, the team at the Spirit House have three packages that allow you to enjoy traditional Thai experiences and still have fun, learn new skills and be pampered. Khun Taweechai has been involved with the Spirit House from the early planning and design phase right up to managing the operation today. “The Spirit House is very unique and first time visitors never fail to gasp with surprise and reach for their cameras. It’s not something they expect to find in the middle of Chaweng. And we want to offer the opportunity for guests on the island to enjoy not just the ambience, architecture and culture but an experience that enlivens all the senses. And that’s why we have packages that combine a cooking class, an afternoon being pampered in our spa and an evening dinner that’s relaxed yet still traditional Thai in style.”

 

Their cooking classes usually begin in the early afternoon and last for two hours. And along with a tour of the herb garden the chef teaches some of the secrets of Royal Thai Cuisine, a style that was until relatively recently reserved for the royal palaces. It’s a pressure-free, peaceful environment in which to get some one-on-one culinary training with a Thai master chef. By the time the session is over you’ll be able to prepare and cook mouth-watering dishes such as tom yam goong (spicy prawn soup with lemongrass); gai phad med mamuang (fried chicken with cashew nuts); choo chee goong (prawn in red curry); and larb salad (spicy pork salad from Issan).

 

After you’ve tucked into your own creations and tantalized your taste buds it’s time to treat the rest of your body. Just past the lotus pond and through the centre of the chedi the path splits in two. Over to the right is the herbal steam room and rock pool where you can revitalize your skin under the cascading waterfall. Or even just relax beside it with a glass of champagne. Around the other side of the garden are three treatment rooms including one which opens up above the lily pond and the herb garden. It’s the perfect place for refuge, solitude and tranquility. They have a full range of therapies and it’s a good idea to have a chat with the spa manager beforehand to identify what will work best for you. They have several different packages or you can devise your own. After allowing you pores to open in the steam room you can have a tamarind or aloe vera gel body wrap, an aromatic oil massage, a deep facial cleanser or a manicure and pedicure. All of the therapists are professionally trained and the Spirit House is in the process of establishing a Thai massage academy specializing in teaching the traditional art form. If you’re with your partner you could always get some tips and add to your growing list of new skills.

 

Refreshed, revitalized and positively glowing, you can adjourn to the terrace and enjoy a sunset cocktail. And watch as the courtyard transforms with lit candles, oil lanterns and the sound of bamboo flute music. Once you’re ready, a hostess will escort you to the upstairs dining areas. For a rather different taste of Thailand, Khun Taweechai recommends their ‘Kantoke’ set menus. This style of dining dates back many centuries to the ancient Lanna Kingdom in the north of Thailand. And traditional dances and music normally accompany the meal. A whole variety of dishes are served and the presentation is in keeping with the style of Royal Thai Cuisine. And that’s both in the tableware, which includes Benjarong porcelain, and the decorative presentation of the food with carved vegetables and fruit adorning each plate. Have your camera ready as you won’t see anything like it anywhere else on Samui.

 

Open from midday until late you can drop in anytime for a look around and to find out more about the packages available. It could be just what your mind, body and soul need.

 

Johnny Paterson

 


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