Samui Wining & Dining
Why Here ?

We talk to Khun Chutima Chitpitak at The Library.

 

5Did you know there’s a library in Chaweng? No? Well there certainly is. But now I suppose you’re thinking that you’re here on holiday – what’s the point of going to a library? In any case, you’ve brought a couple of books along with you, plus you’ve got your iPad, so you don’t need to bother with a library. Well, you’re right. But you’re also very wrong!

    It’s probably true that you’ve no need of a library – but this is The Library. It’s not about checking books in and out; although in actual fact they also happen to have an extremely well-stocked library on-site too. This library is one of Chaweng’s most prestigious boutique resorts. It was possibly the first up-market resort to adopt what’s now know as the ‘minimalist’ style. And, to go with this, their designers ladled-on lashings of artistic flair and style, too.

      The whole concept is about understatement twinned with quality. And some of the elements are quietly dramatic whereas others are pleasantly whimsical, such as the Alice-in-Wonderland chairs in the glass cube of reception, which have backrests that are higher than your head. Or the concealed drawers in their restaurant, The Page, which, until you discover their contents, keep you wondering when someone’s going to bring your cutlery!

       The Page itself is one of the best restaurants around. And to complement this, right up on the street outside, on Chaweng Beach Road, there’s the dramatic Drink Gallery restaurant and meet-greet bar; another giant glass cube, but this time with a lavishly-long wooden deck outside, laid-out with a variety of loungers, sofas, chairs and tables, and a night-time DJ to keep things mellow.

      Obviously all of these things don’t organise and manage themselves. The general manager here is Khun Chutima Chitpitak – more usually known by her nickname of Khun Noi. She’s a relaxed and humorous person; acute, intelligent and unassuming, and the product of a cosmopolitan outlook and education.

      Khun Noi was born in Bangkok, one of a family of four children, and with a father who was a government minister. “My father’s duties meant that he travelled around The Kingdom a lot,” she told me, “and so when we were on school vacation we all got to see quite a lot of the country. I grew up leaning towards the arts, and, like most girls, had vague dreams of becoming a singer, or a performer of some sort. When the time came to leave school, I was able to realise this to some extent by being accepted at California Polytechnic State University – more usually just called Cal Poly. I began a first-degree course in the arts, studying art and music. But when I had to make realistic decisions, I knew that an arts degree wouldn’t really carry a lot of weight, so I switched to major in hotel management.”

      After graduating, Khun Noi returned to Bangkok and secured her first post, working with the Hilton chain as a management trainee. And this meant that, over the course of a year, she gained a firm grounding by working in every department of a busy international hotel. She then moved to the Peninsula Bangkok Hotel, securing a position in their sales and marketing team. This was to prove formative, as she quickly realised that the overall awareness gained by such an environment would prove to be valuable. And after a year she embarked on a master’s degree in sales and marketing, working full time, whilst also studying evenings and weekends at Bangkok’s Tamasart University. And, just to put the icing on the cake, after graduation she extended her experience by working away from the hospitality industry for two years.

      Khun Noi is an accomplished and creative person who, from an early age, had already acquired a love of sea, sand and sun – undoubtedly reinforced by her time in California! And when the opportunity arose to come to Samui, she jumped at it. “I knew the island already,” she explained. “I’d taken several holiday breaks there. And when one day I was lunching with a friend, and he mentioned that a very stylish Samui resort might be on the look-out for a manager, I was more than interested.

      And so it was that Khun Noi began her appointment as general manager of The Library, in October 2011. This particular resort is unusual: it was originally a beach restaurant, back in the late ’70s, which then began to add little wooden huts for accommodation. It was taken over by one of the owner’s sons, Khun Pang, six or seven years ago, and he is the one whose vision turned it into what it is today. Khun Noi and Khun Pang immediately related to each other, and thus she quickly became integrated into the ‘Library team’.

      “Happiness is not complicated,” she grinned at me, quoting the motto of The Library. “I wake up each day, look out of my window and see the beach and the sea. I don’t have to grab breakfast and rush out into the exhaust fumes any more, then spend an hour travelling to work. I have a bicycle now, not a car. I live on site and stay here each day until I’m not needed any more – now and then that’s 6:00 pm, sometimes it’s around midnight, often later. The lifestyle is wonderful, it stimulates my creativity, and maybe even makes me nicer to live with!”

      “Overall, here at The Library, there are five basic experiences that I’ve helped to create. ‘Breakfast Culture’ – how do you like the idea of breakfast in bed on the beach?! Then there’s our ‘Tea by the Sea’. And, of course, the unparalleled ‘Wagu M9+’ experience at The Page. Then we introduced the cooking class and the romantic dining on the beach – and don’t forget the ‘101 Cocktails’. And all of it in one of the most serene and peaceful surroundings you can imagine. I’m fortunate to be here. I’m happy. And I just can’t see myself moving on – I’ve always done things for the love of them and not because of a career plan."

      And that’s how it’s come to be that destiny has placed Khun Noi at The Library, hidden behind Drink Gallery, right in the middle of Chaweng, just a little way down the road from the landmark of McDonald’s. Drink Gallery is open until late-late. So if you don’t catch her in The Page, then maybe you can drop in and say hi out front on the deck one night? She’s always happy to greet somebody new !

 

Rob De Wet


 


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