Samui Wining & Dining
Impiana Cornucopia

There’s not only a huge range of eating options at Impiana Resort, but it’s rollicking good value for money too!


10-11Something occurred to me the other day. I’ve been writing these stories for over eight years now – and that means getting out and about to dozens of different resorts. People have given up trying to calculate exactly how many resorts and hotels there currently are on the island. But with 25 or so 5-star resorts alone, there has to be another couple of hundred that are one notch down and hundreds more that are less well endowed. And every single one of them has guests. These guests like to go out and explore – and that certainly includes restaurants. But during the day almost all of them stay close to home.

      They’ll go out on occasional day-trips, sure. But mostly they laze by the pool. They paddle on the beach. They check their emails and surf the web or read a book. They nibble unthinkingly at the same daytime menu of salads and snacks, over and over again. But – what if there was a resort just a few minutes away which had lots and lots of different ways to fill those gaps between the book and the beach? A range of nine different multi ice-cream combos? A shady thatched beach bar with an all-day ‘snackwich’ BBQ where you can pick ’n’ mix your own sandwiches – with or without fries? Where everyday there was a ‘Beer ’n’ Bites’ special running. An air-conditioned hospitality lounge for when the sun gets just a bit too fierce, with free coffee, tea, juices and cookies, and big, comfy sofas? Not to mention three separate happy hours (of two hours each!) with a wide range of beers, spirits and cocktails at half price (two-for-one). Wouldn’t you feel like trotting off there for the afternoon, every now and then?

      Impiana Resort Chaweng Noi, as the name suggests, isn’t actually in Chaweng. It’s in the neighbouring cove, in Chaweng Noi. But before you turn over on your sunbed and go back to sleep – the team there are canny enough to have predicted just such a sun-soaked reaction, and have laid on a shuttle service to run you there and back again. (Brownie point number one.) Impiana has been around for quite a while, but ever since the current management took over some years back, there’s been a non-stop policy of innovation, upgrading, and progress forward. On a daytime basis you might assume there’s not so much to be offered. But the paragraph above should have set you straight on that one. And, in addition to all that’s gone before, there’s a super evening fine-dining restaurant, plus a different theme night or BBQ on the beach every single night of the week.

      There are actually two restaurants here at Impiana, one above the other in a two-floor block overlooking the beach. The lower is Sabai, the resort’s shady and open-sided all-day restaurant which runs almost up to the big thatched beach bar. Upstairs Tamarind Bar & Lounge is split into two areas: the lower terrace commands the sea view and, stepping up from this into the main body, there’s a comfy open-sided lounge and a bar area that has more than a few pub games. There are currently plans afoot for a complete re-model – but that seems to be the norm everywhere at Impiana!

      But brownie point number two comes for the evening activities. Every evening sees another dining theme on the beach. On Monday it’s Thai Night with a classical dancing show. Tuesday it’s Catch of the Day with a big selection of fresh grilled seafood. But Wednesday is less orthodox, with the innovative ‘Steamboat Dining’. Here you’ll be presented with a table-top charcoal cooker and invited to go back and forth to enjoy an all you can eat buffet – cooked by your own fair hand.

       Thursday’s here are good news for the veggies amongst you: there’s a whole range of hot and cold vegetarian delicacies which, together with the selection of herbal and fruit teas already available, should top off your evening nicely. Every Friday there’s a good old all-you-can-eat beach BBQ, neighbouring onto Saturday’s similarly-themed Surf ’n’ Turf. And to round off the week, every Sunday features the Roast Chicken Buffet Dinner, with mashed or roast potatoes, gravy, a choice of vegetables and an open salad bar. And, to accompany all of this, each night there’s a live acoustic duo who will lull you with ballads to begin with and up the tempo when you’re on the wine course. All requests cheerfully accommodated!

      But back in more detail to the best bits (and yet more brownie points). The happy hour that you’ll need to focus on is initially the one that runs between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Firstly it’s coming up to sunset, and then it also slips perfectly into the evening’s beach dining. There’s a shuttle bus leaving from McDonald’s in the centre of Chaweng at 2:30 pm – perfect if you’re just up for an afternoon of basking and brunching. Or you could go for the evening performance by heading out from McDonald’s on the next bus at 5:30 pm – the last shuttle back to Chaweng leaves the resort at 10:00 pm.

       Or you could combine the two and really vary your day, dipping in and out of the pool, the free nibbles in the hospitality lounge, all those gourmet ice-creams, the Beer ’n’ Bites and snackwiches and those happy, happy, happy hours, prior to and including the evening theme dining on the beach. After which you couldn’t but fail to agree with the title up at the top – there’s a veritable cornucopia to be discovered, at Impiana Resort Chaweng Noi!


Rob De Wet


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