Samui Wining & Dining
Getting Away

New standards of service and luxury at Moevenpick Resort Laem Yai Beach Samui.

P17-(1)You can’t have it both ways. Don’t believe it if they say so! It’s just not possible. Although it’s simple enough – you can have peace and quiet, or you can party. But you can’t have both. Head for Chaweng and there’s a lot going on. It’s fun, it’s bright. it’s neon and it’s noisy. But if you seek solace, if it’s tranquillity you’re after, then you’ll need to saddle up and canter out of town.

Browsing through some of the TripAdvisor comments on Samui in general, one thing comes up again and again – people often complain that they are “so far away” from things. One person even grumbled that he was a whole kilometre from the nearest restaurant, the poor thing. If you want restaurants stacked end to end then you stay in Chaweng. Obviously, he hadn’t done his homework before coming here. But if you want space to breathe, if your idea of heaven is peace and quiet and you rejoice in tranquillity, then the island’s north coast is the place for you.

Well, if this area is good enough for one of the best 5-star international resorts on the island, then I’m not going to argue. But there’s another resort here, which bears a brand of international excellence. The name is Moevenpick, and it’s not only a product of the Swiss hospitality industry (established before America or Canada were even discovered!) but it’s a longer-established name than most of the others, too.

Plus it’s just about perfectly placed. However, you have to remember that Samui doesn’t have any public transport, and so it’s either pay for a taxi or rent a car (which, strangely, costs about the same). Moevenpick Resort Laem Yai Beach Samui is located closer to the nominal three-street ‘capital’ of Samui, Nathon, than anywhere else. And I suppose this tiny ‘town’ is worth a look but, apart from one superb Irish gourmet-pub, there’s not a great many things to do there. On the other hand, the several kilometres on either side of where you’ll find the resort is littered with some good beachside seafood restaurants. But the nearest noticeable activity in the other direction, eastwards towards Chaweng, is Maenam and then the Fisherman’s Village, some 10 kilometres away.

So why is it perfectly placed? Because this is where people come to get away from the bustle. The beaches hereabouts are unspoiled, clean, and there’s never a beach vendor to be seen. It’s tranquil here. Utterly peaceful. This is where you’ll find mystics, romantics, honeymooners. Furthermore, the accommodation is excellent, as is the service. Plus, their beachfront dining restaurant, The Terrace, is that rare blend of laid-back, together with fine-dining. And the food here is simply tip top.

Coming down from reception, wending between the resplendently foliaged walls of the private pool villas, you’ll emerge into a landscape that contains the pleasantly embryonic pool, with an immense amount of wooden decking all around, the restaurant to the right, and a breathtaking sea view. The decking continues around in front of the open-sided dining area, forming an outer dining terrace at the very edge of the sand. Even though there’s actually room here for 80 people (sometimes seen when there’s a wedding party), it’s only a step or two down onto the beach. And that’s where you’ll find the settings for the special theme buffets evenings twice a week – on Wednesday it’s ‘Catch of the Day’ and on Saturday, ‘Meat Lover’, as well as also the very romantic dinners for two, complete with personal butler and a private candle-lit pagoda.

Slavo Hus is the resort’s Food and Beverage Manager, and he has some clear ideas about good dining. “It’s a balance between the quality of the ingredients and the standard of the service,” he told me. “Plus, of course, the surroundings have to be intimate and friendly, too. The art is not only to provide an unforgettable dining experience, but to make this affordable, too. Most visitors are pleasantly surprised at our menu prices, and so it’s quite normal that they come here more than once.”

The menu is the tried-and-tested ‘International and Thai’ format, but with a pleasant twist – usually Thai food isn’t made with prime imported ingredients, but here it is. So you’ll be enjoying plump breasts of chicken and top cuts imported beef in your stir-fries and curries. The international section of the à la carte menu is divided into sections of starters, soups and pastas, followed by a big seafood-dish selection and a range of all-imported Australian beef, lamb and pork choices. And, coming back to what Slavo was saying, you’ll be delighted to see that the Australian sirloin is only around 600 baht.

And here’s another winner: there’s a shuttle bus service that will bring you here from Chaweng. This departs from the lakeside at the back of McDonald’s in Chaweng at 4:00 pm each day. This part of the coast is just super for the sunsets, so you’ll get to the resort in time for not only this, but also have time to relax with a cocktail at the start of the happy hour, too. If the allure of the set menu isn’t tempting enough, then aim to come for one of the beach buffet theme evenings. Just ask about this when you call to make a reservation and secure your place on the shuttle!

But the final words come from Slavo. “First of all,” he said, “understand that we have two sorts of guests – those staying with us, and those coming here to dine. And we extend the warmest of welcomes to diners from outside. But to everyone I can say this: we offer the finest hospitality in the world. Swiss training and attention to detail is legendary. Combine this with the warmth of the Thai staff and you have an unbeatable combination. Plus,” he smiled, “the food is pretty hard to beat, too!”

          

Rob De Wet


 


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