Samui Wining & Dining
Best Buddy’s

All day and all night grazing with a definitive difference. Welcome to Lamai’s ‘Dining Avenue’ at Buddy Oriental Samui Beach Hotel.

 

22Regular visitors to Samui will no doubt recognise the name Buddy’s. It’s been a hugely popular beach bar on the ring-road on the way into Lamai from Chaweng for many years. But since the opening of the Buddy Oriental Samui Beach Hotel a couple of years ago, the area has been transformed into a plaza and ‘Dining Avenue’ that has made it one of the hottest spots on the island.

Formed in 2002, the Buddy Group operates hotels, restaurants and bars in Bangkok and Samui and has grown at a phenomenal rate. And on Samui they’ve created a very different kind of hotel concept that’s a complete dining, relaxation and shopping experience which welcomes everyone. Straddling both sides of the main road, the large paved plaza doesn’t look like it houses a 133-bedroom hotel. Formed in a two-storey U-shape it’s colonial in style but the outdoor seating is also reminiscent of café-culture sections of cities like Barcelona, Lisbon, Rome and Paris. All three sides of the plaza contain restaurants, bars and shops on the ground floor with deluxe and executive hotel suites above.

At the very top is the broad, sweeping entrance to the hotel that has further suites and one of the two swimming pools behind it. I met up with General Manager, Melissa Tan, who explained what the Buddy Oriental was all about. “It’s designed to offer everything that holidaymakers could want whether they are staying with us or nearby. From the hotel lobby, down through the plaza and onto the beach, there are eight food and beverage outlets, a spa and beauty salon, a large grocery store, boutique fashion and arts shops, a supervised air-conditioned kids’ club, a fitness centre, two swimming pools and two function rooms. The main plaza has water features down the middle that have a relaxed, calming effect and there’s plenty of space for parking and just meandering around.

In the lobby, they have the Buddy Coffee Shop and Restaurant which serves breakfasts from 6:00 am until 11:00 am with coffee, snacks and pastries throughout the day. And there’s also a new Mexican Restaurant beside it that’s open all day and late into the evening. Chimichangas, nachos, rellenos (stuffed chilies), spicy chicken wings, taquitos, flautas (Mexican style spring rolls), tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and quesadillas fill the menu. Add in grilled beef, chicken or vegetables, sautéed shrimp, smoked salmon, spicy chorizo or pulled pork, and fillings and toppings like refried and black beans, guacamole, sour cream, mango salsa, jalapenos, black olives, melted cheese, bell peppers and Mexican rice and it becomes a veritable feast. Like all the outlets, the government tax and service charge are included in the price and not added to the bill.

Past the spa and salon and the grocery store on the left is Pazzo Italian Restaurant. There’re really two distinct sections to it with the first part being a Wine, Cigar and Cocktail Bar with comfortable sofas and bar stools and a very unique dining table for up to eight people. It’s down a few steps into what looks and feels like a cave carved from the rock. Refreshingly cool it’s also private and very different from anything else on the island. Through a glass door next to the bar is the indoor air-conditioned part of the restaurant which leads onto the outdoor seating area. There’s been a lot of thought put into the menu and it’s packed full of Italian regional specialities. Think calamari, Italian sausage, salami, prosciutto di Parma, sardines, beef carpaccio, tuna tartar and grilled langoustines to start with. And they’re all served with freshly baked bread from their in-house bakery. There’re also plenty of soups, salads, pasta dishes, gnocchi, risottos and pizzas (available for take-away). And main dishes like snow fish, monk fish, salmon, rack of lamb, veal shank and steaks all done Italian-style.

Opposite Pazzo is Mulligans Irish Bar which has seating both inside and out. There’re televisions all around the bar, a pool table and sectioned booths. On draught they have Irish stouts, English ciders and half a dozen lagers, including a delicious Belgian wheat beer, Hoegaarden. Their bar menu is extensive with big breakfasts, dozens of snacks and appetizers, homemade pies and stews, classic fish and chips, pork tenderloin, spare ribs, pork chops, Australian steaks and a host of side orders and sauces. They also have a Thai and Asian cuisine menu and Mulligans must be one of the few places in the world where you can have a traditional Pad Thai with a pint of the black stuff. They also have regular live bands and entertainment which changes every week so just ask what’s on whilst you’re there.

Next to it is Coffee World which has premium speciality hot and iced coffees, waffles, sandwiches, cakes, muffins and cookies. There’s also free wifi and internet available. And opposite that on one corner is Big Mama’s Burgers, an American-style diner. All the patties are homemade as are their fabulous fish fingers.

Across the road there’s a large swimming pool that anyone can use (there’s a very small charge for non-residents) and a massage sala. Just beyond that is the Beach Bar which is open from 9:00 am until 3:00 am the next morning. They serve a full range of cold beers, cocktails and beach snacks and there’re plenty of day-beds to chill out on. On the other side of the pool you’ll find their signature Thai restaurant, Chomlay. Take a walk through it and go out the door that leads onto the beach. The ponds that you walk past hold all the fresh fish and crustaceans for the restaurant as do the ten large display tanks on the left. It really doesn’t get much fresher than that. You’ll also notice a smaller pond with turtles in it, they aren’t on the menu so please don’t ask for them, they’re being housed there until they are ready to return to the ocean! Chomlay has all the classic Thai dishes you could imagine including some great southern specialities.

Their Kids Club is open from 9:00 am until 9:00 pm and it has stacks of toys and games for the young ones if parents want an hour or two to enjoy a meal. Buddy Oriental is much more than a hotel. They understand what visitors want when they’re on holiday and have created a ‘Dining Avenue’ that compels you to slow down and take life at an easy, relaxed pace.

 


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