As the story goes, it was “love at first sight” when Thai hotelier Khun Akorn Hoontrakul spotted this secluded cove from the sea in 1985. A chance meeting quickly became a full-blown romance when he purchased the land just one week later and starting dreaming up Samui’s first five-star luxury hotel, The Tongsai Bay.
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Khun Akorn slept on the beach for three months, getting a feel for the land and eventually drawing up plans for the location of every cottage — all built without cutting down a single tree. Creating a true eco-resort, this environmental pioneer opened the doors of The Tongsai Bay in July, 1987. This was a project born and built from one man’s passion, a passion which still permeates every part of this exceptional property (the breathtaking Akorn Villa is a fitting homage). Khun Akorn lived here with his beloved wife Chompunuteuntil his death in 2000, and now son Thanakorn continues to nurture and develop the legacy with his wife Saisiri.
Set within 11 hectares of tropical jungle on the north-eastern coast of Koh Samui, and overlooking a private bay just north of Choeng Mon village, The Tongsai Bay offers a true escape from the madness of everyday life. Although you probably won’t want to leave the resort, Samui’s attractions are all within easy reach if you’re tempted to explore the island.
Choose from a variety of cottages, suites and villas, some offering a “bath with a view” and some with plunge pools, but all showcasing a mesmerising vista of either seafront or rainforest. For a special occasion such as a honeymoon or milestone birthday, we recommend splurging on a Pool Villa with 180sq.m. of stylish living, including a vast terrace with bath, four-poster gazebo, dining area, sun loungers and a private 3x5-metre pool.
For authentic Thai food, Chef Chom’s is one of the island’s most noted restaurants — we particularly enjoy the traditional Thai Cultural night with food stations serving up delectable tastes from all parts of Thailand along with the entertainment of traditional dances and music also from the country’s different regions.
Most days we find ourselves right on the beachfront at Po-Lad Beach Bistro, enjoying its fabulous location and eclectic menu of superb Asian and Western dishes. For a special occasion intimate dinner, boutique restaurant, Butlers, has a must-do degustation set-menu of Pan-Asian and Mediterranean inspired dishes prepared by Michelin-trained, Chef Eak, served with matching wines, only on Wednesday and Friday nights. The resort has its own organic garden of fruit, herbs and spices to call upon so the food is always fresh and vibrant.
Delve into the hotel’s lush grounds and experience tropical bliss at the Prana Spa, home to an intoxicating menu of scrubs, steams, facials, wraps and massages. Prana means ‘life force’ in Sanskrit and you’ll certainly feel your mojo returning after the 2.5-hour Return to Prana escape, designed for couples to “enhance, elevate and rejuvenate the life force and love between them.” Cocooned in a private spa cottage, your journey begins with a heavenly herbal steam followed by a rejuvenating scrub, aromatic milk bath and relaxing oil massage. Sheer romantic indulgence.
Couples Will Love
Everything! I understand how Khun Akorn felt when he first clapped eyes on this spectacular place because I have so many precious memories from our visits here over many years, stored away on my camera roll and in my heart. It was here that my youngest daughter accepted a proposal of marriage; where our daughters and their children have come from across the world to holiday together; where my husband and I have walked along the beach with our grandchildren, their tiny hands clasped trustingly in ours as we swung them high into the air; and where my five-year-old grandson told me that when he grew up he would be an architect and design me the most beautiful Thai-style house so I could live on Koh Samui forever. Memories created in a special place that was created by a special man of amazing vision and soul… a man in love.
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Images courtesy of The Tongsai Bay