As nice as Thai on the island of Koh Chang
ROOM AT THE INN
OPENED in December, Parama Koh Chang by Epikurean Hotels & Lifestyle is backed by the mountain ranges of Koh Chang, Thailand’s second-largest island, with views across the Gulf of Thailand.
It’s a boutique property of 19 deluxe and oceanview suites and is the second to be opened by the Epikurean group in Thailand; the other is on Koh PhaNgan, also in the Gulf of Thailand.
We check into a sprawling, 78sq m, third-storey suite with a large living area furnished with a day bed and sofa, desk, bar and wine fridges, kitchenette and flat-screen television.
I kick off my shoes and the wide, dark floorboards, which glisten with a dull sheen, are cool underfoot. The bedroom is dominated by the largest bed I have seen; it’s a ‘ ‘ super king’’, apparently. I lose things in bed — reading glasses, notebooks, phones — and it occurs that if I do so in this bed it could take several days to find them.
The bathroom — with stone sunken spa tub, shower recess with rainwater showerhead and twin basins — is also suitably spacious.
The glass walls of the living area and bedroom slide aside to give an unimpeded view over the swimming pool to the gulf beyond.
There are three pools at Parama Koh Chang. One wraps itself around the main building and teems with a variety of fish that provide an endless marine slideshow for guests dining on the deck. It’s also home to at least one turtle that surfaces each morning as I breakfast, nods and glides back into the depths.
The pool has a sand beach and ham- mocks and is well furnished with sunbeds. On the downside, there is no beach, but a private island leased by the resort is a five-minute boat ride away and boasts a smooth strip of fine white sand that slopes gently to the water.
It’s called (what else but) the Private Island and there are plans to build a beach club there, but for the moment there are sunbeds, attentive staff to tend you with towels and drinks and to ferry you back to the resort whenever you wish.
The third pool is stocked with fish destined for the kitchen of chef Nokveedz. When fish is on the menu, which is often, she chooses something suitable from the hundreds that await their fate in the pool.
Chef bakes her own bread, makes jams and yoghurts, produces a steady stream of Thai, Western and Mediterranean-influenced meals and holds cooking classes for guests on request. Dining is indoors, outdoors or, if preferred, at the chef’s table, a 20-seater made from a single polished slab of jackwood from which diners look into chef Nokveedz’s kitchen.
There’s a small cocktail bar in the main resort building but most guests prefer their sunset drinks on the westfacing boardwalk where oversized beanbags are a favourite spot to enjoy the pink-and-purple light show.
A separate building houses a wellequipped, air-conditioned gym and sauna plus a spa with four treatment rooms. Additional rooms are to be commissioned shortly, one fitted with a Vichy shower. Mountain bikes are provided for the use of guests and we pedal 7km along a flat, sealed road to the nearest fishing village. At a restaurant perched over the water, we order lunch platters of prawns in tamarind sauce, squid and scallops served in the shell and the bill, which includes two large bottles of Chang beer, comes to the equivalent of just $30.
The resort is located in Koh Chang’s southeast. The main tourist areas of White Sand Beach and Lonely Beach are 30 to 40 minutes distant and there’s a regular shuttle service available for guests.
Throughout our stay, a steady northwesterly breeze blows across the island and the memory of lying in that huge bed in the morning with the glass doors open and the breeze playing across the bedclothes will surely remain with me for some time. Mike O’Connor was a guest of Epikurean Hotels & Lifestyle.
Exclusively couples, mainly European.
None. Confessions of a Bangkok Private Eye — True Stories from the Case Files of Warren Olson by Stephen Leather. Take the shuttle to White Sand Beach for shopping and Lonely Beach for sunset and evening bar action. There is no beach but the private island compensates. Spacious accommodation, great food, tranquillity and privacy.