KOH SAMUI FOR GROWN- UPS
SARAH ENGSTRAND discovers Samujana in a corner of Thailand far away from the backpackers and full-moon parties
THERE ARE TWO kinds of holidaymakers in this world: active ones and passive. The former pack their days like a perfectly organised Tetris game, barely pausing between a flurry of museums, hikes, fitness classes and the like. The latter is a more zen-like creature, usually found lazing on a beach, getting a massage or reading on the top deck. Historically, planning a holiday to accommodate both has been challenging, to say the least – but not anymore.
Samujana, a private luxury estate just 10 minutes from the quaint Koh Samui airport in Thailand, caters to holidaymakers of all temperaments. Unlike a hotel or a resort, you stay in your own private villa – ranging from one to eight bedrooms – and you can completely customise your stay.
Designed by architect Gary Fell, the villas are airy and relaxed, with a luxe-California vibe and natural materials at every turn. Each one is unique, with various amenities and different locally sourced art, but they all have a saltwater infinity pool, barbecue, full kitchen and, most notably, a villa manager. These are private butlers who help make your stay as easy as possible. In addition to cooking you breakfast each morning, they can help organise activities, special meals and day trips – they can even have the kitchen pre-stocked before you arrive or arrange for a private chef. Basically, it’s your best life.
As we rumble up a long wooden path and pass through a little rickety gate, Samujana suddenly appears before us. Beautiful concrete villas built into the side of the mountain overlook the cyan water below; there’s a quiet hum in the air as villa managers pass by on mopeds and a few stray guests meander by. This is not the Thailand of backpackers and full-moon parties, but a place to relax, regroup and recharge.
There are almost 30 villas scattered throughout the