SARAH ENGSTRAND dis­cov­ers Sa­mu­jana in a cor­ner of Thai­land far away from the back­pack­ers and full-moon par­ties

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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


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