Santiburi Beach Resort, Golf & Spa beckons as a year-round paradise for a stress-free, hassle-free Samui holiday for families and golfers.
By Percy Roxas.
In the last few years, more and more high-end resorts and hotels have surfaced on Koh Samui, continuing the island’s march as a top luxury holiday destination, the new darling of many of the world’s high rollers. Today, almost all major luxury international hotel and resorts brand are represented in this small island about 700km south of Bangkok.
But one pioneering resort has remained a top favorite of many luxury travelers, because, like fine vintage wine, they say, it has become better with the years. That “grand dame” of Samui resorts which continues to exceed expectations of both its guests and the industry is Santiburi Beach Resort, Golf & Spa, located on a private section of Mae Nam Beach, considered as the quietest beach on Koh Samui.
Nestled amid 23 acres of exotic gardens, many guests compare the Santuburi to a theme park or complex of sorts. Indeed, it’s setting — within a large tropical park full of large palm trees and lush, fragrant flowers with a small stream flowing through it — makes it an oasis for those looking for a perfect getaway.
If you’re a first timer in the resort, you will find it hard to believe that the property has been a Samui landmark for so many years now. Not a few guests realize that one of Willy Optekamp’s – who is running the hotel — biggest challenges here is how to make the slightly dated feel in the resort with its luxury resort aspirations. But in fact, despite its age, there are very few obvious signs of how old it was. This is testimony to how the hotel management and team have been very successful in maintaining the resort, physically speaking and otherwise. Much of the credit goes to Optekamp, who has managed luxury hotels all over the world, has opened the world-famous Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi, and has been named “hotelier of the year” several times.
It is said that the Thai owners deliberately engaged this top manager to maintain top standards in this complex as well as to introduce his own ideas on keeping the relaxed vacation atmosphere in the resort while upping the operational luxury benchmark.
Great thing is, Santiburi has always been well recognized for its generous and friendly services. Despite its size, visitors feel that they are fully cared for because while the staff are attentive, they are not intrusive. Even on the beach – which many guests seem to prefer to the pool — there are enough beach lounges and hammocks for guests while still maintaining their privacy. There is even a unique butler service on the beach!
The resort’s centerpiece is its swimming pool, which is one of the largest hotel pools in Asia that some guests call it a “lake.” Although most of the guests seem to prefer the beach – and why not:? It is also one of the few hotels in Asia – and the only one on Koh Samui – with a private 300m-long white sandy beach.
The resort offers 59 luxurious villas and 12 Equatorial Duplex Suites, decorated in Thai-style. Among the most sought after is the one-bedroom Pool Villa, with its luxurious contemporary Thai architecture and modern interiors. These villas have a large veranda with private sun bathing area and living space adjacent to the bedroom. But most recommended are the eight Equatorial Duplex Suites, which are available as one- or two-bedroom units; both perfect for a stress-free, hassle-free stay.
A wide range of dining options awaits, with three restaurants to keep guests satisfied: Sala Thai, which serves Royal Thai and international contemporary cuisine with a romantic view of the pool; Rim Talay, which serves cool drinks for your refreshment and small menu, a lounge, beach and pool bars. There are some guests who say that while the breakfast buffet was good, they weren’t up to the standards one might expect from a luxury resort. But then again many guests are probably expecting more now that Samui’s overall dining scene is getting to be more and more sophisticated. Truth be said, this doesn’t matter much to us, as Santiburi has really more to offer.
The resort is called by some as “the best resort for family and golf in Samui by far.” And that’s not surprising. Family holidaymakers are spoiled here as well. Assistance is provided to families with children and children from age 0 to 5 are completely free. Seven babysitters are available to take care of children in a protected section of the beach. The children’s entertainment center is packed with fun games and activities such as darts, billiards, petanque, ping-pong, golf putting green, kayaks, kayaks, windsurfing, sailing, etc. — all activities with free trainer.
Santiburi is also increasingly becoming famous as a paradise for honeymooners, and indeed they get extra pampering and service at the resort. As Samui positions itself as a top wedding and honeymoon destination, Santiburi has been throwing a wider net with its size, facilities, and professional team.
Another key highlight of staying in Santiburi Resort — one that no other island resort can lay claim to — is the 18-hole PGA championship golf course at the Santiburi Samui Country Club. Considered to be among the most beautiful golf courses in Asia, the courses are a mere 5-minute drive from the resort and a free shuttle service can take you there in a breeze.
No handicap is required to play this challenging course. Every hole poses a special challenge for golfers. And because it is in the mountains, there are steep slopes up and down the hillsides that create a “multi-level course,” and long, winding fairways, breathtaking gorges, and bunkers that spice up the golfing experience. Golfers also enjoy incomparable views down onto the coast, beach, isIands, and the shining, emerald blue sea.
And for spa lovers, the Santiburi Spa – the first in Thailand to be awarded the Hygiene Seal — beckons. Located in a quiet palm oasis, the hotel spa offers unusual wellness treatments and rituals of all kinds, also for couples – service that is also available in the open pavilion on the beach. Ladies can book massages at the spa almost everyday as they are very good value for money.
Overall, the Santiburi Resort, Golf & Spa is a great resort to stay in, especially if you’re bringing your family or interested in playing golf during your holiday.
Santiburi Beach Resort, Golf & Spa
12/12 Moo 1, Tambol Maenam, Amphur Koh Samui, Suratthani