Samui Wining & Dining
CAMPING GETS A MAKEOVER
Luxury takes on new forms at Khwan Beach Resort Boutique & Gallery Pool Villas.

Luxury takes on new forms at Khwan Beach Resort Boutique & Gallery Pool Villas.Camping. First thoughts for most people involve mud, dirt and discomfort. Camping’s for the bold of heart and for rugged outdoor people only. It requires a marathon spirit and a fine endurance of any and all weather that comes your way.

          

But there’s another side to camping that’s the very opposite. It can be a luxury affair, decadent even. Think of the upmarket safari tours of Kenya. This is travelling in grand style, and though the setting may be one of the wilder parts of the world, the accommodation most definitely is not. It’s first class all the way and the only real difference is that the walls are made of canvas rather than of wood or stone. But deluxe canvas abodes are no longer confined to select areas of the world; camping of this kind has become an international trend – and one that’s set to continue.

          

Probably, like me, you’ve never heard the word ‘glamping’ before, but if you’re at all keen on travel, then it’s very likely you’re going to hear of it more and more in the future. So, what is glamping, exactly? It may sound like an ancient Anglo-Saxon word for some felonious activity, but it’s not at all. For a start, it’s a modern word, entirely, and is simply a combination of glamorous and camping. Eh? Can camping ever be glamorous? It can, in the right hands.

          

On Samui there’s only the one spot where you can currently experience glamping; you’ll find it at Khwan Beach Resort. If you’re travelling by car, the resort is easy to find. Follow the ring-road from Chaweng to Maenam, and turn right just before the petrol station in the centre of town. Head down the small lane towards the sea and you’ll come to signposts for the resort. And no, don’t even look for cooking smoke from camp fires – it’s definitely not that kind of place.

          

When you see the accommodation, you’ll be wowed. Your mind will do a double-take. You’ll see a tent, but at the same time you’ll see every conceivable luxury. The tent itself is first-class, firm, sturdy and spacious. Step inside and you’ll find villa luxury. A bed as soft as any in a five-star hotel; minibar; a beautifully equipped bathroom; a plasma TV and of course air-conditioning.Luxury takes on new forms at Khwan Beach Resort Boutique & Gallery Pool Villas. It’s scrupulously clean, no bugs in sight, and no clutter. It can even be fully closed using a sliding French window.

          

You may even sense a kind of déjà-vu about it; this kind of accommodation really does hark back to times gone by, when extremely rich travellers went on their expeditions, never sacrificing so much as a silver teaspoon when it came to creature comforts. This is the same kind of idea, though you won’t have to go to far-flung and dangerous places to experience it.

          

Needless to say, once you’re inside your tent and safely ensconced, you’re not forgotten. Staff are on hand to help with anything you need, and room service is there should you require lunch or dinner. You can even have breakfast under canvas, too. The tents come with one or two bedrooms.

          

But if life under canvas isn’t your style, Khwan Beach Resort also offers wonderful villas. These, too, represent the apex of luxury. And they’re not just comfortable, but stylishly thought-out too. Whereas some resorts seem to concentrate on their public areas, especially the front facade, leaving the actual accommodation to be little more than boxy dwellings, Khwan Beach doesn’t opt for such crass architectural favouritism. Everything’s good here.Luxury takes on new forms at Khwan Beach Resort Boutique & Gallery Pool Villas. The villas are a delight to step into. They’re thoroughly private, closed off from the outside world. Open a gate and you’re in a garden that has its own swimming pool. Large French windows take you into the villa proper. Each looks like a hideaway retreat, with large comfy bed and a room that has sofa and large screen TV, but which also doubles as a kind of spare room. Great if you have children or are travelling as a trio. There are three types of villa: duplex pool villas with sea views, duplex pool villas with a river view and private pool suite villas. (Duplex units come with a kitchen and are 135 sqm. The private pool suite villas are 80 sqm.)

          

You may not associate tropical holidays with art work, but here at Khwan Beach, there’s plenty of art in evidence. It graces not just the restaurant, but the villa rooms themselves, and the facades of the villas have been painted by celebrated artist Franck Plancoulaine, a contemporary of Salvador Dali (the two shared an atelier).

          

From all of this attention to detail, you can imagine that the restaurant here is going to be on a similar par, and it is. Definitely a creative place, it’s the brainchild of Mattias Pawlik, who studied hospitality and cooking in Switzerland. He’s worked not just in Europe, but also The Maldives, Singapore, Sydney, New York, Dubai and Hong Kong. His style is top-of-the-range nouvelle French cuisine, infused with touches of various tempting Asian flavours.Luxury takes on new forms at Khwan Beach Resort Boutique & Gallery Pool Villas. Portions are generous, and flavours are sublime. And since there’s only seating for 30 diners, Mattias can personally cater for all his guests’ wishes. The menu is select and features the best meats and seafood. Wines are cheaper here than in most other restaurants and there are prices to suit every pocket. Naturally, you don’t have to be a guest here to come to the restaurant, simply called MP, but you’re strongly advised to book ahead to avoid disappointment. Incidentally, 50% of the service charge goes to an orphanage in Phuket.

          

The resort is located in the beautiful bay of Maenam, and is set back a few metres from the sands. Privacy is ensured, but all you have to do to get to the seaside is walk a minute down a very short lane. The beach is good for swimming and a delightful spot just to hang out and savour a languid few hours – after all, that’s what tropical holidays are all about.

          

Whether you opt for canvas chic or a beautiful villa, accommodation here is sophisticated and everything has been thought out with the guest in mind. The resort will make your stay a very happy and memorable one and go the extra mile to help you fulfil all your wishes.

          

 Dimitri Waring


 


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