Samui Wining & Dining
Just The Place

5Spa/dining experiences don’t come better than those at Langham Place.

Why do something by halves? Why opt for dinner out or a spa treatment? Why not both? Just because you’ve had a very pleasurable massage treatment doesn’t mean to say you’ll undo all the good work when you next eat – especially if the fare is light and healthy. Langham Place Samui at Lamai Beach makes it a cinch to get a fine dinner after your treatment.

Langham Place? Sounds like an English manor house with a duck pond. You’ll find it on the ring-road in Lamai, soon after you come down from the Chaweng hills, just past the landmark IT Complex. And it turns out to be hardly English at all – but truly international.

The entrance is unusual, even by Samui’s architectural standards. Pass through a narrow entrance (you could easily miss it) and it all suddenly opens out. A large courtyard awaits you with low sloping roofs and in the centre there’s a very large white ornamental pool. The design at Langham Place is a mixture of three unique styles: Balinese, Chinese and European. However, in some places there’s a distinct, almost timeless, Mediterranean feel. Check out the roofing; the same rounded terracotta tiles that have been so popular for hundreds of years everywhere from Italy to Spain. You may well experience a sense of déjà-vu from all the travels you’ve had and perhaps some you’ve yet to take.

Chuan Spa is situated close to the reception. You’ll be given a warm welcome here and made to feel at home. When the choice of treatment has been made, you’re led towards some impressive Chinese doors to one side of the room. When these are opened, you see a long line of steps gong down, with lighted candles providing a warm glow. At the bottom, a corridor skirts a small pool and then angles round to the treatment rooms. The layout ensures privacy – the rest of Langham Place might as well be at the other end of the island.

And this truly beautiful spa offers a variety of rituals that includes luxurious infinity baths with refreshing and stimulating hydrotherapy, steam showers, body spray and aromatherapy. There are plenty of massages to choose from but highly recommended is the Serenity Shen; three hours of bliss that includes a hot-stone therapy massage, a facial with blended essential oils and a cool marine algae mask. Afterwards there’s a refreshing foot treatment to round off this ritual. The therapist doesn’t forget to ask you if the pressure is right. It’s just a small point, but an essential one.

After your treatment, you’re led back along the corridor to have some time for more relaxation. You’re shown into a room with very comfy reclining seats that face a magical rock pool whose stony slopes stretch up above you and are draped in greenery. It’s very relaxing. “Most people spend at least ten minutes here, if not longer,” says the therapist, Khun Nat. “No need to go back and face the world until you’re really ready to do so.”

It’s a major plus point, the relaxation room. Any serious spa-goer knows that there are some places which are run like clockwork, where, although you’ve lost track of time, the management certainly hasn’t – and the meter’s running. Chuan Spa is not one of those places. Nobody chivvies you along to the changing rooms to clear the area for the next on the conveyor belt! 

And once you ready to leave the spa then it’s on to CHA restaurant which offers something rather exciting for dinner. It’s called ‘borderless dining’. You can eat at CHA restaurant itself, but you’re not restricted to just this area. You can sit in specially chosen areas in the gardens or even on the beach. The restaurant has culinary outposts at various discreet points in the property. But no matter where you end up eating, you’ll find it a romantic and enjoyable experience.

The menu includes not just the expected Asian and international favourites but also some quite surprising additions. For example, if you choose the Cha Tasting Menu, you’ll be treated to five courses of light fare with ingredients that are innovatively combined. Savour Australian Tea-seared Scallops with artichoke puree and chocolate foam and try the Grilled Arctic Char with a soft lemon blood-orange beurre blanc. The tasting menu winds up with a tasty Raspberry Crème Brulée. And you’ll notice that tea has been used in each of the dishes, albeit in a subtle way.

Not everyone wants to venture into the culinary unknown and the chefs are well aware of this. CHA is equally geared up for more traditional tastes, offering dishes featuring rib-eye steak or slow-cooked rabbit’s leg. And there’s Thai food a-plenty, naturally. Few people can resist a chicken satay or massaman curry. 

Whatever you have (and wherever you opt to eat it), don’t forget dessert. Again, the selection is International and Thai, with an accent on local fruits. Try the Mousse of Samui Bananas flavoured with Grand Marnier, or Lemon Tart served with Samui orange sorbet and you’ll see what I mean. And, incidentally, CHA is one of the very few restaurants on the island that serves a cheese plate to round off your meal.

Both the spa and the restaurant at Langham Place provide something rather different from the usual resort offering. And enjoying a combination of a spa package here followed by dinner (which can be as innovative as you’d dare it to be, or as traditional as you’re used to) really is the ideal way to fully appreciate the whole ‘Langham’ experience.

 


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