Samui Wining & Dining
One of Samui’s most luxurious resorts is just a little way from Chaweng – Nora Buri Resort & Spa!

One of Samui’s most luxurious resorts is just a little way from Chaweng – Nora Buri Resort & Spa!Samui now has so many good hotels, it’s hard to know where they all are. Or, indeed, which of their fine facilities they’re keen to share. Things have changed – not so long ago many of the 5-star places kept themselves private. But this sort of old-style ‘exclusiveness’ has faded away. Today everyone’s keen for your custom, and outside guests are more than welcome. And one of Samui’s best-known resorts, Nora Buri Resort & Spa, is one of these.


Many of the national chain-resorts are managed under the umbrella of big multinational groups. But Nora is something of a Samui legend in that’s it’s not only hugely successful, but it’s also been ‘made on Samui’. This family-owned group began with the large and luxurious Nora Beach in Chaweng. And then it expanded over the next several years, adding a budget hotel and a town hotel, before establishing the jewel in the group’s crown, the opulent 5-star Nora Buri, just north of Chaweng, on the road to Choeng Mon.


It’s actually in two parts: the obvious one being the huge spread of gardens and grounds rising up the hill from a long frontage along the road outside. But what’s not immediately obvious is that directly across the road, and running down to the beach, is the section that contains the signature restaurants, and another group of rooms and suites around a central pool that borders on the sand.


And it’s here that you’ll first notice one of Samui’s landmarks, the awardwinning ‘The Barge’ restaurant. Actually, The Barge isn’t ‘a restaurant’ – there are two of them here. The top floor contains the resort’s signature Thai restaurant, Rice Barge. This is where you’ll find yourself as you enter the building.


It’s undoubtedly the most dramatic of the floors, as it’s the place where you’ll be most fully-able to appreciate the impressive architecture, with the hand-sculpted dark woods and the spiralling roof-space. The enclosed walkway alongside leads into the adjoining open-sided dining terrace,One of Samui’s most luxurious resorts is just a little way from Chaweng – Nora Buri Resort & Spa! and to the steps which lead down onto the lower level and the pool – and the adjoining all-day-restaurant.


The area around the pool and lower restaurant has been designed to accommodate the lavish spread of outside tables and servers that are laid-out once a week. This is when Nora Buri and The Barge feature their famous buffet evening – the ‘Walk Around the Barge’. This is one all-you-can-eat buffet barbecue that is really worth visiting. Groups of serving tables, weighed down with cold cuts, plates of all the different seafood, and gleaming stainless-steel servers for the hot dishes, are cleanly lit by spotlights from above, while the contented guests enjoy a softer and more intimate illumination on small platforms and terraces that run onto the sand. There’s a live band, plus an exciting Pong Lang Thai dance show. And, unlike some other places, the price is just 1,299 baht – and this is a 5-star beach buffet, with the quality of service and attention to match!


But it’s over on the other side and up the hill where you’ll find all the amenities and facilities that put Nora Buri firmly into the luxury bracket. The view is superb, the layout intriguing and there are 46 pool villas, 98 deluxe villas and two presidential suites to choose from. There are two big, layered infinity pools, together with another restaurant, Manora,One of Samui’s most luxurious resorts is just a little way from Chaweng – Nora Buri Resort & Spa! a snack bar, a tapas bar, a spa, a fitness centre and a conference suite that includes a business centre. It’s all very impressive.


With all these facilities, not to mention the extensive landscaping, it’s hardly surprising that Nora Buri has also established something of a niche for itself in the completive business of wedding hosting and management. Not only are there packages which include accommodation, but also there’s a whole range of options and choices, including makeup and hair styling, floral décor, photography, catering and entertainment, which will be personally tailored to your requirements. Full details are on their website at the end of this article.


One other unique feature is that, with the Nora Group owning four interrelated hotels from budget to 5-star, there’s always the option for family or friends to be accommodated for longer periods in one of the downtown link hotels, and scheduled with complementary shuttle buses (a 10-minute run) to move to and from the wedding celebrations at Nora Buri.


So, whether you want to take advantage of one of the best barbecue buffet evenings around, or are thinking of diving in head over heels to tie the matrimonial knot, there a whole lot to explore and enjoy just around the corner from Chaweng – at Nora Buri Resort & Spa!


Rob De Wet


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