Samui Wining & Dining
The world of The Library exudes not just fine taste but mystery, too.

The world of The Library exudes not just fine taste but mystery, too.Part of the reason why most of us travel in the first place has little to do with sun and sand, or even relaxation; it’s to do with opening ourselves up to the mystery that lies beyond our normal lives, however exciting they may be. Thailand is, for many, a portal to an exotic world, filled with unknown and intriguing sights. It’s well-known that some of the resorts to be found here are more than just comfortable and stylish places to stay. One of these is The Library, an iconic hotel located right in the heart of Chaweng. It’s definitely more than the sum of its parts.


The first thing you need to know about The Library is that it’s hidden away right in the heart of the action of Chaweng. You might even pass by without noticing it’s there. Located behind Drink Gallery, about half way down the beach road, a bamboo-lined lane looks like it leads to a blank wall. It hides a corner, and there, beyond an opening in a high wall, you can find the resort. The accommodation that you can see is spread out on a large lawn with old-growth trees that lead down to a red-tiled swimming pool. It’s quite a stunning sight in itself. Here and there, you’ll find white statues, all depicting people in repose, book in hand. Why the library theme, you might ask? This is hardly a bookish place after all – but a cheerful resort. It all stems from a wish to keep things simple. Like relaxing with a book. But it’s more than that. While at The Library you’ll come under the sway of the artistic owner, Khun Kasemtham Sornsong, who sums up his ideas quite simply: “When guests leave, I want them to feel that they have just left a magical place full of stories.”


Indeed, if you spend any time here at all, you’ll agree that he has fulfilled his goal; The Library is a thoroughly engaging place, and you can’t help but be drawn into it. Incidentally, the theme of reading isn’t just a leitmotiv; The Library actually does have a library, filled from floor to ceiling with books of all kinds, as well as movies.


Even if you’re utterly familiar with The Library, and many people are thanks to dining here (we’ll come to the food shortly), you may not have noticed that the accommodation has almost doubled in size; The world of The Library exudes not just fine taste but    mystery, too.the number of rooms has gone from 26 to 46. These new rooms, hidden from the lawn and the original accommodation, are simply called Secret Chapters. They’re aptly named. To get to them, access is provided by a hard-to-spot door in an otherwise blank wall. A special key gives you access. The door swings open to reveal a bridge with the new villas further along, set just off a path. Each villa has its own swimming pool, and is a private world in itself. It is likely that rock stars and other famous people come to stay in them, but The Library draws a veil of silence over its occupants. And not just the guests. Indeed, not even journalists know the entire low-down on these rooms; very deliberately guests are left to discover their further surprises. Meanwhile the spacious villas let in sunlight through air-wells, and are integrated with the landscape, with entire trees growing through their roofs. All in all, you’ll find 16 onebedroom Secret Pool Villas; two Two-Bedroom Pool Villas, and two very superior villas known simply as The Editor and The Writer.


Many guests come from outside to eat at The Library’s restaurant, The Page. It combines the best of Thai and international dining, along with a chance to taste some of the rarer Thai dishes from the kingdom’s deep past, some of them legendary amongst foodies, yet almost forgotten by mainstream chefs.


The Page occupies an open-sided dining room and a terrace, right by the sea, but there’s also an even more private indoor dining room, which is air-conditioned. Come casually dressed for seldom-found gems such as Gaeng Jeud Hua Plee Gai or Banana Blossom & Chicken Soup along with other soups and curries. Aromatics and relishes add some great finishing touches to the dishes here. Enjoy grilled and roasted dishes such as Steamed Pudding with Grilled Crab Meat & Mackerel in Red Curry, using the centuries-old process of steaming fish in banana leaves.The world of The Library exudes not just fine taste but     mystery, too. The Page offers a wide choice of treats. To celebrate them all at one sitting, there’s a degustation menu called ‘Samrab Thai’ which translates as ‘Thai combination’ and which consists of eight courses and eleven separate dishes. It’s a real feast and you’ll need to set aside time to enjoy it.


The international side contains some great choices, such as the highest quality Wagyu beef, so tender you can cut it with two fingers. There’s plenty on the menu, so if you come in a diverse party, you’re each bound to find a couple of dishes that’ll please you. Leave room for the epicurean desserts, however.


The Page is a delicious experience, whether you opt for Thai or international food, and is every bit as unique as the resort it belongs to. Definitely worth a visit, both The Library and its restaurant delight and intrigue all who come here. And if you’re in a creative mood, the relaxed setting may well also provide inspiration for your own dreams and stories.


Dimitri Waring


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