Samui Wining & Dining
Serenely Secluded
Laid-back and tucked away Arayaburi Boutique Resort at Samrong Bay.


Serenely SecludedSeclusion and tranquillity. It’s something that a great many resorts lay claim to. It’s a positive attraction, and all the more so if you’re not a whole hour away from the nearest shops! Nowadays, it’s simply not enough to be tucked away on a remote beach somewhere. There has to be a good atmosphere, too. And no matter how good the brochures sound or how many facilities there are, there’s no easy recipe for this. It either works or it doesn’t. And one place where it all comes together beautifully is Arayaburi Boutique Resort, up at the north-eastern tip of the island at Samrong Bay.


As soon as you walk into the resort you can sense it. There’s a sunny and open aspect with acres of space dotted with trees and thatched buildings and with a grand seascape that gradually reveals itself. A great deal of the ‘easy’ feeling here is to do with the landscape. The lay of the land is kindly; neither being as flat as a dull pancake or awkwardly hilly, either. In fact, it perfectly lends itself to a setting of wending pathways and unexpected terraces with linked layers – and this draws you into a series of descending panoramas, all of them with that enticing blue seascape as a backdrop.


The grounds are a contrasting mix of clipped lawns and riotous tropical greenery and actually contain a total of 65 villas. It’s a bit of a surprise to realise this as they only ever reveal themselves occasionally, here and there. These range from the eight airy Grand Deluxe Villas through the 35 equally-sumptuous Deluxe Villas to the 22 well-appointed Superior Villas. And all have air-conditioning throughout, satellite TV with in-house movies, a fridge with mini-bar and tea/coffee making facilities as standard.


But what makes the whole resort knit together so well is the way that everything integrates into the ‘O2 Beach Club’. The beach itself is idyllic and the stuff of which picture postcards are made. Unlike so many of the island’s flat and dreary seascapes, this is Samrong Bay; one of the prettiest little crescent-shaped coves around. The coastline is hilly and green with one or two clusters of rocks on the golden sand, and it’s cosy and self-contained.


The resort’s pool adjoins a terrace overlooking the beach and next to a round ‘castaway-style’ beach bar, and there are loungers and umbrellas on the sand. Over to the right of this there’s another pool, which is shallower for children and surrounded by shady terraces with informal dining tables. And, at the furthest right-hand edge, an elevated nest of three interlinked circular ‘salas’. And all of this area along the beach, together with the bar and dining facilities, is a part of the O2 Beach Club.


“This is the hub of the resort,” Khun Sasitorn Na nakorn, the resort’s Sales Executive, explains. “Certainly, guests like to wander off to the upper restaurant or play a round of mini-golf. But we’ve worked hard to make the beach club area a relaxed and varied central point where swimming, lounging, food and drink are all combined with gentle background music. And,” she added with a smile, “it’s open to outside guests and there’s no charge to come here for the day.”


The upper restaurant, called ‘View Talay’, is possibly one of the most striking features of the resort. It’s designed along typical Thai lines, open on all sides under a shady roof, and is charmingly rustic in tone. This is the place where you can gaze down upon the cascading levels below and out across the deep blue sea –a restaurant with a view indeed! The experienced Executive Chef, Khun Pramote Dareh, has been working in top restaurants on Samui for quite some time and has put together a menu that’s both varied and enticing, and with just enough ‘fusion’ to make it fun without being pretentious. There’s a wide selection of mains, ranging from pasta to pizza to porterhouse, and with lots of fresh seafood (as you’d expect) included, too. “We have all the usual Thai dishes,” he expanded, “but I’ve also created some that blend-in Western elements. Plus we have a good selection of children’s options as well.”


Just along the path and a few paces away from View Talay is another shady deck. This is the ‘Wine Lounge’ with its comfy bamboo furniture and quiet music. And immediately below this is a similar, but smaller, lounge that’s closer to and just above the ground level of the Beach Club below. All of these nooks, together with the three round salas on the beachfront, make for a variety of cool and pleasant getaway spots within the resort. “They’re perfect for relaxing or catching up with your email,” Khun Sasitorn added, “and you can order snacks or refreshments in any of them, including a big range of smoothies, fruit shakes and health drinks.”


Although most people don’t care for a substantial meal during the heat of the day, the lunch menu and the dinner menu are, in practice, interchangeable. This flexibility means that you’re able to take a snack in the evening if you wish, or a rack of lamb in the afternoon if you so fancy. It’s up to you. Plus you can order these in more or less any location you want; even at night on a private table for two on the beach. It’s this easy-going approach that confirms the initial feeling that this is a very laid-back resort, indeed.


Even so, the management team here are not content to lie back and relax upon their laurels. You’ll find the prices all-round are competitive and there are continually updated ‘specials’ of one kind or another. These range from the weekly ‘Chef’s Specials’ to the continual Happy Hour beverage offerings; the contents of which vary from time-to-time and mostly come in the form of buy-one-get-one-free. And you can indulge the fruits of the Happy Hour daily between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm.


And there’s more. Each day sees one of a range of different activities on offer, from learning Thai to woodcarving. There’s also a modern fitness centre for those of you with energetic inclinations. But, if you’re planning to come here for the day, make a call to reception first if you want a free pick-up from one of the resort’s many shuttle buses which make the 15-minute journey to and from Chaweng throughout the day.


Rob De Wet


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