Samui Wining & Dining
An overview of what’s made Hansar Samui one of the most popular venues on the island.


Times have really changed. And for the better, too. When I was a young man, it was simply a question of going to a travel agent in the high street and deciding between hundreds of tiny brochure pictures. And we never knew what we were going to end up with – holiday upsets were accepted as normal. But now there’s the internet. You Google it and check the websites first. And then the most important bit (and something I really wish we had all those years ago), you talk to people who’ve been there and stayed there. Well – you let them talk to you! You check on the loved-and-hated TripAdvisor. It’s hated by all those places who think they’re better than they really are. And it’s loved the world over by people like you and me! And when it comes to TripAdvisor and Hansar Samui, you’ll see nothing but beaming faces all round.

      Which comes as no surprise at all. Hansar is one of the more recent appearances on the Samui scene, and opened its doors for the first time a little less than three years ago. It’s firmly and yet unassumingly 5-star, but with a pricing policy throughout that often makes other quality resorts raise their eyebrows. There are a total of 74 deluxe rooms, ranging from ‘Sea View’ to ‘Beach Front’, each of them decorated and fitted to a lavish level of stylish comfort, and with the emphasis on lots of natural wood and fabric. There’s an impressive spa suite, a gym and fitness centre, a world-class restaurant, a business centre, and a spacious and well-equipped banqueting and conference room.

       From the outside the whole resort is quietly understated. There’s nothing dramatic or showy. In fact it all veers towards the edge of minimalism. The location is a prime one, too. It’s a pretty safe bet that just about every visitor to Samui, at some time or another, will make the trip to visit Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village – it’s one of the island’s main attractions. This is basically just one narrow street which is raised, running along the edge of the sand. At one time, long ago, it actually was what its name suggests, and a number of the ancient wooden houses still exist, curiously complementing the newer concrete and brick buildings interspersed amongst them. Shops, bars pubs, stalls and eateries abound, curiosities and curios are all around, and every Friday is a carnival as the spectacle of ‘Walking Street’ jams it from end to end. And it’s actually at the very end of all this – less than one minute’s walk along from where the ‘village’ seems to end – that you’ll come across Hansar. The first thing that edges into your sightline is the little thatched street-side bar, closely followed by the open-sided aspect of the resort’s restaurant, H Bistro.

          H Bistro is on the corner and the front edge of one of the legs of the block, on two floors and, as with the styling of the entire resort, deliberately low-key. It’s not actually until you go inside to sit that you begin to appreciate the sheer quality of everything, from the solid wooden chairs and tables with the real crystal glassware, to the semiopen state-of-the-art stainless steel kitchen along the whole of the rear wall. Presiding over all this is Executive Chef, Stephen Dion. He’s really quite an exceptional exponent of his art, but as equally modest and unassuming as the style and décor around him. He won’t mention, for example, that for two years he was the private chef for His Majesty the King of Jordan. And he’s even (unlike many chefs I know!) reluctant to enthuse about his menu. “My cuisine can speak for itself,” he shrugged with a grin. “It’s an international offering with a French-Mediterranean influence and with fresh seafood featuring widely. Everything is fresh, light and healthy!” But what Stephen didn’t want to boast about was that quite a few items are specially shipped from abroad because of their particular flavour and quality, such as the live lobsters, razor clams, langoustines, mussels and king crab, that, if you look carefully, have USA, Scotland, Japan, and Australia stamped on their crates.

          Over on the opposite corner of the main block you’ll come across Luxsa, the sumptuous spa that’s as state-of-the-art as Stephen’s shiny kitchen. As soon as you walk in there’s an immediate sensation of tranquillity and calm, reinforced by the quality of the gently-diffused light which filters down from a hidden atrium above. What you can’t see are the six large and luxuriantly-appointed treatment suites that are behind the double glass doors on the far wall, plus the other dedicated area for manicures and pedicures, or the three outdoor salas that are dotted around the grounds.

          This isn’t just about pampering, although the spa menu is filled with wraps, scrubs and facial treatments. The whole approach is rooted in a meaningful and holistic approach to ourselves and our bodies, with medical and physical conditions being assessed and integrated with personality-typing, to determine the specific oils and aromas to be combined together for the treatment. The Spa’s experienced manager, Khun Kantima Chompoolad – nicknamed Khun Jeurn – has been with the resort since day one and is sensitively aware of each of our varying physical and psychic make-ups, and how to analyse what will be best for each individual. “We offer a range of various individual approaches,” she told me, “particularly the Ayurvedic treatments which are designed to harmonise and balance body and mind. This is of benefit to all of us, men and women alike, and we have several combined packages which complement each other for increased overall harmony.”

          Two of the treatment rooms are doubles and designed so that both partners can be treated together in sympathy, and there are several dedicated programs designed to this end. One of the more insightful items is the ‘Pamper Your Partner’ program, in which each member of the couple is taught hands-on how to massage the other and detect and approach treating areas of stress and tension in the body. Altogether there’s a strong family feeling here and overall the result is a dedicated and sympathetic outlook on the entire spa experience.

          But this is really what’s at the core of Hansar overall – the managers and staff really do relate easily to each other with mutual respect, and with little of the formality that you’ll see sometimes imposed. But, whichever way you look at it, from the inside or from out, it’s a very well-knit and harmonious resort. In fact, even when there are clouds in the sky, the view over Hansar Samui is sunny – every day of the week!


 Rob De Wet



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