Samui Wining & Dining
Gaze down upon the world from the luxury villas at Narai Kiri.


First there were only huts on the beach. Then brick bungalows came along. And it wasn’t long before collections of these turned into resorts. Then big hotels emerged, sitting where there once used to be four resorts together. And the better and more luxurious these were, the more you had to pay. The problem was that although your resort had 5-star facilities and service, you were basically staying in just one room with a bathroom attached. And that’s where the ideas of villas came in.

      Of course, renting villas is nothing new. But the new approach was to create what was essentially a self-contained resort, but one which contained secluded luxurious multi-room villas instead of bungalows. It made perfect sense for a family to share one of these, or a couple of sets of friends. In fact, taking one of these for three or four weeks often worked out less costly than staying in a quality resort for a fortnight and paying by the day. And, when it came to getting married on Samui nothing could be better than the family and friends of the lucky couple taking over several of these villas all next to each other.

       But that’s only a small part of the story. People have a habit of falling in love with Samui, coming here for a stream of holidays, and then deciding to retire here. Or perhaps to invest in a holiday home. Then it becomes imperative to have an established and reliable management company to handle all the hassles of maintenance and repairs, taking care of off-peak sub-letting, cleaning and gardening, and all those other ongoing tasks that simply have to be done. (In Thailand even simply paying an electricity bill means going along in person and handing over actual cash!) And that’s where Khun Pinyo Khumprom comes into the picture.

          Khun Pinyo (nicknamed Khun Yo) is one of the ‘Samui Folk’; his family have been here for as long as they can remember. And that’s important. There are now many Bangkok entrepreneurs investing in such property schemes, and it’s not always easy to ensure adequate caretaking from long-distance. Khun Yo is the project manager for Narai Kiri, an extensive and luxurious development placed way up high, in the hills overlooking nearby Bangrak. He actually manages several related projects, all of which go under the heading of ‘The Narai Kiri Project’ and includes The Samui Royal Holdings Project (11 prime beachfront plots at Plai Laem, near Six Senses Samui resort), Hill Top Villa (two magnificent four or six-bedroom villas to rent close to Narai Kiri), and the Narai Kiri development itself.

          Narai Kiri is probably one of the most spectacular locations to be found anywhere on the island. It’s no accident that the ancient Greeks thought their gods lived up in the sky on the summit of Mount Olympus, from where they could survey all the world.

          Way over in the distance, beyond the span of Bangrak Beach below you, there’s the pastel outcrops of the far-away Angthong National Marine Park. A little to the right of Bangrak, there’s a god’s-eye-view of the Big Buddha and the neighbouring Plai Laem temple. And in the middle distance there’s a crystal clear image of Koh Pha-Ngan. Few places on Samui have such a wide-ranging panorama.

          There are a total of 19 plots here, with villas differing in size and specification. Out of these just nine are still available to buy, but with several of the others being available to rent at the discretion of their owners. The most impressive feature of all of these is simply the sensation of space. Every one of the villas is individually designed, but the unifying theme is that of openness and light. Open-tread stairs coming out of a vast airy lounge are set against a back wall of house-high glass. Wall-wide picture windows in the bedrooms look out onto 100 miles of sea and sky. Being set in the hazy climate of the tropics, all these acres of glass can be opened to let the balmy breezes through. And everywhere there is the cascading grandeur that usually only deities get a chance to enjoy.

          The villas vary in size from two bedrooms with a kitchenette, to something a sultan would shout about. But, when it comes to renting a villa, the jewel in the crown is the nearby Hill Top Villa. On the crest of a slightly lower and nearby hill top are two magnificent self-contained and private villas, one with six bedrooms and the other with four. As with all the other villas in the project, no expense has been spared. The flooring ranges from designer ceramic tiling, to quartz inlays and antique quarry-stone. All the wood is hardwood and craftsman-made and fitted. The kitchen is a gleaming Euro-show-piece with fitted oven, hob and fridge. Lighting is remotely controlled via a handset. The air-conditioning throughout is of the silent ‘whisper’ variety. The bathroom comes with Balinesestyle shower and Jacuzzi. Each villa has its own super infinity pool – way up here these really do just merge into the sky, as they were designed to do. There’s a grand amount of terrace space around them too, which is perfect for parties or entertaining.

          And when it comes to such social events, once again Khun Pinyo and his team have got it all sorted. It sounds just too much like a press-release, but it’s true; anything you need just ask and it shall be provided. This might be an on-site caterer with or without a DJ or live musicians. Or simply a chef who will turn up in the evening and prepare and cook for you the dishes of your choice. Or, if you fancy doing this for yourself, he’ll arrange an escorted visit to the local market (which just happens to be one of the biggest fish and seafood markets on the island). You can then have your chef talk you through Thai cooking lessons so you can learn to do this the authentic Thai way. Car or motorbike rental? A minibus for the day with a driver to tour you around the island? All you have to do is ask.

          Narai Kiri isn’t just about award-winning architectural excellence and décor, with a stunning location and outlook. This is about lifestyle and living. It’s the difference between a couple of weeks on vacation or delighting in a fortnight of your life with every moment enjoyed in the secluded lap of luxury. Or – dare I say it – in the lap of the gods?


 Rob De Wet



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