Samui Wining & Dining
Chaweng Bay View Resort has an unbeatable view - and is great value for money, too !


Probably one of the best things about Samui is that it’s now at the stage where it has just about everything. At one time you could enjoy the tranquillity of endless deserted beaches; but couldn’t buy a loaf of bread. You could chill out in a thatched hut on the beach that only cost pennies a day; but there was no hot water. There certainly were no pharmacies, ATM machines, convenience stores or internet. But now we’ve got the lot. Plus we’ve still got the old quaint rustic aspects, too. We’ve still got the thatched beach huts (but not for pennies anymore) and the remote isolated beaches (if you know where to go), but we’ve also got glittering 5-star resorts with personal butler service. And there’s also a whole range of excellent accommodation that’s right in the middle range – quality resorts with great facilities and personal service but which won’t cost you an arm and a leg. And one which falls firmly into this category is Chaweng Bay View Resort, at the far north of Chaweng.

      Its name should give you more than a clue as to its nature: it’s tucked away on the crest of a hilltop which commands breathtaking, sweeping, views over the sea and most of the coast in this area. And, as such, this is not a resort which is best-suited to the old or the frail. Although it has to be said straight away that the warm and attentive staff here will fall over themselves

to help-out families with small children or grannies, running them up the hill on their motorbikes, or into Chaweng, or even re-locating them in a bungalow that’s on the same level as the pool. This resort is layered onto terraces built into the hillside, you see, with the pool and restaurant area commanding the best views at the top. It’s not right on the beach (although it’s only a few minutes walk away) and it’s not exactly on the flat. But this is more than offset by its peacefulness and that stunning outlook. And also by their room-rates, which are all astonishingly and realistically reasonable.

       There are seven different categories of rooms and villas here, ranging from the exclusive and spacious Royal Pavilion Executive Suite to the unique Superior Regency Rooms. All are superbly decorated in a lavish-yet-tasteful contemporary Thai style, and kitted out with mini bar and fridge, phone with international direct dialling, flat screen TV with quality international satellite channels, and a stereo with DVD player. And each room has its own private balcony that’s comfortably furnished, and just perfect for breakfasts or lounging in the sun. Some of the villas go even further and have their own full kitchenette and outside Jacuzzi. If you consider that the prices here are about the same as staying elsewhere in a small concrete room in a block that’s closer to the beach, there’s no contest! The space, the dimensions, the quality of the décor and the outlook make the accommodation at Chaweng Bay View exceptional value for money.

          And then there’s the restaurant. Not surprisingly, in a resort that’s spent so much time, money and thought on the quality of their accommodation, the on-site eatery here is first-class, too. One of the measures of a successful resort restaurant is how often their own guests elect to eat in it. It’s fun to get out and

          explore, and Chaweng’s just crammed with seductive restaurants. But the resort’s sky-top restaurant, known as ‘Yupa’s’, remains a firm favourite with its guests, who turn up to dine there again and again. It runs a full menu of both International and Thai dishes, with a specialisation in genuine southern Thai cuisine, as well as serving substantial breakfasts. One of the guests, a German visitor staying with his Thai girlfriend, told me that, “. . . although the breakfast here is big, it’s western-style. Several times my girlfriend wanted something simpler and Thai, and the kitchen staff were great and immediately provided her with what she wanted. Not only that but they wouldn’t accept any payment for it either!”

          An interesting note about the name of the restaurant. The woman who owns and runs the resort is a true blue Samui local by the name of Khun Yupa Khumprom, who graduated with an accounting and marketing degree from Bangkok in 1985, and has had an interesting career since then.

          She not only opened the first disco on the island in 1987 (the ‘Flamingo’, in Lamai), but then went on to establish the famous Gallery Layafette in Chaweng, which was the first painting and art-copy shop to appear. Some years later, she bought the highest plot of land in Chaweng and built the resort. Although the resort is called ‘Chaweng Bay View Resort’, it’s simply known to everyone locally as ‘Yupa’s’, as is the restaurant that goes with it!

           Khun Yupa’s outlook is simple: “Whatever our guests want we’ll make sure that they get it.” And this actually goes further than simply responding to requests. She’s shrewd enough to also anticipate what sort of things are going to be needed or appreciated. One of these being a pick up and return service to the airport in the resort’s mini bus, which is also available for excursions, or runs in and out of Chaweng. And this is characteristic of the overall friendly help and responsiveness of all the staff

          There are many attractively priced resorts around Samui now, but cost isn’t the only consideration – you need to factor-in the quality of the accommodation and the environment that goes with it. You’ve got a choice. You could go for similar quality that’s closer to the sea, but as another guest observed, “If the hotel was on the beach I guess it would be five times the price that I paid.” And, taking into account the sheer quality of the accommodation here at Chaweng Bay View Resort, that just about sums it all up!


 Rob De Wet



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