Samui Wining & Dining
You might not know the name, but the Impiana Resort is right up there with the best
– and offers a lot more than you might expect.

You might not know the name, but the Impiana Resort is right up there with the best – and offers a lot more than you might expect.It’s not a new idea. You’ll come across several like this. They really stand out from the crowd – although you have to know where they are. Most resorts really can’t carry it off. But when it’s done well, it’s sheer joy. I’m talking about those few 4-star resorts that have got everything right. They’ve geared up to the 5-star ethos and have risen to the challenge in all but those final few, fine twists that the ratings demand. More often than not it’s a matter of measure – maybe room volume is just that teensy bit out. But those few that are bold, and have flair, steam right on ahead, becoming 5-star in all but the name. And one of the most established of these is Impiana Resort, just a little way around the corner from the main strip of Chaweng Beach.


It’s not an easy thing to do this, to buffer yourself up to these standards, right across the board. Staff are a resource that is often downplayed, but not here. It’s just so easy to put in a spa, a fitness centre, or buy quality cutlery. But it takes an ongoing investment in time and continual training – thus costing so much more to do it right – to assemble a team with confident English skills, an awareness of international standards, the ability to improvise and the initiative to know when to do so, and the pleasantly relaxed politeness that rises out of experience. And there is simply no substitute.


The other thing about staff is that they tend to move-on fast – with so many international 5-star hotels here now, there’s plenty of scope. But with the right incentives, they’ll stay. And that applies to all levels, including the general manager. And if a resort’s management staff keeps moving on and changing . . . David Xavier is the GM here at Impiana. He’s been here for more than five years now,You might not know the name, but the Impiana Resort is right up there with the best – and offers a lot more than you might expect. and his awareness and management style shows through as soon as he speaks. “I could do nothing without a top-line team,” he told me. “Our staff are super. They are all valued and appreciated, and every voice is listened to.” David is a pleasantly modest man; the fact that he personally takes the time to overlook every applicant won’t be something he’ll stress!

Impiana is one of those resorts which, at first glance, doesn’t give much away. The frontage, on the ring road at Chaweng Noi, doesn’t grab your eye, even though it’s substantial. And what’s tucked away behind it can’t be seen. Unlike most of Chaweng Beach, the coast here is rocky and steep, descending steadily downwards to the beach below. The resort follows this path, but being so gently and subtly graded into several sets of descending terraces that you aren’t really aware of this as you explore. There’s a wide range of accommodations, some layered in the main block, others as cottages, plus one Seaside Suite, but all of them are super-pleasant, modern and fresh, and impeccably kitted out with all mod cons, such as private balconies, mini-bar, and satellite TV.

There are no fewer than three places to eat: two restaurants plus a beach bar. ‘Tamarind Bar & Lounge’ is a cosy, open-sided dining area with an elevated outlook, neatly divided into a games room, lounge and bar, plus a terraced outer dining area that’s intimate and relaxed. Then, on a lower level there’s ‘Sabai’, the shady all-day restaurant that’s on the fringe of the sand. The menus are Thai and International, offering pizzas and pasta, plus a mains selection featuring sea bass, salmon, duck, lamb and several cuts of imported Black Angus beef from Australia.


And then, right on the sand itself, there’s the ‘Beach Bar’, a humble name, but this is a dramatic 2-floor construction with huge fruit trees growing up through the middle, and with the shady upper deck having enough space for most wedding parties – of which it sees its fair share! Oh – and talking of keeping up with the times, all the menus are now in English, Russian and Chinese.


And very cleverly architected in-there, hidden away around to one side, shrouded in lush greenery and at the edge of a velvety lawn, there’s the spa, and it’s got an atmosphere all of its own. Swasana Spa has to be one of the most relaxing you’ll come across. It’s not that big, but there’s a tangibly tranquil atmosphere as soon as you step inside.You might not know the name, but the Impiana Resort is right up there with the best – and offers a lot more than you might expect. They offer beauty, therapeutic, and rejuvenating treatments, as well as a range of massages. And right now there’s a special set of packages and discounts being offered – too much detail to list here in full. But contact them or check on their Facebook page for full details!


Or, if you are interested in any of the things above, ask to speak to Khun Mas (Khun Juthamas Sawangrat), the Guest Experience Manager. Yet another 5-star feather in Impiana’s cap – a friendly, open and outgoing person who is there full time for everyone, resident guests or interested visitors alike. “It seemed there was a gap, somehow,” David explained. “Guests didn’t like to mention small things, like a dripping tap or air-con that was hard to control, and they didn’t really know who to speak to anyway. So we created a position for someone to be constantly on hand to help out in these situations. She’s been invaluable with helping out with the details of the many weddings we arrange. And she’s just so friendly and approachable, liaising seamlessly between guests and departmental heads, a real Miss Fixit!”


Of course, it all depends what you want. Hopefully the misplaced and lingering hesitation that Joe Public used to have about walking into unfamiliar resorts has become a thing of the past. Resorts and their often unparalleled facilities are there for you, too, if you know where to look. And whether it’s a really special evening dining experience, a superb beach buffet with entertainment, Swasana Spa with its pampering, rejuvenating or beauty treatments – or even arranging your entire wedding ceremony and reception – this place takes a great deal of beating. The name is simply ‘Impiana Resort’. But if you translate that into real day-to-day terms, then it means, across the board, you’re getting 5-star service at a 4-star price!


Rob De Wet



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