If Koh Samui isn’t on your must-visit list, your must-visit list needs updating. Here’s our guide to having the holiday of your dreams in Thailand (and making all of your Instagram followers hella jealous in the process).
White sand, crystal clear water and nightly fire twirling, Chaweng is Koh Samui’s biggest beach and the place to be. The only place to stay on Chaweng is The Library, a conceptual resort famous for its iconic red pool and minimalist design. In keeping with its name, the beachfront property does indeed have its own library and takes inspiration from the pages of books; featuring 20 secret pool villas known as Chapters. The real page-turner is the newly opened waterfront villa The Writer, designed by owner and creative director Kasemtham Sornsong. With a private pool overlooking the beach, a custom-made 11-foot bed and a “moon terrace,” The Writer is certainly something to write home about. Be warned: the villa is so grand everyone on the beach stops to take photos of it, so you might get mistaken for Margot Robbie when you’re casually sipping Chandon on your moon terrace (especially if you keep saying “Gosh I feel like Margot Robbie right now” really loudly and flicking your hair dramatically).
It’s impossible to have a bad meal in Thailand. But if you want to have a really, really good meal, head to The Page. The luxury restaurant overlooks The Library’s red pool and Chaweng beach. The menu pays homage to old-kingdom Thai cuisine and features rare dishes made with original recipes. As well as the obvious Pad Thai Koong, try the deep-fried green papaya salad, the raw tuna with chilli dressing and the Northern style egg noodle in chicken curry broth. I’m not embarrassed to admit I had an emotional reaction to the coconut ice cream. It’s that good.
The neighbouring island of Koh Phangan might be famous for its full moon parties and buckets of alcohol, but on Samui, the cocktails are served in iced glasses and garnished with fresh mint lychees and lemon. My pick? The Cucumber Bath, a vodka, sour apple, lime and cucumber mix topped with Apple Cucumber Air, from the Drink Gallery. Yeah, you’ll want to take a snap of it for Instagram. The elaborately presented cocktail is best pared with a round of tapas at the upmarket bar. Set on the infamous Chaweng Beach Road, the Drink Gallery is the perfect venue to soak up the street vibes and watch the Muay Thai promotional vans drive by blaring ‘Eye of the Tiger.’
One of the many perks at The Writer (in addition to the butterfly-pea infused coconut welcome drink, the complimentary green silk pyjamas and an on-call villa host) is the outdoor cinema. Choose a blockbuster from The Library’s film collection and watch it under the stars on your private pool deck with a bottle of local Chang beer. Salted and caramel popcorn included, naturally.
If you can pull yourself away from your 11-foot bed at The Library, it’s worth heading to the next beach over, Crystal Bay. Nestled between Chaweng and Lamai Beach, Crystal Bay is a relatively untouched piece of heaven. Not in the least because of the beachfront massage parlours. Is there anything more relaxing than a beachside massage?
If you want to stock up on Koh Samui fridge magnets and Chang beer singlets, Chaweng Beach Road is the place to shop. If you’re more into one-off linen shirts and designer earrings, it’s worth venturing to the old fishing village of Bophut, which is a 20-minute drive from Chaweng. Every Friday night the beach road becomes a walking street with market stalls, food vans and boutique shops. Amongst the cheap souvenirs and knock-off sunglasses, you’ll find leather bags, high quality local fabric and one-off jewellery pieces. Don’t leave without trying a street pancake with fresh banana, coconut and/or Nutella.
Make like a true marie claire editor and write a postcard home (or brag on Instagram about your ah-mazing holiday). Staying at The Library, you’ll have plenty of material to work with; waking up to breakfast on Chaweng beach, swimming in the incredible red pool and failing miserably at paddle boarding. There’s something poetic about writing in The Writer villa at The Library. Very on brand.
Rooms at The Library start at $482 plus taxes. For more, visit: www.thelibrarysamui.com