Santiburi Beach Resort renovations promote nature and tranquility in Maenam Beach
In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, when adventurous backpackers first discovered Koh Samui, the northern shore, including Maenam Beach, became a favoured haven. Because the beach was (and still is) farther off Samui’s main ring road than most other beaches on the island, it tended to be quieter, more laid-back, and less commercial than larger Chaweng or Lamai on the east coast.
Nowadays, when the latter beaches are awash with multi-story resorts and multi-lane streets lined with massage parlors, beer bars, and ‘fish spas’, Maenam’s semi-bohemian vibe has largely survived. Although a few backpacker bungalows linger on in Maenam, 25 years ago luxury became an option as well when Santiburi Beach Resort was established in a large coconut plantation with beach frontage of more than 300 meters.
Last year the owners invested $20 million into top-to-bottom renovations. Re-design and refurbishing extended to all existing suites, villas, guest rooms, main lobby, F&B outlets, sporting facilities, pool, and landscape, along with a new beach bar complex which has become probably the most favored hangout space in the resort. Or, for quieter moments, there’s Rim Talay, a casual yet romantic beachside dining venue where guests sit at tables in the sand and enjoy views of the Gulf of Thailand.
“Those who know and love Santiburi will be blown away by the changes – it’s almost like a new hotel,” said general manager Cedric Bonvin. “There’s nothing showy or shouty about it—all our efforts have gone towards creating sanctuaries of true relaxation and timeless style, with generous use of hardwoods and beautiful timber throughout and accents of Thai culture in just the right measure.”
But allow me to praise my favorite feature at Santiburi, the green design of the guest villas. I can’t count the number of times I’ve checked into expensive tropical beach villas built out of thick concrete to find that the designers had completely ignored the climate. Often there are no fans in the room and, worse yet, windows cannot be opened to let in fresh air. The heat of the day transferred via concrete-block walls leaves one no choice but to run the air-conditioning, even though the outside temperature, at night at least, might be quite comfortable.
This is not the case at Santiburi, where all of the windows, as well as the massive sliding doors along at least two sides of the villas, are fully operational and fitted with high-quality screens. On top of that, vaulted ceilings allow the growing heat of the day to collect above the living space, and both rooms of my villa also featured large, quiet ceiling fans. Of course, the villas also come equipped with air-conditioning for guests who can’t quite handle the tropical heat.
Santiburi Samui Beach Resort
Maenam Beach, Koh Samui
Tel. 07 742 5031