Samui Wining & Dining
A State of Pleasure
Entering Beach Republic really is like visiting a tropical independence.

 

A State of PleasureThis is Thailand. It’s a proud country, little-spoiled by time and with deep-seated customs and traditions. The only Western influences you’ll see here are in the little day-to-day things like … cell phones and motorbikes! Architecture, of course, is another matter. Bangkok has a hi-tech skyline that puts The Big Apple in the shade. But not so Samui. Samui is a much younger place altogether and the majority of the buildings you’ll see here are styled along more-traditional lines. The dominant element is the roof-line; steep, complex nests of roofs are the norm, usually festooned with elaborately-carved wooden decorations. So it makes for a very refreshing change when you find yourself somewhere with quiet and simple lines, plain white surfaces and a bold, modern décor. There are several resorts like this dotted around the island, but you need to know where to look. And one of the more accessible of these is Beach Republic, in Lamai.

 

All seems quite usual as you come off the ring-road, following the signposts towards the resort (as you’re coming from Chaweng heading towards Lamai it’s just 100 metres down the second road on the left after you pass the large IT Complex buildings). But, as you come onto the twisting concrete lane leading to Beach Republic, the ambiance seems to change. The path narrows as it runs alongside the blazing white walls and geometric angles of the ‘residences’ behind. These are all sumptuously equipped, and decorated in clean, bright primaries that off-set the acres of white all around. And the roofs? Not a single strip of curly-carved brown wood anywhere. Not even one rustic terracotta pan-tile, either. Although the overall feeling is decidedly Mediterranean, the roofs of the various accommodations all share the same dramatic motif that you’ll see when you enter the huge and open-sided reception and dining area; a projecting thatched vault, like some kind of upside-down boat! It sounds clumsy in words but looks simply splendid in reality, contrasting and complementing the smooth white geometry that surrounds it.

 

Beach Republic first appeared on the Samui scene in January 2009. Its initial thrust was towards the young-at-heart and the late-night party scene. And it quickly established itself as one of the most pleasant and relaxed venues on the island. But, even back then, its president, Tim Dean-Smith, had an ambitious ‘Phase II’ on the drawing board. And today Beach Republic has emerged as one of Samui’s more chic family resorts, with 39 high-end villas and suites, an opulent spa and fitness centre, a super restaurant and a very laid-back pool area with giant daybeds, big enough to hold a whole football team!

 

The Resident Manager, Julie Glover, has been on board for 18 months ago, when all this was already in place. “This is probably one of the more laid-back resorts on the island,” she confidently explained. “The exclusive walled villas have their own pools but there are other options, from the four-bedroom Presidential Pool Villa right through to the more-compact Club Suites.” And even these are lavishly-appointed with a fully-fitted kitchen, including fridge-freezer and microwave oven plus, of course, the now-obligatory flat-screen TV with DVD player and cable TV.

 

Coming back to our journey, as you reach the restaurant, there’s a vast space, with the lofty vaulted curves of the unique ceiling-design supported by pillars. There’s a reception area along the nearest wall and a long bar to one side of it. The roofed area falls naturally into two sections, with a comfy lounge at one side and a dining section at the other. The furniture is simple, sturdy and dark, and set-off by vibrant splashes of fire-engine red. Bench seats and loungers mingle with the more-formal tables and chairs. And opening out in front of you is the rectangular pool fringed by gigantic sun umbrellas with the deep blue sea beyond.

 

At this point your instinctive reaction is that this is all very big, airy and stylish. Which it is – but you haven’t seen the half of it! From within the dining area you can’t. But wandering out onto the extended terrace beside the pool reveals that there’s even more space to the right. A dramatic outcrop of rock sits on the terrace like an island and there’s another big bar on the far side, facing an upwards slope with a raised marquee-deck set into it. “It doesn’t often happen,” Julie pointed out, “but if ever we’ve a wedding and there’s a rain shower, then this pavilion is a perfect alternative to the beach. It’s an impressive location with a terrific view.”

 

Carry on wandering around, and the resort seems to keep on opening out like some kind of Chinese puzzle, progressing onwards through the walkway behind the long bar reveals yet another dimension. This really is now completely Mediterranean in flavour, with a narrow tiled path that wends between blisteringly-white high stucco walls then suddenly opening into the shady setback ‘cove’ of the Asian Fusion Spa. This is just as beautifully-designed and furnished as everything else here, offering both pampering and rejuvenating programs as well as the more esoteric Reiki and Ayurvedic treatments. And following this shimmering ‘side street’ a little further around a sharp bend reveals the sudden contrast of a wall of dimmed glass bedded into the stucco. This is the fitness centre, filled with gleaming chrome and steel machines that twinkle with neon digital meters and dials.

 

“This is a family-based resort,” Julie continued, “and things quieten down in the evening. But most weekends we still bring in a DJ and run a party-style brunch during the afternoon. We are very accommodating and welcome day-visitors. In fact, we have the ‘Ocean Club’ where you can come in for the day and use any or all of our facilities. There’s a cover charge of 500 baht, but this is offset if you consume that amount of food or drinks.”

 

But even more alluring is the ‘Luxury for the Day’ special that they’re running. For just 1,495 baht you can avail yourself of a one-hour massage, enjoy the steam and fitness rooms, plus indulge in a two-course meal with a glass of wine included. And to put the icing on the cake, this also includes a complimentary pick-up from your resort. It’s a small enough price to pay for being in a constant ‘state of pleasure’!

 

Rob De Wet
 


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