Samui Wining & Dining
When it comes to enjoying yourself on Choeng Mon Beach
it can only mean going to one place – SALA Samui.


SALAcious SALAFor many locals and expats Choeng Mon Beach is the place they head for when they want to relax. It’s a small bay, just 15 minutes or so out of Chaweng on the north-east corner of the island. With fine golden sands, good swimming conditions most of the year and just a smattering of resorts, it’s perfect for a day of chilling out.


And in-between lazy walks along the shoreline and more energetic forays into the sea, there’s one resort that many make a bee-line for – SALA Samui. Since opening, it’s had a fantastic reputation for its food, welcoming ambience and range of facilities. It’s located at the far western end of the bay and you can just wander in off the beach. If you’re driving from Chaweng go through the village and near the end take the right hand turning signposted for Tongsai Bay, and it’s just 50 metres on the right. There’re plenty of parking spaces just in front of it.


On one side of the entrance you’ll see a well-equipped gym that’s open to the public and you can enquire inside about temporary membership. And opposite is Pangaea, a pizza, tapas and wine bar that’s fully-air-conditioned and a lovely respite from the humidity. Its name is from the ancient Greek meaning ‘entire earth’ and is derived from the hypothesized super-continent that existed 250 million years ago. And just as all the creatures of the world were brought together back then, so Pangaea bar and restaurant welcomes people from every corner of the globe today. Drop in between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm any night and all the drinks including wines, spirits, beers and cocktails are half-price. There’s also high speed wi-fi access should you feel the need to log on and make contact with the outside world.


SALA Samui is also a rather unique resort should you want to check-in and spend a few days being pampered in luxurious surroundings. Of the 69 villas and suites, 53 have their own private pools and there’re two much larger swimming pools on their 80 metre beachfront. One is a fun pool and the other a 25-metre lap pool for more serious swimmers. Guests staying at the resort can also enjoy ‘In-villa Dining’ where a chef and a butler will come to your villa and cook whatever kind of meal you want. Pretty much the only thing you have to do is chew.


And the pampering doesn’t stop there; they also have an incredible spa within the gardens. A sanctuary of privacy and tranquillity, SALA Spa offers a vast array of sensuous treatments from Clarins Sensorial facials treatments – for men and women; all natural body scrubs and wraps; traditional Thai, Swedish, 4-hand and hot stone massage therapies; and beauty treatments such as manicures and pedicures. And they have a number of packages available including a seven-hour ‘Indulgence Journey’ and each month they have a special spa promotion. And you don’t even have to go to the effort of chewing, just lie back and let the professionals do what they do best – pamper you.


Take a walk through the landscaped gardens and you will soon come upon the beach and the wonderful views around the bay. On some afternoons you might see stunning floral displays placed around a central pagoda. That’s because SALA Samui is one of the island’s most popular venues for wedding ceremonies. And the housekeeping team are masters at making every bride’s dream of a beautiful beach wedding come true. Pull up a stool at the beach bar, order a drink and let the joyful waves of emotion wash over you. You do remember what is was like to be happy and married at the same time don’t you?


Just across from the beach bar (happy hours 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm and again from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm) is SALA Restaurant. Under the expert guidance of Executive Chef, Nick Hall, they continue to excel and delight guests time and time again. Their à la carte menu is at the heart of the dining experience. And it’s packed full of Mediterranean influenced cuisine with elements of Malaysian, Indian, Indonesian and Pan-Pacific touches. Yellow fin tuna and Atlantic sea bass rub scales with indigenous scallops, shrimp, lobster, crab and Samui king mackerel. Beef and lamb are imported from Australia and all four regions of the Kingdom are represented in their Thai dishes. And Nick has created a degustation menu for serious food lovers and has a ‘What Dreams are Made of’ offer that begins with a personal consultation with him and ends up with a tailor-made menu designed just for you.


SALA Samui restaurant has its own bakery and incredibly talented pastry chefs; don’t forgo a dessert just because you’re nearly full. Nick has also introduced a series of ‘Gourmet Feasts’ which include Seafood Discovery nights, a Taste of Asia and Thai Market Night amongst many others. They change from week to week so just ask in the restaurant what’s happening when you’re there. And also ask about ‘Table 9’, if it’s not booked out already then put your name down (without giving away the whole secret, I’ll just say that it’s a unique table in a unique position!). Nick and his team additionally run Thai cooking classes. And adjoining the restaurant is Samui’s only beachfront wine cellar with more than 120 labels and thousands of bottles. They’ll happily recommend the best match for whatever you choose to eat.


Choeng Mon Beach is a great place to spend the day. And SALA Samui just has to be visited. It has so much to offer whether you’re staying for a few days or simply passing by. And its reputation for genuine warm hospitality, a sensuous spa and top-quality innovative cuisine is definitely justified. Go on, you’re on vacation, spoil yourself.


Johnny Paterson


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