Having been lucky enough to experience the hospitality of the Belmond franchise in a few locations around the world (the Mount Nelson being a favourite for everything including the signature pink façade), there was a certain level of expectation when we arrived on the island of Koh Samui for three nights at their Belmond Napasai resort on the north coast. A 30-minute drive from the airport, the first thing that strikes you as you meander through the driveway is the seclusion and privacy; the roads of Koh Samui are teeming with noise and activity, but that all gradually fades out as you make your way from the front gates to the coastal edge.
For the duration of our stay, we were treated to a stay in one of the Sea View Villas that overlook golden sands below, as well as Koh Phangan on the horizon. Relaxing on the veranda with a cold beer in my hand, I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of my 22 year-old self in the midst of the chaos of the Full Moon Party on that very island all those years ago. Inside the villa, everything is finished to the level of detail and luxury that you would expect to find in any Belmond resort; albeit with a Thai twist. I particularly loved the wooden floors and Thai-style sofa bed that provided the perfect lookout towards the setting sun.
There are plenty of activities to do at Belmond Napasai (including cooking lessons and Muay Thai sessions), but we were there with the sole aim to properly switch off and enjoy the sunshine. Luckily the beach is right in the middle of the resort, complete with sun loungers and cabanas. We upgraded to the all-inclusive service, and so food and drink was served directly to us throughout the day. I highly recommend the upgrade if you do stay; the cocktails are of a good standard, as is the local beer, and it’s always good to be able to justify sampling most of the menu for lunch. We ate in our cabana; the chicken satay is absolutely to die for and the pork tacos being another fresh option for those scorching hot days.
If you prefer to take a seat at the table (a necessity for dinner too), then there are two restaurants at the resort to choose from. A huge selection of buffet-style breakfast is served at Lai Thai high above the resort, while on the water’s edge is the aptly-named Beach restaurant. We ate here every night, watching the storm clouds and lightning roll over the Angthong Marine Park to the north as we dined on exquisite pork gyoza and Pad Thai. The standout dish for me was certainly the Beef and Pineapple salad; served within the fruit itself and packed full of flavor.
We have so many wonderful memories of our short stay here, and the Belmond Napasai is certainly the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle to be found elsewhere in Koh Samui. You can find out more about Napasai and the wider Belmond collection here.