As you wander through Meliá Koh Samui, one of the island’s most recognizable resorts due to its one-of-a-kind boat suites, you’ll notice flower motifs everywhere: as sculptures in the lobby, wall art in the breakfast area and appearing throughout the guest rooms.
The flower, native to Koh Samui, is called ‘mui’ and it has become a symbol of the resort. The small, white flowers are not the showiest of blooms but beloved for their pristine appearance and delightful fragrance. The resort’s owner, Wallapa Traisorat, chose to showcase the bloom to pay homage to Thai culture since these flowers have been used for generations in ceremonies and as house decorations.
The choice of this symbol seems fitting for the resort, the first in Thailand for Spanish hotel group Meliá Hotels International. Opened in 2020 and featuring 159 rooms and 41 suites, the property was named a Top 20 Resort in Thailand by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler in 2021.
A stay at the resort revealed why the flower may have been chosen as a symbol of the property, one that is not showy but in which each petal is perfectly in place and the result is sublime.
Featuring a blue-and-white nautical theme throughout, it’s the series of 30 boat suites that immediately catch the eye. We were lucky enough to get to explore them all. Each of the refurbished teak boats are retired merchant vessels. They were originally built a century ago and used to transport potatoes and rice down the Chao Phraya River before being rehomed and repurposed by the resort.
Today, the boat suites, at 91 sqm each, take a variety of layouts. Some have two-storey interiors while others sit on one level with sun decks situated above, perfect for those with less mobility. A handful of the boat suites feature sea views while others have direct access to the large, meandering 700-metre lagoon loop pool. The sea view options also feature built-in hammock loungers perfect for watching the sunset after a relaxing day in Koh Samui.
However, every room category at Meliá seems superbly outfitted, from the Deluxe Room to the Family Suite. The deluxe rooms start at 51 sqm and feature sumptuous beds, oversized bathrooms, outdoor loungers built for two, and spa baths with privacy curtains on the balconies.
With such a high level of design, space and comfort available, guests will be thrilled with their selection.
Features for Foodies
Meliá takes true pride in all of the food and drinks served at the resort. This is likely due, in part, to two key staff members: Executive Chef Azizskandar Awang, hailing from Malaysia and voted Chef Hotelier of the Year in 2018; and Ernesto Osuna Lopez, the Spanish General Manager who’s been on-site since the property began development in 2016.
Osuna’s Spanish roots and passion for food are obvious in touchpoints around the resort. The cheeses and charcuterie are top-notch and he can speak at length about each individual selection. The breakfast buffet at Koko Kitchen includes a selection of cured meats and olives and a Spanish table features fluffy, crunchy churros, Spanish omelettes, and torrijas de mi madre. On a recent morning, guests were so delighted by this unusual breakfast buffet addition that they were taking photos of it with childlike glee.
Chef Awang said, “Our contemporary take on Thai cuisine as well as our Mediterranean influence, paying tribute to Spain’s famed gastronomy, make our food unique. Our signature dishes include ‘Hokkaido Scallop with Chorizo, Raisin Salsa and Ajo Blanco’ and ‘Wagyu Beef with Black Garlic, Parsnip Puree and Port Wine Reduction.”
Over the course of our stay, we enjoyed several meals at The Breeza Beach Bar & Restaurant. From the tuna tartare mixed with fresh passionfruit to Josper-grilled crab and prawns fresh from the ocean with two housemade takes on nahm jim sauce, we were wowed by the quality and innovation of each dish we tried.
The resort also puts on a Sunday Buffet Brunch that has become popular with locals and guests alike. Featuring a carving station, Japanese offerings and a Raw Bar, islanders flock to the resort to eat well and catch up with friends on one of the island’s most beautiful beaches.
For those staying in pool access rooms and above, the resort features a club building with additional complimentary offerings. The club, called The Level, is boat-shaped to echo the suites and features private check-in and check-out, all-day snacks and barista coffees, afternoon tea selection, and a complimentary happy hour each evening.
There are lots of families kicking back and reconnecting at Meliá. The expansive loop pool, which meanders through the entire resort, comes complete with buoyant loungers and provides young guests with endless nooks and crannies to explore. They can swim beneath bridges to reach two separate water slides that are gently sloped to be more fun than dangerous – perfect for kids and adults alike.
As young guests explore, they will discover a trampoline suspended over the loop pool, a truly unusual feature attached to the Kidsdom, the resort’s well-outfitted kids’ club, with its own pool and waterslide, loungers for parents, water games and more. Inside, the Kidsdom – also housed in a repurposed boat – is separated into two floors. The quieter bottom floor features toys and games for infants and toddlers while the upstairs features more advanced playthings, tables, art supplies and a large screen tv.
On a recent Sunday, the chalkboard announcing the kids’ activities for the day listed body painting, bag painting, pencil topper making, balloon creations and postcard decorating. Kids also get a happy hour of their own, each afternoon they can stop by the Kidsdom for free cotton candy made to order.
Amenities and Atmosphere
In addition to the loop pool, the hotel has a 1,000 sqm dual-level infinity pool beside its beach with cabanas, underwater loungers and a Jacuzzi. Situated on Choeng Mon Beach, the fine white sand – with barely a rock in sight – is something unique in Samui. The beach itself features a handful of upmarket resorts making it lively enough to provide people watching and atmosphere but separate enough to feel serene and peaceful.
Yhi Spa, decked out in calming neutral shades and features Harnn products and has a traditional Thai sauna. Treatments include massages, scrubs, wraps and facials that blend Asian healing wisdom with modern wellness techniques.
Another thoughtful feature sits beside the gym and spa, a dedicated lounge full of sofas, tables and chairs for people that have checked out of their rooms but have evening flights back to Bangkok.
Overall, the service, rooms and food and drink were well above par for the upmarket island and worth the hype the resort has generated since opening. We encountered staff with a passion for the property who were knowledgeable about all the details. Meliá is a place to return to again and again.
Click here for bookings and to find out more about Meliá Koh Smaui