|Dining in the glow of the sunset.|
OH, this is going to sound really ungrateful but where on earth are the clothes hangers, the wardrobe... the plush carpet? I am on a beautiful island, lodged in the Mizu, one of the distinctive suites in Akatsuki Resort.
This is the latest luxury property to open on the scenic western side of Thailand’s Koh Samui, with the mesmerising vista of five rock islands facing a lagoon just outside and the heady scent of eucalyptus enveloping my senses, and all I can think of is where the hell am I going to hang my clothes!
So consumed am I with such trivialities in the first few minutes of my arrival here that it's little wonder that I failed to notice that I’m actually lodged in the resort’s cosy spa-room which, when you slide open the door, expands to include a private treatment area, a delightful little garden and a secluded plunge pool.
And, of course, there are no hangers and tall wardrobes and knee-deep carpets, the likes of which you get in conventional hotels and resorts. Akatsuki, as I later discover, offers a concept that’s intuitive to the site’s climate and culture, resulting in a design that’s stylish and functional. Everything is seamless. So, just fold the clothes lah!
As evening dawns, and I’m dining with convivial company in the dining pavilion that has a large outside deck overlooking the beach, tucking into the magnificent fusion spread concocted by personal chef Khun Olive, and feted like a queen by the lovely Khun Jack, Akatsuki’s jack-of-all-trades (general manager, butler, host, tour guide, friend — rolled into one), I’m definitely feeling right at home.
That’s exactly what the resort, the mastermind of Tokyo-based architect Ricardo Tossani, is about — a home away from home, a concept that’s faithfully emulated throughout.
Most interesting is the absence of the ubiquitous check-in counter as I walk into the vaulted main pavilion with its dramatic atrium. Expecting to grab some keys or at least offer my signature, I’m simply led into my suite and told to make myself comfortable and holler should I need anything. There are no locks and keys here. And this, funnily enough, makes me feel rather secure.
You're expected to feel like you’re at home. So you slide into the property as you would your personal abode. And you can emerge in your slouchiest best because there’s no airs, no fanfares, and you won’t stick out like a sore thumb or have some hotel employee squint at you in dismay if you appear for dinner in flip flops and baggy, neon pink beach shorts.
At Akatsuki, you’re king, which may not be the case so much in your own home. You need only signal and there’s always someone awaiting your bidding.
When your tummy rumbles, you can call on your personal butler to have something whipped up for you. Or you could just wander around the grounds, sans shoes, like the whole resort belongs to you, and find your way to the dining-cum-kitchen (there’s no conventional restaurant, just a dining room, very much like at home) perch yourself on the high stool and eat to your heart’s content.
I just can’t get enough of the beautifully sweet mango and mangosteen which happened to be in season at the time. It’s even better because there's always an obliging soul ready to do all the peeling and serving.
Come to think of it, it's been eons since I’ve had such pampering in the kitchen — and that was courtesy of my mother when I was just a wee tot.
I also get to indulge in my only vice in life — cappuccino. What else is a person to do when faced with complimentary use of a magnificent Illy coffee machine? Suffice to say, I get myself happily intoxicated every single night at this lovely resort.
Alternatively, you can also amble over to the Theatre Pavilion which is equipped with a state-of-the-art home theatre sound system, for some DVD action. Thanks to the giant 60-inch plasma TV with awesome full surround sound, you definitely feel like you’re in the cinema.
A lovely thing to do when the night is balmy and everyone's asleep, is to grab a drink and a companion or two and lepak at the smallest pavilion, the Sala, at the poolside. Tranquil and breezy, it's a great place for engaging in past-midnight conversations as you tuck into your umpteenth Haagen-Dazs ice cream. Or, for something even more memorable, lounge on the comfy beach chairs facing the inky blackness of the sea and just enjoy the calm. Don’t worry if you can’t get anyone to get thoughtful with... there are plenty of lively frogs as well as the friendly resident dog to keep you company. It’s a great location to harvest the full force of magnificent sunsets earlier in the day.
A strong eco-friendly theme pervades all aspects of this intimate resort. Stylish and functional, it’s built entirely from recycled wood, and uses natural ventilation and shade for guest comfort.
Tossani has definitely delivered on his vision to integrate the development with nature. Wherever you go in the resort, the beauty of nature, be it in the lush gardens or the ocean, is everywhere. There are plenty of birds and small wildlife to be spotted in the generous, green surrounds, not all in bikinis.
All suites and living and relaxation spaces offer views of nature and engage the landscape in unique ways.
Having literally full run of the resort and such personalised service is possible simply because the classy and understated Akatsuki, located within 20 minutes of main shopping and entertainment areas, only accommodates group bookings for 15 people at a time, or 17 at full capacity. There are only five suites here. Security is ensured because when you have booked, no one else can unless they’re a part of your entourage. In a way, the resort takes private holidaying to a different level — combining the five-star facilities of a luxury resort with the exclusivity, flexibility and comfort of a private home.
57-58 Moo Lipanoi, Koh Samui, 84140, Thailand
Activities and excursions: Local beaches and villages are a short drive away. Chaweng nightlife. Plenty of golf greens. Short boat journey to the beautiful islands of Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Nang Yuan as well as Anthong National Marine Park.
Rates Depending on season and number of people in a party. Soft opening rates from US$2,000 (RM6,400) per night based on 10 sharing.