The soft sound of rushing waves in the background, leaves swaying smoothly to the cadence of a light breeze, the crackling of a thousand of beads shaping a vibrant-red pillow tightly along the spine of your back and just a touch of sand hugging your toes, as you look out onto a vast ocean.
Welcome to Koh Samui’s coolest boutique hotel, The Library.
THE PACKING EDIT
Get Lost in a locally crafted book cover
The Library, Samui, is a quiet paradise sprawled across 6,400 square meters of land. The property has belonged to a local Thai family for decades – but has grown and transformed with the transition from one generation to the next. Upon taking over the property from his parents, the current owner knew that there was something special about this place, an opportunity to stand out from Koh Samui’s luxurious yet standardised chain resorts with more local charms.
This is how the Library was born – and became an ode to design and book lovers, and to the many stories that accompany travellers to this luxurious island.
COZY UP ACROSS CHAPTERS AND PAGES
The hotel is divided into two main areas: 26 sleek studios and suites, also known as ‘pages’, and 20 stunning villas, called ‘chapters’. Whilst the pages are lazily spread along the main areas of the hotel, alongside a gym and cozy library, culminating in a dramatic red pool that faces the beach and sea, the chapters are intimately tucked away, separated from the rest of the hotel via a distinctive style and several hidden doors and passages.
Complete with another ruby red pool and a private lounge area (with all-day snacks and beverages) for villa guests, the walk-ways are reminiscent of an imperial castle, lined with high stone walls, age-old trees and dusted by refreshing, mystical mist in the early mornings. At night, projectors illuminate parts of the wall with a full moon. Lanterns light some of the passages from main area to villa area. The whole experience is very magical and relaxing.
We stayed in one of the smaller chapters, the secret pool villa – however small is really an understatement here. With a plunge pool, the villa’s various rooms (and extra-large bed) extend around the central terrace and create a comfortable oasis of peace. Complete with a hot-tub (and bath salts), a large fridge, dining table, a day bed, TV, larger than usual bathroom and surround-sound system for villa and pool area, there is enough to keep any guest busy for at least a few hours, to try out the different amenities.
The clean design and black/white walls bring to life the more brightly coloured pieces of modern art and furniture, ranging from multiple funky figurines and a larger-than life yogi figure hanging above the hot-tub to a serene Buddha watching over the study’s emerald green desk and the bright-yellow Chinese bench dominating the bathroom. Design-lovers and instagram aficionados, this is not the time for a digital detox, as you will want to photograph every piece of this cool composition.
TASTE DELECTABLE WORDS AND SYLLABLES
All meals are served at the hotel’s main beachfront restaurant, which we tried for breakfast only. Breakfast food was functional, with most dishes coming à la carte (the usual eggs, pancakes, some Chinese dishes) and a few cold cuts from a buffet. The views of the ocean, especially in the early morning, are beautiful and you can even book seats to have breakfast on real mattresses right on the sand.
Regarding any food allergies, I had ordered gluten free food in advance but unfortunately, the choice was limited to pure proteins, fruit and a very sweet, sticky muffin-type snack. There were also no dairy free yogurts, although there was dairy-free milk. For any food allergies, I would therefore be precise beforehand about what dishes you would like and perhaps then the hotel could arrange.
There is a second restaurant/bar facing the Main Street, at the back of the hotel. We did not try this as there are plenty of food choices in the surrounding area / in nearby towns, but the reviews and atmosphere seemed great.
BE SEDUCED BY A CAPTIVATING PLOT
Whilst it will be hard to leave the beautiful villas, directly accessible beach area and seductive red pool, there are plenty of other things to do in Koh Samui that don’t involve lounging around in the sun. As it is located in one of the main tourist hubs, there are many restaurants and shops accessible on foot. But for further away destinations, one of my favourite things to do was renting a scooter (which you can do at the rental shops on any of the nearby streets) and driving up into the mountains that are scattered across Koh Samui, where you will be able to explore not only a bit of local life but also see some stunning tropical forests and landscapes. With the scooters you can also visit the island’s different cafes, beaches, restaurants and local sights, such as the fisherman’s village – but you can also do this via taxi, which you can book via the reception. If you have time, I would also suggest taking a day to go snorkelling and explore nearby islands – the hotel will be able to recommend the best tour company to do this.
Final Thoughts on Koh Samui
Koh Samui is the second largest Island in the Gulf of Thailand, and by far the most accessible, having its own airport. This, whilst being extremely convenient and foreigner friendly (with a mall, upscale supermarkets and restaurants, gluten free options), also means that it has less of the small island charm that some of the other Thai islands have.