The Tongsai Bay is a family owned and run five-star resort located on a beautiful private bay on the island of Ko Samui. Such was the beauty of the location, that when the resort's founder, Akorn Hoontrakul, first saw the bay while on his boat, he declared that he was in love.
Seven days after this he purchased the land and then spent three months sleeping on the beach, planning his resort. His goal, which he achieved, was to build his resort without cutting down or harming any tree or natural surroundings.
It is clear that Tongsai Bay is a resort that has been born from a passion and a love of the area, and this continues to this day. Since opening its doors in 1987 as the first five-star hotel on Koh Samui the reort has continued to grow. When Akorn passed away in 2000, his son Thanakorn and his daughter in-law, Saisiri took over, and thankfully they both share his passion for the environment and for providing the best of Thai hospitality and service.
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that The Tongsai Bay is one of the most beautiful resorts I have ever stayed at.
When I first arrived at the resort it was already dark so I couldn’t truly appreciate the beauty of my location. It was therefore a wonderful surprise to wake up the next morning and walk out onto the private decking area of my villa and take in the lush and colourful grounds of the resort and the tranquil, glistening private bay in front of me.
The resort is set in 28 and a half acres of natural landscape and is just ten minutes away from Ko Samui airport. There are 83 suites, villas and cottages although the design and vast space means that each accommodation has its own sense of privacy and that the resort never really feels overcrowded.
I was staying in one of the Tongsai Pool Villas which featured a vast open terrace with stunning views over the resort’s grounds and bay. On the terrace were sun loungers, a four-poster gazebo and outdoor dining area. The standout feature was the outdoor bath which was a perfect location to have a ‘bath-with-a-view’ or to enjoy at night under the stars.
Inside my villa was a large dressing area and bathroom before entering a beautiful bedroom which then led onto my private pool.
The privacy and facilities of my accommodation meant that, should I have wanted to, I could have quite happily stayed there for the duration of my stay. But there is much to see and do within the resort to draw me away from my luxury villa.
There are two pools located close to the beach. One is an adults-only secluded half-moon pool, while the larger fresh water pool and children’s paddling pool is located adjacent from the sandy beach and is more-family friendly.
For TLTB however, our favourite spot had to be the sun loungers on the beach plus a dip in the warm, calm ocean. Swimming in the turquoise waters was the perfect place to view the resort in all its glory, and to also imagine the potential and beauty that Akorn saw all those years ago.
For those feeling more energetic, non-motorised water sport equipment such as kayaks, snorkelling equipment and paddle boards can be used by guests to explore the private bay. The resort also offers Yoga classes, fruit carving classes and Thai Culture and beginners language classes.
| Plenty can be said about The Tongsai Bay’s luxury service and hospitality, great food, beautiful location that makes it stand out, as all are first-class.
Excursions on Ko Samui to projects that support the ethos of the resort, can also be booked such as a visit to a local Elephant sanctuary or to the National Marine Park.
Not that I was experiencing much stress at all during my stay, but I felt a visit to the Prana Spa was a must-do for a little bit of R&R.
Nestled amongst the trees, the Prana Spa offers a sense of serenity with its private spa cottages for solo or couple massages. Each spa cottage includes two massage beds, two treatment beds for Thai massage and open-air baths for milk or floral baths.
I opted for a relaxing aromatherapy massage, but other options include traditional Thai massage and treatments to sooth and repair sunburnt skin.
I floated out of the spa and found myself lying on a sun lounger for the rest of the afternoon watching the world slowly go by. My afternoon was made even more relaxing when a friendly barman came over to take my cocktail order. Gazing out to sea and sipping my Thai Basil cocktail… I think I found my new happy place!
There are three dining options at the resort which serve a selection of Thai dishes as well as Western style cuisine. The Po-Lad Bistro and Bar is a more casual dining option, the Chef Chom’s Thai Restaurant showcases the wide and varied Thai cuisine and The Butler’s is a more intimate dining location for Pan-Asian and Mediterrian dishes.
Every staff member I encountered was so passionate about the food available and so eager for guests to enjoy their meal – even in little things like remembering how much I had enjoyed a particular dessert the night before and asking if I would like it again.
If the delicious food inspires you, it is worth booking into a cooking class where you can learn to cook a beautiful range of Thai staple dishes. You then get to sit down and enjoy your Thai banquet. While you may not have the same Tongsai weather when you get home, it is a great to be able to bring a little bit of Thailand home with you with your newly gained culinary skills.
Plenty can be said about the resort's luxury service and hospitality, great food, beautiful location that makes it stand out, as all are first-class. However, what makes The Tongsai Bay even more special is its commitment and dedication to the environment and its native flora and fauna.
The Tongsai Bay resort believes that vegetation and wildlife have been here a lot longer than us and it should remain that way. The pursuit of a holiday should not come at the cost of the environment.
The resort has been truly innovative when it comes to environmentally friendly amenities and facilities and they really do put other resorts around the world to shame when it comes to this. Their commitment and respect to the environment and the beautiful location really is inspiring.
Just a few of the examples include the recycling pots dotted around the resort and that there is no single-use plastic within the villas. All bathroom amenities are presented in reusable ceramic containers and all drinking water served at the resort is filtered water in glass bottles. The resort also produces all its own cleaning products and natural mosquito repellent from plants in the garden. No chemicals are used in the gardens and there is no mosquito fogging due to the negative effect it has on other wildlife.
A favourite amongst guests is the resort’s ban on man-made single-use straws. All plastic and paper straws have been eliminated and instead, a cutting of lemongrass, grown in the resort’s own gardens, is provided in beverages. These are used exactly as a man-made straw, but without the damaging environmental impacts. Once finished with they will degrade naturally back into the soil within a matter of weeks.
One day during my stay I visited the resort’s beautiful organic gardens where much of the fresh products on the menu are grown. It is also here were all kitchen scraps and food waste are composted or converted to fertilizer. It was great to see how nothing at the resort goes to waste. Even the old bathtubs from a recent villa renovation have been converted into planters to grow fresh herbs!
Anyone wanting a relaxing stay in a beautiful location with wonderful Thai hospitality will of course find it at this beautiful five-star resort. If you are looking for a special and inspiring holiday that you will remember for years to come you will definitely find that at the stunning Tongsai Bay Resort.
|Check in: Check in: The Tongsai Bay, Bophut, Ko Samui, Thailand (+66 (0) 77913 750-99
|Ultimate Luxury: Check into the Akorn Villa, which was named after the resort’s founder. The largest villa in the resort, its location offers stunning ocean views and ultimate privacy.
|Most Indulgent Moment: An evening of private dining by candlelight. Choose your location and pick your menu and your private chef and waiter will take care of the rest.
|The Little Things: Staff who genuinely care that their guests are enjoying their stay and ensure that you do. TLTB met many repeat guests who come back year-after-year to The Tongsai Bay.
|Junior Luxies: Welcome, although some areas of the resort are for over 14 years old only
|Dent in the platinum:
|Luxury Resorts Link: www.tongsaibay.co.th
Sarah Bryans 17/04/2019