If, like us, you were planning a Southern European getaway this summer, then it’s likely you’ve been crying into your espadrilles as the international airport is yet to open to international tourism. 

But there’s no need to cry over spilled sangria. 

You can still have a Southern European getaway, and you can still travel, albeit ‘only’ domestically. 

With Bangkok Airways’ ticket fares at all-time lovely prices, we recently headed to Samui to revisit the newly-opened Melia Koh Samui. Checking in for one weekend, and drawing on the brand’s charming Spanish origins, here’s how and why we realised we have it just as good in Thailand, and that you can indeed get a touch of Spain in Samui here. 

Can’t travel to Spain? No problem. Or as we’d say in Spanish: no problemo. 

(Just kidding, please look that up).

[All images courtesy of Melia Koh Samui]

The kids’ club and surrounding loop pool

Familia

The Melia Koh Samui has a nautical flair to it, given the many beautiful boat suites that dot the landscape. There’s a loop pool that connects everything, with main buildings framing the property to either side. The boat theme isn’t extremely obvious, but it adds a wonderful charm. It also adds a lot of playful elements to the design, making it an ideal place to head with the family. 

Family is a big thing in Spain, and family excursions to the beach have always been a popular summer activity. The Melia Koh Samui accommodates for this in various ways, what with ample space for little ones to prance and play, and various room types. We love the Family Suite which boasts a massive daybed that could also double as a children’s bed, as well as the rooms with direct pool access. The pools are not very deep either, so there’s no horrifying maternal thoughts about drowning.

There’s also a kids’ club with a slide (and this slide is not limited to children), as well as a full schedule of activities. As of recently, the resort has offered Samui locals a special package wherein Mum and Dad can enjoy a meal at the dining outlets, and the kids can spend the day at the kids’ club and pool. It’s a great way to get some separate adult time and kids time, even as a family. 

Looking out from the boat suites

La Playa

For Bangkokians, it’s refreshing to head to the beach. Regardless of whether you’re #TeamShade or #TeamSunTan, it’s nice to get away from the city and breathe in the sea breeze. 

Luckily, the Melia Koh Samui sits directly on Choeng Mon beach, with plenty of spots for lounging, and plenty of activities for water sport aficionados. We tried our luck on the paddle board as well as the kayaks, and can justify: it’s fun, and you can get a cute ‘gram out of it, too. As for those who prefer to tan, there’s a few bean bags and sun beds in matching colours on the beach for you as well. 

As a general, Samui boasts many beautiful beaches at the moment, given the lower influx of tourists and decreased damage to the environment. It is a really beautiful time to visit, and the beach is surely a sweet spot whether you’re in Spain or not. 

A varied and inspired menu at the dining outlets

Jamon

This is the one we’re most excited about. 

Sussing out the hotel’s General Manager Ernesto Osuna, we found a real Spaniard amongst the team. Suitably, there are tapas on the menu (gambas al ajillo and patatas bravas by the pool are a whole vibe), and even a real paella as an option for dinner. Our highlight, by far, was the Spanish jamon pata negra we enjoyed with our sundowner.

Whilst breakfast is normally served buffet-style at Koko, given COVID-19 and our efforts to socially distance, this has shifted at Melia from Koko to Breeza down by the beach. It’s a shift we actually really love, as guests can order from an a la carte menu without having to move at all. The highlight is the charcuterie cart, which moves from table to table, serving up cold cuts to the view of the sea. The stuff of our dreams. 

Ample lounging space by the main pool

Siesta

If there’s something we love about Spanish culture, it’s the appreciation for a good nap. Engage in your siesta time from the comfort of your room, or the sunbed on your balcony. You could also sway back and forth on the hammock by the beach between two palms, or on the large sunbeds located next to the pool. There’s also a large sunbed in the main pool. And the boat suites have floating canopies for napping. The options are aplenty — and there’s nothing like being spoiled for choice when you’re seeking out a snooze. 

Siesta isn’t such a prominent feature in Thai culture, but there’s no denying things are a lot more relaxed on the island. 

The Levels Lounge

Party…?

We’re not going to ignore the elephant in the room that is the silence on Samui. With a lot of the tourism industry on a low right now, Chaweng and Fisherman’s Village are not quite what they used to be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t party when you come with your crew. 

With wines flowing at dinner, the Melia Koh Samui got us into a right mood for a fiesta. On our final night, we spent late hours in the Power Lounge above the lobby at the resort, drinking wine and playing snooker. It’s not normally open for these kinds of adventures (the Boat Bar is just below and equally as exciting), but it underpins a lot of what the resort represents. Thai hospitality or Mediterranean charms, the team unlocked the — what is otherwise used for corporate conference breaks — room for us, and we clocked out at about midnight.

We then had the facilitating option of swimming back to the room via the loop pool, too. 

Bangkok Airways is now operating 10 round-trip flights daily between Bangkok and Samui. You can find out more at www.bangkokair.com. To find out more about the Melia Koh Samui, check out their website

Lisa Gries
Managing Editor, Bangkok
Lisa loves to travel, and is always on the lookout for the world’s best nap spots. She’s a serious Asian art history nerd, and has a knack for languages and coffee table books. She hopes to publish her own novels one day, one of which will likely be called ‘All The Great Conversations I Had In A Bangkok Speakeasy.’ It’s a work in progress.