FIELD TRIP Samui Kicks It Up A Notch
I was in Samui last week checking out hotel and tourism developments and must say things are going well for the island destination.
First stop was to the W Retreat for a visit with Nick Downing and a look at the new upgraded signature outlet Woobar. Sporting some fantastic murals, new furnishings and a DJ located in the middle of the pool, the new looks is impressive. Friday nights drinks are increasing in popularity with guests coming from near and far.
Next stop was Samui's dean of property John Birt. He has repositioned the firm as Luxury Villas & Homes along with their Phuket branch. On their books is a new condo lunch called S. Cape which they are the Sole Agency. According to John villa rentals have been strong during the holiday season and new property launches signal an upswing in the broad real estate sector.
Down at the InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam a sight to see was Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's (owner of Chelsea football club) mega yacht anchored offshore. Local sources say he will be visiting the island within January.
Meanwhile I had the opportunity to check out the new Vana Belle resort which is under Starwood's Luxury Collection. Opening this week the beachfront property is a serious upscale offering and should prove popular.
Nearby the new KC Beach Club, Hotel and Pool Villas are putting on the finishing touches for an opening soon. Location, location, location. Further down the beach Onyx's Ozo hotel is rising out of the ground and looks to be on track for an early 2014 debut.
Chancing down for lunch with Tim Dean-Smith at Beach Republic, Tim who is the owner said that during peak season the ocean club was turning away people.
Flying out of Samui to Singapore was a pleasure in a one line immigration queue with just a handful of people in line. Perhaps small is the new big?