Overview: Situated on North Chaweng beach, away from the crowded buzz of Central Chaweng, is Samui’s first Japanese-themed resort, Akyra Chura, managed by the hoteliers behind the Aleenta brand.
Design: A quaint vintage Japanese beach town, complete with rows of small, wooden shop houses crammed along narrow lanes, next to a compact swimming pool and the pristine beach. The interiors are more contemporary, though. All 61 rooms and suites have raw cement floors and walls, bleached wooden furniture and wickerwork on the ceilings. The spa and restaurant provide nice views of the sea.
Food and Drink: There’s a beachside restaurant but the true highlight is Suikin, Akyra’s signature Japanese eatery, that whips up sashimi, teppanyaki and other Japanese mains. Not to be missed is Suikin’s Sake Bar that stocks the widest variety of sake on the island.
Good: Food and drink aside, there’s also the lovely beach. North Chaweng is still blessed with the island’s whitest sand and clearest waters, not to mention fewer tourists. When the tide is low, you can even walk out a hundred meters into the sea. Book a seaview suite (pictured) if you can. Love the nightlife? A fifteen minute walk gets you to Samui’s club district. The staff, especially at the restaurant, are very friendly too.
Bad: If you’re addicted to spacious rooms, book a suite. The deluxe is pretty compact in size—and the same goes for the pool. Alas, no sea views for most rooms, and the ones in the back might sometimes get noise from the restaurant, back office and construction site nearby. But hey, you have a great beach at your door so you won’t be spending the whole day in your room.
Rates: B4,900-7,800 through Jan 10; B3,900-6,000 during Jan 11-Apr 30. Reservations must be made through the sales office in Bangkok. Contact 02-514-8112, firstname.lastname@example.org. Top Koaysomboon