Centara Reserve Samui

When I arrived at Centara Reserve Samui, the Gulf of Thailand's brilliant turquoise sea was set against a dramatic background of bright blue skies and the pure white Chaweng beach. It was a sunny morning, but the fresh sea breeze kept me cool and relaxed.

Although I had previously visited Samui, this was the first time I had seen the magnificence of the island's beach and water. When the monsoonal clouds dissipated, it was to take a deep breath of fresh air to raise the spirit after a challenging year.

As the flagship of the latest Centara Reserve brand, this 5-star resort opened its doors last month to welcome tourists with specially crafted hospitality services and satisfying luxury holiday experiences.

Just a 10-minute drive from Samui airport, the property is located in the heart of the Chaweng neighbourhood, which is known for its vibrant nightlife with a bustling walking street, bars, restaurants and massage shops. This makes it a great option for vacationers looking to immerse themselves in local life. However, I was mildly depressed when I noticed Chaweng looked to be lonelier than normal due to the closure of certain businesses.

Design and Facilities

For the last 20 years, this property was known as Centara Grand Beach before being closed in 2019 for rebranding and extensive renovation. The renovated property is a masterpiece of award-winning design and concept firm AvroKo. Centara Reserve Samui is designed in classical colonial elegance and contemporary style.

Perched on the island's 260m beach, it's designed to be a sanctuary amid a verdant tropical garden, complete with towering coconut palms and other local plants that provide a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere. The historic colonial structures have been restored to blend with contemporary aesthetics, portraying luxury as a comfortable condition of living.

The airy lobby comes with white walls and floors, a high ceiling and a collection of earth-toned wooden furniture to create an inviting ambience, while the floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light to flood in.

Focusing on sustainability, plastic use is banned and the resort produces its own water while food waste and leftover grass clippings are used to generate biogas for cooking. Reserve Spa Cenvaree boasts its own Spa Herb Garden where skilled therapists escort guests to personally select and handpick their treatment, which is then blended and infused in oils and clays for their own spa to soothe and cultivate a deep sense of well-being.

Leave the tablets and smartphones in the room so young guests can spend quality time in the technology-free Children's Zone by running around a watery playground and participating in fun activities such as batik painting, kite making, Thai boxing, junior chef and junior mixologist training to stimulate their imagination.

Overlooking the azure ocean, a pair of swimming pools are popular spots for sunbathing, sipping refreshing beverages, or watching the sunset. The resort has 184 elegant rooms, pool suites and beachfront pool villas, ranging in sizes from 40m² to 256m². They offer spacious private balconies and terraces overlooking a lush tropical garden or beautiful ocean, unique amenities, and sleep therapy clocks.

My Room

I stayed in a 67m² Reserve Pool Suite for two nights and took advantage of the Suites & Villa Reserve Experience programme. Fusing contemporary comfort and Thai heritage, the spacious room is fitted with a large smart TV with satellite channels and access to entertaining applications as well as a range of earth-toned solid wood furnishings that gives a cosy and peaceful ambience.

On one side, a curated complimentary minibar corner was set up that is refilled with alcoholic beverages, organic juice, tea, coffee, and house-made nibbles daily. There was also a bottle of Champagne and Surprise of the Day sweets. Meanwhile, on the other side, a laid-back living space with USB hubs and plug outlets allowed me to work on a comfortable sofa throughout the day. However, a private swimming pool with a couch bed was my favourite place to relax and overlook a shade-filled tropical garden.

A large white marble-like bathroom features a counter of two sinks with all amenities you need, a separate shower and toilet, as well as a walk-in closet with slippers, bathrobes and a safety box.

Dining

From 6am to 10.30am, the Terrace restaurant offers an a la carte breakfast menu with dishes such as eggs Benedict with avocado mashed toast, rice porridge with chicken and American breakfast as well as a breakfast buffet with a salad bar, freshly baked pastries, delectable homemade yoghurt and fresh juices.

Sa-Nga is a great place for authentic Thai delicacies served in tapa style. My favourite dinner items were roasted duck red curry, tom yum goong, ice cream-inspired pan-fried fish served in curry, and mango mousse served on a bed of sticky rice.

Security

All travellers are required to register for the Samui Health Pass upon arrival to comply with disease control measures. My room had a keycard entry system as well as a smoke detector and a fire sprinkler, while lifeguards patrolled the beach to keep an eye on guests indulging in watersports.

Verdict

Centara Reserve Samui is a wonderful place to indulge in the beauty of pristine Chaweng beach. It's bordered by shopping and dining venues, making it ideal for a walking sightseeing trip.

To celebrate its official opening, the resort has crafted various special promotional packages for longer stays. For example, the Reserve for Longer package offers a complimentary night for every two nights of stay, daily breakfast, a complimentary bottle of wine, Surprise of the Day, 24-hour check-in and check-out, a curated complimentary minibar refilled daily.

Room rates start from 14,800 baht++ for a minimum of a three-night stay. Booking can be made by Jan 31 for stays between now and March 31.

Centara Reserve Samui is at 38/2 Moo 3, Borpud, Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84320. Call 077-230-500 or visit centarareserve.com/samui.