KOH SAMUI, Thailand — More than 100 years ago, merchant vessels laden with rice dotted the Venice of the East’s iconic Chao Phraya River.
These teak wood boats would also sail from the river’s mouth in Bangkok to the open waters to trade their wares, moving as far south into the Gulf of Thailand as Koh Samui island.
Little could their sea traders imagine back then that 31 of these vessels would be given a new lease on life in the 21st century at the new Meliá Koh Samui; 30 of them as elegant two-story boat suites sized 91 to 100 sqm and the other as an innovative kid’s club.
Marrying Thailand’s rich maritime heritage with a sleek contemporary design, the 30 intimate boat suites each feature a bedroom with polished wooden floors on their upper deck, and a dressing room and impressive bathroom, replete with a soaking tub and double showers, on the lower deck. These suites offer either views of Choeng Mon Beach, on the north-eastern tip of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, garden vistas or direct access to a 1600 sqm lagoon pool that loops through the resort’s lush grounds like a river.
Before the boats could be converted into suites, their decayed teak wood structures required extensive refurbishment that was by no means an easy feat. To carry out the specialised task, the resort recruited craftsmen experienced in boat restoration to painstakingly restore the wood structures.
The craftsmen cut out old decayed wood and replaced it, piece by piece. They studiously attended to decayed wood in the keel of the boats, the bottom-most longitudinal structural element of the vessels. In the strakes of wood – that run along the length of each boat from the bow to the stern – on either side of the keel all the way up to the gunwale, the top edge of the hull. In the intricate ribs that support the hull and give the vessels their shape and strength, upon which the strakes of wood are fastened. In the bulwark of the boats. And then some.
In a method handed down the generations of sailors, the craftsmen used a special concoction of ingredients including rubber oil and red lime together with cotton rope to seal joints, gaps and holes.
“These boats were built to last due to the great strength and durability of the teak wood as well as the craftsmanship initially invested in them,” said Meliá Koh Samui’s general manager Ernesto Osuna. “In a fitting tribute to Thailand’s seagoing past, we turned to the tried and true methods of the shipwrights to provide the sturdy foundation of our boat suites, that really are one of a kind.”
The boat suites are part of the tastefully done nautical theme evident throughout the 159-room and 41-suite luxury beachfront resort. Located 15 minutes from Samui International Airport, the first property in Thailand launched under Spanish hotel group Meliá Hotels International is also home to two restaurants, an executive lounge, a swim-up bar, two-level infinity pool with sunken seating areas, spa, fitness center, and ballroom. For families, there’s the kid’s club – also housed in a former teak wood vessel – an outdoor playground and a mini water park.
In the lobby, the aptly named Boat’s Bar is shaped like a long boat with a black hull topped with eggshell-colored marble. Sculptures and installations of boats adorn the lobby, including vessels that appear to be “floating” on the surface of the lobby’s floor.
Other nods to the sea-faring theme include big white ceramic vases, fashioned to look like they are festooned in barnacles, paintings of the ocean, and miniature wooden boats for sale at The Gallery. It is a not-for-profit social enterprise designed to help improve the lives of Thai communities by selling accessories and home décor items made by talented Thai designers and artists.
An educational display in the lobby, comprising miniature boats in glass displays and a wall-mounted timber map of the Gulf of Thailand, outlines the history of the refurbished vessels for guests who are curious to know more about this boat story.
To contact Meliá Koh Samui or to make a booking, please email [email protected]
About Meliá Hotels & Resorts
Meliá Hotels & Resorts is the best-known international brand in the portfolio of the Meliá Hotels International company; it has more than 100 city and resort hotels in the main leisure and business destinations of Europe, Asia, Africa and America. The brand offers exemplary meetings and events facilities in all important business cities as well as in exotic locations, catering to the ever-expanding conference and incentive travel market. As part of its innovation philosophy and new positioning, Meliá Hotels & Resorts has reinvented itself to cater to every aspect of the guests’ wellbeing. Unique experiences are created for guests and are defined by relaxation, quality time and personalised services. For a balanced lifestyle, Meliá Hotels & Resorts instinctively understands the guests’ needs and lifestyle expectations, which is an integral part of its redefined identity. Follow Meliá Hotels & Resorts on Twitter @MeliaHtlResorts, Facebook @Melia.Hotels and Instagram @meliahtlresorts. www.melia.com.
About Meliá Hotels International
Founded in 1956 in Mallorca (Spain), Meliá Hotels International operates more than 390 hotels (portfolio and pipeline) throughout more than 40 countries, under the brands Gran Meliá Hotels & Resorts, Paradisus by Meliá, ME by Meliá, Meliá Hotels & Resorts, INNSiDE by Meliá, Sol by Meliá and TRYP by Wyndham. The Company is the global leader in resort hotels, while also leveraging its experience to consolidate the growing segment of the leisure-inspired urban market. Its commitment to responsible tourism has led the Group to become the most sustainable hotel company in the world in 2019, according to SAM, the sustainable investment company. Meliá Hotels International is also included in the IBEX 35 Spanish stock market index and it is the Spanish hotel leader in Corporate Reputation (Merco Ranking). Follow Meliá Hotels International on Weibo @MeliaHotelslnt , WeChat official account @MeliaHotelslnt, Twitter @MeliaHotelsInt , Facebook meliahotelsinternational and official website www.melia.com.
About Asset World Corporation
Asset World Corp Public Company Limited (“AWC”) is Thailand’s leading integrated lifestyle real estate group under TCC Group, with a sustainable diversified development pipeline for future growth as well as the potential for long-term capital appreciation. AWC’s business operations are organized into two principal segments: (i) Hospitality, comprising hotels managed and operated by the world’s leading hotel chains (ii) Retail and Commercial Building, comprising Retail and Wholesale group which includes world-class tourist lifestyle destination, community shopping mall, community market and wholesale space, with such well-known projects as Asiatique the Riverfront, Gateway at Bangsue, Pantip Plaza Pratunam and Tawanna Bangkapi; and Office Building group with prominent projects located in highly sought-after, central business district in Bangkok like Empire Tower, Athenee Tower, etc. Recently on October 10, 2019, Asset World Corporation succeeded in listing the company on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) in the real estate and construction industry under the property development category. AWC’s market capitalization was highest in the history of the SET (According to Bloomberg Database).
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