My Samujana experience came seemingly at the perfect time in my life. I was treading the murky waters of work-life imbalance and creeping towards creative burnout when I got on a flight in Singapore and landed an hour later on the breezy, palm tree-lined runways of Koh Samui. With airport stores sitting along an open boardwalk, Koh Samui’s airport is uniquely suited to the island, like a temporal resort offering travellers a first (or last) opportunity to soak in the ocean breeze.
Then again, could there a bad time to arrive in paradise? Overlooking a stunning coral cove, Samujana is perched on a hillside that offers undisturbed sea views from every direction. This means that no matter where you turn, you are likely to be greeted by the sleek edge of an infinity pool disappearing into the ocean, separated from the cool horizon by a band of lush greenery and the surrounding hilly terrain.
There may be a total of 23 villas sprawled across Samujana’s enormous estate, but there is still a keen sense of remoteness radiating through the giant space. Villa 12, where we stayed, has a total of seven bedrooms, all of which are somewhat hidden away and connected to the common spaces through stone pathways and slim staircases. Each carved into its own corner of the villa, they offer a good amount of privacy and comfort with plush king beds, substantial closet and dresser space, and their own luxuriously large en-suite bathrooms and outdoor jacuzzis.
Still, the real fun of living in Samujana comes from the many (many, many) common spaces each villa is designed to have. Ours opened into three spacious lounge areas, each one set apart from the others with a different view, special seating options (the poolside swings were hot commodities, but could be pushed aside to clear a pavilion where we practised morning yoga), or easy access to treats and refreshing tipples the concierge team would whip up every so often.
Khun Ball, the head of our concierge team with a near photographic memory that allowed him to retain tiny details about what each of us liked to eat, drink and do, pointed out several architectural and design details in the villa that had clearly been inspired by its surrounding natural landscape.
The cascading structure of the terraces blended softly into the hilly terrain they sat in, while natural materials like stone and rattan, a neutral colour palette and native vegetation sprouting in corners lent an unmissable sense of place. Save for the bedrooms, private cinema and gym, several spaces were naturally ventilated, allowing for a soothing ocean breeze to permeate the corners of each villa.
Inside the idyllic world of Samujana, I quickly found a routine that would cure my creative burnout. I would spend my mornings working languidly in any one of the open-air lounges overlooking the ocean or our pool, fuelled by a hearty breakfast and the creamy iced oat milk latte Khun Ball had instantly learned my preference for. No deadline could stress me out here—all I had to do was look up and take in the vastness around me, and my inspiration would be renewed.
In the afternoon, we would enjoy a delicious family style lunch of classic Thai dishes prepared by Samujana’s kitchen team, or venture out of the villa for a quick ride to a neighbouring market. We found an instant hit in Asrun Hat Yai Fried Chicken, an unassuming stall in Big Buddha fresh market that hawked some of the best fried chicken I had ever tried.
As the sun started its slow descent each day, we’d jump into the turquoise-tinted pool, ready for a few gentle laps (or for those who, like me, can’t swim, a sleepy soak on a pool float). Khun Ball and his team would bring up a round of cocktails just in time for the sunset, and we’d all find ourselves perched on the infinity edge, staring out into the horizon and completely at peace.
As night fell, Khun Ball and Samujana’s 24-hour security team would be on standby, contactable through our own phones or a landline in the villa. A quick shower would follow, and then we’d retreat either to the games room (ping pong, billiards and a plethora of board games awaited) or the cozy private cinema for a night flick. When our eyelids would eventually get heavy with sleep, we would retreat to our bedrooms, our skin pleasantly sun-kissed and hair salt-swept—ready for some restorative shut-eye before we had to wake up to yet another day in paradise. Suffice to say, it was a girls’ trip well-spent.