In our #AmazingThailand series, we bring you to discover romantic wedding and honeymoon destinations in the country. The beautiful island of Koh Samui (247 km²) is Thailand’s second largest island and is one of natural and tranquil beauty. Home to about 40,000 inhabitants, the island is well known for its palm-fringed beaches, coconut cultivations, snorkeling paradise and virgin rainforest. On the island, you will also find sensational luxury resorts and posh spas, one of which we are about to unfold in this issue – The Tongsai Bay.
Set amidst 28 and a half acres of lush gardens on a hillside, The Tongsai Bay overlooks a secluded bay and unending views of the ocean. Since its opening in 1987, this family-owned hotel has made popular among couples in search of a romantic wedding venue and honeymoon destination. Many couples after their experience, find themselves coming back to revisit – 38% of their guests are repeated guests, with a few couples back for more than the 10th time! After our visit, we found out what makes The Tongsai Bay so special. It is a place that truly touches your heart, leaving you with a heartwarming feeling and unforgettable memories. Its beautiful history, natural surroundings, tranquil atmosphere, homely villas and passionate, enthusiastic staff bring you a complete pampering experience and the feeling of being at home and yet so close to nature. Read on to discover more.
10 Reasons to have your wedding and honeymoon at The Tongsai Bay
1. The story behind the first luxury hotel in Koh Samui
Learning the touching story behind The Tongsai Bay was what was one of the many reasons why I fell in love with The Tongsai Bay. The late Akorn Hoontrakul, chairman of The Imperial Hotel Group fell in love with the shores of The Tongsai Bay from the sea in 1985. It was love at first sight and 7 days later he purchased the land. He spent the next 3 months sleeping on the beach, dreaming of the resort he wanted to build. With his love for nature, he was determined not to cause damage to the natural surroundings of the shores and he built his resort without cutting down a single tree. The Tongsai Bay opened its doors in July 1987 and was the first 5-Star luxury hotel on Koh Samui.
When Akorn sold the Imperial Hotel Group in 1993 during his period of illness, he kept The Tongsai Bay because he wanted to live out the rest of his life here with his beloved wife Chompunute. After passing on, his son Thanakorn and his daughter-in-law, Saisiri took over. They share Akorn’s passion for the environment and in providing their guests with the best of Thai hospitality. The hotel’s staff are treated like family members, and some staff has been at the resort since its opening days. This family-owned hotel has been passed down 2 generations and grows each year to become even more welcoming to its guests. With their genuine and authentic touch, coupled with their passion for the environment and hospitality, it comes as no surprise that time spent here will be special and memorable.
2. Say ‘I Do’ on a private beach bay
The Tongsai Bay has a private beach bay that is romantic, peaceful and tranquil. This private, exclusive space is free from interruptions by external beach vendors or the public, making it perfect for your walk down the aisle, or a romantic candlelight dinner for two. The beach area is positioned right in front of the resort and faces a spectacular backdrop of blue skies and waters, making your special moment even more unforgettable. Click here for wedding packages.
The resort also only offers non-motorized water sports, keeping the bay free from noise and water pollution. The waters are clean and ideal for an afternoon swim. The beach was unlike any other beach we’ve come across – it is made up of tiny pebbles of different shapes and sizes, with colourful shades that sparkle in the sun. The uniqueness of this beach was memorable.
3. An alfresco experience at Po Lad Beach Bistro and Bar
Po Lad Beach Bistro and Bar is the beachfront restaurant at The Tongsai Bay. We spent an entire evening dining here with Martin, the hotel manager of The Tongsai Bay, and it was one of the most enjoyable meals we had on the entire trip. We got to delight in a casual, breezy evening by the beach over a wonderful conversation, a hearty meal, and refreshing cocktails. We can only imagine the same for you and your loved ones on your wedding day in this relaxing atmosphere.
Have your reception here during sunset hours for a tranquil ambience. You will be thrilled by the different flavours and styles prepared, from home-style comfort foods to western Asian fusion. Designed to offer diversity and culinary variety, Po-lad’s menu is lovingly crafted to provide food for the soul. Traditional Thai wedding celebrations are also available at The Tongsai Bay, where they will have monks officiate your ceremony.
4. A hilltop wedding at Chef Chom’s Thai Restaurant
Chef Chom has both an alfresco area and indoor-seating for your wedding reception. Perched on a hilltop, you are presented with a beautiful natural scenery of lush greenery and ocean waters. Enjoy serenity in this exclusive space for your wedding day.
Named after Chef Piengchom Dhadahbanand who was a chef in the Thai Royal Household, Chef Chom’s Thai Restaurant focus is in using high quality, fresh ingredients to create traditional and authentic Thai cuisine for guests. The dishes draw on different flavours and distinct styles of each region and are presented in an eclectic, innovative style. During our visit, we were thrilled to taste some of the signature dishes. Their appetizer platter which included portions of spring rolls, satay and wonton crackers were freshly prepared, piping hot, and left us craving for more.
5. An intimate celebration at The Butler’s
For a warm and intimate space, head up to The Butler’s for a cozy wedding reception. Here, you and your loved ones can enjoy a tantalising Mediterranean and Asian inspired dishes and wines that are carefully selected to compliment each dish. This space can seat up to 26 guests.
6. Reside in a garden haven with incredible views
Within the 28.5 acres of lush land, you will find only 83 suites, cottages, and villas in this huge spacious compound. You can enjoy privacy and serenity in each and every one. Even during peak seasons, any crowd here becomes unnoticeable with the vast amount of space. During our stay, we were lucky to experience the Akorn Villa, the largest residence in the estate and named after the late founder. Perched on the hilltop, the villa came with its own huge private L-shaped infinity pool, a large open-air lounging area with a huge tub and pavilion, as well as spacious, comfortable living quarters.
Best of all, we woke up every morning to be presented with a panoramic view overlooking the beach, bay, and ocean. It made our mornings very invigorating. The views beyond our private infinity pool were so far-reaching, it gave us a deep sense of tranquility. One of our best experiences was stargazing as we swam in our private pool at night.
It was abdundant nature all around us. Trees, birds, flowers, and greenery are a common sight. The sound of birds chirping, waves swooshing and the gentle breeze made our stay very relaxing. It was a refreshing experience, to have The Tongsai Bay embrace space and nature. From the small number of rooms available in this huge space, the philosophy of The Tongsai Bay is to provide their guests with a serene experience filled with generous amounts of space and nature. To them, it is not about making the most revenue with their space. In fact, there are over 66 different species of birds that call The Tongsai Bay their home.
7. Pampering treatments at Prana Spa
A spa treatment is one of the must-haves when it comes to a romantic honeymoon. Prana Spa at The Tongsai Bay is set in the hotel’s lush green surroundings, providing you a haven to serve your beauty and relaxation needs. With their selection of therapeutic, healing and restorative treatments, you can choose the treatment that best fits your needs, whether relaxation, de-stressing or releasing muscle tension. I opted for an oil aromatherapy massage to relax my senses whereas Matt opted for a Thai massage to loosen up his stiff muscles. If you have time during your stay, do try their 2.5-hour signature treatments, such as the ‘Samui Dream” which is a traditional Thai remedy that can soothe sunburned in, or the “Return to Prana” which takes you beyond the standard spa experience. Prana Spa also has a herbal steam room, open-air bathtub for floral or milk baths.
8. Get active with explorations, watersports & learning
There are so many things to do on the island of Koh Samui. You can take a day trip to the famous Ang Thong National Marine Park for snokeling or diving spots. Alternatively, visit a neighbouring island like Ko Tao. Simply make inquiries or reservations via the front desk, for the concierge will be most happy to make recommendations, give advice and make bookings on your behalf. The Tongsai Bay partners with a reliable company for transport and tours, so you can be assured of a safe and hassle-free service. The Tongsai Bay is only 10 minutes from Chaweng Beach, 10 minutes from Fisherman’s Village and 10 minutes from the airport. Its convenient location will have you anywhere within minutes.
Within the resort itself, there is plenty to enjoy. From sunbathing at the beach or pool, you can also participate in sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, hobbie cats, and stand-up paddleboarding, all offered to you complimentary. There is also beach staff on standby to help you with whatever you need. There is also a gym room for your exercise with towels, water, and music available. The resort also arranges plenty of classes such as cooking, yoga, fruit carving, cultural and language classes for your fancy.
Each week, the resort staff hosts movie sessions under the stars on the beach. It is a wonderful experience, so be sure to head down to catch it. If you are in the mood for a private candlelight dinner under a dreamy canopy by the beach, simply make a request with the staff and they would be happy to arrange it for you.
9. A passion & commitment to loving nature
Matt and I have been to many resorts, many who mention their green and eco-friendly initiatives. However, this is the first time I felt a resort has built itself from the ground up with sustainability at its heart, which is what makes it so unique and special. The green policy at Tongsai Bay covers not only energy reduction, nature and animal conservation but even extends to minimizing food waste and managing compost, minimizing chemical usage and actively increasing awareness in their community. To The Tongsai Bay, being green is not just about a concept. The owners, management, and staff of the hotel deeply love and care for the environment they are in. They are constantly innovating and reworking their ways to become more eco-friendly and sustainable.
“From the birds, to the plants to their organic garden… what makes Tongsai Bay so unique is the way they mould their love for nature together with the luxury of the resort.” – Richard & Kevin, 12th time guests
During our visit, we learned that earlier in 2017, The Tongsai Bay decided to bid goodbye to plastic in its resort. They changed their plastic straws to use lemongrass straws. The candles they use on their dining tables are made from recycled cooking oil.The resort staff collects fallen branches and leaves and together with any food waste, turns it into compost which is then used as fertilizer for its organic garden. They have a water tank that cleans the water used from the rooms and uses it to water the flowers and plants. They don’t cut down trees either. The resort even produces their own effective microorganism (EM) from fruits to use as natural cleaning agents in their rooms! Their commitment to the environment can be seen in both big and small ways.
10. Service from the heart
The love that the staff has for the environment is parallel to the love they have for their guests. Staying at The Tongsai Bay was a special experience thanks to their kind and warm hospitability. One morning when I had breakfast alone, the service staff at breakfast made me feel so welcome with their smiles and greetings that I did not feel alone at all. Chef Pu, the lady behind the delicious smoothies, turned my simple mango smoothie order into a healthy blend of fruits packed with vitamins. We had a lovely chat to start the day. Nop, the executive manager, checked in often to make sure we were having a good time. The staff here are warm, polite, friendly and feel like family. It must be one of the key reasons why so many guests repeatedly come back to The Tongsai Bay.
“The Tongsai Bay made my short list of places to revisit whenever I feel like going back to nature, without forsaking the convenience of 21st century luxuries.” – Simon & Baker
When you travel to a foreign land, most often what you remember in time to come, is not how stunning the place looked, the luxuries it possessed, but how it made you feel. The Tongsai Bay left me with an indescribable feeling of warmth in my heart. After our visit, I just felt like this place became a part of me. If you are in search of a tropical paradise to spend your honeymoon at, with luxuries and conveniences, be sure to check out The Tongsai Bay.
This issue is part of our #AmazingThailand series. Watch the full video on 43 Things to Do in Thailand below, and be sure to read our other articles on #AmazingThailand.
This post was brought to you by The Tongsai Bay.
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