Think Koh Samui is all luxury resorts for honeymooners? Think again, mama! Super family-friendly Manathai Resort is just a quick flight away…
I hardly get to spend time alone with my daughter – I mean really spend time with her. I’m with her a lot – it’s just the two of us living together at home. But most times she’s playing with something in the living room while I buzz around her doing a hundred different things like cooking, ironing, or worse – working! So when I heard about the possibility of spending a weekend away – at a kid-friendly Manathai Resort on Koh Samui for 4 whole days – I jumped at it. I closed my eyes and imagined how we would laugh together, hold hands, cuddle and have a blast – just she and I. And we did exactly that!
A little about Koh Samui
Koh Samui is an island in Thailand – in fact, the second largest one, after Phuket. It’s situated off the eastern coast in the Gulf of Thailand and you can fly straight there from Singapore. We flew on SilkAir, but other direct flight options include Bangkok Airways and Cathay Pacific.
What is Koh Samui known for? You guessed it: the beaches! But it’s also got some lush rainforest-covered mountains and green, shady coconut groves.
Before I talk about the resort we stayed at though, I just have to mention how adorable the airport is. It looks like a resort itself, with an open-air design that looks like a collection of huts, all built using natural materials instead of the typical concrete airport buildings we are all so used to. I felt like slipping into my bathing suit and sipping a cocktail right there while waiting for my turn at customs!
The resort and its rooms
Another feast for the eyes! I was expecting the usual white walls with dark wooden accents, but was instead greeted by a refreshing soft yellow exterior, combined very tastefully with a colonial design. Gorgeous!
The resort has two pools, a quieter one nestled amongst the buildings, and another just by the beach – expect more splashing and squeals of delight here.
The spa was under renovation when I arrived, but I still managed to get a wonderfully relaxing massage in a makeshift spa that didn’t feel like it was missing anything the actual spa could provide.
When we were brought into our room – the Deluxe Lamai Suite – I almost let out a gasp not only how spacious it was, but how charming, too. The bright-yet-gentle colours instantly cheered us up.
The room was divided into two sections: one part featured a king-sized bed, along with a spacious closet, bathroom, TV and desk. Then there was a section nearer to a window with what’s meant to be a daybed, but can also be used a full-sized kids bed for two. How lovely that kids have their own separate area to sleep in (so mom can continue to read or watch a movie in peace after the bub has fallen asleep) while not actually being separated from mom & dad!
During our 4-day stay, we got to sample food from each of the four restaurants within the resort.
- Colours was where we went for our daily breakfast – all buffet dishes are within reach of a typical kid (mine’s 5 and managed to get all her own food).
- We ate twice at Pad Thai – I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on anything Thai and spicy and Pad Thai provided just that. But they also provided kid-friendly local dishes that Surina loved.
- You could say that the food at Waterline restaurant was a little more refined, but again, kid-favourites are available here too. I had the best squid-ink pasta here with fresh seafood! Best part, it’s right next to the beach, so I most definitely chilled on the terrace of this restaurant with a pina colada or two when Surina was having a blast at the Yim Yai Kids Club!
- For a change of scenery and ambience, Mulligans Irish Pub is the place to go, not just to get some pub grub, but to kick back for some pints and a bit of a chat. If you’re into sports, you’ll enjoy their wide-screen TV showing any of the games that might be playing.
Not sure what to order for the kiddos? Here are some kid-friendly Thai food options your kids will love!
One thing that’s definitely not lacking are activities to keep your kiddos occupied. They will NOT be bored, not even for a second. Surina had a blast doing everything from learning how to make pizza and mocktails, to making postcards and just generally going crazy at the Yim Yai Kids Club. After learning how to make a Shirley Temple, that became all she ever wanted to order at any restaurant.
One afternoon, after a lot of activities in a row, I thought it would be too exhausting for Surina to come with me on a sightseeing trip too. To my delight, the hotel offered babysitting services! Surina had already formed a bond with some of the staff at the Kids Club so one of them hung out in the room with her while she took a nap that afternoon. It was perfect!
In the evening we explored a wonderful night market full of great shopping (can’t resist!) and amazing local food (can’t resist this either!). Warning for families: It gets rather hot and crowded at this night market. It’s totally worth the trip but just keep a lookout for when your kiddos have had enough – mine went into meltdown mode at some point and I don’t blame her. The heat and crowds got to me too after awhile. So try to stay in the more open areas if you have kids in tow!
There’s one little thing that I wasn’t a big fan of: we had to cross a street to get to the “beach part” of the resort. However, there’s always someone from the hotel to help make sure it’s safe to cross every single time we crossed.
Not only that, there were some very convenient little shops along that road where you could pop out to get an ice-cream or other toiletries and necessities.
Sounds like the perfect place to take the family to. Did we also mention that Manathai Koh Samui is number 2 in this list of Top 10 Family Resorts in Koh Samui? Pretty sweet!