Nick Walton escapes from the world at one of Thailand’s most esteemed beachfront resorts, Belmond Napasai Nick Walton escapes from the world at one of Thailand’s most esteemed beachfront resorts, Belmond Napasai

Nick Walton escapes from the world at one of Thailand’s most esteemed beachfront resorts, Napasai, A Belmond Hotel

With the dawn comes the silence. In the darkness of night in the expansive Gulf of Thailand, winds had whipped the northern coast of Koh Samui, sending waves crashing into the seawall beneath my room while tall, slender palm trees swayed rhythmically behind closed curtains. But with first light the tempest has been replaced by vibrantly blue skies, mellow golden sunshine and the tranquility that comes with being alone in the world.

Exploring Belmond Napasai: A Blend of Luxury and Nature

If there’s any place on Samui that lets the imagination stretch its legs, it has to be Napasai, A Belmond Hotel, a breathtaking estate hidden away down a meandering lane on the island’s northern cusp. Just 30 minutes from the airport and boasting panoramic views towards Koh Phangan and Angthong Marine Park, Belmond Napasai has the timeless refinement of a grand dame hotel, where solitude is encouraged, and where serenity rules supreme. This is a place where travellers can collect themselves, rediscover themselves and then lose themselves all over again.

most esteemed beachfront resorts, Belmond Napasai

The first thing you’ll notice about Belmond Napasai is the scale. At almost nine hectares, the resort is expansive, and in many ways the size allows for two different resort personas. At one end is a pristine beach wreathed by sun loungers shaded by driftwood salas dressed in brilliantly white linen that flutters in the breeze. Beyond, an infinity pool captures the reflection of palm trees that march up towards the Thai-styled resort building. Ranks o bicycles wait for the actively inclined while beyond, a pair of sun-baked tennis courts probably inspire more than they motivate. There’s a yoga sala, a Thai boxing ring and a modern fitness centre, plus cooking classes and spa treatments to keep guests as busy as they please.

From the resort’s colonial-styled lobby, two lines of villas extend down the length of the coastline. Belmond Napasai is home to 45 Villas, 10 One-Bedroom Villas and 13 Oceanfront Private Pool Residences, the latter each a little larger as you trace the narrow garden path along the cliff face. My three-bedroom Oceanfront Pool Residence clings to a steep incline that tumbles down to the lagoon; stairs descend past a pair of stand-alone cottages to a master suite and separate living room & kitchen with an expansive terrace.

most esteemed beachfront resorts, Belmond Napasai

More stairs lead down to a garden and ocean-fronted swimming pool, backed by a shaded sala and another living room and kitchen located below the main building. The villa has a welcoming, residential vibe and instantly becomes home, a simple rope on the door high above all that’s needed to keep the modern world at bay. Despite showing signs of the weathering that comes with tropical living (and with whispered rumours of a refresh in the near future), Belmond Napasai still retains her grandeur.

Residences range from one to five bedrooms and are dressed in dark polished timber, with cavernous stone bathrooms, vaulted rooves, teak ceiling fans and staggering views over turquoise seas from almost every angle. While there are flatscreen TVs, modern appliances in the lower kitchen, and wifi that seems to come and go like monsoon sunshine, the Napasai doesn’t try to compete with the newer resorts of Samui. Instead she gives an undeniable sense of place, of respite and seclusion.

most esteemed beachfront resorts, Belmond Napasai

A Writer’s Paradise

I fling open French doors (plural) and let the warm sea air engulf the living room with its ornate writing desk, intricately embroidered couch pillows in faded pink silk, and lingering perfume of fresh fruit and frangipanis. If I was a novelist, the Belmond Napasai is where I would maroon myself, crafting turns of phrase while soaking in the oversized circular bathtub, musing over plot twists in the shade of coconut palms and bougainvillea bushes, and conjuring up colourful characters as my heels cooled in the ocean. I’d wave to fellow guests as they sailed past on resort hobbie cats and paddle boards, and smile over my paperback when they passed my al fresco breakfast table at the beautiful little Lai Thai restaurant, but would ultimately retreat to my spacious, isolated villa, perfectly content with my own company.

Yes, there are as many activities as you could possibly want at the Napasai, and travellers from around the world with whom to share them. However, the resort’s true beauty is in its timeless elegance, its unhurried nature, and ability to embosom travellers looking to reacquaint themselves with the simplicity of tranquility. In a world where serenity is a rarity, Belmond Napasai offers the ultimate escape, where afternoon naps are de rigueur, and procrastination is the new religion.

For more Hotels, Lodges & Resorts click here.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for the latest travel and lifestyle inspiration.