Article and photos by Elena del Valle
The Hansar Samui
After a difficult flight to the island of Koh Samui in Thailand, I exited the airport to discover it was necessary to follow what felt like a long, partly on an incline, path to the passenger pick up area. It was hot and humid and by the time I made it there I was sweating and desperate to leave the airport.
My room at the hotel
As I pushed my luggage cart up the last part of the incline I spotted a friendly looking man with a turquoise polo short at the head of the line of people waiting for passengers. Later I learned his name, Sin Samney “Sam,” the Hansar Samui front desk manager and concierge. Sam held a sign with my name on it and a radiant smile that melted my sour mood instantly. “Pop,” the hotel driver was with him and while Sam greeted me Pop went to fetch the car from the parking lot in front of us. A moment later I was comfortably seated inside the air conditioned hotel car holding a refresher towel and drinking chilled water.
The beach view from the lounge
That set the tone for my stay at the Hansar Samui. I thoroughly enjoyed my beach front handsome room with a covered balcony as well as the hotel spa, fitness center, restaurant, and saltwater infinity edge swimming pool. I will remember the hotel for the staff’s friendliness and thoughtful touches like the constant supply of mangoosteens in my room fruit bowl when they found out it was a favorite (I bought some at the village market), and amenities like the nightly home baked sweets and chocolates.
Sweets from H-Bistro
While I was there I had an opportunity to sample the new H-Bistro Tasting Menu. The first course was perfectly cooked Seared Hokaido scallops with celeriac, cherry tomato compote and Riesling foam. Then there was a delightful Pan fried foie gras liver with rapberry yogurt and rapberry essence followed by a delicious Linguini pasta with, garlic, red chili, tiger prawn, Dutch Mussels and fresh dill. For the next course we could select one from the following three: Pan seared Arctic Char with ratatouille, eggplant and lobster foam or Slow cooked Bresse baby chicken with white asparagus, crispy guanciale and Black summer truffle sauce or Grilled Canadian Lobster with garlic butter and rocket salad. I was able to sample the chicken (a favorite) and the lobster. Although dessert was not part of the set menu we had saved room to sample Warm melted chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and Pineapple ravioli both of which provided a satisfying completion the lovingly prepared and artfully presented meal.
Foie gras at H-Bistro
The chicken was a favorite
From Indra Budiman the affable general manager, to Stephen Jean Dion, Hansar’s executive chef, the restaurant staff who I met the day I sampled the H-Bistro Tasting Menu; to the front desk staff, the room service staff, the ladies at the spa, the young men in the pool area and nearly every staff member I had a chance to meet I felt welcome, even when our communication was limited by language.
Hansar Chef Stephen Jean Dion