What We Love
- Daily buffet breakfast, free use of beach equipment and welcome drinks are included in the Jetsetter rate
- The location on Hat Chaweng, Samui's most beautiful beach
- Swimming in the crimson-tiled pool while staring at the Gulf of Thailand's translucent turquoise water just beyond
What To Know
- Intimate size, with just 26 suites and studios
- Rooms come with iMacs hooked up to the Internet
- Only Suites have Jacuzzi tubs, rain showers and open-air living areas; Studios have rain showers and balconies
- There will be a compulsory New Year's Eve Gala dinner on 31 December 2014 for all guests at a charge of $361 per person. Payment will be collected by the hotel at checkout.
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
On a strip of beach overwhelmed by hotels of all shapes and sizes, the Library stands out. With black-trimmed stark white buildings, a blood-red swimming pool and life-size sculptures, the minimalist design is both in-your-face and unobtrusive. Inside, the focus is on the art; outside (with the exception of the pool tiles) it’s on the sublime natural paradise that is Koh Samui. Suites and studios are housed in 13 cabins scattered across expansive, lushly manicured grounds dotted with old-growth trees purposefully spared during development to enhance this eco-friendly hotel’s blend-into-the-environment vibe.
Bed and Bath
With just 26 guestrooms, housed in 13 freestanding structures, the Library’s intimate size is a refreshing change from the monolithic hotels that are so prolific in Koh Samui. Suites are on the ground floor of each unit and feature indoor-outdoor living rooms with slatted shutters that can be thrown open or closed depending on the weather. Studios are on the second floor and offer stunning ocean views, from balconies rather than the open-air living rooms. Beds have silky soft linens, and a pillow menu is on offer. Bathrooms in both feature rain showers, and the Suites have separate Jacuzzi tubs.
Set amid towering tropical almond trees, the Page restaurant overlooks Chaweng Beach and provides an ambience as good as the Western-Thai fusion fare it serves. Don’t skip the appetizers: The Page 5 Alive (cheese flavored with herbs and citrus and wrapped in pancetta) is one of the signature dishes. The excellent wine selection (not always easy to find in Thailand) features more than 60 bottles from around the globe. The resort is also home to a gym (the Fit), and the clean white library is crammed full of glossy art and design books. The crimson-tiled pool provides a unique, postmodern contrast to the clear turquoise sea beyond.
How to Get There
In my brief experience with Design Hotels around the world, I have found the service to be consistently smug, superior and sanctimonious. Sadly, this hotel was no exception.
1/ On arriving for check in at 3pm, we were informed that our room had been upgraded but would not be ready for another 30 minutes. We were happy to wait however throughout the process the representative appeared aloof, disinterested and watched my partner with hostility and suspicion when she went to leave an extra bag with the rest of our luggage.
2/ When we got to the room (at closer to 4pm) we were immediately besieged by mosquitos, indicating a clear lack of any pest control by housekeeping when they turnover the rooms. When we requested housekeeping come by to spray the rooms, we had a guy show up with a bottle of Sheltox which he thrust at us and left.
3/ Bathroom was dirty (had random hair on parts of the floor, a clear indicator of poor spot cleaning) and the bathtub did not work. We discovered this at 9.30pm, having returned back with visions of a relaxing bath before bed. Alas, my quiet night in ended up with two guys in the bathtub turning on various jacuzzi functions in an attempt to figure out why water was not running the way it should be. PS TV remote also only worked sporadically and half the channels had bad reception.
4/ We decided to check out happy hour at the beach after washing up in our room. This point is important because we headed to the beach area FROM our room, walking past The Page in the process. Upon reaching the bar and selecting seating, we were told that we could not lounge on the cushions provided because that specific arrangement was reserved for “in-house guest only”. I am still confused by the basis for the presumption that we were not in-house guests. Was it age? Race? Gender? The only explanation we got was “oh because you just checked in today right”. Well yes, but didn’t everyone at some point? Do you make it a habit of assuming that every patron that rocks up is incapable of being a guest until proven otherwise?
5/ We requested ice from room service. They showed up and, rather than leaving the bucket, demanded we transfer the ice from their bucket into the bucket we had been provided. Having been traumatised by the mosquito attack earlier in the day, we invited them in and asked them to close the door behind them (twice - we were very traumatised). Rather than doing so, the staff left the door wide open with a complete “I could care less” attitude.
6/ At check in, we requested late check out. Despite being made to wait for our room (check in time is at 2), we were informed that we could only be advised if late check out was possible the next morning. Later that night, we arrived back to find a letter on our door handle reminding us that check out was at 12 noon. We called again to reiterate the request for late check out, which they gave us. Conclusion: check in lady couldn’t be bothered to pass on our message / lied as they didn’t really need to wait till the next morning to process the late check out request.
Contrast this experience with our stay at the Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection hotel also within the Marriott portfolio. Our room was not ready at check-in - they comped us lunch at their in house restaurant and extended our check out time without asking. Service was provided promptly and with a smile, everything worked when it should. Our room at the Vana Belle (which cost the same as our room at this Design Hotel) was 91% larger, had a private pool, expansive ocean views and the hotel had a private beach.
The room at the Design Hotel is dark, has minimalist lighting and a view of your neighbour’s patio. The strip of beach it looks out on is open to the public (and touts) and worst of all, the service is lazy and insulting.
TLDR: This hotel is, comparatively, not cheap. Stay somewhere else with better ocean views, better facilities and better service. For the same price or less, you could get a private pool and real ocean views. Why else did you come to Koh Samui?
We spent 6 fantastic nights at the Library - the staff could not have been nicer! We had a spotlessly clean room And the food at the Page restaurant was excellent! Particularly enjoyed the breakfasts with
What a wonderful experience at the Library in Koh Samui. We stayed in a villa in the secret chapter, which is relatively new to the Library and we absolutely loved it. It was a magical experience filled with luxury and breathtaking views.
Our villa had its own private pool, hot tub, living room and dinning area. The decor is beautiful and the staff are so helpful and sweet.
It was one of our most memorable holidays to date. If you looking for luxury, beauty and relaxation then a villa in the Secret Chapter is for you.