Kanda Residences and Pool Villas has been a Samui favourite for quite a while. Essentially, it’s a cliffside holiday resort just outside Chaweng on the road towards Choeng Mon, with 36 self-contained pool villas laid-out on a sloping hillside down towards the sea and the beach below. What’s interesting about this place is that it’s essentially a co-operatively owned, managed and leased assortment of extremely luxurious small villas. But in the early part of its life it was an up-market resort – hence the attention that was paid to creating and maintaining one of the best restaurants in the area. Today it’s still terrific although, apart from savvy residents, not many travellers know that it’s there.
As you come into reception, mention RockPool restaurant, a buggy will appear, and you’ll be swished down through twisting narrow lanes and between the gleaming white walls, all of them bright with vines and climbing flowers, that form the boundaries of the secluded villas within.
You might think there’s not much to see as you pull up outside the restaurant – just a sun-baked walled terrace that evokes a Mediterranean hillside. But walking through the adjacent brick arch reveals a breath-taking view – across the open space of a smoothly tiled floor is the wide blue sea beyond. There’s some comfy sofa-seating near the entrance, a long bar over to the left, and the very modern-looking open kitchen, all gleaming with brushed stainless steel, to the right. And alongside this are the steps leading down onto the three open decks that form RockPool.
Down below is an infinity pool with a terrace around it, and then you’ll step down again onto the wooden-decked terraces below, dramatically perched on and over the rocky cliffside. It’s delightful! The top deck forms the main dining terrace – which features an enormous tree growing up through the lower bar and shading most of the first deck. There’s a raised shelf for sea gazing running around the edge of this, and to the left and down two steps are the other decks, together with another small bar. Unlike most elevated seaside locations, here the vista is an enigmatic little bay, framed on either side by small headlands.
Right from the start, RockPool has been able to boast celebrity chefs and a menu to match. And currently running the kitchen here is the well-known executive chef, Lisa Lang, who was once described as ‘very much a chef’s chef’. She sums up the approach towards her menu and cuisine as “. . . a need to move ordinary food more and more towards modern cuisine and fine dining. Everything I make has to taste even better than it looks – there’s far too many chefs content to make their food look good but the taste just doesn’t matter!”
Worthy of super-special mention are the two seafood sets, each for two people. The first is a gigantic platter of assorted sea bass, tiger prawns, blue crab and squid, together with two glasses of wine. But the other set hits the jackpot, as it adds two Canadian lobsters plus an entire bottle of wine – and for just 4,700++ baht, that’s exceptional value.
Although the à la carte menu is first class, the appeal of RockPool is that it runs all sorts of regular special events. It’s well-known for its excellent Sunday Brunch which happens every week from 12:00 am until 4:00 pm, with the acoustic duo band. And it’s certainly the least-expensive on the island without sacrificing any of the quality. Then there’s Pizza and
Beers (wood-fired pizza and iced cold beers) each Wednesday. Then Friday sees Oysters ‘n’ Bubbles – Fine de Claire oysters with special prices on sparkling wine and champagne. And if you add to all of this the 2-for-1 on all drinks Happy Hour between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm, then that rounds-off some very tempting dining indeed.
However, one of the most inviting aspects of Kanda Residences is the special attraction it holds for wedding groups. It’s tempting simply to throw your needs at one of the many wedding planners. But not only is the accommodation here top-class, but the layout of the decks at RockPool lend themselves perfectly to private groups of different sizes (up to a total of 100 people) and all the catering and events can be handled in-house. Not only that but, right next to the resort and down
on the beach, there is a secluded private villa which can be used for smaller groups.
There’s so much more to be said about Kanda Residences and Pool Villas. And so the easiest way to soak in some of the info and sights is to follow their Facebook page. But, whatever way you do it, you’ll have to agree that Kanda – and RockPool – rocks!
Rob De Wet
For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7723 4500.