We all need time off from the daily grind — whether as individuals or together as a family — and this is why vacations exist. So when this this tired mummy of two little boys got invited to stay at the gorgeous MANATHAI Koh Samui, she literally jumped for joy!
I have never been away from my boys, even for a night, and I knew I needed this break. And my mum-cation there was incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating — exactly what I needed to re-charge my mum-batteries.
But at the same time, the MANATHAI is also perfect for an incredible family vacation as this beautiful hotel boasts of some pretty amazing kid-friendly features.
Come on a journey with me to beautiful Koh Samui, Thailand and see why you need to make this little paradise island and MANATHAI Koh Samui, your next holiday destination.
The hotel is flanked by lush green rainforest on one end, and the cerulean blue ocean at the other.
Old-world charm in a stunning location
While Koh Samui — like other Thai holiday destinations — has its fair share of bustling night markets, pristine beach beauty, delicious food and culture, it is certainly less touristy and frenetic as some other popular Thai holiday destinations.
MANATHAI Koh Samui is located on this pretty island, right near the sparkling white sands and blue waters of Lamai Beach. It is only about a 40-minute drive from the Koh Samui airport.
One of the first things I noticed about the hotel is the colonial charm reflected in the buildings and decor.
Providing a backdrop to the hotel and its rooms on one end is lush, green rainforest, while at the other end, framing one of the hotel’s four restaurants, Yim Yai Kids Club, gym and pool is sparkling blue water and a stretch of clean, white beach.
The Lamai Suite is perfect for families. Check out the cool white tones, blending with relaxing blues and greens.
The hotel boasts of over 100 rooms, with several of these specially designed with families in mind. My stay there was in one of their very beautiful Deluxe Lamai Suites.
From an aesthetic point-of-view, I fell in love with the soft tones of white, green and blue used throughout this spacious room, as well as the simple yet elegant furniture. The overall effect was very relaxing and pretty.
Another view of the stunning Deluxe Lamai Suite. Mums, just imagine soaking in that bathtub!
From a mum’s point of view, too, this suite ticks all the right boxes. It’s very spacious, giving your little ones (and you!) lots of room to frolic about. Mum and dad get to sleep in a super-comfortable teak-wood four poster bed. Plenty of room there for the littlies too if you are co-sleeping.
Else, if you want your own bed space, the suite has a spacious day bed that is perfect for little ones. They won’t roll off either because of the thoughtful panels on either side of the bed.
The bathroom is clean and modern. The sink is probably a little high for independent little ones who want to brush their teeth all by themselves. But you could always ask the friendly staff for a step-stool and I am sure they will be happy to oblige.
The MANATHAI Koh Samui also has other great family-friendly rooms, noteworthy among them, the Deluxe Garden Rooms (see image below). Check out their full range of room options here.
A safe little garden space allows the kids to get a good dose of fresh air and sunshine, while you relax inside.
I bet you really want to find out what activities the MANATHAI Koh Samui has for kids. Oh, and the food! Head to the next page, mums and dads.
Food, glorious food!
When you are researching for your next family holiday (or mum-cation), what your destination has to offer in terms of food is really important, especially if you are travelling with kids.
I had some absolutely delicious food at the MANATHAI Koh Samui. If you want to give Thai food or seafood a break, then you’ll need to head to Mulligan’s Irish Pub for traditional, Irish-style pub fare.
But personally, I love trying out cuisine unique to the country I am visiting, and my clear favourites during my stay were the authentic Thai fare on offer at the Pad Thai restaurant, and Waterline restaurant’s light and delicious seafood.
A selection of some of my favourite dishes. There were plenty more of course!
What’s there for the kids?
The kids menus at each of MANATHAI Koh Samui’s four restaurants were basic, but had all the favourites covered: fish and chips, chicken nuggets, spaghetti carbonara etc. Plenty of options for the fussiest of eaters but I do feel they could add more options.
I was told by a special little girl that this ham and cheese wrap was delicious!
If your children prefer to veer away from standard kids’ meals, Pad Thai restaurant has delicious noodle and rice dishes as well as curries that will tickle the taste buds of adventurous little eaters.
MANATHAI’s Colours restaurant, where I had breakfast each day, also offered a wide variety of kid-friendly options.
Of course, there is always the delicious, wood-fired pizza that kids get to make and eat, as part of the Kool for Kids deal at MANATHAI.
Yum! Pizza!! Kids get to make and eat their own pizza at MANATHAI Koh Samui.
Activities: Pizza making, yoga and more!
If you stay at the hotel for seven nights or longer with your family, all children under the age of 16 get to stay, eat and play for free as part of MANATHAI’s Kool for Kids deal.
I loved their pizza making programme and the very cool mocktail making workshop too. Littlies also get to do yoga on the beach — how awesome is that?
Your kid can learn how to be the tiniest ever mixologist, or stick her cute little bum-bum up in the air as she attempts yoga! Check out the stunning background to these activities, too!
Other than these activities, kids staying at MANATHAI get to use the resort’s sensory fun Yim Yai Kids Club.
This Kids Club offers activities such as Thai dancing, sandcastle and postcard making, painting, learning Thai, pandan leaf weaving, chalk rise art and lots of monkey, bird, elephant and fish inspired songs.
There are plenty activities for your kids to do at the Yim Yai Kids Club.
Both you and your kids will also love splashing around in MANATHAI Koh Samui’s two pools — one overlooking the ocean and the other, tropical rainforest.
Mums and dads, picture yourselves, right now, relaxing in this pool!
Head to the final page to find out how to get your dose of culture and street food, plus must-read mummy traveller tips.
Culture, more beaches and street food
My hosts at MANATHAI graciously took me on an island tour.
I first visited the very beautiful Crystal Bay where I was treated to a refreshing drink by the beach. It’s all in a name they say, so you can imagine just how beautiful this strip of beach is, certainly doing justice to its name.
Mummy tip: I saw lots of kids frolicking on the beach and splashing around in the shallow, clear water, so if you’re heading here with the kids, make sure you pack their swim suits, floaties, buckets and spades, and of course, plenty of sunscreen. They’ll love it!
The sapphire blue waters of Crystal Bay.
I also visited the beautiful Wat Sila Ngu Temple (see below). This temple of glowing, earthy red tones is home to intricate carvings and sculptures representing Koh Samui’s art, architecture and Buddhist culture
Mummy tip: This is a temple, so it’s best to dress appropriately, take your footwear off inside the temple and remind your kids not to be too loud or run around.
The final destination was a lively street market just five minutes from MANATHAI Koh Samui.
I LOVE street markets and I could have spent hours just wandering through this one, taking in the sights, smells and sounds.
Pretty trinkets like this windchime are available in plenty, making the perfect gift.
With the current exchange rate, picking up gorgeous souvenirs is quite affordable, and you can also splurge on the kids without thinking twice. This market was also packed with plenty of the delicious street food that Thailand is so well-known for.
If you don’t fancy assorted fried bugs, there are plenty of other yummy options!
Mummy tips: If you and your kids are not up for a quick snack of fried bugs (!), there are plenty of other less exotic options available. There’s a stall that does yummy pizza as well as other street vendors who will gladly give you plates of steaming hot, fresh pad thai, vegetable stir fry or satay.
Street markets such as this one are definitely exciting but do remember that they may also be overwhelming for little ones.
It’s quite hot and steamy even in the night due to the roaring fires of the food vendors there, bright lights and of course, loads of people creating plenty of radiating body heat.
Lots of water is a must and due to the crowds, you’ll need to keep a close on your children. If you have a baby, a stroller probably won’t be practical due to the crowds. Baby-wearing in this case would be the more sensible option.
I loved my stay at MANATHAI Koh Samui on my own, but I can imagine having all kinds of fun there with my family too!
The final wrap
What I loved the most (with my mum-cation hat on): The gorgeous room, the relaxing neck and shoulder massage, the views, the food, the warm Thai hospitality, and just being able to re-charge my mummy batteries.
What I loved the most (with only my mum hat on): The safety of the beaches (think clean sand and calm waters), the great range of kid-friendly activities, Yim Yai Kids Club, the friendly and attentive child minders.
You can fly to Koh Samui from Singapore in under two hours via Silk Air, Singapore Airlines, Bangkok Airways or Malaysia Airlines.
- To get to the beach side of the hotel, you’ll need to cross a busy road. Especially if you are with kids, always wait for the friendly attendant to stop the traffic for you so you can cross safely.
- Don’t worry if you forget to take essentials such as sunscreen and baby soap. There’s a well-stocked 7-Eleven just across the road from MANATHAI Koh Samui.
- It is hot and humid, so take appropriate clothing, hats, mosquito repellent and sunscreen. Carry plenty of water with you when heading out with the kids.
- Keep in mind that Thailand has a current mourning period of one year due to the demise of their King. While this will not affect your holiday there one bit, do be respectful of this period and what it signifies.
Would I go back? I sure would, with kids and hubby in tow next time!
Mums and dads, we hope this article has helped you get your holiday plans sorted. Do share your thoughts on this review article by leaving a comment below.