Ban Suriya faces west across the sea, it’s elegant sleeping and living pavilions set within palm-tree shaded gardens, oriented around the 20-metre swimming pool. Entering the two-storey, split-level living pavilion, one arrives first in the dining area. To the right are two lounges (one upstairs and one down) and to the front is the well-stocked library. The modern kitchen lies to the left of the dining area. Enormous glass doors open onto a huge wooden deck, the garden and the pool. Four of the villa’s bedrooms face the pool, the fifth is privately positioned at the front of the garden – almost on the beach. Tucked away to the right of the living pavilion, are the sixth bedroom, the games room and the gym.
Ban Suriya’s large, airy, two-storey living pavilion is fronted by huge glass doors looking out onto the gardens and the sea view beyond. Meals are served (unless otherwise requested) at a 12-seat glass-topped table set below a delicate sculpture of a dandelion flower. The room also has a well-stocked drinks fridge and a coffee maker.
A few steps from the dining area is the beautifully equipped kitchen, open on two sides and with a huge worktop and stools for casual breakfasts or Thai cooking lessons from the villa’s supremely capable chef. Guests are welcome to cook if they wish – though, understandably, very few choose to do so.
Down a couple of steps from the entrance hall is the library, with its wide comfortable sofas and a stock of about 300 books. But bookworms may find themselves distracted by the underwater view of the pool through a wide window in the library.
Next to the dining area, the lower-level lounge is furnished with an armchair and soft sofas, and equipped with a huge TV with DVD player, a satellite TV connection, an iPod dock and an Apple TV 4K box for use by guests who have Apple movie accounts.
Above the lounge is a mezzanine room of similar size which doubles as a second sitting room or office, with comfortable lounging chairs and a desk for those who simply cannot tear themselves away from their computer. The villa has an iMac computer and a printer at the mezzanine for guest use. WiFi is available in every room and throughout the grounds and onto the beach. Tucked behind the lounge is a spa room, with full bathroom and massage bed.
The villa’s large gym, with its wall-to-wall glass doors that open onto a metre-deep plunge pool, is well equipped with weights, exercise balls and a punchbag for boxers. Guests can have lessons in Thai boxing, or sessions of yoga, Pilates or other exercise regimes from an expert. Just ask the villa manager to make an appointment for you.
Next to the gym, the games room has comfortable sofas but – more important for kids – a foosball table along with Wii and PS2 handsets that connect to a huge TV. There’s also a big selection of DVDs, including plenty of children’s favourites.
The villa is arranged around a huge wooden deck with sun loungers for all guests, and a sunken area with a tree-shaded table for alfresco eating. This area can be – and frequently is – used for large weddings or other social events.
No villa is complete without a pool, and Ban Suriya’s is large and inviting – a blue-tiled infinity-edge delight measuring 20 metres by five. To one side, between the pool and the deck, is a swim-up bar.
The land Ban Suriya is built on used to be a coconut plantation, and many of the stately trees were preserved, now presiding over the expanse of lawn between the deck and the beach. In one corner is a sacred Tonsai tree while in the opposite corner is the Tree House, the perfect place for an open-air massage or a game of pirates, perhaps.
For those who just can’t lie in the sun or lounge in the pool all day, the villa has a swing hanging over the beach, a ping pong table, a pool table, and a giant outdoor chess set on an upstairs terrace. For the more energetic there are two kayaks and a stand-up paddleboard.
And then there’s the beach. Lipa Noi Beach has to be one of the world’s most delightful yet little known tropical gems. Soft white sand with almost no one on it. Warm blue sea with islands in the distance. And at sunset, the perfect venue for a sundowner or two.