Here is a video report I made to show what we villa owners could expect in our finished villas and how far the construction had proceeded since it started in 2004.
Mary and I had returned to Koh Samui to see if construction had started and what a difference two years made. The last time we saw this scene it was full of coconut palm trees. At least one is still standing.
The view was even more impressive now the site had been cleared. You could see the sea from every angle. It looked to us like a lot of the earth works had been completed and the site was almost ready for construction.
Was this the evidence we were looking for – trucks on the site moving earth? Kalkin was the construction company that had won the contract to build this luxury residential villa resort on Koh Samui and their first task was to bring in trucks and earth moving equipment to clear and prepare the site for villa construction.
This involved removing most of the palm trees, but leaving some in situ; later these palm trees will be reinstated where suitable. Also, moving tons of earth from an escarpment at the top end of the site to the bottom end making a gentle slope across the whole site.
The site was going to consist of 34 villas, a restaurant, spa and other amenities. The villas were to be arranged in rows starting with two large beachfront pool villas of four bedrooms with rows of three bedroom pool villas behind them going all the way up the site to the main ring road.
Between each row of villas they were going to put in a small path, big enough for golf size electrical buggies to travel along. These buggies would be used to take villa owners and guests to their villas and act as service vehicles around the residential resort.
A chance visit to a property exhibition in Hong Kong started us out on the journey to our Koh Samui dream villa. We had found, what we hoped would be our dream villa and my wife, Mary and I, were invited to visit the site on Koh Samui. We took the flight from Hong Kong via Bangkok and at the airport we were met by Anthony, a representative from Royal Developments International who took us to see the land.
As we drove from Koh Samui airport, and only two minutes into the journey, we passed a sign at the side of the road which read Are You One of the 34? Mary and I looked at each other and nodded, we certainly hoped to be. This was the first sign we saw advertising the development to be, known then as Royal Samui Beach.
After only a five minute drive from the airport we arrived at the site and saw a large track of land covered with coconut palms next to the road. A rough track led to the beach and we could see the sea in the distance. It was a perfect day and ideal for a site recce. Anthony turned off the road in his 4×4 and we headed down the track.
The only sign of civilisation were tyre tracks made weeks ago, I hoped then that we had not been beaten to it and someone else had decided to buy the plot of land we were going to look at. Anthony told us we were the first people he had shown the land to and said the tracks were probably made by other property developers who were looking for land to buy on Koh Samui.
We got out of the 4×4 and decided to walk from here on in. The earth was dry and dusty and strewn in places with fallen palm branches, which were pretty much undisturbed, rotting coconut husks and recently fallen coconuts. The land looked untouched, but as we walked towards the beach we could see the developers had cleared part of the site.
Before we left Hong Kong we had been given a site plan of the development, well more of an artists impression, and definitely not a technical drawing, which showed plot 14F on the far side of the development. We walked along the beach among the rocks at the waters edge, then headed back up the hill to look for our plot.
After much pacing about among the palm trees and kicking the odd fallen coconut we figured out where our villa was going to be built. We assumed we were in the right place as our plot was marked on the map as being on the far edge of the development. Anthony agreed, he thought it was the right spot.
It looked nothing much, but what a view and the fabulous sea breeze convinced us that this was the prefect spot for our dream villa. Looking across at the rest of the site we could see we would have one of the best views. In the far distance, we could see an island called Koh Matalang.
We found plot number 14, at least it was where we thought it would be. What we did not know was that our villa would be built at a level above our heads and as it turned out we were not far off from where we should have been and, all that without GPS.
When we looked back up the hill all we could see were palm trees and no sign of the road. It felt very secluded and as far as we knew we could have been in the middle of nowhere. This became a big selling point for the developers and all their advertising stated the development was close to everything but a million miles from anywhere!
Anthony told us the developer intended to keep as many of the trees as possible and would replace them if they had to be removed whilst construction was taking place. Before we left our plot, we looked at the view for a long time and Mary and I had to pinch ourselves just to make sure we were not dreaming. We asked ourselves, could this really be the view we would have from our villa one day?
The story continues…
Our original construction plan consisted of different pavilions for all 3 bedrooms and lounge dining area – Bali style. When the land title was changed to Chanote – the top title – the plans were changed. Again this regularly happens but it worked in our favour as one of the bedrooms was put downstairs on another level and the whole direction of the villa changed from east facing to due south – another bonus.
It was at this point that Adrian scrutinised the plans and we managed to change the position of the pool, sala and extended the balcony outside the master bedroom.
At last, two years after paying our deposit, building started on the site with 34 individual villas. The Marketing slogan at the time was Are You One Of The 34? We certainly were, in fact, I believe, we were the first to purchase.
Shortly afterwards, Adrian produced a video report, presented by himself, on the progress of the site. He interviewed Richard Manser the Chief Architect who took Adrian on a tour of the site and explained the whole building process to him on camera.
This was well received by the owners, as many were anxious about the time it was taking to build the villas.
During the initial two years Adrian and I spent most weekends looking at furniture and lamps, and voraciously devouring design books and magazines.
Both of us enjoy doing interior design and had experience doing a number of homes in the U.K. However, we had never done a complete home from afar as we live in Hong Kong, but we decided we would spend time and money to get it right first time, a good policy, as we didnt have money to waste.
We visited regularly and found it difficult to accept how slow things were moving, not realising that this is par for the course in Thailand. We were in regular contact with the Project Manager du jour and these persons changed a number of times over the period.