The Resort or Hotel swimming pool. That fantastic area featuring in tens of thousands of movie scenes and billions of photos worldwide. Where relaxation is savoured, drinking, eating is done, and tans gained. Arguably, the swimming pool is the main focal point for most Hotels and Resorts worldwide. Memories are made, and deals are done.
How often have you heard someone say, “The Resort was great, but the pool was too big”? I’d have a guess and say, never! A resort swimming pool can never be too big, can it?
One sunny Samui day in early 2018, I stood on the land to become the new New Leaf Detox for almost the entire day. I had the trusty iPhone compass app, which gave me the sun’s direction in relation to the land, and I watched it as it moved over the vacant site. This set the tone, and the pool area was designed from there. I moved wooden stakes around the land, knocking them in with rocks, sometimes spraying paint on the ground and mapping out their placement and size, considering the environmental restrictions.
The pool boundary had to be a minimum of six meters from the river and beach. We also wanted the pool away from the main building and bungalows. We tried to estimate how tall our new main building would be and what time the sun would fall behind it. This would give us an indication of when the construction would start to shade the pool.
Today there is a big grass area from the main building to the side of the pool deck. This was intentional. The pool needed to be as far from the western side of the main building as possible. The pool gets the morning sun from 7.00 am. Half the pool is shaded by 4.30 pm and entirely shaded by 6.00 pm 11 total hours of sun, enough to satisfy the most seasoned sun worshiper. Come and see for yourself.
The New Leaf pool had to be stunning, functional, saltwater and sunny all day. In our last Resort in Lamai on the southeast coast of Samui, we had issues with large trees shading the pool early in the day. We wanted to create a proper 25-meter lap pool so our guests could enjoy doing laps, learn and practice swimming.
The width of the pool was approximately 8.5 meters, making it four Olympic training lanes. It is precisely 25 meters which is half the Olympic length. It was also essential to have a vast pool deck on both sides. It’s 7 meters wide with a 1-meter planter box and 37 meters running along the river to the beach. The south deck is 3.5 meters wide and 34 meters long. The terrace on the north side is expansive enough for morning yoga and meditation groups before the morning walk.
We achieved the length and width of the pool space by demolishing one large existing bungalow and changing the shape of the main building to maximise the day’s sun.
Another primary consideration of the pool was the depth. The shallow end needed to be shallow enough for our shortest guest. The guest needs to be able to stand and do aqua aerobics comfortably. This area needed to be approximately 80 square meters. After the main construction of the pool, the shallow platform was added.
Beautiful tiles and furnishings always support a great resort swimming pool. We had no idea there were so many shades of green, blue and aqua for tiles. We knew we wanted a blue pool, and we wanted a resort swimming pool with a natural stone look. This became a more significant challenge than we’d imagined. We ended up deciding on a Bali stone tile called Crystal Blue.
During the ordering process of the tiles, the manufacturer called us and said they had found a beautiful new vein in their mine in Bali. He told us if we mixed tiles, we would have a unique pool. He assured us no one in Thailand, or possibly anywhere, would have a pool quite like ours, something we were pleased about.
The tiles for the deck because of a challenge too. We would take samples and place them in our shower at home. We’d shower on the samples for a few days to a week to make sure they were grippy. We also wanted light grey and ended up with Cotto B-Man bone tiles. Not the best choice, and we were treating them with proper paint to add additional grip. They are grippy until you move on them with wet feet, then they can be slippery.
Since the deck and walkway are in the sun most of the day, we need the most cooling options we could find. We knew we had to create a walkway with different materials when we tested them as the tiles got unbearably hot. It was suggested to us to use Bio Wood. A grippy eco wood cooler in the sun. The Bio Wood seems warmer than the tiles. We are treating them with another paint product. Visit our detox packages here.
The LED lights are stunning. The come from Australian company Spa Electrics, and they are operated either on remote control or timer. There is a broad spectrum of colours, and we use them more for an excellent light show in the evenings. There are ten lights spaced across the length of the pool. We set them into the western side of the pool, so the light shines away from the main building.
Handmade on Koh Samui
All hand-made on Koh Samui. We designed the rattan furniture months before we opened, which was made locally on Koh Samui. They are very functional, modern and beautiful. We are glad we could support the local industries as much as possible. There are twenty sunbeds and umbrellas.
We hope you like all the photos we took during the long process of the New Leaf pool and resort construction. We also hope one day you can have a dip in our fantastic beachside saltwater pool. – KP