We absolutely love how Melia Koh Samui is helping elephants! But there’s a lot more to love about this resort, too
By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
The intelligence and sensitivity of elephants has been widely acknowledged. Scientists have proven these creatures possess outstanding memories and are extremely altruistic. So no wonder we humans have always been fascinated by pachyderms, with their huge bodies and sweet temperaments. And no surprise that there are various heartwarming tales about bonding and friendships between humans and elephants.
These stories definitely inspire and counterbalance the horrific chronicles connected to the ivory trade and elephant poaching. This violent practice has been carried out for centuries, and only in the eighties was an actual ban established. However, the ivory trade is still a horrific, ongoing practice these days, as accounted in the documentary The Ivory Game, with markets mainly being in China and South East Asia.
Besides ivory, elephant exploitation is intense. This is especially true in Asia, where these poor animals are used for activities including elephant ‘rides’ (which hurt the animal’s back, and for which the elephant must be trained with painful spikes to accept), painting their skin, making them perform in circuses, or even forcing them to move wood in the logging industry.
Fortunately, many organisations are at work to stop this kind of exploitation, and you can support them by choosing the right destination for your next holiday! For example? To help these kind giants, you should visit Meliá Koh Samui. The Thai hotel has provided land for a community farm to help feed elephants rescued from exploitation activities, allowing them to be free from persecution.
How Melia Koh Samui Is Helping Elephants
The inception of the elephant farm began when the word got out that ethical elephant sanctuary Samui Elephant Haven wasn’t able to to feed its herd of 21 elephants. This happened because lockdowns around the world drastically diminished the numbers of tourists visiting the area. Originally, the sanctuary opened in 2018 to create a haven for elephants, and was economically sustainable in connection to the treks organised for tourists. In this context, the elephants were never caged, tied up or paraded, and they could roam freely within the 10-hectare sanctuary.
But with the restrictions put in place for Covid 19, the Samui Elephant Haven had to spend funds previously allocated for land rental to feed its herd. And it’s an enormous amount of food, considering these creatures eat 10% of their body weight in food daily (up to 400 kg per elephant)!
The resort has provided land for a community farm to help feed these elephants in need. Located 200 metres from Meliá Koh Samui on the north-eastern tip of Koh Samui island, the 250 square metre farm supports 200 banana trees, as well as such additional elephant fodder as napier and sweet grass.
In further support of Samui Elephant Haven, Meliá Koh Samui has created an elephant mascot, Coco, to provide information about the sanctuary and to encourage visitors to the hotel to get engaged with the educational activities at the resort’s kids club ‘Kidsdom’.
A Paradiasic Resort
But helping needy elephants isn’t the only reason we love this five-star hotel on Choeng Mon Beach in the north of Koh Samui. Its high standards of luxury have made it the winner of this year’s Luxury Lifestyle Awards in the category The Best Luxury Resorts in Asia. It doesn’t surprise once you admire the heavenly beachfront resort, amalgamating maritime heritage with luxury living amenities.
The rooms at Melia Koh Samui fuse modern design with Thai craftsmanship, and the Deluxe Rooms are all equipped with huge bathtubs on their private balconies, ideal to relax in while admiring the view of the tropical greenery. There are also the elegant Boat Suites made from painstakingly refurbished merchant vessels that are more than 100 years old and once traversed the Gulf of Thailand.
The common areas will spoil you for their sumptuous luxury, starting with the living spaces, created from local materials, and continuing with the Level Lounge, shaped like a boat’s hull with an open kitchen, a dining area, and a vast open terrace.
Once you’ve settled in, there are so many activities that all guests may partake. Why not begin the day with morning yoga classes? Or if you need to be even more physical, release all tensions with Muay Thai boxing.
If you want to practice your skills behind the kitchen stove, try the Thai cooking class, so that you can learn recipes of this delicious cuisine and make the same dishes once you return back home. Those traveling with their family will have a great selection of activities for their children, thanks to the Kid’s Club, housed in a refurbished merchant vessel adjacent to a mini water park with a shallow pool, slide, fountain and giant tipping bucket.
When in need of some pampering, take a pit stop at the YHI Spa, which offers a wide selection of blissful treatments including massages, scrubs, wraps and facials. Of course, there are plenty of pools to swim in – or if you prefer, to simply cool off in!
As mentioned, we love how Melia Koh Samui is helping elephants. But they’re doing a lot more for the planet and its people, too.
For example, in 2018 Melia published a Code of Ethics for Suppliers to ensure the responsible management of their supply chain, which includes the sourcing of everything from linens and soaps to food.
The resort is also home to The Gallery, situated in the lobby, a not-for-profit social enterprise designed to help improve the lives of Thai communities. The Gallery sells accessories such as handbags, wallets, and silks, and home décor items such as ceramics and wooden model boats, made by Thai designers and artists. All profits support further artistic endeavors as well as help preserve and promote local culture and areas in need.