The Resort swimming pool. That amazing area where thousands of movies scenes have been shot. Photos were taken and deals are done. Relaxation had, drinking, eating and tans gained. Arguably, the swimming pool is the main focal point for most Hotels and Resort around the world.
A resort swimming pool can never be too big, can it? How many times have you heard someone say “The Resort was great, but the pool was too big” I’d have a guess and say, never!
Mapping It Out
One sunny Samui day in early 2018 I stood on the land that was to become the new New Leaf Detox for almost the entire day. I had the trusty iPhone compass app which gave me the direction of the sun 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 mapping out its placement and size taking into account 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. It was important the pool be as far from the western side of the main building as possible. The pool gets the morning sun from 7.00am. Half the pool is shaded by 4.30pm and entirely shaded by 6.00pm 11 full hours of sun, enough to satisfy the most seasoned sun worshiper.
The Aesthetics Goal
The New Leaf pool had to be stunning, functional, saltwater and sunny all or most of the day. In our previous Resort in Lamai on the south-east 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 which make is four Olympic training lanes. It was also essential to have a huge pool deck on both sides. The deck on the north side is wide enough for morning yoga and meditation groups before the morning walk. It’s 7 meters wide with a 1-meter planter box and 37 meters long. The south deck is 3.5 meters wide and 34 meters long.
We achieved the length and wide 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. It was important that the shallow end 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. The shallow platform was added after the main construction of the pool.
Tiles, Deck, Sunbeds and Lights
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 vain 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. When we tested them, we knew we had to create a walkway with different material 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.
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.
Sunbeds and Umbrellas
All hand made on Koh Samui. The rattan furniture was designed by us and ordered months locally before we opened. They are very functional, modern and beautiful. We are glad we could support the local industries as much as we could. There are twenty sunbeds and umbrellas.
Here are some photos we took during the very long process of the construction of the New Leaf Detox Resort swimming pool on Maenam beach Koh Samui Thailand. We hope you enjoy them and even get to take a dip in the pool one day.