9 March 2019 is a big day for Leslie Macpherson and her husband, Neill. The date marks ten years since they opened their villa, Villa M, which, with five bedrooms, pool and rooftop jacuzzi, is the one and only luxury villa in Ko Samui’s historical Fisherman’s Village – plus it’s beachfront!
To celebrate the villa’s 10th anniversary, we chatted with the ever-so-lovely and vivacious Leslie to learn her story and about some of the ups, the downs, the strange and the wonderful of villa ownership. Read on to learn all about what it’s like to live the villa ownership dream.
Why did you decide to build a holiday villa?
My husband Neill and I were both brought up in South East Asia, and are passionate about travel. In our travels, both for work and pleasure, we spent a great deal of time together in Thailand, so we decided to a look for a hideaway there.
We chose Thailand for many reasons. Simply put, whenever we visited “The Land of Smiles” we felt that we were coming home. We fell in love with Fisherman’s Village, on the northeast coast of Ko Samui. It remains the way many places were in Thailand 50 years ago and is one of the few places in Asia that has managed to retain the Indochine feel.
It is also close to almost everything you would want to see or do – the airport, hospitals, the shopping and nightlife of Chaweng, the golf course, sporting activities, major attractions, and with boats leaving directly from the village to the popular islands.
How did you decide on this particular plot of land?
We came across a double block of beachfront land fringed with palm trees, possibly the best-positioned piece of land in Fisherman’s Village, very close to the restaurants, yet in a tranquil setting. It took a few months for our Thai partners to locate and contact the owner, and the rest is history.
What were some interesting moments or challenges you faced in building Villa M?
There were a few “Lost in Translation” moments… e.g. when I arrived in the villa to discover that in the eight bathrooms, black granite bench tops had been imported and installed, instead of the white we ordered! On enquiring as to what had happened, the bathroom tradesmen, looking very pleased, replied that the black granite was a better price! All sorted out and replaced with white granite bench tops.
Also, the Thais like to consult the astrology charts to find a favourable time to do something important. The day and time for starting to build your house are very important and a special ceremony, “Sow Lek”, is arranged for erecting the first pillar and placing a plant in the foundation pillar. According to Thai astrology, there are three days of the week when you should never start a construction project.
What’s the best and worst thing about a holiday villa?
For us, it was the magical tropical island of Ko Samui and the sleepy seaside Fisherman’s Village, a peaceful, sophisticated alternative to the more crowded and commercial tourist areas on the east coast.
If there is a “worst” thing about a holiday villa, it’s that you are not always able to visit on whim because of guests’ bookings, but these are good things.
What are some of the strangest things you have experienced?
Several strange things appear to happen until you become familiar with the local customs and traditions.
For example, “Color Days”, which, are based on pre-Buddhist Hindu legends, a particular auspicious colour is associated with each day of the week. This is most noticeable on Mondays, when many people wear yellow shirts, acknowledging and honouring the day on which the late King Bhumibol was born. Other popular colours include pink (Tuesday) and light blue (Friday, the Queen’s day of birth).
What do you and Neill love most about Villa M?
A difficult question, because there is nothing about Villa M that isn’t special to us, except that we are not there often enough. The location, absolute beachfront in Fisherman’s Village, the design, furnishings, our concierge and maid, Khun Chee and Khun Chon, who love the Villa as well, the village ambience, the variety of restaurants within walking distance of the Villa, the boutiques, the Thai people. I could go on forever.
Could you describe some of your favourite things to do when you are in Ko Samui?
There is so much! R&R under the palm trees on the beach, the sunset from our rooftop jacuzzi overlooking the fishing harbour, the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Siam, relaxing at home and dining in with family and friends, discovering new restaurants – there are over 40 in the strip – the boutiques and spas, the Walking Street on Friday nights with the hawkers’ stalls, island hopping or simply just walking around the charming village. You never get bored!
What are you looking forward to over the next ten years?
Spending more time in our little piece of paradise.
Would you do it all again?
We are always asked this question. No immediate plans, but “never say never”.
In honour of their 10th Anniversary, Villa M is now 15% Off for stays through April 2019. Valid for bookings from now until 30 Apr 2019. Minimum 3 nights stay is required.