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Magnolia Cafe in Ko Samui’s northern Chaweng is a European-style coffee shop with comfy chairs, couches, newspapers and subdued lighting. Other than Starbucks, there are few establishments on Samui with a real coffee-shop type atmosphere, but this place has that lounge about, read the paper, catch up on gossip with friends feel about it.
Entering Chaweng on the 4171 from the Choeng Mon side, an enormous billboard above the cafe beckons passersby to pop in for coffee or to try out the adjoining Magnolia Spa. The cafe is great for afternoon coffee and cake; cakes and tarts are housemade with real ingredients. Prices of around 120 baht per slice for a decadent New York cheesecake, white chocolate pie or walnut chocolate cake are reasonable for the quality and substantial portions. Lattes are made to perfection with a thick milk froth. Do try the chocolate chip or sesame cookies available as take away.
Salads are a specialty and supersize portions are served with toasted seed loaf. The Wally salad, a fresh take on the Waldorf, is packed with chopped cheese, olives, nuts and dried fruit and is enough for a meal on its own; my companion enjoyed her tuna salad with a generous serve of tuna. Magnolia also offers pastas and Thai food as well as daily blackboard specials. If pizza is your craving for the day, best try one of the island’s many authentic Italian venues, as the pizza was a little disappointing.
On the day of our visit, the cafe was not too busy so we secured a private cosy corner; a steady flow of patrons popped in for a quick cuppa or take away, an interesting mix of expats, locals and tourists from the surrounding resorts.
A quirky addition is hotel reception-type bells placed on each table to call for service. This was not required as our waiter was always there when we needed him, much to my daughter’s disappointment.
Adjoining Magnolia Spa has prices higher than what you’ll find in beach salas, but sometimes it’s worth paying more for some luxury surrounds. An hour-long Thai massage will relieve your wallet of 600 baht and a manicure 450 baht. Several packages include scrubs, masks, facials and Dead Sea mineral treatments. Metro men are not forgotten with the “Magnolia for Men” package including a 90-minute Sarawak deep tissue massage followed by a 60-minute facial therapy, for 2,400 baht.
The spa is open from 11:00 to 21:00, with the cafe’s cookies plus tamarind juice served after each treatment. Free pickup service is available. Treatments that are suitable for children are charged at less 50% to those aged under 12.
By Rosanne Turner
Last updated on 24th March, 2015.