Villa Anavaya is an exquisite tropical haven that reflects the beauty of Koh Samui and embodies the island’s luxury vacation lifestyle. It features a modern and natural feel with comprehensive facilities, ultimately enhancing the guests’ holiday experience. From its hillside location, the villa also boasts some of the most stunning panoramic views in all of the island.

With six spacious bedrooms and a mix of living areas, it takes a lot of work to maintain and host one of the most sought-after luxury villas in Koh Samui, a job Villa Manager (VM) Dej takes very seriously. VM Dej has been working in Villa Anavaya for five years. He saw through its construction while it was being built from the ground up.

Villa Anavaya’s L-shaped infinity pool frames the villa’s open-plan living and dining area

We spoke with VM Dej and asked him about his experience as Villa Anavaya’s villa manager. He had a lot of profound insights to share about working passionately in this side of the hospitality industry.

For you, what is the biggest difference between the villa experience and the hotel/resort experience?

VM Dej: I worked before with Trisara. The biggest difference, I think, is the service. In villas, we work more closely with guests. And the flexibility to manage.

In a resort, if a guest requests something, there are rules and restrictions, but with a villa, we will try to give everything – as long as it is not illegal! (laughs)

What do guests love most about Villa Anavaya? What do you think is the best part about staying in the villa?

VM Dej: From the first time they arrive, they’re immediately surprised by the view. They will enter the villa, and when the first person comes up to the pool area, they will always say, “Everyone look at this,” and everyone will say, “WOW.”

The view as seen from the pool area of Villa Anavaya

I think the best part about staying in the villa is eating the food our chef prepares. Guests always like the chef’s food. He has worked as long as I have been in the villa. But before the villa, our chef worked at a local Lebanese restaurant here in Samui, so we have an in-villa Lebanese menu aside from the usual Thai and Western menus.

What do guests love about Samui? How do you describe or compare a vacation on this island to other popular places in Thailand – like Phuket and Chiang Mai?

VM Dej: Samui is very relaxed. Tourists here feel very free. And it’s because it is still an island, unlike Phuket, where it is already developed.

I lived and worked in Phuket for five years. But I decided to move to Samui because I like the island life. I saw Samui 30 years ago. This is my mother’s home island. And there are parts of the island that still has this character.

Another is nature. Samui has beautiful nature. There are plenty of trees, waterfalls, and natural landscapes. When it is not rainy, you will see eagles flying by outside your window.

Some guests here also tell me they like Samui more because the weather and atmosphere are better.

We understand you are also a mixologist, can you share us about your background?

VM Dej: I started bartender and wine butler in Trisara Phuket. Until now, I always serve drinks to guests. I do it all the time. When our villa owners are here at the villa, I do it a lot

What is your drink specialty?

VM Dej: My version of a Thai Martini. It is a mix of vodka, kaffir lime, chili, and lime juice. I create many different cocktails in my head.

A lot of times, I will let guests taste and ask for their feedback. One of the things I’m thankful for is being free from rules; because in the resort or hotel they are restricted to what’s on the drinks menu. Here at the villa, I get to explore and experiment with new drinks.

We always have very positive reviews from guests who stay at Villa Anavaya. What is your secret to making guests happy?

VM Dej: I have no secret. (laughs) But when the guest has a request, I try not to reject it. Otherwise, I will always offer an alternative if I cannot give what they originally wanted. And I also always explain to them the reason why it won’t be possible. I cannot say “no.”

A bottle of champagne chilled by the poolside bar of Villa Anavaya

One common comment we get from guests is that before they even request something, the chef and I have already served it. I try to understand things not only from the service provider’s perspective but also from the customer’s perspective.

Can you share some of your most memorable experiences with guests?

VM Dej: There is one guest, an American family. During their stay, they always invite the staff to eat with them. And if we did not join them, they would look for us. And before we eat, they like playing games. And whoever loses needs to drink a shot. It was a fun experience!

What is your favorite part of your job as Villa Manager? And also, what is the most challenging part?

VM Dej: I like the freedom/flexibility. I worked in a hotel before, and in the hotel, everything was too structured, and we followed a strict process. But working in a villa, there’s flexibility.

As Villa Manager, you don’t just care for the guest. You also take care of the villa. I stay in the villa more than in my house (laughs).

I take care of everything – the staff, the internet, the maintenance. Before I worked as a villa manager, I knew nothing about painting, lighting, or electrical work, but I had to learn everything. And I did. I learned because I take care of the villa.

The balcony of one of Villa Anavaya’s guest bedrooms

As a villa manager, you really have to treat it (the villa) like your own – when the staff treats the villa like their own home, you can feel it when you are in the villa. The condition of the villa, the little things, like the plants, the furniture, etc. You can feel it.


Discover more about Villa Anavaya.

Related reading: Behind the Luxury: An Interview with Villa Manager Aobb and Chef Taew of Villa Analaya