Archive - September 2012

First-ever black tie awards night for Thailand spa and wellness
Three days of special events at Six Senses Yao Noi
Ultimate club level experience at Central Plaza Ladprao
Thai team wins King’s Cup Elephant Tournament
SALA Resorts adds to sales/marketing program
Centara wins 8 awards in SmartTravelAsia poll
New dining experiences at InterContinental Samui
TripAdvisor Award for Centara Phuket
U.S. spa industry looking stronger

First-ever black tie awards night for Thailand spa and wellness

“It was a night of celebration the Thai Spa industry has never seen before. There were some expected winners but also many surprises too, showing the broadening base of quality spa operators in the kingdom,” says Andrew Jacka, president of the Thai Spa Association.

The event, the first-ever for the Thailand spa and wellness awards night, was held at the Grand Diamond ballroom of Impact Exhibition Center in Bangkok.

Big winners on the night included the Banyan Tree line of spas based in Phuket, Samui and Bangkok, taking four of the top honors – Innovative Spa Treatment, Spa Product, Amazing Hotel Spa and Amazing Resort Spa.

Banyan Tree’s heavenly sounding bamboo-based treatment, where heated bamboo is and applied to the body for increased circulation and lymphatic drainage, won over voters for its eco-approach, as did its standard of locally sourced spa products.

Hua Hin-based Chiva-Som International Health Resort also won the three awards for innovative Spa Cuisine, Environmental Conscience and Spa Educator. Chiva Som uses its own organic farm for its cuisine, uses solar power and has its own water filtration system and operates an international standard spa school.

The most prestigious award handed out – The Hall of Fame award – was presented to a lifelong advocate of the Thai spa industry, Naphalai Areesorn, current editor-in-chief of Thailand Tatler. Naphalai founded the Thai Spa Association and was its first president now acts as an adviser to the association.

“Without her work and belief 10 years ago to set up the association, and on-going support right up until today, none of this would have been possible,” said Andrew.

All winners were voted by event exhibitors at the Thai Spa Convention, spa operators, consumers and the Thai Spa Association Board. To ensure voting transparency, all votes were tallied by KPMG Thailand.

The evening also featured aconcert by leading songstress Jennifer Kim and celebrated saxophonist, Koh Mr. Saxman and a performance of a professional troupe of dancers in intricate costumes, which performed two contemporary dances, choreographed to the theme of spa and wellness.

Andrew took the occasion to announce that this would be his final year as president of the association and expressed his hopes for the success of the event as the industry continues to evolve.

“We really broke ground with this event. This is the first time that we’ve ever done anything like this and we really celebrated the Thai Spa industry. It was a phenomenal event.

“I’m very proud at what the Thai Spa Association has been able to achieve. At the end of the day it was a team effort … an incredibly gratifying and humbling thing to be a part of.”

Award categories and winners:

Industry: Innovative Spa Cuisine – Chiva-Som International Health Resort; Innovative Spa Treatment – Rainforest Indulgence, Banyan Tree Spa Samui; Innovative Spa Menu, Angsana Spa Laguna Phuket; Environmental Conscience – Chiva-Som International Health Resort; Natural ProductsParutee; Organic Products – SpaRitual; Creative Spa Design, Coqoon Spa, Indigo Pearl Phuket; Spa Product, Banyan Tree Gallery and I plus Q; Spa Education, Chiva-Som International Academy; New Spa – So Spa Sofitel So Bangkok.

People’s Choice: Traditional Thai Experience – Waree Raksa Hot Spring Spa Krabi; Amazing Day Spa – Waree Raksa Hot Spring Spa, Krabi; Amazing Hotel Spa, Banyan Tree Bangkok; Amazing Medical or Wellness Spa – Rarin Jinda Wellness Spa Chiang Mai; Innovative Marketing Campaign, Rarin Jinda Wellness Spa Chiang Mai; Amazing Resort Spa – Banyan Tree Spa Samui.

Exhibition: Best Booth Design – Valonika.

Hall of FameNaphalai Areesorn.


Three days of special events at Six Senses Yao Noi

AUSTRIAN CHEF Christian Petz and Austrian Spitzerberg wine estate founder, Dorli Muhr in association with FIN Wines Bangkok will headline three days of special events at Six Senses Yao Noi Beyond Phuket from Oct. 28-31.

Holy Moly!, Chef Christian’s restaurant on Vienna’s badeschiff (bathing ship) on the Danube, is frequently cited as the city’s gastronomic hotspot and has already awarded 2 Gault Milau Topes.

Previously, Chef Christian had consistently achieved the highest Gault Milau points possible, along with “Chef of the Year”, “Trendsetter of the Year”, “Restaurant of the Year”, “Trophee Gourmet”, 18 points Gault Milau and 98 points (5 crowns) in the A la carte Guide.

In addition to Holy Moly!, Chef Christian heads Xocolat-Manufaktur, now Austria’s acclaimed leader in chocolate specialties; in particular due to his Barfly-Collection, X-Sticks and spiced truffles creations.

The Muhr-Van de Niepoort winery has had spectacular success
under the direction of Dorli Muhr and Dirk van der Niepoort, the so-called Portuguese “enfant terrible” of Port and Douro wines. Having been abandoned for almost 50 years, although recognized as the best wine-producing territory of Austria, the partnership has already gained multiple accolades for their Spitzerberg wine – as Austria’s best wine, by Parker (The Wine Advocate – Spitzerberg 2006 – 93 points) in the USA, and the Wine and Spirits magazine (Spitzerberg 2008 – 94 points). The headlining Spitzerberg wines, Carnuntum 2008 (Wine and Spirits – Austria’s second highest rated wine – 92 points), and Cuvee Vom Berg will be amongst the Austrian wines featured.

FIN – Fabulous Is Needed, is Thailand’s first and only specialty wine importer with an impressive portfolio of handcrafted wines from 18 countries, which they sell exclusively to high-end hotels, luxury boutique resorts and restaurants. Jan and Benjawan of FIN have the most extensive and finest portfolio of the best Austrian wines. They are also bringing the fabulous wines of Dorli Muhr van der Niepoort to Thailand.

The Exclusive Programmes:

Sunday 28th October — starting at 6 p.m. – complimentary

Meet the Duo

Six Senses Yao Noi General Manager Manish Puri will hold a beach cocktail party to introduce Chef Christian, Dorli Muhr and Jan and Benjawan from Fin Wines.

Monday 29th October – starting at 7 p.m. – 3000 baht p.p.

Four course dinner and wine game at The Hilltop Reserve

At the exclusive Hilltop Reserve, with its infinity pool and panoramic views over Phang Nga Bay’s limestone karsts, the trio will be host to a four-course dinner, featuring Christian’s creations, paired with different wines with each course from FIN’s extensive portfolio of Austrian wines, including selected bottles of the Muhr-Van de Niepoort collection. Globetrotting wine guru Harshal Shah will entertain with his wine game during dinner. The dinner is limited to 20 guests onlyand requires early bookings.

Tuesday 30th October – beginning at 7 p.m. with welcome sparkling wine at the Main Beach – 3000 baht p.p.

Danube meets the Andaman Sea

Chef Christian creates a BBQ menu served informally on the beach with his Thai-influenced items, focusing on locally sourced seafood. Dorli and Jan and Benjawan of FIN will again showcase their wines, including the Cuvee Vom Berg and the Carnuntum.

Wednesday 31st October – beginning at 7 p.m. with welcome sparkling wine at the exclusive Chef’s Table – 4500 baht p.p.

Chef’s table – Austrian Gastronomic Gala

Chef Christian will serve a six-course Austrian-influenced menu live from the show kitchen, with guests seated around the cooking station. Seven different Austrian wines from Dorli Muhr, Fred Loimer, Roland Velich and Gerhard Kracher will be served, including Austria’s confirmed best wine, the Spitzerberg, matched by Dorli and Benjawan of FIN to compliment Chef Christians menu. This dinner is limited to 24 guests.

For further information:Contact Executive Chef Anthony Reynolds at +66 (0) 76 418 500 or email: for further details. Early reservations are recommended.

Ultimate club level experience at Central Plaza Ladprao

CENTARA GRAND at CENTRAL PLAZA LADPRAO Bangkok is offering a selection of benefits between now and Sept. 30, 2012, designed as the ultimate club level experience for guests booking Club Deluxe rooms or suites.

The Ultimate Club package starts at 5,250 BHT a night for a Club Deluxe room for a single and 5,750 BHT for a twin sharing room.

The package includes daily breakfast, two hours daily use of the Club meeting rooms, 24-hour internet access, laundry service for two items per stay, five collations serving daily and beverage servings throughout the day in the Club Lounge, and a welcome drink at Blue Sky rooftop restaurant.

No minimum stay is required for this package, but guests reserving two nights will receive a complimentary one-way airport transfer, and those staying three nights or more will receive roundtrip airport transfers.

The newly renovated five-star Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok  is located near the elevated highway system, the underground Mass Rapid Transit and the BTS Skytrain, thereby ensuring that any district within the city is very easily accessible. A covered walkway provides a direct link to the adjacent Central Plaza shopping complex, one of the biggest of its kind in Bangkok with 300 shops, boutiques, restaurants and a multiplex cinema.

For more information, call 02 541 1234 or e-mail



Thai team wins King’s Cup Elephant Tournament

KING’S CUP ELEPHANT POLO TOURNAMENT has a new champion – Thailand’s King Power team, which defeated defending champions Audemars Piguet, in a fast-paced game by a score of 13-9.

Both teams included star international polo players but it was King Power’s Nattapong Praumlee, Thanasin Chuawangkham and Captain Tom Claytor who took the title at the final whistle. The final match was presided over by a representative of the King of Thailand’s Privy Council.

The tournament was introduced to Thailand in 2001 by Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas and has grown to become one of the biggest charitable events in Thailand, raising funds for projects that better the lives of Thailand’s elephant population.

Saturday night’s gala dinner at the Anantara Hua Hin was host to a gathering of top dignitaries and well known celebrities, with the night’s auction raising 3.3 million THB, taking the total raised to date by the tournament to US$600,000.

A total of 42 street elephants took part in this year’s tournament, during which they were well fed, received essential vitamin supplements, full veterinary checks and care for the duration of the event.

Lead sponsors were Audemars Piguet, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas.

This year’s tournament saw the New Zealand All Blacks Robin Brooke, Olo Brown and Charlie Riechelmann go head-to-head with European royals Prince Carl-Eugen Oettingen-Wallerstein and his wife, Princess Anna and daughter, Princess Joanna. Thailand’s most famous trans-gender cabaret, Miss Tiffany Thailand, added some fun and a lot of color when they played an exhibition match against the All Blacks on Saturday.

The event kicked off with a parade through the centre of Hua Hin, the opening ceremony overseen by Thailand’s last elephant spirit men, Kru Ba Yai,and featured traditional dancers and a baby elephant camp.

Spectators and players came from Australia and New Zealand, the USA and Canada, all over Europe, India, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan and Thailand.

Anantara’s competition to find a Junior Elephant Reporter was won by 13-year-old Jonny Gray from Ontario, Canada, who was flown in for the tournament with his mum and had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity both to meet and film the players, other guests and the elephants.

Projects receiving funding from last year’s event include helping build the first elephant hospital in Krabi in the southern part of Thailand, a THB 500,000 gantry to help lame elephants stand has been donated to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC), and 4,000 trees have been planted in Hua Hin to shelter elephant corridors from electric fencing in the area.

Here’s now the top 12 teams finished from first to 12th:

King Power, Audemars Piguet, Mercedes Benz, Rueng Chang, Citibank, Blue Label, Sara Story Design, KASIKORNBANK, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Nellies, PTT and Anantara Hotels, Resort & Spas.



SALA Resorts adds to sales/marketing program


SALA RESORTS & SPAS is stepping up its sales and marketing program with two new appointments that include the newly created position of vice-president of sales and marketing, and the appointment of an Australian-based sales and marketing firm.

The appointments reflect SALA’s expanding presence in the Thai market.

Michael S. Howard becomes the company’s first vice-president of sales and marketing. He brings an extensive background in high-end Thai and international resort sales and marketing. Most recently, he was chief operating officer of the Melati Resort and Spa and Chaweng Regent Beach Resort on Samui. He held the same position at Rasananda Resort & Spa on Samui and Buri Rasa Resort on Koh Phangan.

Jonica Paramour, Svetlana Jovanovic and The Unique Tourism Collection have been appointed SALA’s sales and marketing representative in Australia. Its roster of clients includes major resorts, countries and travel carriers.


Centara wins 8 awards in SmartTravelAsia poll


Vijay Verghese, editor of Smart Asia Travel online travel magazine, congratulates Suthikiati Chirathivat, chairman of Centara Hotels and Resorts, on winning eight awards in this year’s readership poll of the best resorts in the region. From the left: Robert Maurier-Loeffier, Chris Baley, Vijay Verghese, Suthikiati Chirathivat, David Good and Michael Horn.

CENTARA HOTELS & RESORTS has won eight awards in the SmartTravelAsia Best in Travel Poll 2012, conducted by the region’s only dedicated online travel magazine with over one million readers worldwide. It also won right awards in the 2011 SmartTravelAsia polls.

Vijay Verghese, editor of SmartTravelAsia, presented the awards to the Centara executive team at the corporate offices in Centara Grand at CentralWorld.

Suthikiati Chirathivat, chairman of Centara Hotels and Resorts, said the awards reflected Centara’s“strength across the hospitality spectrum, as the awards cover the business, conference, leisure and spa categories.”

Centara Grand at CentralWorld was named in the 2012 awards as being among the top 25 business hotels in Asia, and also among the top 25 conference hotels in the region.

Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, and Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya were all named among the top 25 leisure hotels and resorts in Asia.

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, and Centara Grand Beach Resort Samuiwere also named among the top 25 spa hotels and resorts in the region.



New dining experiences at InterContinental Samui


INTERCONTINENTAL SAMUI Baan Taling Ngam Resort is stepping up its food and beverage offerings with a series of promotions at the resort’s contemporary Thai and Asian restaurant, Amber and its beachside restaurant, Flames.

The resort has also appointed a new executive chef, Luke MacLeod, who brings to the table, clean-tasting and wholesome dishes, using fresh local produce which are well balanced and full of taste.

Guests can opt for a set menu with wine pairing at Amber restaurant; a collaboration between Chef Luke and the resort’s food and beverage director, Stephane Duvacher.

The tailor-made five-course set menu allows guests the opportunity to enjoy items not available on the menu. The meal is paired with wines by the glass to enhance the flavours and textures of each dish.

Alternatively, experience the depth and breadth of regional cuisine with World of Siam, also at Amber restaurant, and explore flavors from the north of Thailand to the south as well as local favorites like Samui fish soup with turmeric, fried minced meat and hot basil leaves, papaya salad with salted baby mud crabs, accompanied by a live Thai dance performance, a seamless presentation of both classical and contemporary styles.

Or head down to the beach as dusk turns to night, for an exceptional al fresco dining experience, Beach on Fire at Flames, for a menu of  modern European cuisine with theatrical flair as chefs barbeque, flambé and grill fresh ingredients at the live cooking station. There’s also a live DJ and fire show to complement your experience.

Flames restaurant, most notable for its seafood barbeque, also presents World of Seafood, which offers delicacies from the sea at its open-plan beachfront restaurant.

Executive Chef Luke MacLeod joins Intercontinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort from the Michelin-starred chef, Pierre Gagnaire’s Pierre Restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Hong Kong.

“I want our guests to have an experience which will create a lasting memory; good food shared with friends and loved ones at the stunning setting of our beautiful resort” he said.

At InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort, he will oversee the food menu of Amber, Flames and Air Bar as well the banqueting menu for Weddings and events.

Set Menu with Wine Pairing at Amber, every Thursdays at  7 pm. THB3,500++ per person; World of Seafood at Flames, Tuesdays 7 pm. THB 1,900++ per person; World of Siam at Amber, Fridays 7pm. THB 1,700++ per person; Beach on Fire at Flames, Saturdays, 7 pm. THB 2,500++ per person with soft drinks and juices (Shows at 8:00 pm and 8:45 pm).



TripAdvisor Award for Centara Phuket

CENTARA GRAND BEACH Resort Phuket has been voted as one of the Top 25 Hotels for Families in Thailand by TripAdvisor in its 2012 Travelers’ Choice awards.

The listings are based on ratings awarded by travelers who stayed in the hotels. Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket was ranked number 12 in the Top 25 listing.

Guests have the opportunity to rate the properties on a scale of 1 to 5, and the resort was ranked number three out of 63 properties in Karon beach, Phuket.

Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket is a five-star resort located in the most secluded area of Karon Beach, with direct beach access and backing onto dense green hills, and embodies the classic Sino-Portuguese architectural style. All of its 262 rooms, suites and villas face the ocean. The resort is set in a landscaped water park with a lazy river and four swimming pools, three restaurants and its Spa Cenvaree.

TripAdvisor, Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, Phuket, Thailand, TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards, Top 25 hotels for families in Thailand, Spa Cenavaree,Karon Beach, Sino-Portuguese,

U.S. spa industry looking stronger

THINGS ARE LOOKING UP for the U.S. spa industry, according to a study commissioned by The International SPA Association (ISPA), which used PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct the survey, which is updated every year.

The survey focused on five key statistics crucial to the spa industry: Revenue, spa visits, number of spa locations, total employment in the industry and square footage.

“Against a background of slow recovery in consumer spending, the spa industry has kept pace with the modest growth in revenues and visits. Revenues are up by 4.5% year on year to $13.4 billion. Visits are up 4.1% to 156 million,” said Colin McIlheney, global research director for Price Waterhouse. “Prices have stayed stable. Evidence suggests a volume-driven recovery.

These changes helped stimulate demand and increase the total number of spa visits, resulting in an over-all increase in revenue for the spa industry.

The number of spa locations was broadly unchanged, compared to 2010. Employment in the industry has also held steady, with full-time employment  up an estimated 9.3%. Considering that the industry is getting back on track, this suggests the industry is getting back on track in the wake of the economic downturn, he said.

“The spa industry is growing at a healthy rate in revenues and visits,” said IPSA President Lynne McNees. “Over-all confidence remains high across the board as the spa industry is outpacing economic growth.”


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