Archive - May 2013

VIE Hotel Bangkok welcomes Korean actor
Dates set for 12th King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament
Centara’s Life’s A Beach package includes spa treatments
Centara to open sixth Pattaya hotel
Helicopter service to Six Senses Yao Noi
ISO environmental management award for Centara Kata Phuket
Lest this day pass unnoticed
A grand design for Centara’s Phratamnak Hill Pattaya
The Top five massages at U.S. spas
Michelin Star Chef coming to VIE Bangkok and V Villas Hua Hin

Dates set for 12th King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament

 Elephant Parade

PLANS ARE WELL ADVANCED for the 12th edition of the hugely popular King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, set for the royal seaside town of Hua Hin.

he four-day festival, which runs from Aug. 31 to Sept.1, will be held at Hua Hin’s Suriyothai Army Base – a 20-minute drive from Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa, a village-style resort located on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand on 14 acres of landscaped mature gardens and lagoon pools at a beachfront location.

The festival has something for everyone, including a spectacular opening parade, celebrity matches, Chang Noi Day (Children’s Day) with a baby elephant camp and fun fair, and this year for the first time, Ladies Day with prizes for the best dressed.

A  Moulin Rouge themed Auction Gala Dinner tops off fund-raising efforts, with all proceeds donated to various projects for the betterment of Thailand’s elephants.

Admission is free, and you’ll also be able to rub shoulders with European and Asian royalty, international sporting stars and local celebrities.

Elephant Polo Monks blessingThis year will see Thailand’s defending champions King Power team go head to head with the New Zealand Rugby All Black’s Robin Brooke, Olo Brown and Charles Riechelmann, European royals Prince Carl-Eugen Oettingen-Wallerstein and his wife Princess Anna and daughter Princess Joanna.

Miss Tiffany Thailand will also be adding a hint of fun and a lot of colour to the event with a full team of transgender beauty queens playing to win as well performing at the Gala Dinner.

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. The event has raised almost US$600,000 to date for projects that better the lives of Thailand’s elephant population, including housing for the mahouts and families, shelters for the elephants and a mobile blood centrifuge and elephant ambulance for the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC). 

In addition to the 30 rescued street elephants who now enjoy a comfortable lifestyle at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, the annual event allows a further 50 young elephants to be taken off the streets for the two week period during the tournament, providing them with a native forest environment, the best food possible, as well as the only proper veterinary check and vitamins they receive all year.

Street life can be tough for an elephant, walking through crowded tourist areas and busy roads for 10 hours a night, forced to rest during the day on small green spaces within the cities, often without shade and water.  The King’s Cup schedule is deliberately designed to give these elephants rest and relaxation on a scale they are never afforded in their “normal” lives.

Since 2009, donations have also gone to funding the world’s first ever elephant therapy program to research the rehabilitation benefits for autistic children.  The Thai Elephant Therapy Project (TETP) was created in conjunction with Chiang Mai University and the TECC, initially allowing a further five elephants to be rescued off the streets of Bangkok, rented and trained as assistant therapists for autistic children. The program now runs free therapy sessions for Thai children every year.

Other significant benefits from money raised has gone to building the first elephant hospital in Krabi in the southern part of Thailand; research and tree planting to build elephant corridors in Kui Buri so there are no elephant/farmer conflicts; funding the first educational computer application for children to teach them the importance of conservation and protection of wild elephants in Thailand, and funding Asia’s first workshop to show traditional elephant trainers and camp owners the benefits of Positive Reinforcement Training for domesticated elephants.


Centara’s Life’s A Beach package includes spa treatments

Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui

CENTARA HOTELS & RESORTS is offering a package at selected beachside properties in which breakfast for two is included along with welcome cocktails and the choice of one 60-minute Thai massage for two at a beachfront sala or a 60-minute aromatherapy massage for two at Spa Cenvaree.

Most of the resorts also offer complimentary roundtrip airport transfers for two people.

The “Life’s A Beach” package is available at Thai beachfront resorts in Phuket, Krabi, Hua Hin, Samui and Pattaya, and at beachfront resort in Mauritius, Sri Lanka, and Phu Quoc and Danang in Vietnam, and is valid from now until March 31, 2014.

Rates vary according to the property and start from 3,082 THB per room night at Centara Coconut Beach Resort Samui.

Minimum length of stay to qualify for the package varies according to the destination and the season, the shortest – two nights in the low season at Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya, and the longest – nine nights in the high season Centara Poste Lafayette Resort & Spa Mauritius.

For more information and reservations, call 662 101 1234 ext 1 or e-mail

Centara to open sixth Pattaya hotel

CENTARA HOTELS & RESORTS will open its sixth hotel in Pattaya with the signing of a management contract to operate the Centara Grand Modus Resort & Spa Pattaya. The hotel is due to open in the third quarter of 2013.

Centara signed the contract with the owning company, Sweet Water Point Company Ltd., on Nov. 14, 2012.

“We have always been very confident indeed in Pattaya as one of Thailand’s prime destinations, and this new property is a strategic signing for us that places our third Pattaya Grand branded hotel in yet another key part of the city,” says Centara Hotels & Resorts CEO Thirayuth Chirathivat.

The hotel is located on Wong Amat Beach at Naklua, next to the famous Sanctuary of Truth, and has its own private beachfront.

“We have Grand branded hotels at North Pattaya, South Pattaya and Jomtien, and the new property at Naklua places us in a very strong marketing position,” says Chris Bailey, senior vice president for Centara Hotels & Resorts.

“The hotel is also one of the very small number in Pattaya that, like our Grand Mirage, is placed directly on the beach. That is an enormous advantage.”

Centara Grand Modus Resort & Spa Pattaya will have a total of 215 rooms. Of these, 80 are Standard category rooms, 10 are Superior category, 20 are Family rooms, 20 are Club category rooms with access to the Club Lounge, 72 are Suites, and 13 are Two-Bedroom Suites.

There will be two restaurants, a Spa Cenvaree, a fitness centre, a Kids’ Club, three swimming pools with a pool bar, a beach club, and meeting and function rooms.

The resort will be family-friendly, with many rooms offering two double beds and with a number of interconnecting rooms. Several room categories offer direct pool access. Over half the rooms offer an ocean view.

The development also includes 300 condominium units, of which 80 have so far been sold, and which are managed by Centara under the request of the individual owners.

For more information and reservations, call 662 101 1234 ext 1 or e-mail to

Helicopter service to Six Senses Yao Noi


 THE HELICOPTER SERVICE from Phuket Airport to Six senses Yao Noi , which offers the ultimate arrival experience, has now become more affordable.

The helicopter alternative cuts almost three-quarters of the total transfer time off the speedboat transfer. Within 15 minutes of clearing arrival formalities at Phuket Airport, guests can be airborne on their direct helicopter flight to the resort on Yao Noi Island, for 11,250 THB per person, or approximately US $375 – two-thirds off the original fare. Additional passengers travelling in the same group on the same flight will have an even greater savings.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that provides guests a bird’s eye view of Phang Nga’s National Geographic world heritage classified dramatic limestone formations and islets, as well as James Bond Island – filming location for the classic Bond movieMan With The Golden Gun.

At Phuket Airport, guests will be chauffeur-driven to the helipad to board a luxury Advance Aviation “Golden EagleEurocopter EC – 130 helicopter, with plush leather seats, air conditioning and room for up to six passengers. Luggage will be taken care by the ground staff.

Within minutes of lift-off from the beautifully lush green island of Phuket, with rubber plantations and rice fields, the flight approaches Phang Nga Bay, often referred to as the most spectacular Bay in South East Asia. Just several minutes later, it touches down on Six Senses Yao Noi’s private helipad, where guests will be met by their butler and whisked to their private pool villa.

“We believe with being able to lower the price by almost 65%, we enable more of our guests to experience this amazing adventure. It’s an easy and affordable way of traveling, while also reducing the travel of the speedboat transfer option”, said Manish Puri, resort general manager,

Maximum number of people per flight is six. Additional passengers travelling in the same group with the same booking, will be charged at 5,000 THB per person. The offer is valid only for the travel period June 1 – Oct. 31, 2013.

The helicopter operates from Phuket Airport, and during daylight hours only. Guests will be met on arrival at the airport and transferred to the helicopter waiting-lounge. The helicopter transfer will take approximately fifteen minutes. The helicopter has space for a maximum of six passengers and luggage allowance per guest is 16kg.


ISO environmental management award for Centara Kata Phuket

Centara Kata Resort Phuket - Wave Pool

CENTARA KATA RESORT PHUKET has been awarded ISO 14001:2004 status in recognition of the effectiveness of the resort’s environmental management systems.

The certification is awarded by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and covers all aspects of the resort’s operation, including accommodation, housekeeping, restaurants and kitchens, fitness centre, kids’ club, and the engineering works for the spa, banqueting, human resources, and gardening.

“Environmental responsibility is one of the main elements of Centara corporate policy, and it applies to every one of our properties,” says David Good, vice president of operations at Centara Hotels and Resorts.

“The staff at the individual hotels always participate with enormous enthusiasm, and at Kata we have had very practical ideas being suggested by the team and implemented. Consequently everyone at the resort is thrilled that they have played a part in the awarding of this ISO standard, which demonstrates international acceptance of the resort’s environmental management systems.”

Centara Kata Resort Phuket also last year gained the EarthCheck Bronze Award, designed for the travel and hospitality industry and conferred only after a year’s worth of verifiable operational data has been analyzed by EarthCheck.

“We are very proud indeed to gain ISO certification, which will be recognized by our guests and business partners alike as a guarantee of our commitment to the environment,” says the resort’s hotel manager, Michael Gaarde-Nielsen.

The resort is located in the popular beach resort town of Kata on Phuket Island and has 158 rooms and suites in a cluster of low-rise buildings. A large number of the rooms are designed for family accommodation, and the resort has three swimming pools, including one for youngsters, complete with play slides, and a Kids’ Club with separate zones for the young ones and the teens.

For more information and reservations, call 662 101 1234 ext 1 or email to

Lest this day pass unnoticed

samuel-johnsonEvening. May 16, 1763. James Boswell, an impressionable 22-year-old from Scotland, is about to meet Dr. Samuel Johnson for the first time. 

Boswell had tried to meet Johnson a number of times but something always went wrong at the last minute. Then, quite unexpectedly, while he was having tea with Mr. Davies, the bookseller and sometime actor, Johnson suddenly made an appearance.

By this time, Boswell, who liked to hobnob with the talented and famous, was highly agitated and nervous, wanting to insinuate himself to Johnson, yet frightened of saying the wrong thing.

Here’s how he remembered it in his biography of Johnson:

Mr. Thomas Davies, the actor, who then kept a bookseller’s shop in Russel Street, Covent Garden, told me that Johnson was very much his friend, and came frequently to his house, where he more than once invited me to meet him; but by some unlucky accident or another he was prevented from coming to us. At last, on Monday the 16th of May, when I was sitting in Mr. Davies’s back parlour, after having drunk tea with him and Mrs. Davies, Johnson unexpectedly came into the shop; and Mr. Davies having perceived him through the glass door in the room in which we were sitting, advancing towards us — he announced his awful approach to me, in somewhat the manner of an actor in the part of Horatio, when he addresses Hamlet on the appearance of his father’s ghost, “Look my Lord, it comes.” I found that I had a very perfect idea of Johnson’s figure from the portrait of him painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds soon after he had published his Dictionary, in the attitude of him sitting in his easy chair in deep meditation, which was the first picture his friend did for him, which Sir Joshua very kindly presented to me …

This passage still resonates, even after 249 years, as does this memorable account of Johnson’s meeting with David Garrick, a famous actor of the day and a former pupil from Johnson’s teaching days. They are standing backstage in Garrick’s theatre and Garrick had just asked Johnson how he liked it.

“I’ll come no more behind your scenes,” said Johnson, ”for the silk stockings and white bosoms of your actresses excite my amorous propensities.”

A grand design for Centara’s Phratamnak Hill Pattaya

Centara Grand Resort & Spa Pattaya - Lobby 1 

CENTARA HOTELS & RESORTS will be opening a new five-star Grand branded hotel in Pattaya in the third quarter of this year that promises to be unlike anything else in terms of creativity and innovation.

Centara Grand Phratamnak Resort Pattaya will be the third Centara Grand in Pattaya, with a fourth under construction. All are startlingly different from each other.

The beach is only a few steps away from the new hotel and is designed to complement this exclusive neighbourhood of Pattaya’s Phratamnak Hill. Marble and granite clad the public areas, the lobby furniture is all Fendi, and fabrics and furnishings used in the guestrooms are of the highest quality.

Centara, along with the Tulip Group, which owns the hotel, and designers Model 1to1 Co and Gooodlux Design Consultants have created a ground floor that is dominated by an underwater world, with a giant aquarium in which live diverse forms of exotic and colourful marine life, and flowing naturally from this ocean kingdom is a shimmering world of translucent light.

Light, glass and water are used in conjunction with fibre optics to create a mood in which land and water fuse into one element. “The ceiling is glass, the walls are glass, the elevators are glass, and everything flows from and with the water,” says Sirisak Pituck, lighting design director.

General Manager Dominique Ronge says that Phratamnak Hill is unlike any other part of Pattaya. “This district is the premier address in the city,” he says. “Residences here are very expensive villas and condominiums. On top of the hill at Wat Phra Yai is the biggest Buddha image in Chonburi province, visible from miles away. This is a very exclusive place.

“We wanted to create a hotel that did more than attract the guests, we wanted to build something that the residents themselves were proud of. We wanted a stunning design, a living piece of art, but at the same time we wanted unashamed quality, which is why so much effort and investment has gone into the smallest details of the rooms, right down to the fine linen sheets and the Jim Thompson pillow cases.”

Centara Grand Resort & Spa Pattaya - Lobby 2Only eight storeys in height, the hotel blends in with the varied skyline of the hillside district, and is designed in two wings with a central courtyard. Original artworks provide vivid splashes of color and texture along the walls, and blown glass has been used for the lights and the sculptures.

A chic city-resort style hotel with 165 rooms and suites the hotel will also be family-friendly, the accommodation including Family Residence units with a king-bed master bedroom and a separate children’s area with bunk beds. Guests staying in selected rooms and suites will enjoy added privileges in the exclusive environment of the Club Lounge.

Its all-day dining restaurant, Oceana, will offer a modern setting along with an international and Thai menu, with the accent on in-season local produce and open kitchens that offer a glimpse of the action. There will be a fine dining steak house with a wide selection of wines, a bakery named Espresso will offer freshly baked breads and cakes, and on the rooftop and featuring spectacular ocean views will be an Italian restaurant and bar named Altezza.

Among the leisure facilities are a rooftop pool and a fitness centre. The resort will feature two meeting rooms and there is also a delegates’ bar that provides a perfect setting for coffee breaks. Spa Cenvaree is located on the second and third floors of the Beach Club is Spa Cenvaree, offering tranquil ocean views and a menu of individual treatments and spa journeys.

Centara’s first hotel to open in Pattaya was Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya, set on the beach at Wong Amat in North Pattaya. In Naklua, and also on Wong Amat Beach, adjacent to the Sanctuary of Truth, is the newly opened Centara Grand Modus Resort & Spa Pattaya. The fourth Centara Grand will be at Jomtien Beach, and is still under construction. The group also has two properties in Central Pattaya – the four-star Centara Hotel Pattaya and the Centara Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya, which is part of the Centara Boutique Collection.

For more information and reservations, call662 101 1234 ext 1 or e-mail

The Top five massages at U.S. spas

Top Massages_Spa Brine_Atlantis

 The brine inhalation-light therapy lounge at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nev.

THE NO. 1 TREATMENT  at spas in the U.S. is the massage. And the most popular are deep tissue/sports, Swedish, pregnancy, hot stone, and aromatherapy, according to the ISPA 2012 U.S. Spa Industry Study.

Deep tissue, also known as a sports massage, is the most popular massage offered at 95% of spas in the U.S. This massage technique separates muscle groups and loosens fascia (a thin layer of connective tissue covering and supporting or connecting the muscles or inner organs of the body) so as to bring about the realignment of the body and freedom of movement.

“To enhance the experience of the popular deep tissue massage, we have recently added the bamboo massage to our menu. This innovative treatment uses heated bamboo rods as an extension of the therapist’s hands to roll and knead the tissue,” said Jackie Schieding, head concierge at Bella Sante Spa in Boston.

The Swedish massage is offered at 94% of all U.S. spas and is used to improve the circulation, ease muscle aches and tension, improve flexibility and create relaxation.

Angela Avellino, assistant spa director at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, N.C. said: “Warm basalt stones are incorporated into our Swedish massage to enhance the guest desired outcome. Guests have the option of lotion, gel or oil and can choose from lavender, citrus ruby grapefruit, peppermint or sandalwood.”

Prenatal massage is therapeutic bodywork that focuses on the special needs of the mother-to-be as her body goes through the dramatic changes of pregnancy and is offered at 89% of all spas in the U.S..

“Our prenatal treatment utilizes a synergy of essential oils that actually assist the body during the vast amount of changes happening during pregnancy. Our goal is to make the mom-to-be as comfortable and relaxed as possible and listen to her needs, whether it be her feet, low back or any area that is strained or compromised to allow the body some time to repair and regenerate,” said Ann Brown, spa director at Spa Shiki in Lake Ozark, Mo.

Hot stone massage is when the therapist uses smooth, heated stones, either as an extension of their own hands, or by placing them on the body while they massage other parts of the body. Stone massages are offered at 87% of U.S. spas.

Bailey Polifka, spa manager at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nev. said, “We recommend to our guests that after a hot stone massage they should relax in the brine inhalation-light therapy lounge.  It is the perfect complement for the body to cool down and receive the added respiratory benefits from the salt aerosols and chromatherapy via the optic nerve.”

More than 84% of U.S. spas are offering aromatherapy massages. Aromatherapy massage includes the application of essential oils from plants, leaves, bark, roots, seeds, resins and flowers during the massage.

“One of the most popular massages at The Spa At The Hotel Hershey is our cocoa massage, which offers aromatherapy benefits through its use of cocoa. This treatment allows guests to release the tension and stress from their body while relaxing their mind and spirit through the scent of chocolate,” said Shian Wing, spa director at The Spa at Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pa.

Rather than adding different components to current treatments, some spas are combing treatments to create a unique package treatment for their guests.

“One of our most popular massages is our massage sampler. This massage combines five different modalities into one. This 60/90 minute massage incorporates deep tissue, aromatherapy, reflexology, Swedish, and hot stones into one continuous service. Our guests love it. It is a great first massage for guests not sure what they want to try,” said Kate Mearns, spa director at The Spa in Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va.

Michelin Star Chef coming to VIE Bangkok and V Villas Hua Hin

Sylvain Sendra

FRENCH MICHELIN STAR CHEF SYLVAIN SENDAR, owner of Itinéraires restaurant in Paris, will be visiting Thailand in late May/early June, when he will present two six-course dinners at VIE Hotel Bangkok on May 30 and another six-course dinner at V Villas Hua Hin on June 1.

The six-course dinner presents signature dishes, in which everything is cooked fresh and homemade by his own team.

The dinner at VIE Hotel Bangkok will start with Arctic King Crab and avocado in vegetable ravioli, honey dressing and cilantro, followed by garden potato velouté soup, golden caramelized hazelnuts, sous vide egg and smoked milk foam; grilled line-caught imported French “John Dory”, with fresh langoustine in green mango tartare, seasonal vegetables, seared crustacean shell juice; Signature main dish Boston lobster and citrus confit, simple leek with a “grain of salt”, almonds andVin Jaune du Jura” yellow wine sauce;charcoal roasted native “canette des Dombes “duck fillet, glazed turnips, citrus powder, aromatic herbs, Mostarda di Cremone and lemongrass condiment; and for dessert, Vanilla Cassata, green apple and basil sherbet.

Alive Boston lobster and citrus confit, simple leek with a -grain of salt-,He will be assisted by sous chef Anne and by Sarah, his sommelier and life partner. The dinner is priced at 7,000 THB or 9,000 THB for food and selected wine pairing.

V Villas Hua Hinis offering a package with its Michelin Star dinner from June 1-2 that includes a one-night stay in a two-bedroom pool villa for 45,000 THB that includes the six-course Michelin Dinner and V Breakfast for four; as well as a one-night stay in a three-bedroom pool villa for 60,000 BHT, which includes the six-course Michelin Dinner, and V Breakfast for six.

For reservations, call 02 309 3939 ext.3705  or email

Chef Sylvain Sendra comes from “food capital of the world” – Lyon, France, where he completed his studies at Vatel Institute Culinary School and started his chef career path with the famous Hotel Byblos SaintTropez in the south of France. His experience widened through working with Two Michelin star chef Jean Marc Delacourt at Château de La Chèvre d’Or (a castle turned hotel) under the Relais & Châteaux luxury hotels group.

At age 24, he and his wife Sarah opened a pocket-size 26-seat bistro Le Temps au Temps. In May 2008, the Sendras, feeling the need to move forward, opened Itinéraires with a focused menu incorporating his unique cuisine inspirations from his long-distance travels.


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