Archive - December 2013

‘One of the world’s best High Teas’
Hansar Samui receives World Luxury Award for best luxury island resort
Centara’s newest resort – 9th on Phuket
Anantara opening luxury resort in Phuket in January
Vikki Aquino heads heads only Elemis flagship spa in Asia
X2 Kui Buri ‘Crush on You’ package
Celebrating Christmas at VIE Bangkok
Anantara Bophut Koh Samui re-opens after major facelift
North Phuket Culinary Arts Festival starts Friday

‘One of the world’s best High Teas’


GRAND HYATT ERAWAN BANGKOK can now proudly say its afternoon High Tea in Thailand.

Afternoon High Tea at its Erawan Tea Room was recently selected as “one of the world’s best high teas” by travel guide Lonely Planet, which selected seven venues around the world that offer a unique afternoon tea set. Erawan Tea Room was the only one chosen in Thailand.

At Erawan Tea Room guests get a touch of Thailand, such as traditional Thai snacks and desserts that are rarely seen today, including Mar Hor (minced pork and peanuts on fresh pineapple) and Mieng Krathong Thong (roasted coconut, lime, chilli and ginger with betel leaves in a crispy basket).

Western desserts such as chocolate pudding and Passion fruit tart use organic passion fruit from the hotel’s own organic farm. The Erawan Tea Room afternoon tea set includes a combination of Thai traditional snacks and Western desserts.

The 14 bite-sized items are served on Thai celadon plates stacked in a three-level stand and served with the guest’s favorite tea or coffee. A wide selection of Thai herbal teas is on offer, such as Butterfly Pea Flower Tea, Pandan Tea and Bael Fruit Tea. Guests can choose their favorite tea and enjoy it hot or chilled together with snacks and desserts.

Designed by the world-renowned Tony Chi, the award-winning Erawan Tea Room is located on the second floor of Erawan Bangkok Shopping Mall and serves all-day authentic Thai cuisine and afternoon tea complemented with beverages in a semi-casual setting overlooking the Erawan Shrine and the dynamic scene of Bangkok.

High Tea is served between 2.30 pm and 6 pm daily, and is priced at 320 THB.

Erawan Tea Room is easily accessible. You can take the SkyTrain and alight at Chidlom station. The Erawan Tea Room, which connects directly with the skywalk, is a short walk away on the SkyWay

If you’re driving, park your car in the hotel’s car park and take the elevator to the second floor of Erawan Bangkok Shopping Mall.

For reservations and more information, call the Erawan Tea Room at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok at 66 2254 1234 or email Advance reservations are recommended.


Hansar Samui receives World Luxury Award for best luxury island resort

Hansar wins award

HANSAR SAMUI has received the World Luxury Award for the Best Island Resort in the Continent of Asia at a recent awards ceremony in Phuket.

The World Luxury Hotel Awards is a global organization providing luxury hotels with recognition for their world-class facilities and service excellence provided to guests. The awards aim to encourage and raise service standards within the luxury hotel industry.

Indra Budiman, CEO of Hansar Hotels and Resorts, praised the entire team at Hansar Samui an outstanding destination,

For more information on Hansar Samui or for reservations, visit

For more information on World Luxury Travel Awards, visit

Centara’s newest resort – 9th on Phuket


CENTARA HOTELS & RESORTS has acquired the management contract for The Blue Marine Resort & Spa Phuket, and will assume management from Jan. 5, 2014. The resort, which is located on the cliff at the northern end of Patong Beach, is owned by Patong Cliff View Co Ltd.

The resort will be temporarily renamed as The Blue Marine Resort & Spa Phuket managed by Centara Hotels & Resorts.

A renovation program has recently been carried out at the resort, completed in October last year, and further renovations will now be undertaken to harmonize the property with Centara’s four-star Hotels & Resorts core brand.

Following completion of this renovation, which is projected for Oct. 5, 2014, the resort will be rebranded as Centara Blue Marine Resort & Spa Phuket.

“We are pleased to announce that The Blue Marine Resort & Spa will be joining the Centara portfolio,” says Thirayuth Chirathivat, CEO of Centara Hotels & Resorts.

“This will bring to nine the total number of Centara properties on the island, and illustrates the enormous confidence we have in Phuket, one of the most famous holiday destinations in the world.”

The Blue Marine Resort & Spa features panoramic views from its cliff-top location, and is backed by a green forest on the hillside.

“We are delighted to be adding a further superb resort property to our Phuket portfolio,” says Chris Bailey, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Centara Hotels & Resorts.

“This means we are entering the New Year with another very powerful addition to our marketing strategy in the south of Thailand, and broadening our appeal to travelers by adding a four-star resort to Patong Beach, one of the island’s premier destinations.”

Accommodation at the resort is a mix of rooms, suites and villas, the latter offering a choice of one and two bedrooms. Each has its own private pool. There are three swimming pools, plus two pools for children. Other leisure facilities include a spa, fitness centre, and a kids’ club.

The restaurants include Blue Pacific, which serves international cuisine, and Tub-Tim, which serves Royal Thai cuisine. Extensive meetings facilities are included, with the Mediterranean Room able to hold a maximum of 180 guests for cocktails, and the Caribbean Ballroom 90 guests.

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

Anantara opening luxury resort in Phuket in January

Anantara Phuket Layan

ANANTARA PHUKET LAYAN RESORT & SPA, situated on the northwest coast of Phuket , will reopen in January 2014. The resort is located on the picturesque Layan Beach at a serene, far end of Bang Tao Bay.

It is  Anantara’s second Phuket resort, offering the best of both worlds –a tranquil stretch of white sand and at the end of your journey – Laguna – where you’ll find lively bars and boutique shopping. The island’s southern beaches and city centre are only a 35-minute drive away.

It is surrounded by lush landscapes and towering coconut trees on one of the least developed and most beautiful beaches on the island and offers nine different room types across 77 luxurious suites and villas on 400 metres of secluded beach, including a Two Bedroom Family Pool Villa, two Two Bedroom Pool Villas and a vast 485 square metre Anantara Pool Villa.

It offers direct beach access, a private pool and extensive outdoor areas of more than 200 square metres and can accommodate up to six adults.

Phuket is well known for its fresh fish and the resort’s menus reflect this.

Sala Layan, the all-day dining restaurant, offers a lavish breakfast buffet with live cooking stations, the best of eastern and western favorites and a vitality food selection throughout the day, as well as Phuket’s most decadent Sunday Brunch.

Its Deeplee signature restaurant features authentic Thai cuisine from around Thailand. The Asian flavors extend to the adjacent cliff edge Infinity Bar, where you can savor exceptional views, great cocktails and Thai tapas.

For those who prefer the blissful ocean breeze and cool waters, the Breeze pool bar offers inventive cocktails, fresh juices and light poolside snacks to fuel a day lounging in the tropical sun while Sunshine Butlers are on hand with fruit skewers and cold face towels to cool sunbathers down.

As the sun sets, guests can indulge in the ultimate romantic dining with personalized Dining by Design experiences, where a specially devised menu is prepared by a personal chef, and served at a table for two in dreamy locations, from an isolated enclave to a deck on a cliff edge – anywhere you choose.

Spice Spoons, Anantara’s new Cooking School concept, invites budding master chefs to step into the local gastronomy scene on a journey of rich culinary discovery. Participants start the day with a visit to a local market to learn about and buy fresh ingredients before donning aprons and chef’s hats in the resort’s open theatre kitchen for a unique interactive learning experience with a Thai chef.

The resort will have a number of gurus. Anantara’s Salt Guru helps diners to pair their food from a selection of 17 salt varieties. It also has an olive oil guru to explain with a lexicon usually reserved for wine.

The resort also offers one of the most balanced and diverse wine collections in Phuket and regular tasting sessions by the Wine Guru offer guests a journey through the vineyards of the world, including the best of Thailand.

There’s even a Slumber Guru who ensures guests enjoy their best night’s rest ever.

Recreation and leisure facilities include water sports, bicycles, a fitness centre, group and private yoga classes, a boutique and gift shop and a library with a range of books and films as well as iPads. iPad lovers and workaholics on holiday can check-out an iPad just as though they are borrowing a book from the library.

The resort also has a Chang (Thai for elephant) Children’s Club for younger guests of 12 and under, which offers daily complimentary supervised activities including full and half-day programs, as well as a Kids menu, cooking classes and a ‘Little People’s’ Spa menu.

The Anantara Spa offers a therapeutic range of treatments that combine traditional Asian therapies and pampering Elemis products. All spa treatments are delivered by highly skilled and comforting hands. The spa comprises seven treatment suites as well as manicure and pedicure studios.

In addition to the hotel, a high-end residential project, known as Anantara Residences Phuket Layan, will be developed on an adjacent hillside with panoramic views of the Andaman Sea. It will consist of 16 units ranging from two to five bedrooms.

Vikki Aquino heads heads only Elemis flagship spa in Asia

 Elemis team photo

The Elemis Team at St. Regis Bangkok.

VikkiVIKKI AQUNIO,  a well known figure in Thailand’s spa industry, is back in Bangkok after a brief assignment in the Philippines – this time as spa director of The St. Regis.

In her new role, Vikki will spearhead the operations of the only Elemis flagship spa in Asia. There are only two others – London and New York.

The St. Regis spa is a 1,800 sqm facility that features dedicated relaxation zones, 15 treatment suites and “the market leader and most exclusive in Bangkok.

“Thailand,” she adds, “is such a competitive spa market that you have to find ways to re-invent yourself to stay on top of the game. The transition has given me an opportunity to learn new things and re-learn the things I love about working in this industry.

“Our spa has a very different atmosphere compared to the other spas in Bangkok. The interiors are very modern, light, refreshing and free of clutter. It has one-of-a-kind views of the city and the relaxation pods are like a private enclave that you can claim as your own.”

X2 Kui Buri ‘Crush on You’ package

X2 Kui Buri

X2 KUI BURI, ONE OF THAILAND’S most romantic beach resorts, has an exciting package for travelers who would like to woo that special someone and stay in the Deluxe Pool Villa while enjoying special moments together.

X2 Kui Buri is situated on the idyllic and secluded beach of Ao Noi, peacefully located between the famous beachside town of Hua Hin & Pranburi and Prachuab Khirikhan Town. X2 Kui Buri covers over 4 acres and features 23 unique beachfront designed style villas, with their own private pools or outside garden areas.

The Crush on You Package starts at $223 per night, is based on double occupancy, and requires a minimum two-night stay, and requires full pre-payment. It is applicable only to stays in the resort’s Deluxe Pool Villa accommodation.

The package, which is valid until Dec. 31, 2013, includes: Overnight accommodations; Daily Champagne breakfast; One night Western dinner set for two at 4K Ocean Front Restaurant; Bottle of Sparkling wine in room on arrival; 1.5 Hour X2 Signature massage for couples; 20% off the 4K à la carte menu; 20% off all X2 Spa treatments; and 50% off ‘Simply Simple’ rates for additional nights.

For more information or to book online, visit

Celebrating Christmas at VIE Bangkok

VIE's Festive Celebrations 2013

VIE WINE & GRILL is the focal point of VIE Bangkok’s Christmas celebrations that includes a Christmas Eve buffet, a Christmas Day brunch and VIE’s New Year’s Eve C’est la Vie Bon Vivant dinner.

The Christmas Eve buffet includes seafood on ice such as Alaskan king crab and Pacific oysters, smoked salmon, salads, sushi and sashimi, entrees like Beef tenderloin and foie gras with black truffle sauce, Norway salmon with chive cream and traditional dishes like roast turkey.
A chef’s carving station and live cooking will also be available—as well as an array of Christmas desserts.

The Christmas Day brunch, served from 11.30 a.m. to 3 p.m, is just as extensive. It starts with
marinated artichoke, Mediterranean marinated olives, Alaskan king crab, half shell Atlantic oysters and other seafood delights on ice, followed by an array of salads, cold cuts, sashimi, and entrees like Rock Lobster Thermidor, sous vide pork belly with peach compote, homemade potato gnocchi with parmesan cheese (au gratin), and chef’s carving and live cooking stations.

There’s also a selection of desserts – chocolate passion fruit cake, white chocolate cheese cake, assorted homemade Christmas cookies, English fruitcake, puddings, a chocolate fountain. Cost per person is 1,500 BHT person.

Say farewell to the old year and welcome 2014 in style with a Bon Vivant dinner that includes fantastic seafood on ice, smoked duck with rocket and bleu cheese, sashimi, Asian and international salads, soups, and entrees like as coq au vin, mini beef tenderloin served with foie gras sauce, and potato dauphine.

There’s also a chef’s carving and live cooking stations and a dessert table. The price is 2,350 BHT per person and includes a chance to win two lucky draw prices – 3-day/2-night stay at The Library, Koh Samui.

After dinner, welcome in the New Year at the rooftop VIE Pool for a New Year’s drink and watch fireworks over the night sky, and ring in the New Year. The cost is 600 BHT and includes two drinks.

For reservations and more information, call 66 (0) 2309 3939, or email

Anantara Bophut Koh Samui re-opens after major facelift


ANANTARA BOPHUT KOH SAMUI RESORT & SPA has re-opened and is welcoming travellers through its grand arched entrance, following an extensive 170 million THB renovation.

The popular resort on Thailand’s Bophut Beach on Koh Samui is quite unlike any other, from Bill Bensley-designed tropical gardens, which complement Fisherman’s Cove, southern Thai architecture that reflects the local cultural heritage, plus world class amenities enhanced by Anantara’s unique design touches.

According to Manish Jha, Anantara Bophut’s general manager, the seven-month renovation project was designed to remodel the existing room types and public spaces and introduce new facilities to reinforce the resort’s hallmark charms.

“Our guests now benefit from a wider choice of luxury accommodations and enhanced food and beverage, relaxation and event facilities, all culminating in an impressive enhancement to the over-all resort experience.”

In the overhaul, the previous six room and suite categories increased to eight, and most categories changed. The Deluxe Garden View and Deluxe Sea View rooms were expanded from 32 to 36 square metres, affording space for extra guest bed requests. The revamped 44 square metre Junior Garden View Suites can accommodate up to three adults and a child.

Suite categories were increased to five with two new Garden View and Royal Garden View suite types, 70 and 75 square metres respectively. The popular 80 square metre Anantara Beachfront Pool Suites’ facelift features a new 20 square metre private pool with beach and sea views and allow you to step directly onto soft golden sands that are lapped by the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

For guests arriving prior to check-in time or who need somewhere to relax and refresh before departing to the airport for an evening flight, there’s new hospitality room with shower facilities and complimentary beverages and light snacks.

The resort’s restaurants and bars also received a facelift, with the al fresco Full Moon restaurant switching Italian fare for contemporary Koh Samuian style char grill fusion cuisine, and Eclipse Bar taking on a more open, pub-like ambience. Casual Asian fusion snacks and sumptuous sushi are served poolside at a new cocktail bar, complete with bean bags, shisha pipes and sweeping views across to Phangan Island.

The “catch of the day” takes a whole new meaning at Anantara Bophut, where you’ll be invited to meet local fishermen on Bophut Beach at the end of a day to choose your favorite fish from the catch. From here the culinary team takes over to prepare the catch to perfection in a variety of ways, for the guests to savour at dinner.

For kids, there’s the newly built Ling Noi (Thai for little monkey) Children’s Club offering a range of activities designed to motivate, develop skills and make new friends. Here pizza cooking classes, building sandcastles, playing mini garden soccer, hunting for treasures, trampoline jumping or making coconut paintings all keep the little treasures safely entertained, leaving parents free to unwind.

The resort’s impressive lobby, ballroom, meeting facilities and public spaces were also refreshed and updated to meet the needs of today’s luxury and business travellers in a fast-paced world.

“My team and I are inspired by the new canvass that we have been afforded to express our creativity and passion for genuine hospitality. We are very excited to don our uniforms again to welcome our guests back to our corner of heaven on earth,” said Jha,

North Phuket Culinary Arts Festival starts Friday

sala phuket dancing

IMAGINE THIS. Sitting down at a three-metre long table and sharing a special meal with hundreds of other people at the same table. Everything starts at 6 p.m. this Friday.

The table is set up between two of the island’s resorts – SALA Phuket and Renaissance Phuket – and is the kick-off event at this year’s North Phuket Culinary Arts Festival, which runs from Dec. 6-8.

The festival celebrates the culinary artistry and talent and cultural activities and attractions of this unspoiled part of Phuket.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, there’s a poolside seafood grill at Anantara Phuket Villas that features Thai cuisine and culture, and performance art at sunset. Starting time is 7 p.m.

On Sunday, Dec. 8, festivities shift to JW Marriott Phuket, where you can take part in a special “The best of the West vs the Feast from the East Buffet”, featuring selections from JW Marriott’s 11 restaurants under the stars.

Prices start at 1,600 BHT per person for a single pass; 4,200 BHT for a three-day pass. Kids under age 12 get a 50% discount and kids under 7, east free.

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