Archive - May 2014

Soneva Kiri’s Other Side Of Paradise Green Season Escape Package
Anantara’s linger longer package offering 40% discount
Dusit launches ‘Getaways by Dusit’ corporate packages
The real bridge over the River Kwai
Lest this day pass unnoticed
Anantara launches Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa
New Season, New Menus at Twin Palms Phuket
Dusit International unveils expansion plans
Summer camp at Soneva Kiri
Six Senses Yao Noi’s organic free-range egg farm

Soneva Kiri’s Other Side Of Paradise Green Season Escape Package

Soneva Kiri

SONEVA KIRI has created a new package to showcase the other face of Thailand’s emerald isle, Koh Kood, with indulgences and activities crafted around what is known on the island as the Green Season.

The Green Season Escape is being offered until Oct. 31, 2014, traditionally a quiet time for the island compared to the sun-drenched hot season.

“It’s a great time to experience Soneva Kiri, and we’ve put together an exciting program of activities and indulgences that allow guests to really experience the best of what can be the most beautiful of the island’s seasons,” said Frank Grassmann, Soneva Kiri’s general manager.

Soneva Kiri is the sole luxury resort on the island of Koh Kood, located deep in the Gulf of Thailand, an island of outstanding natural beauty, with waterfalls that splash down through the forest into secluded coves.

Guests can ascend to Soneva’s observatory, with its 14-inch Celestron telescope, one of the finest and most powerful lenses in Southeast Asia.

The Green Season Escape weaves together a host of experiences designed to showcase the island’s unique environment, and to highlight Soneva’s mantra of ‘Intelligent Luxury’ in action. The package includes:

Picnic by a crystal waterfall in a secluded grove; deep green dream’ 60-minute spa treatment for two; gourmet daily breakfast; daily shared activity schedule; children dine free with parents; daily cocktail and canapés; rejuvenating group yoga lesson on the beach; and complimentary hand-made ice-cream with over 60 unique and locally-inspired flavours from the ice-cream parlour and home-made chocolates from the delectable chocoholic room, which now includes the addition of expert Fiona Scolti’s forest-foraged, locally sourced ‘Botanical Chocolates’

The cost: Pool Villa Suite $790 per night; Cliff Pool Villa Suite $1,000 per night; Bay View Pool Villa Suite $1,300 per night; and two-Bedroom Cliff Pool Villa Suite $1,670 per night.

For bookings or enquiries, visit

Anantara’s linger longer package offering 40% discount


Anantara 40% discount

BOOK A MINIMUM THREE-NIGHT STAY at one of Anantara’s hotels and resorts in Thailand, Asia, Maldives, Africa and Middle East for savings of up to 40% on a seasonal world-wide deal that offers discount rewards, complimentary spa treatment and a daily breakfast buffet.

The offer is valid from now until Aug. 25, 2014 for a stay before Aug. 31.

For reservations and full promotional details, visit or call 66 (0)2 365 9111

Discounts and offers vary with participating hotels or resorts.Other terms and conditions:

A minimum night stay is required and varies per participating hotel or resort;
Bookings are subject to availability, and blackout dates and other conditions may apply; offers cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers, discounts or packages and are non-exchangeable, transferrable or redeemable for cash; complimentary spa treatment includes a 60-minute aromatherapy massage for two – the complimentary spa offer is not valid at Anantara Baan Rajprasong


Dusit launches ‘Getaways by Dusit’ corporate packages

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RECOGNIZNG THE TREND in travelers wanting tailor-made packages to make the most of their holiday time, Dusit International is launching four new corporate packages, called Getaways by Dusit, with accommodation starting as low as US $80 and a host of value-added privileges, including spa treatments, dining offers and more.

Packages offered cover culture, couples, families and spa and include:

Cultural Getaways: Founded in 1948 by Honorary Chairperson Thanpuying Chanut Piyaoui, Dusit International is one of Thailand’s first hotel chains, fusing the very best of Thai hospitality with world-class standards. The package includes:

Welcome Thai herbal drink and cold or hot towel upon arrival; tropical fruits in room; daily breakfast; turndown service with flower garland or Thai style fruit or vegetable carving; complimentary Thai set dinner for two; and souvenir photo in a Thai silk frame upon departure
Couple Getaways: For those looking to escape from it all and share romantic moments, the Couple Getaway offers:

Thai welcome flower garland and cold or hot towel upon arrival; in-room check-in; welcome Japanese or Chinese tea set up, in room; bottle of sparkling wine, flowers, pralines and fresh fruit in room; turndown service with chocolate coated strawberries and a rose; breakfast in bed for two; and choice of one lover’s dinner or 60-minute couples aromatherapy treatment

Family Getaways is all about bonding the family way with Dusit’s Family Getaways package, with a special focus on the kids, this getaway offers:

Welcome drinks and cold or hot towel upon arrival; 50% off the second room reserved for children upon check-in; connecting rooms guaranteed for two rooms booked the same time; complimentary baby cot or rollaway bed for child under 12 years of age sharing room with parents; breakfast for up to four (2 adults and 2 children under 12 years of age); complimentary use of kids club facilities (where available); poolside soft drinks and fruit juices for children under 12 years of age; and special turndown service with milk and cookies

Spa Getaways: Dusit’s Spa Getaway package promises a true haven for those wanting to disconnect and recharge. This package includes:

Welcome herbal drink and cold or hot towel upon arrival; fresh fruit in room; daily healthy breakfast; 90-minute massage treatment of your choice; 15% discount on all a la carte spa treatments; 10% discount on selected spa retail products; and special turndown with potpourri pillow sachet.

Getaways by Dusit packages are available year-round on Packages are subject to a minimum two-night stay as well as applicable government and service taxes.

For more information on these packages, visit or callt +66 (0) 2636 3333.


The real bridge over the River Kwai

River Kwai Bridge

THREE THINGS you may not know about the bridge over the River Kwai:

The colonel in the movie was modeled on a British lieutenant colonel, Philip John Denton Toosey, who became Sir Philip Toosey and a brigadier by the time he retired.

Toosey was completely different from the fictional colonel portrayed by Sir Alec Guiness. In fact, most of the soldiers who served with him were outraged by the way he had been was caricaturized and hounded him to protest. He demurred. The colonel’s family was even more incensed and his oldest granddaughter wrote a book to set the record straight, without much effect.

Unlike the colonel in the movie, Toosey did everything he could to delay the construction of the bridge, including collecting white ants to eat the wooden structures. He also helped to organize an escape of two of his officers and was punished for concealing their escape for 48 hours.

His focus was on the survival of the 2,000 men in the prison camp, standing up to the Japanese and working with a Thai merchant to organize the smuggling of food and medicine into the camp. The Thai merchant, Boonpong Sirivejjabhandu, was honored after the war for coming to their help.

Then there’s the bridge. There were actually two – a wooden one as portrayed in the movie and a permanent one, which still stands today. The wooden bridge was temporary and does not exist today. In the movie, the British come off as the engineering marvels. But that’s not the way it played out in life. British Army engineers had estimated that the building of the Thai-Burma Railway would take five years. The Japanese did it in under a year, using prisoners of war and other slave labor for the heavy stuff.

It was the permanent bridge that was eventually destroyed by the allies – not by the colonel during a commando raid – but bombed by a plane piloted by a Canadian. You’d never know it if you relied on the displays you see at the local museums. The pilot’s name was Roy Borthwick, flying a Liberator on June 24, 1945, on a bombing mission.

Borthwick died in West Vancouver on Oct. 15, 2007 in his 88th year.

You can still see evidence of the raid on the concrete base of the bridge. The steel structure was repaired by the Japanese after the war and is still in use today. The site draws hundreds of tourists and Thais every day.

At high noon, the train stops at the station a few yards from the bridge to take on passengers. The sun is hot and intense as we start across the bridge on foot. A few minutes later, the train starts up and we step aside into one of the small nooks along each side of the steel span as the train lumbers by. The passenger cars are packed. People stick their heads out of the windows of the cars, craning their necks for a glimpse of what’s ahead. A few minutes later, it disappears around the curve amid the thick jungle growth.

The station area is thick with stalls selling souvenirs – caps, T-shirts, etc., all with the River Kwai Bridge logo.

Off to the left, we walk down stone steps to a floating restaurant built on oil drum pontoons. Four or five of these platforms are bolted together at staggered intervals. A cool breeze flows through the darkened interior, and from the first platform, the bridge looms like a giant.

Japanese tourists sit quietly at the table next to us, eating quietly, and on the other side, an Australian couple, who have been to Toronto, talk to us about the view from the CN Tower.
After lunch we head out into the bright afternoon sun.


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, who created the first English dictionary, 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.”

Anantara launches Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa


ANANTARA RESORTS has launched its second resort in Phuket – Anantara
Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa, located on the northwest coast of Phuket in an intimate and unspoiled corner of the island.

The resort nestles the picturesque Layan Beach at the serene, far end of Bang Tao Bay, a 20 minute journey from Phuket International Airport. It offers offers the best of both worlds – guests can stroll along a tranquil stretch of white sand to Laguna for lively bars and boutique shopping. The island’s bustling southern beaches and city centre are a 35-minute drive away.

Anantara Phuket Layan’s contemporary design is inspired by Thailand’s unique culture. It is surrounded by lushly exotic landscapes and towering coconut trees on one of the least developed and most beautiful beaches on the island.

The new resort 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.

With direct beach access, a private pool and extensive outdoor areas of more than 200 square metres, the Anantara Pool Villa is is described as “the ultimate tropical island retreat”, and can accommodate up to six adults.

Anantara_Layan_BeachVilla_at_NightThe 47 villas each boast a private pool and, to further enhance the experience, all villas offer an attentive personal Villa Host 24 hours a day.

Anantara Phuket Layan offers a full range of dining options, each featuring a distinctive setting, menu and ambience. Phuket is already well known for its fresh, succulent seafood 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. At the Deeplee signature restaurant, authentic Thai cuisine from around the Kingdom is offered.

Asian flavors extend to the adjacent cliff edge Infinity Bar, where exceptional views, cocktails and Thai tapas exemplify the best that Southeast Asia has to offer.

And for those who prefer the blissful ocean breeze and cool waters, the Breeze pool bar offers inventive cocktails, revitalizing fresh juices and light poolside snacks to fuel a day while 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, you can indulge in the ultimate romantic dining with personalised ‘Dining by Design’ experiences, where a specially devised menu is prepared by a personal chef, and served at a table for two in different 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.

Anantara’s signature guru experiences are all around and a simple request to ‘pass the salt’ gets a whole new meaning as the resort’s Salt Guru helps diners to pair their food with the perfect seasoning from a selection of no less that 17 salt varieties. It also offers one of the most balanced and diverse wine collections in Phuket and regular tasting sessions by the Wine Guru, who will take you on a tour through the vineyards of the world, including the best of Thailand.

Another unique experience is the Slumber Guru who ensures guests enjoy their best night’s rest ever and awaken completely reinvigorated to greet yet another perfect tropical day.

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.

Anantara_Layan_Two_Bedroom_Pool_VillaAt Anantara Phuket Layan wedding celebrations are redefined by a destination of natural exclusivity, with Anantara’s signature style in an idyllic choice of settings – from a unique cliff edge open chapel where a spectacular ocean backdrop promises magical photo opportunities, to a tropical beachfront bliss with the Andaman’s waves as the wedding march.

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

In addition to the hotel, a high end residential project is under development on an adjacent hillside with panoramic views of the Andaman Sea. Anantara Residences Phuket Layan will consist of 16 expansive units ranging from two to five bedrooms.



New Season, New Menus at Twin Palms Phuket

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GLOBE-TROTTING CHEF JOSEPH BUDDE has returned to share more of his award-winning secrets with the Twin Palms kitchen teams, the latest stop on his 30-year international journey across the US, Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, Bangkok and Singapore.

Among the favorites are panfried seabass with green herb salsa, beef tenderloin flambéed at your table, and a savory sensation: Rack of Lamb Provencal.

Recognizing that culinary journeys are best explored together, Twin Palms’ Catch Beach Club has come up with a menu that invites groups to share. Those with an appetite for fun will want to book a beachfront table and take a dip into our fresh menu choices for lunch and dinner.

The new Chilled Seafood Tower features the top picks of the sea with freshly boiled and chilled Boston lobster, King crab, Andaman prawns, Australian black mussels, French oysters and Japanese scallops, while the grilled Wagyu features a superb cut of 1,500 grams of prime rib.

There’s also a Japanese Platter, a colorful party on a plate with a selection of 28 Sushi, Sashimi and Maki Rolls. Or taste the double delight of two plump grilled Boston lobsters nestled atop a bed of linguini in a spicy tomato and seafood sauce.

Burgers are always a beach favorite. The Catch Beach Club “Dream” Burger reaches delicious new heights with its healthy portion of Beef plus mushrooms, bacon, cheddar cheese and jalapeños peppers.

The Catch Beach Club is revving up its drinks menu with its Flaming Lamborghini cocktail leading the way – a bold mix of flamed Sambuca, Baileys, Kahlua and blue Curaçao, while the Bimi Beach Club features some classic cocktails to taste .

Dusit International unveils expansion plans


DUSIT INTERNATIONAL is in the midst of a major expansion with the launch of their new premium hotel brand Dusit Devarana, the rapid development of its next generation DusitD2 brand, and the announcement of 18 upcoming properties, with another 20 in the planning and development stage throughout the Middle East, Asia, the Americas and Europe.

The company will outline its plans at the upcoming Arabian Travel Market (ATM), attended by David Shackleton, COO of Dusit International.

Founded in 1948 by Honorary Chairperson Thanpuying Chanut Piyaoui, whose first hotel was the Princess on Bangkok’s New Road, Dusit International has since acquired a unique portfolio of distinctive hotels, building upon Thai culture and tradition to create a personalized welcome for all guests made distinctive under the Dusit International brand promise – “the delivery of an experience that enlivens the individual spirit, no matter the journey”.

Dusit International currently has 13 hotels in Thailand, five in the Middle East with a sixth to open in Qatar shortly, plus Dusit Thani Hotels in The Maldives and Philippines, and the recently launched Dusit Devarana New Delhi in India.

The 2013 alliance between Dusit International and China-based real estate developer Changzhou Qiao Yu Group resulted in the establishment of Dusit Fudu Hotels & Resorts, which has yielded 19 upcoming hotels in China alone. The joint venture is well on track to reach its target of 30 properties in China by 2016.

Dusit International has expanded its international reach into the U.S., Singapore, Tunisia, Turkey and Myanmar, and is currently in negotiations for projects in Europe.

Dusit Devarana properties are premium hotels to be located in both leisure and urban destinations, providing a sanctuary of cultured refinement for those who seek a balance of tranquility, convenience and excellence. The brand complements the Dusit brand family with its unique perspective on the resort experience, marrying the very best of gracious Thai hospitality and destination appeal.

The first hotel to open its doors under the new brand is Dusit Devarana New Delhi, a 50-room urban boutique resort nestled between India’s capital city and the corporate hub of Gurgaon.
Ensconced amidst a thousand mature trees with amenities such as round-the-clock-personal butler service and the first Indian outpost of London’s Michelin-starred Kai Restaurant, Dusit Devarana

New Delhi was most recently named to Travel + Leisure USA’s It List: The Best New Hotels of the Year 2014. It features amongst Asia’s top 12 properties and India’s only two hotels chosen for the honor.

Upcoming properties to bear the Dusit Devarana brand name include: Dusit Devarana Baoting Hainan, China (2014); Dusit Devarana Dianchi Lake, Kunming, China (2016) and Dusit Devarana Hot Springs & Spa, Conghua, Guangzhou, China (2015).

The brand expansion news continues for Dusit with nine hotels in the pipeline for its next generation DusitD2 brand, including strategic locations in the Middle East. DusitD2 Hotels and Resorts offer a distinctive combination of chic design, forward-thinking technology, convenience, comfort and smart service.

In April 2014, the brand welcomed another DusitD2 in Thailand, this time on Phuket Island. The DusitD2 Phuket Resort is only steps away from popular Patong Beach, also the island’s entertainment and shopping district.

Additional DusitD2 Hotels and Resorts are planned for: the Aerocity complex in New Delhi, India; Khao Yai in Thailand; the Gurgaon business district in India; Hongmei in China and Davao in the Philippines.

“The DusitD2 brand offers a great opportunity for developers who would like to with us,” says Rustom Vickers. group director of development, “that reflect the travel needs of today’s middle class in emerging markets. DusitD2 allows us to meet market demand where a traditional Dusit Thani or luxurious Dusit Devarana may not be the right fit.”

Summer camp at Soneva Kiri

The_Den_Arial THE ANNUAL SUMMER CAMP at Soneva Kiri has become a haven for inquisitive children whose imaginations might be in danger of being greyed out by cityscapes.

The cross-cultural camp offers a fascinating exercise for parents in watching how 10 days spent exploring, learning about the environment, Thai culture, wellness, marine biology and studying local crafts in a safe and fun environment can open their children’s eyes and enrich their development.

The Soneva resorts have forged a reputation for doing things differently and their children’s activities, run closely along their signature SLOW LIFE philosophy – Sustainable, Local, Organic, Wellness – Learning, Inspiring, Fun, Experiences. The incredible manta-ray shaped Den at Soneva Kiri, for example, has proved a sensation among children.

An equally inspirational Den is being built at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives and will open later this year but meanwhile, its Summer Camp will embrace all features that have placed Soneva’s Dens in a class of their own.

Not only will our Soneva youngsters have the opportunity to get to know these exotic islands they will have the freedom to run around and play, indulging their adventurous and creative bents in everything from Asian kite making, to astrology, coconut versatility, surviving in a jungle to protecting local marine species and preparing organic mocktails.

Using the natural properties of Soneva Kiri, they will also learn about sustainability and how important the environment is to their futures.

Over the years, Soneva’s children’s leaders have become expert in making learning fun and playing with children from contrasting cultures and continents is an important part of their enjoyment. They develop lasting friendships that span the world, with the exchange of ideas and activities among them proving a most powerful educational tool.

They will also enjoy plenty of physical activity in the form of sport and exploration and just because they are children does not mean they miss out on the amazing cuisine that Soneva guests enjoy. As well as learning how to cook authentic Maldivian and Thai delicacies as well as fruit and fish, to provide further education in sustainability, nutrition and good health.

The Summer Camp runs at Soneva Kiri until October 2014 and lasts for 10 days with children able to join at any time free of charge. Children of all ages are welcome.

Accommodation prices start at $820/night or a special package of $705/night for a minimum of two nights.

Six Senses Yao Noi’s organic free-range egg farm

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SIX SENSES YAO NOI has launched an organic chicken farm in support of its core values of sustainability, and respect for the environment.

The resort purchased 200 young laying hens and as of April 2014, the farm now provides guests with fresh eggs daily. By June, it is estimated that the chickens will supply the resort with all its eggs.

Jim Driskell, senior chef de cuisine at The Dining Room, the resort’s organic European cuisine restaurant, in conjunction with Pimjai Doungnate, the resort’s full time sustainability and recycling expert, developed the organic chicken farm from initial planning to implementation.
Chef Jim had substantial experience from his time working in the U.S., Chile and Japan at several well known farm to table restaurants.

The opportunity to create the chicken farm within the resort is a point of pride for both Chef Jim and Pim. In fact, a tour of the facility has become one of the top guest experiences.
Eating healthy, nutritious meals is essential to prevent chronic disease, premature aging, and provide balanced nutritional requirements. Free-range organic chickens eating a healthy, natural diet pass on the benefits in the form of clean, healthy and low cholesterol eggs, unlike chicken eggs from cage farming which should be restricted in any diet.

Six Senses Yao Noi chickens are fed organic agricultural kitchen by-products, including carrot pulp, vegetable trimmings, organic rice bran and E.M., which is an effective micro-organism solution. No chemicals are used, nor purchased chicken food.

Organic free range chicken eggs contain 1/3 less cholesterol, ¼ less saturated fat, more vitamins and two times more omega 3 fatty acids when compared to eggs from caged chickens.

The chickens have their own sound music system and the resort has built them a workout facility similar to a children’s playground . It’s called The Chicken Gym.

The wooden structure is a multi-level installation with terracing steps for exercise sessions.
Koh Yao Noi’s famous animal doctor, a lifelong lover of all animals and qualified veterinarian, regularly inspects the chickens to ensure optimal, health conditions and provides advice pertinent to the special conditions on the island.

By eating pure organic matter, chickens significantly reduce the overall waste of the resort. Six Senses Yao Noi is aggressively working towards Zero Waste.

The use of organic eggs also contributes to the resorts efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The chicken farm is 1,315 feet (400 metres) from the kitchen. In modern day society most of the eggs normally travel hundreds of miles from farm to warehouse to supermarket to end user.

Another positive side product is the chicken manure which is a rich organic fertilizer used in the resort’s organic vegetable gardens.

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