Archive - August 2012

Centara strengthens Southern Thailand sales network
Get set for 2012 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament
Centara Grand Hua Hin becomes member of Leading Hotels of the World
Grilled Lemongrass Naked Prawns
Danish couple first to tie the knot at Centara Anda Dhevi
TripAdvisor Award for SALA SAMUI and SALA Phuket
In-Villa spa package at Centara Villas Samui
Centara website takes Truehits award for 4th consecutive year
Cape Sienna’s package for couples
Soneva Group to focus on resorts with private residences

Centara strengthens Southern Thailand sales network

Axel Jehangir, Laddawan Somniyam and  Amir Reiner

CENTARA HOTELS & RESORTS has increased the size of the sales and marketing team at its Phuket regional sales office in order to strengthen marketing activities for the South of Thailand.

The regional sales office, which is located in Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, at Karon Beach in Phuket, opened in September 2010.

The new team now comprises a Cluster Revenue Manager, a director of sales, a sales manager, two sales executives and one sales coordinator.

“Southern Thailand has become a very large and important part of our network, with the number of properties expanding and the region contributing an ever increasing volume of revenues,” says Chris Bailey, senior vice-president for sales and marketing at Centara Hotels & Resorts.

The new regional director of sales for Southern Thailand is Laddawan Somniyam, who will oversee the sales operations of all Centara properties in the South of Thailand, including Phuket, Krabi, Samui and Hat Yai. She will report to Philip Hall, corporate director of sales and marketing at the Centara head office in Bangkok.

Laddawan replaces Jason Lu, who has been promoted to corporate director of sales for China and Northeast Asia, working out of Centara’s Bangkok head office.

Effective from Sept. 1, Surangkana Waronpongtorn is promoted to sales manager from her previous position as assistant sales manager; Amir Reiner from his position as director of sales and revenue management at Centara Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket to head up the new cluster revenue management division at the regional sales office in Phuket, effective Aug. 20. He will report to Boris Sertic, head of commercial and international marketing services in Bangkok.

“With both domestic and international expansion of Centara Hotels & Resorts, the distribution and revenue management capability of our properties is becoming an even more critical part to delivering profit and the brand promise,” says Mr Bailey. “This strategic role covers the leadership and direction of the revenue management for our Phuket properties by ensuring that individual hotel revenue delivery through our distribution channels is maximised, depending on business mix and company strategy.”

Another new member of the team, Axel Jehangir,  is assistant director of sales at Centara Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket.

Centara Hotels & Resorts currently has seven properties in Phuket, two in Krabi, three in Samui, and one in Hat Yai.

Get set for 2012 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament


 SIXTEEN TEAMS from around the world will be competing in the 2012 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, which runs from Sept. 12-16 at Hua Hin.

This year’s tournament will see the New Zealand All Black’s Robin Brooke, Olo Brown and Adrian Cashmore and European royals, Prince Carl-Eugen Oettingen-Wallerstein and his wife, Princess Anna, and daughter, Princess Joanna. Miss Tiffany Thailand will also be playing in the tournament for the first time.

The event, which has become one of the most popular in Thailand, will lead off with a parade through Hua Hin’s main streets, featuring Thailand’s last elephant spirit men (Kru Ba Yai) and tranditional dancers. Activities include a baby elephant camp and a fun fair.

International and local celebrities, including U.S. actor Isabelle Fuhrman, former Thai PM Aphisit Vejjajiva, super models Cindy Bishop, Lukkade Methinee and Australian Marie Claire’s Editor-in-Chief Jackie Frank have donated their artistic talents by painting a piece of “The Big Picture” elephant-themed painting, which will be on display throughout the event and auctioned off for charity at the final gala dinner.

The tournament was introduced to Thailand in 2001 by Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas and continues to support the event, which has grown to become one of the biggest charitable events in Thailand that has raised almost US$500,000 for projects that better the lives of Thailand’s elephant population.

These projects include: Mahout accommodation at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC) and a mobile centrifuge for the TECC’s elephant mobile veterinary clinic; donating an elephant ambulance to the TECC; Thai Elephant Therapy Project, which initially provided 16 autistic children with a free clinic to develop their social interaction and emotional skills by using elephants as a working partner with occupational therapists; rescuing five elephants from Thailand’s city streets to participate in the world’s first ever Thai Elephant Therapy Project, in conjunction with Chiang Mai University Department of Occupational Therapy and the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre.  Four of these five elephants now live at Anantara Golden Triangle’s Elephant Camp and have retired from active participation.

Funds raised from last year’s event have been donated in 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 TECC and 4,000 trees have also been planted in Hua Hin to shelter elephant corridors from electric fencing in the area.

The 11th King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament is held at Hua Hin’s Suriyothai Army Base, about 20 minutes from Anantara Hua Hin Resort and Spa.

For more information on King’s Cup Elephant Polo, visit

Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa is a distinctive Thai village-style resort located on the sunrise coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Hidden amidst 14 acres of luxuriantly landscaped mature gardens and lagoon pools, the picturesque resort enjoys a beachfront location at the quiet end of Thailand’s historic royal seaside town. For more information please


Centara Grand Hua Hin becomes member of Leading Hotels of the World

CENTARA GRAND BEACH Resort & Villas Hua Hin, which began life in 1923 as the Railway Hotel and was Thailand’s first resort hotel, has become a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.

The hotel, which stands on 16 hectares of beachfront land among topiary gardens that are one of the local landmarks, was acquired in 1985 by Central Group, which has extended and upgraded the property over the years with every sensitivity towards its original elegance, said Thirayuth Chirathivat, Centara Hotels’ CEO.

This beautiful heritage hotel is part of Thailand’s history, built when the railway line was laid between Bangkok and Malaysia. The railway allowed Hua Hin to become Thailand’s first beachside resort, and the Railway Hotel played a significant role in all of that. Centara’s own involvement with the property goes back almost 30 years, and we have always treated the hotel with great love and respect. It represents a different era – but it’s as relevant today as it always has been, he said.

The Leading Hotels of the World Ltd is the largest luxury hospitality organization in the world, representing over 430 of the finest hotels, resorts and spas in more than 80 countries. Its mission is to curate and champion an exclusive collection of independent properties, including grand palaces and intimate city hideaways, luxury tent enclaves and expansive self-contained resorts.

Requirements for becoming a member stipulate that a hotel must meet exacting standards of excellence in all areas affecting guest comfort, convenience and well-being. It does not solicit new members and hotels must apply for inclusion. Only the most eminent hotels are accepted for admission

It is a great honour to have been selected as a member, says Jacques Mury, general manager of Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin. We completed a total renovation of the hotel at the end of last year, and everything we did was designed to respect and enhance the qualities that have made this one of the classic hotels of Asia. Everyone here at the hotel is tremendously proud.

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin has 207 luxurious rooms and suites, including the Club executive floor, each with its own private balcony overlooking the ocean or landscaped gardens. High ceilings, period-style furniture and a décor that uses rich polished hardwood softened by the warm tones of Thai silk to evoke the spirit of the 1920s. The 42 villas set amongst the extensive gardens, with their spacious living accommodation and the option of their own pool, offer privacy along with the ultimate in luxury.

Among the dining options are the all-day Railway Restaurant, serving international cuisines, the Palm Seafood Pavilion which overlooks the ocean, Hagi Japanese restaurant, set on the street corner and blending traditional and modern Japanese cuisine, and Salathai, serving Thai cuisine in a separate pavilion.

With its location on the beachfront, the hotel is perfect for swimming and boating, and just for lazing on the beach. Two putting greens, four swimming pools, two tennis courts, a snooker room, badminton, table tennis and a fitness centre offer opportunities for leisure and keeping fit, and there is a children’s playground and other facilities for the youngsters. With the spacious tropical gardens forming a backdrop, Spa Cenvaree offers a full range of massage and body treatments combining ancient Asian therapies with modern technology.

Grilled Lemongrass Naked Prawns


Like Thai food? Then meet Mini C. That’s the pen name for Ob-oom Chutrakul, author of two cook books; executive consultant chef, S Cuisine, S Medical Spa; executive consultant chef, The Gastro; and managing director, Quintessentially (Thailand). She spent three decades abroad, returning to Thailand in 2007. While in the U.K., Mini C operated the prestigious Busabong Restaurants in London’s Chelsea district and became known as a celebrity chef, appearing as guest chef on a number of SKY Channel’s cooking programs. In addition, she shared her love for Thai cooking with audiences in 170 countries on TV shows broadcast over the Thai Global NetworkChannel 5


Makes 10 skewers


2 tbsp light olive oil

2 tbsp ready-made red curry paste

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1tbsp Thai fish sauce

½ tsp caster brown sugar

40 raw black tiger prawns, peeled and deveined, but with the tails left on

10 lemon grass stalks to use as skewers, sharpened at the top

6-8 lime wedges, to serve

How to make

Begin by enhancing the ready-made red curry paste.  Heat the olive oil in a wok over a low heat, then add the paste and stir-fry for about 15 seconds.  Do not let the curry paste burn.  Add the lime leaves and stir for a further 10 seconds. This will give you the strong and aromatic red curry paste you need.

Mix the stir-fried paste with lime juice, fish sauce and sugar together in a large, non-metallic bowl.  Add the prawns, stirring gently so they are well coated and then cover with cling film and place in the fridge to marinate for 15 -20 minutes.

Preheat the grill to high.  Thread 4 prawns on to each lemon grass stalk.  Place under the hot grill for about 3 minutes, turning the lemon grass stalks occasionally, until the prawns have cooked through and are opaque.


Danish couple first to tie the knot at Centara Anda Dhevi



WHEN JAN KIRCHHOFF and HEIDI JENSEN held their wedding reception at Centara Anda Dhevi Resort & Spa Krabi on April 18, 2012 – the first couple to tie the knot at the newly opened resort.

The newly-weds, who are now back home in Denmark, say the resort made the perfect setting for their big day, and that they plan to revisit as soon as they can to relive their happy memories.

“We were staying in Krabi last year at another resort, and at that time the Centara was just the first day opening,” says Jan. “We went to take a look, and were so impressed by the building and its setting that we felt it could be ideal for our wedding.

“Every bride is nervous about anything that might go wrong at any time during her big day, but the professionalism and warmth of the staff gave me and everyone else complete confidence,” she says.

Centara Anda Dhevi Resort & Spa Krabi is set within its own landscaped gardens just 100 metres away from NopparatThara Beach, and close to the centre of Ao Nang, with its shopping and entertainment facilities. The resort offers 135 rooms and suites, and a number of Deluxe Pool units together with the Honeymoon Suite offer direct pool access.

For a wedding the resort provides for every detail, starting from the arrangements of a traditional lustral water ceremony through to the reception.

A reception will come with decorative ice sculptures, flower arch and stands, traditional garlands and corsages for the wedding party, guest books and multi-tiered cake.

The resort also offers special rates for an overnight stay with complimentary meal voucher at the hotel restaurant.

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



TripAdvisor Award for SALA SAMUI and SALA Phuket

SALA Samui and SALA Phuket have been awarded a TripAdvisor Certifcate of Excellence for 2012. The award, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Approximately 10 per cent of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this award.

To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an over-all rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the past 12 months.

Christine Petersen, president of TripAdvisor for Business, noted: “The Certificate of Excellence award gives highly rated establishments around the world the recognition they deserve.

“From exceptional accommodations in Beijing to remarkable restaurants in Boston, we want to applaud these businesses for offering TripAdvisor travelers a great customer experience.”

In-Villa spa package at Centara Villas Samui

CENTARA VILLAS SAMUI  has a My Spa package for two that features in-villa luxury spa treatments from now until Oct. 31, 2012.

The package starts at 20,345 BHT and requires a minimum four-night stay at one of the resort’s spa villas or pool villas.

The package features a choice of a 45-minute head and shoulder massage or a lotus foot massage, plus a 45-minute Coconut and Orange Blossom Milky  Bath, daily breakfast, two complimentary bottles of sparking wine during your stay and a spa gift for him and a memento for her of your stay.

Located on the southern tip of Samui, near the traditional fishing village of Hua Tanon, Centara Villas Samui has its own private frontage on Natien Beach. Set on a green hillside, the resort has a peaceful, natural tropical ambience and is the perfect setting for private spa treatments.

For more information and reservations, please contact tel. 662 101 1234 ext 1 or e-mail to

Centara website takes Truehits award for 4th consecutive year

CENTARA HOTELS & RESORTS has received the Most Visited Hotel Site in Thailand Award by web tracking organization Truehits for the fourth consecutive year.

Centara, one of Thailand’s leading hotel and resort management companies, had previously collected the award in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The award was presented at the 9th Truehits Web Awards 2011 ceremony held by the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) at the Emerald Hotel in Bangkok, presided over by the Science and Technology Minister Dr Plodprasop Suraswadi.

The Centara website was found to have the highest traffic rating in the Truehits hotels and resorts category with 1,331,566 page views during the 2011 assessment period.

“We are delighted to have been recognised in this way for the fourth consecutive year, and are especially pleased in that 2011 was the year in which we completely relaunched our corporate website to make it a far more interactive on-line presence and marketing tool,” says Chris Bailey, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Centara Hotels & Resorts.

“The number of our hotel properties in Thailand and overseas continues to grow, and we have five brands within the company, so our website is vital in providing information to on-line visitors, and defining what we have to offer.”

Visits to Thai websites are monitored and analysed by, the leading web statistic organization in Thailand, run by Internet Innovation Research Centre Co Ltd, which is supported and budgeted by the Thai government.

The 9th Truehits Web Awards 2011 were presented to the top 10 most visited websites in Thailand, and to the top sites within specific categories, including hotels and resorts.

Cape Sienna’s package for couples


CAPE SIENNA in PHUKET is offering a special two-night/three-day package for couples, called Just Relax, from now until Oct. 31, 2012.

The package includes two nights luxury accommodation, daily breakfast, welcome garland and drink and a welcome fruit basket, complimentary round-trip transfers from and to the airport, a 2,000 BHT hotel voucher and a departure gift.

The cost – 10,000 BHT for Studio C View accommodation (40 sqm) and 13,000 BHT for Deluxe C View (62 sqm). If you decide to stay an extra night, the cost per night is 3,500 and 5,000 BHT respectively.

For more information, call 66-76-337-300 or email:

Soneva Group to focus on resorts with private residences

 THE SONEVA GROUP, a new company formed following the divestment of the Six Senses and Evason brands, has announced it plans to focus on developing resorts with private residences.The move will see the Soneva Group relinquish management of Soneva Gili, which is being sold by majority shareholders, Capital Holdings and HBOS, to a new owner.

The Soneva Group will focus on developing the private residence portfolio at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Kiri as well as opening new privately owned resorts in the future.

Soneva Gili was the only Soneva resort that does not contain private residences.

A deal to sell the management contracts of the majority of Six Senses and Evason branded resorts and spas has already been announced and is scheduled to close

“This is in keeping with our decision to focus on developing private residences at Soneva branded resorts.  Soneva Gili did not offer that potential.  We will also focus on developing further Soneva resorts that will include a significant number of residential options,” said Sonu Shivdasani, chairman and CEO of The Soneva Group.

The Soneva Group is looking at other remote but accessible islands to re-create an additional resort in the Maldives with the potential to sell over-water private residences in keeping with the new strategy.

The current Soneva Gili, which has 17 years left on its lease, is close to Malé, the capital island in the Maldives and surrounded by new developments. The ideal location for a new Soneva will be in an atoll with less traffic and greater potential for developing private residences in tranquil surroundings.

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