Archive - November 2013

Thai cities/resorts rank on multiple Condé Nast Traveler Awards
VIE Hotel Bangkok among best-reviewed hotels on Expedia 2013 ‘Insiders Select List’
Creating a sustainable tourism model
Anantara launches new e-gift card service
Centara Grand Modus Resort Pattaya opening Dec. 1
Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show to showcase Gulf of Thailand
Celebrating Loy Krathong at SALA
Hua Hin Auto Concours celebrates birthdays of King and Queen
The 2013 SLOW LIFE Symposium planning Innovation Bazaar

Thai cities/resorts rank on multiple Condé Nast Traveler Awards

4 seasons Chiang Mai

THE CHEDI, CHIANG MAI AND THE PENINSULA, BANGKOK were featured among the Top 100 Hotels & Resorts in the world, ranking at number 18 and 75 respectively, in the 2013 Condé Naste Travellers’ Readers Choice awards.

Two of Thailand’s cities were ranked in the Top 10 Cities in Asia. Chiang Mai was ranked sixth and Bangkok, ninth.

Thai properties also dominated the list of Top 20 Resorts in Asia, which included the following properties (listed along with their rankings and scores):

No. 1 The Chedi, Chiang Mai 97.4; No. 4 Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai 94.7; No. 7 Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai 92.7; No. 11 Dhara Devi Chiang Mai 89.9 ; No. 15 Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui 88.1; No. 16 Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp, Chiang Rai 88.0; and No.17 JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa 87.5

The Top 10 Hotels in Thailand and their scores include: No. 1 The Peninsula Bangkok 95.5; 2. Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok 94.4; 3. St. Regis Bangkok 94.4; 4. Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok 90.0; 5. JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok 89.1; 6. Grand Sukhumvit Hotel, Bangkok 88.0; 7. Lebua at State Tower, Bangkok 87.7; 8. Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai 87.1; 9. Le Méridien Chiang Mai 86.2; and 10. Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok 85.1

The Readers’ Choice Awards are announced in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler, on newsstands and available online now. For this year’s awards, the publication saw a record-breaking 79,268 readers participate in the survey. Overall, there were more than 1.3 million votes for more than 16,000 properties around the world.

For the complete list of 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards, visit

VIE Hotel Bangkok among best-reviewed hotels on Expedia 2013 ‘Insiders Select List’

VIE Expendia Award

From the left: Nawasorn Touchalee and Nuntakorn Chang VIE Hotel Bangkok; Rachaneekorn Wattanalapa and Nalinee Phongviratchai, Expedia Thailand Limited.

VIE HOTEL BANGKOK has been named to the Expedia Insiders’ Select list for 2013 — an annual ranking of best-reviewed hotels as determined by the world’s leading full-service online travel agency.

The Insiders’ Select list recognizes the top-ranked hotels available in the Expedia global marketplace, as judged by more than one million annual guest reviews. Expedia Inc. is the largest full-service online travel agency in the world, with unmatched traveler insight and local market destination expertise.

The exclusive 2013 list designates only 650 hotels as Insiders’ Select hotels, from among the more than 150,000 properties available on Expedia-branded sites worldwide. Insiders’ Select helps travelers make confident decisions by identifying the hotels in their destination that have been recognized by other travelers as delivering an excellent over-all experience.

Visitors to Expedia sites can also find Insiders’ Select-designated properties by sorting via the hotel preferences amenity drop-down menu. For more information on Insiders’ Select, visit

Creating a sustainable tourism model


THE 2013 SLOW LIFE SYMPOSIUM hopes to bring more of the world’s CEOs to the table through targeted events as part of a campaign to prove that a sustainable model of tourism can have a positive impact on business and provide a model that can be scaled up. The 2013 symposium, the fourth, was held at Soneva Kiri, Thailand.

Participants agreed that such efforts can only reach a global level by tapping the huge potential of China. Peggy Liu, chairperson of Chinese NGO JUCCCE, told participants: “Many of you have issues that need to be amplified in China, and I’m offering an environmental gateway.”

With the support of Leo Johnson, visiting fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at Oxford University, and actor and activist Daryl Hannah, plans were made to lead up to the 2015 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris in a way that ensures China is at the table.

Hannah also raised the question of messaging. “We need to catalyze global consciousness through a shift in communication,” she said, “and I want to offer myself as an active enabler.”

On day two, Pavan Sukhdev had talked of “time bombs” waiting to happen if global sustainability is not achieved. Adam and Jessica Sweidan of Synchronicity Earth pledged to facilitate the creation of a “bomb disposal timeline plan” – a “wire map” of Johan Rockström’s nine planetary boundaries in a way that would captivate broader audiences, identify the deadlines and concentrate minds.

Dorinda Elliott, commissioning editor of Condé Nast Traveller, reinforced this point. “We have to throw a better party. The language and brand of sustainability needs to change to reach far broader audiences.”

Jenifer Willig, co-founder of WHOLE WORLD Water, focused on transforming the engagement of the millions of employees in the travel and tourism industry from passive to active motivation as a business driver.

Chris Gorell-Barnes concentrated minds on the problem of traceability in fishing. “We know what fields cows come from, but with fish, we sometimes don’t even know their species.”

Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, proposed what he called the Big Ten Initiative. “The global fishing industry operates as roving bandits. But they are controlled by just 10 companies.”

In partnership with economist Pavan Sukhdev, Rockström pledged to “invite these companies to a Soneva-style dialogue under the banner of CEOs for a sustainable world. Companies demanding a lion’s share will work far better as a club.”

Summing up the hopeful mood of the Symposium, host Sonu Shivdasani, CEO of luxury resort company Soneva, said: “It has surpassed all of our expectations. This was a great group of people working with cohesion and connection, complementing each other’s fields. Before we start working on the next Symposium we’ll be focusing on how we can drive these issues forward by offering the support of the team at Soneva.”

Anantara launches new e-gift card service

Anantara egift card pix

ANANTARA HOTELS, RESORTS & SPAS has taken all those gift buying worries away by launching a new e-Gift Card service, which can be used for a range of incredible experiences at participating Anantara properties worldwide.

The process is swift and seamless, filled with inspirational choice. Senders select the perfect card from Anantara’s collection of stunning designs for any occasion:

Happy holiday and festive greetings can be offered for Christmas, Chinese New Year, Eid or any other seasonal event. Senders can wish someone happy birthday, say thank you or congratulations. While Valentine’s Day, engagements, weddings and anniversaries, or simply an impromptu token of love, can be celebrated with a romantic gesture.

Once the ideal card has been selected, senders create a personal message and define the gift value by choosing a voucher amount from US $50 to US $3,000. They then state the delivery date and make a secure payment online.

On the desired delivery date, the recipient receives the e-Gift card and voucher via e-mail, as well as an SMS if requested, including a link to the e-Gift card e-mail, with the sender receiving notification of the correspondence.

Following receipt of the card, the recipient can choose how to spend their gift voucher at Anantara’s unique resorts located in exotic destinations across Asia, the Maldives, Middle East and Africa.

From luxury accommodation to exceptional dining experiences, spa rituals and a select range of inspirational activities, “the choice of indulgent experiences offers journeys full of rich discovery”.

Surprising someone special with really special gift is now as easy as visiting

Centara Grand Modus Resort Pattaya opening Dec. 1

Centara Grand Modus Resort & Spa Pattaya

CENTARA GRAND MODUS RESORT & SPA PATTAYA, a five-star property located directly on the beach Wong Amat in North Pattaya, is offering a 35% discount against published rates for stays from Dec. 1-24, 2013, with rooms starting at 2,730 BHT a night.

The resort, the third property under the premium Grand brand of Centara Hotels & Resorts, is located on the bay next to the Sanctuary of Truth, one of Pattaya’s most famous landmarks. The resort will hold its soft opening on Dec. 1.

Information and a booking form can be found at

These rates are covered by Centara’s Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) program, under which Centara guarantees that the rates offered on its website are the lowest available for its properties on the internet.

“We are really proud to be announcing the expansion of our five-star brand in Pattaya, and we feel we have one of the best possible locations in this exciting resort city,” says Thirayuth Chirathivat, CEO of Centara Hotels & Resorts.

“There are very few hotels in Pattaya that are directly on the beach, and we are confident that this factor together with the bold and creative design will help to make this a destination hotel in its own right.”

Centara Grand Modus Resort Pattaya -  Deluxe Ocean ViewThe interior design is the work of Thai architect Ratchavit Namthep, also known as Ajarn Joop, who has succeeded in creating a highly atmospheric experience, maintaining the industrial character of the building’s natural finishes while blending elements from the classic past.

Furnishings include metallic designs, recycled and hand-made objects, and lots of vintage items, complemented by antique details and industrial elements.
“Centara Grand Modus Resort Pattaya is a resort with a personality and with a very distinguished look, not a typical or traditional resort,” says Chris Bailey,senior vice president for sales and marketing at Centara Hotels & Resorts.

“It offers yet another five-star Centara experience in Pattaya, and given its beautiful setting in a small bay with no other hotel sharing the beach, we are confident that we have an extremely attractive property for our guests.”

There is a choice of 231 guestrooms, most with sea views, including the option of direct pool access. All rooms feature an intriguing design that fuses industrial-tech with elements from the ancient world, creating a memorable setting that varies throughout the room categories.

The 101 one and two-bedroom suites offer ample living space and self-catering facilities, while the spacious Deluxe Family Residences include a children’s area with bunk beds and an airy living room featuring self-catering facilities and excellent ocean views.

There are three swimming pools with a children’s pool, a Spa Cenvaree, a fitness centre, and a Kids’ Club with separate zones for the young ones and the teens.

Dining facilities include Modus Bistro, designed in trattoria style and serving Italian cuisine along with Asian and international favorites, while Breeze Beach Club is a versatile dining venue that serves comfort food during the day and becomes a lively beach club in the evenings.

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

Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show to showcase Gulf of Thailand

Pattaya harbor

OCEAN MARINA YACHT CLUB will play host the second Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show 2013 from Nov. 22 to 24.

The event, which will build on the success of last year’s inaugural show, is expected to attract more than 100 exhibitors and over 3,000 local and international visitors.

Activities will include a three-day showcase of top brand yachts, super bikes and cars, water sports, lifestyle products and services, free trial yachting experience in the Gulf of Thailand and a beer festival. Part of the exhibitions will be in-water display.

The event will be held at Ocean Marina Yacht Club on Jomtien Beach, Pattaya, located about an hour-and-a-half drive south of Bangkok.

For more information, visit

Celebrating Loy Krathong at SALA

Loy Kathrong SALA Samui

THE SALA HOSPITALITY GROUP will be welcoming Loy Krathong with cultural entertainment and special dinners at its resorts this year.

Loy Krathong is one of Thailand’s most popular festivals, celebrated annually on the full moon of the 12th lunar month – Nov. 17 this year. The celebration is an expression of gratitude to the goddess of water, a thanksgiving for her providing this most important of resources to the people.

All along waterways throughout the kingdom, families and couples gather to float (or “loy”) lotus shaped receptacles (or “krathongs”), beautifully decorated with flowers, candles and joss sticks. The flames from the candles signify longevity, a release of sin and fulfillment of wishes. Hence the act of floating the krathong, which has also become a symbolic act for couples.
It is said that couples who float krathongs together will stay together forever.

This year, SALA Hospitality Group welcomes two new riverside properties – SALA rattanakosin Bangkok and SALA Lanna Chiang Mai. Both boutique properties provide idyllic locations for an evening of celebration and romance on this special occasion.

At SALA Rattabakosin, the @SALA Rattanakosin eatery and bar will feature a six-course dinner, starting with a complimentary sunset cocktail party at the roof from 5.30 to 6.30 p.m. at a cost of 6,900 BHT per couple

Loy Kathrong at SALAA seafood buffet will be served at @the roof and also includes a complimentary cocktail party from 5.30 to 6.30 p.m. The cost – 2,200 BHT a person.

Guests will be invited to wear traditional Thai dress for a chance to win a two-night stay at one of SALA’s properties.

For further information or bookings, call 02-6221-1388 or email

SALA Samui will mark the Loy Krathong with a traditional Thai buffet, featuring dishes from the four regions of Thailand. Entertainment will feature a cultural dance show, and a Miss Noppamas beauty competition before guests are invited to Choengmon Beach to launch their krathongs and give thanks to the goddess of the water.

For more information call 077-245-888 or email

AT SALA Phuket’s Village Market, you’ll be able to celebrate Loy Krathong with four regions cuisine prepared to your taste at market food stalls or indulge at the Yadong Bar with free-flowing Thai drinks, draft beer and selected wines.

Entertainment includes traditional music and dance performances along with a Miss Noppamas beauty competition.

Seating at Rooftop Table is limited five tables offering a special Phuket rooftop dining experience. After dinner, settle into a day bed and grab some popcorn as SALA Phuket’s Starlight Cinema presents Suriyothai, the classic Thai film portrayal of Queen Suriyothai and her acts of heroism against Burmese invaders.

For bookings and information, call 076-33-8888 or email

Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most popular Loy Krathong destinations, and the team at SALA Lanna will be offering a number of dining and entertainment options that will feature international and Thai dishes by way of a barbecue buffet.

Guests can also build their own krathong and launch it into the Ping River. Cost od the dinner, entertainment, a welcome drink and krathong is 1500 BHT.

For guests who just want to relax, head for the rooftop bar, where you can take in all the sights and sounds of the city and river – the krathong river procession or fireworks lighting up the Chiang Mai skyline.

Or head for the resort’s Italia restaurant and bar, which will be offering a special four-course set menu, designed by Chef Mirko Lacchini, while taking in one of the city’s favorite riverside settings. Cost of the dinner, a complimentary glass of Prosecco and your own krathong – 1,900 BHT.

For further information or reservations, call 053-242-590 or email

Hua Hin Auto Concours celebrates birthdays of King and Queen

Packard 626

THE 11TH EDITION OF THE HUA HIN AUTOMOBILE CONCOURS 2013 – the largest of its kind in Thailand’s history – will kick off with a grand parade of more than 50 hard-to-find classic cars.

The event will also celebrate the 86th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the 81st birthday of Queen Sirikit.

Net revenues generated from the event, set for Nov. 29-Dec. 1, will be donated to the Chaipattana Foundation, initiated by King Bhumibol. The Chaipattana Foundation is known for projects dedicated to improving quality of life and self-reliance.

It is being organized by Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, together with Dr. Prachin Eamlumnow, president and CEO of Grand Prix International Co. Ltd., Tourism Authority of Thailand, Hua Hin Municipality and Prajuabkirikhan Province with support of five-star hotels in Hua Hin.

The rally also aims to raise awareness of Hua Hin as a destination for organizing unique events, and give the public a chance to view these superb classic cars.
Most of the activities will take place at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin. Highlights include a Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn, displayed by Dr. Prachin Eamlumnow.

This was an exclusive model built in England during 1949-1955 and a birthday present for Chao Phaya Ramakob upon his return to Thailand, hence its affectionate nickname, Ramprapath. Queen Elizabeth II also used it during her state visit to Thailand when she visited King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit.

Another classic is a 1928 Packard 626, displayed by John Smith. The vehicle has not been shown anywhere else before. Also, a 1964 Corvette Stingray used in the movie Stingray will be displayed by Syam Sethaputra, along with vehicles belonging to Poj Vitjittranon, Sawad Horrungrueng and Dr Surakiet Satienthai.

There will be music and dining at the end of the first day’s event, Friday, Nov. 29 at The Venezia and Majestic Creek Hua Hin. A gala charity dinner that will takeplace at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin on Saturday, Nov. 30.

Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn-Modify

Other activities for philanthropists include releasing fishes and turtles at Chang Hua Man Royal Project, planting rubber trees at Khao Krapuk, donation of 86 bicycles to four selected local schools in PrachuabKhiri Khan, as well as offering food in a traditional ceremony to 86 Buddhist monks.

Anyone interested in joining or bringing their own cars to participate in the event can book their accommodations or their seats by calling the public relations department at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin at 0 3251 2021-38 or email them at

For more information and reservations, call 66(0) 3251 2021 or e-mail

The 2013 SLOW LIFE Symposium planning Innovation Bazaar

soneva buggy

THE 2013 SLOW LIFE Symposium kicks off this week with the creation of an Innovation Bazaar, where participants can pitch to each other tangible and concrete ideas for future collaboration.

This year’s Symposium, which starts this Thursday and runs until Nov. 10, will be held at Soneva Kiri Resorts, Residences & Spas on the island of Koh Hood.

The Soneva Group, which sponsors the event, is a world-leading sustainable luxury resort operator that has demonstrated that environmental sustainability is good for the planet and good for business, with approximately 50% of clients being repeat guests.

As host, Sonu Shivdasani, CEO of Soneva and founder of the SLOW LIFE Foundation, will be hoping to repeat the success of 2011’s Symposium, which yielded WHOLE WORLD Water, a ground-breaking social enterprise which unites the hospitality and tourism industries to help solve the global water crisis.

“WHOLE WORLD Water shows what we can achieve when we collaborate and DO,” commented Sonu Shivdasani. “We believe in the necessity for action so this event has been designed to facilitate scenarios that will lead directly to positive change. Soneva and the SLOW LIFE Foundation are committed to providing support to new ideas and to driving these forward as we have done for WHOLE WORLD Water.”

Discussion topics will include how to scale environmental solutions that have a real impact, the crisis in our plundered and poisoned oceans, future-proofing business for a sustainable world, the oxymoron of sustainable travel, and the crucial role of technology in engaging the hearts and minds of those who live on this beautiful planet.

Oceans in crisis is not too strong to describe the problems of our water-dominated planet, he feels. Symposium participants will discuss solutions such as the Coral Triangle Initiative, a multilateral partnership between six governments working together to sustain extraordinary marine and coastal resources.

The Symposium breaks down the usual conference boundaries between ‘speakers’ and ‘attendees’ with every delegate, including attending media, an active participant for the whole three days. Also engaging with such themes will be actor and activist Daryl Hannah, ‘digital champion’ Martha Lane Fox, and global threats expert Larry Brilliant.

This year’s chair is Jonathon Porritt, a pioneer of sustainable business and perfectly placed to facilitate this group of visionary mavericks and encourage change from within.

On the theme of ‘People, Planet, Profit’, Tim Smit of the Eden Project will be in dialogue with Pavan Sukhdev on the latter’s powerful book Corporation 2020, which argues that we can increase social equity, decrease environmental risk and still generate profit.

Johan Rockström, developer of the ‘planetary boundaries’ concept, will address the theme of ‘Natural Resource Capital’ by demonstrating the global paradigm shift we now need in order to navigate towards global sustainability and human prosperity in an increasingly turbulent world.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” Margaret Mead, the American cultural anthropologist, once observed.

To follow the event and download photography :

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