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Lifestyle Curators for Thailand + Southeast Asia

Travel News – August 2013

  /  DESTINATIONS   /  Travel News – August 2013
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Pattaya Grand Sale 2013Pattaya Grand Sale 2013 launched
Pattaya City and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently launched the “Pattaya Grand Sale (PGS) 2013.” The annual sale event – ongoing until Sept. 30 — offers privileges and big discounts, as well as complimentary packages at hotels, golf courses, attractions, restaurants, spa and wellness centers, and shopping malls to both international and domestic tourists visiting Pattaya.

The “PGS 2013” is supported by various tourism organizations in the city that all agreed to provide numerous privileges by honoring the special “Pattaya Grand Sale 2013” card exclusively issued for the event. Visa, AIS, and Central Group are the official partners this year.

PGS 2013 is part of the bigger “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale (ATGS)” held in various key tourist centers of the city to attract more tourists and reinforce Thailand’s position as one of the top tourist destinations in the world. In Bangkok, Visa and TAT also recently launched the first ever “Visa Grander Sale”—a three-day shopping spree – at Terminal 21. The three-day shopping spree was a part of the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale (ATGS).

Somboon Krobteeranon, Visa country manager, Myanmar and Thailand, said: “We are proud to celebrate our 15th anniversary of collaboration with the TAT. Visa continues to give value to our cardholders through many special discounts and privileges offered throughout Thailand, especially in major tourist hubs. Excellent promotions such as PGS are key drivers for both domestic and international tourism.”

According to the Visa Travel Intentions Survey 2013, global travelers are not only set to increase their travel budget to US$2,501 per trip but still prefer Thailand as a top travel destination. Last year 22 million tourists visited Thailand, with Pattaya welcoming three million domestic tourists and five million international visitors.


Bangkok

Luciano Pavarotti on S.Pellegrino
S.Pellegrino, a leading beverage company in Italy, recently launched a special edition of S.Pellegrino sparkling mineral water and Aqua Panna still-water bottles, which feature a picture of Maestro Luciano Pavarotti and celebrate the lifework of the Italian opera icon. “S.Pellegrino and its still-water companion, Acqua Panna, share Luciano Pavarotti’s devotion to the ideals of Italian excellence, such as talent, passion, culture, togetherness, and beauty,” says San Pellegrino´s press release. The special edition will temporarily replace the standard bottles in the 120-plus countries and their respective restaurants, where S.Pellegrino beverages are distributed.
Innovation in Hospitality award for lebua
lebua Hotels and Resorts, a luxury hotel group with their flagship State Tower in Bangkok, has been recently honored with the “Thought Leaders Awards for Innovation in Hospitality” by the Stars of the Industry Group, India. The nominees are chosen by “an independent jury comprising of senior professionals from the hospitality & service industry,” which will judge the entries based on specific categories. The award aims to recognize hotels that have succeeded in bringing about a change in organizations and society at large.

Deepak Ohri, lebua Hotels and Resorts CEO, says: “We are proud that our most discerning hospitality has been realized by this global prestigious accolade. The recognition by the Stars of Industry Group celebrates lebua’s commitment towards world-class luxury and innovation. We will continue offering our best signature service to cater to our guests’ expectations from around the world.” The group’s latest developments have included acquisitions in Udaipur and Jaipur, India, in January 2013.

9 Thai Ascotts get TripAdvisor awards
Ascott Thailand Jumping for Joy_TripAdvisor Excellence Awards 2013The Ascott Limited, the world’s largest international serviced residence owner-operator has received TripAdvisors’ Certificate of Excellence Awards 2013 for nine of their serviced residences and properties in Thailand. The nine properties are Ascott Sathorn, Citadines Sukhumvit 8, Citadines Sukhumvit 11, Citadines Sukhumvit 16, Citadines Sukhumvit 23, Somerset Lake Point, Somerset Park Suanplu, Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor and Vic3.

The TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award is only given to the top 10 percent of the best performing businesses listed on TripAdvisor. An additional requirement is that the winning properties have to have maintained high ratings by travelers for at least 12 months.

Jean Keijdener, Ascott’s country general manager for Thailand, said: “The TripAdvisor accolades go to our dedicated and passionate team. It is not an easy feat for all nine of Ascott’s properties to emerge top ranking amongst 728 hospitality establishments in Bangkok. The award clearly reflects global travelers’ support and their confidence in Ascott’s products and services.”

New concept for Ronnefeldt Lifestyle Tea Lounge
J.T.Ronnefeldt KG, one of the world’s premium tea brands and dwp | next, Bangkok-based consultancy for food and beverage lifestyle concepts, design, and innovative solution; have entered into an agreement to create, implement and represent a new concept of the Ronnefeldt Lifestyle Tea Lounge. Together they plan to open Ronnefeldt Lifestyle Tea Lounges at select leading hotels across Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

Russell Paine, dwp | next CEO commented: “dwp | next prides itself on working with prestigious companies, who are recognized among the best in their respective fields of expertise. There is no finer example of such a company than Ronnefeldt Tea, who even after more than 185 years have remained true to their original philosophy of only accepting the highest quality tea leaves from the best tea gardens in the most significant tea-growing areas.” Ronnefeldt is a premium branded tea for first class hotels and gourmet restaurants worldwide, founded in Frankfurt by Johann Tobias Ronnefeldt in 1823.

Top French restaurant in Bangkok honored
Plaza Athénée Bangkok’s French contemporary restaurant, The Reflexions, has received a prestigious TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence 2013 award. The accolade, which honors all-round excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award During the past 12 months, the Reflexions has received 51 reviews from its diners coming from abroad and Thailand and ranked number 12 among 7,088 restaurants in Bangkok.

“The Reflexions is very pleased and excited to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Choo-Leng Goh, GM of Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel. “Over the years, the restaurant has earned an outstanding reputation for offering its customers memorable experiences, and this accolade confirms that the team’s hard work is translating into positive reviews on this most popular review website.

Rolls Royce unveils latest model in Bangkok
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bangkok introduced their latest model, Wraith, to the Thai market at a thrilling event in Okura Prestige Hotel in Bangkok recently. The event also marked the first anniversary of Thailand´s premier Rolls-Royce showroom in Bangkhlo, which has been followed by another in Siam Paragon luxury mall. “The launch of Wraith,” said Herfried Hasenoehrl, GM of Emerging Markets, Asia, “refines the boundaries of Rolls-Royce; it is the key to the company’s future success.” Wraith is a Scottish term which means appearing like a ghost and then smoothly eluding.”

“Its design is the boldest used in Rolls-Royces today,” Hasenoehrl continues. “It doesn’t compromise on any of hallmarks of Rolls-Royce; luxury, refinement, comfort — just to name a few.” Wraith features a two-door fastback design, a two-tone exterior of Diamond Black lower and Jubilee Silver upper, a raked rear screen, and of course the famous deeply recessed grille and wide rear track, which characterize all the company’s cars.

Thankfully the original 1930s engine of 4,257 cc with a 4-speed manual transmission has been replaced by a V12 engine married to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Furthermore, the new Wraith has 624bhp and 800Nm of torque available from only 1,500rmp, so it can achieve the 0-100km/h sprint in an astonishing 4.6 seconds.

The pricing for Wraith starts from Bt30.9 million and the first Thai customers will receive their deliveries in the final quarter of 2013.

L’Appart celebrates 1st year
L'Appart_Sofitel Bangkok SukhumvitSofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, the flagship property of Sofitel Luxury Hotels, recently celebrated its 1st anniversary of L’Appart, its stylish and contemporary Champagne bar and restaurant. Led by Christophe L.M. Caron, Sofitel VP for Southeast Asia and India and the hotel’s GM, the glamorous party at the Parisian-styled rooftop venue coincided with the celebration of the international event, Fête de la Musique. The evening was attended by a lineup of glittering personalities. From left: Nuchanart Raveesangsoon, Marisa Chew, Supee Pongpanich, Christophe L.M. Caron, Lee Puengboonpra, Vee Marr, and Tipaporn Ajanant.
Ramada Plaza Bangkok in ‘Quality Selection 2013’
Bangkok — Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside recently received a “Quality Selection 2013” award from HolidayCheck.com, a leading Swiss travel site with over 780,000 customer reviews online. The award is given to hotels that repeatedly excel in these reviews, in Ramada Plaza´s case resulting into a rating of 5.1 out of 6 “suns,” the website’s equivalent to stars. More specifically, three factors apply in the rating, which are the number of reviews, rate of recommendations and suns awarded in each category from location to service. Ramada Plaza was chosen as one of the 99 best hotels in the world through this nomination.

In another development, the hotel’s continuing support for the local community was again in the news following a project — planting and distributing trees — in Bangkholaem. The “Bangkok Green Community” project was one of the hotel’s efforts to encourage and educate Bangkokians in protecting the environment.

“The hotel is passionate about Green initiatives and actively organizes similar events to contribute to a safer environment, “ says a Ramada Plaza press release. The ecologically minded hotel has appointed a specific group, Menam Green Society, to undertake green initiatives and CSR campaigns such as this in future.

dwp | next, KA Hospitality partner for Thai restaurant in India
dwp | next, Bangkok-based consultancy for food and beverage lifestyle concepts, design and solutions has partnered with KA Hospitality, the owners of the world-renowned Michelin-star Hakkasan, Yauatcha and Otto Infinito restaurants in India, to create a new Thai Restaurant brand concept for India and future beyond. “We are both thrilled and excited to be working together with KA Hospitality, to bring world-class Thai cuisine dining experience concepts to India,” commented Russell Paine, dwp | next CEO.
Centara Grand Mirawge Pattaya earns two THAIFEX awards
THAIFEX_4657Andre Brulhart (2nd right), area GM of Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya, congratulates Prawit Sangkheet (3rd left) and Jamnong Sessathit (3rd right), two of the resort’s kitchen staff who earned two awards at the Thailand Ultimate Chef Challenge 2013 (THAIFEX – World Food Asia) held at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani recently. Prawit won a bronze medal at the Modern Thai cuisine competition, and Jamnong a silver medal from the contest for four different Individual Western Plated Desserts. Also seen congratulating the two winners are Wuthisak Pichayagan (left), EAM; Executive Chef Colin Grant (2nd left), and Daranat Nuchaikaew (right), director of human resources.
Pattaya

Ruffino from Tuscany at Centara Grand Phratanmak
ruffino-PRshotTulip Group has announced that the rooftop Italian restaurant in their soon to be opened Centara Grand hotel in Soi 5 Phratamnak, will be a “Branded” restaurant. Tulip hired DWP Next to work on the F&B concepts for the hotel and this has resulted in Tulip signing an exclusive agreement with Italian based winemaker Ruffino. Ruffino has a 130-year history in producing world-class Italian wines and this brand attachment is set to give the restaurant a different edge than is normally expected within a hotel F&B outlet. The luxury 5-star property is expected to open last quarter 2013.

“F&B is a very important aspect to running a successful hotel, the owners Tulip Group wanted to offer something different, not only to in-house guests but also the local community, it is our goal that people will not say: let’s go for dinner at Centara Grand, but let’s go for dinner at Ruffino,” says Dominique Rongé, the hotel’s GM. “We are confident that the restaurant with its amazing views and the theme of Italian Costal cuisine will be a very attractive dining option”

Ruffino wines are appreciated in over 90 countries worldwide. Ruffino is therefore expected not only to give their name to the restaurant, but also take an active role in menu design, and the overall concept, of which all will be coordinated with the assistance of DWP Next

Yofoto seminar held at PEACH
More than 1000 local and international delegates gathered in Pattaya for the recent Yofoto annual overseas travel seminar of the Chinese medicine company with the same name. This year’s theme was “Passion, Dreams, Honor”, which illustrates a Yofoto person’s way of life and aims to share the joy of success along with realizing the true meaning of life through winning collaborations with successful business partners. Yofoto’s top leaders attended the event to celebrate their company’s achievements and give inspiring keynote presentations. The event was held at the Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall (PEACH) of the Royal Cliff Hotels Group.
Phuket

Regent Phuket Cape Panwa honeymoon offer
Regent Phuket 3Regent Phuket Cape Panwa is offering the indulgent “Romance to Remember” package until Oct. 31. This honeymoon package allows couples to rediscover the passion within, while indulging in a luxurious and memorable getaway. The package includes 3-nights’ accommodation for two in a luxurious Suite or Pool Villa with a guaranteed ocean view and private balcony. This package features a 3-hour ‘Regent Indulgence’ spa treatment for two, an intimate set dinner at The Grill Lounge (for Suite guests), a seductive in-room set up comprising romantic flower bath and a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine paired with sweet chocolates upon arrival. The rate for the Pool Villa Package is Bt54,000+++, with the Suite Package priced at Bt41,000 +++. Terms and conditions apply. Reservations can be placed directly with Resort Reservations at 076-200-800 or e-mail: reservations.phuket@regenthotels.com
Thanyapura: Asia’s first 'one-stop-shop’ for swimming enthusiasts
thanyapuraThanyapura Aquatics Academy has become Asia’s first true ‘one stop shop’ for swimmers, with something to offer everyone no matter their age or performance level, according to Thanyapura president Robert Hauck. With all major infrastructure completed, experienced and proven coaches secured in key positions, a thriving young swimmers’ program – SilverFinz – now in place and growing with a new line of stunning swimsuits, Hauck is confident in Thanyapura’s position as an institute of aquatics excellence.

He said innovative work at sport’s last frontier, the mind-body barrier, was also being undertaken via Thanyapura’s Mind Center while the cutting-edge Integrative Health Centre provided the ability to tailor athletes’ diet and training regimes from the DNA level on upwards.

“Call it timing, synchronicity or gaining critical mass, but Thanyapura’s Aquatics Academy is now fully integrated with other key, complimentary facilities and functioning at the highest level,” Hauck said. “We have swimming-specific strength training with leading strength and conditioning coaches in world class facilities. But beyond that, there’s a positive effect on a diverse range of people of all ages and abilities, from aqua-babies to overweight executives, Paralympic athletes, autistic children, underprivileged Thai children, rehabilitation from injury, Phuket International Academy Day School (PIADS) students, and even Olympic Legends.”

The Aquatics Academy also offers swim training in a non-sporting context, as Thanyapura is the only lifeguard, CPR and 1st Aid training facility in Phuket providing certification programs all year round. The lifeguard-training program also offers free swimming lessons to underprivileged children in the community every Saturday morning via the Coconut Club organization.

Krabi

Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra presents lucky draw prize
Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Patronize Lucky Draw Prize to Franco-Thai Chamber Of CommerceOn the occasion of the French National Day celebrations organized by the France-Thai Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok last month, Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Resort & Spa donated an accommodation voucher valued at Bt34,000 for the raffle of Bal Populaire. On the night of July 13, Meeporn Oeawpanich, director of corporate public relations & marketing communication, represented the hotel to present gift vouchers to the lucky draw winner.
Chiang Mai

Promenada Resort Mall Chiang Mai opens
PromenadaFrom left: Ellen Wit, marketing director of ECC International Real Estate, Ger Vos, the Legendary Dutch singer, Thai pop star Jetrin Wattanasin, and Tjeert Kwant, ECC International Real Estate CEO graced the recent launch of Promenada Resort Mall Chiang Mai, the first resort-style shopping mall in Thailand. The opening of the first phase of the resort was marked by two mini concerts by J-Jetrin and Vos. The opening weekend was the first opportunity for the people in the northern region to explore the new mall and its beautifully sculpted outdoor areas.
Beyond

Hansar adds to growing award collection
Hansar Hotels and Resorts continue to collect awards to add to their growing collection. The group’s properties recently scooped the pool with five new TripAdvisor Awards and as well as an award from Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Awards for Hansar Hotels & Resorts were awarded to Hansar Samui, H-Bistro at Hansar Samui, LUXSA Spa at Hansar Samui, Hansar Bangkok, and Eve Restaurant at Hansar Bangkok

Additionally, Hansar Bangkok was honored with a Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) “Best City Center Hotel” award at the recent SLH Regional meeting in Singapore earlier this month. Over 42,000 SLH members voted for their favourite property that they felt offered the perfect respite after a busy day of city exploration, shopping or business meetings.

Starwood ‘Member Favorite Resorts’ list’ announced
Starwood W Retreat SamuiStarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and its award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) program announced the winners of the “2013 Member Favorite Resorts” list. Selected by members worldwide, SPG’s third annual survey identifies their favorite Starwood worldwide resorts across nine categories. Seventy one unique destinations, from the Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa in Dubai to the W Singapore-Sentosa Cove made the list with 11 resorts appearing on the list for the first time ever.

The annual list recognizes the most loved luxury resorts chosen from more than 200 properties as part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio of more than 1,100 destinations globally including The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, W Hotels, Westin, Le Méridien and Sheraton resorts. Members vote on the resorts they adore most from the Maldives, to Costa Rica, Hawaii, Phuket and beyond each year to curate a list of must-see destinations of – “Best Beach Resorts,” “ Most Romantic Retreats,” “Best Exotic Escapes,” and others.

“The list allows our well-traveled members to identify their most beloved resorts around the world,” said Chris Holdren, senior VP of Starwood Preferred Guest. “Being recognized by our members as a part of this distinguished list is a true honour for our resorts. Our collaboration with kate spade new york allows us to further celebrate this year’s list and highlight our 2013 Member Favorites with a brand whose customers are as enthusiastic about travel as our members.” The full 2013 SPG Member Favorite Resorts list can be found at SPG.com/memberfavorites.

Less in More for Golden Circle Members
Members of Shangri-La’s Golden Circle (GC) program enjoy savings with the “Less is More” redemption until the end of the year. The promotion enables GC members to redeem rooms with fewer Golden Circle Award Points.

Attractive discounts start at 25% off the number of points required for a standard room; 30% off a Club Room and 40% off an Executive Suite at selected Shangri-La, Kerry or Traders hotel worldwide.

Participating hotel destinations are updated every fortnight, and will be listed on GC’s dedicated website, http://www.shangri-la.com/less-is-more. Wee Kee Ng, vice president of loyalty and partner marketing commented on the hotel group’s promotion: “These initiatives demonstrate our commitment and desire to make Golden Circle one of the most attractive hotel rewards programs that is truly meaningful to our valued members,” he said.

Golfing in the Sea
Golfing in the SeaAn exceptional holiday chance presents itself to golf fanatics, when the SeaDream II visits Asia from October this year to April 2014. The ones who join onboard will have the momentous opportunity to play at seven of Malaysia and Thailand’s finest courses. These courses have been particularly opened-up to the guests on this SeaDream, who visits the region for the first time in history.

SeaDream II will sail some 16 itineraries in Asia: to Cairns, Papua New Guinea and the Trobriand Islands, and back to Greece in April 2014. Prices for sailings begin from Bt132,151 (US$4254) / twin-share for a 7-night sailing on Jan. 4, 2014 from Singapore to Phuket via six ports in Malaysia and Thailand. The deal includes all 5-star dining, drinks from the open bars, wines with lunch and dinner, nightly cocktail gatherings, use of the 30-course golf simulator, power and sail water-sports where permitted, gratuities, and port charges and taxes. Golfing fees and charges are extra. More information and reservations on www.SeaDream.com

Big prize for the best photo on Centara’s FB fan page
Winner FacebookSupatra Chirathivat (2nd right), senior VP for corporate affairs and social responsibilities of Centara Hotels & Resorts presents Centara Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket’s accommodation voucher prize valued at Bt70,000 to Thamolwan Seewaree (2nd left), winner of Festive Holiday Photo Contest held on Centara’s Facebook fan page. The prizes were presented at the company’s corporate office on 25th Floor, Centara Grand at CentralWorld.

Also in photo are Kanokros Sakdanares (far left), Corporate Director of Marketing Communications and Paphangkorn Dabbaransi (far right), Marketing Communications Executive, Centara Hotels & Resorts.

Thai Sailing Yacht “Sansiri” make history
Sansiri crew_mThe first-ever Thai entry in the world-famous TRANSPAC 2013, co-skippered by Thai sailor Patinyakorn “Ging” Buranrom, have written a new chapter in Thailand’s history books claiming third place in Division 7 on the sailing yacht “Sansiri”. Sansiri crossed the finish line at 00:39:13 local Hawaii time on July 21, two days- 4 hours-and 30 minutess after leaving Los Angeles and having raced 4,100km across the world’s largest ocean, the Pacific Ocean.

A race from Point Fermin in Los Angeles to Diamond Head, east of Honolulu, the Transpac is among the world’s great ocean races, and biennially attracts the world’s most talented offshore sailors and offshore sailing adventurers. Sansiri, entered under the banner of Patinyakorn’s home yacht club, the Ao Chalong Yacht Club in Phuket, set sail from Los Angeles on Monday 8th July. Together with co-skipper Michael Spies and a crew of three, the goal was for a podium place in their division, and from early in the race, Sansiri were consistently in the top three of Division 7.

Sansiri, a Tripp 40 design, was sailed by a crew of five including the two co-skippers. Sansiri crossed the finish line at 00:39:13 local Hawaii time on 21/07/13, recording an average speed of 7.6 knots over the race.

Conrad Koh Samui Welcomes Luxury Media from Germany and Switzerland
German Media - Group Photo_1Koh Samui, Thailand – July 19, 2013 – Stefano Ruzza (first right), general manager of Conrad Koh Samui together with Phatthawut Wutthipraphanphong (first left), marketing and communications manager were holding hands to welcome editors and writers from luxury publications in Germany and Switzerland during a trip to Koh Samui. This familiarization trip is aimed to introduce Conrad Koh Samui and to promote Koh Samui as the great destination for luxury travelers from European countries.

Seen in the picture from left are: Phatthawut Wutthipraphanphong (Marketing and Communications Manager of Conrad Koh Samui), Baerbel Holzberg from Gate to Travel magazine, Volker Feuerstein from Fuldaer Zeitung newspaper, Susanne Wess from Ricore Media, Bruckmann Island Guide and In Asien, Romy Gutiérrez from Das ideale Heim & Atrium magazines, Bettina Faust from Media-com GmbH, Monika Kuespert from the luxury supplements of Abendzeitung: Traumreisen, Wellness & Chic, and Stefano Ruzza (General Manager of Conrad Koh Samui).
For reservations and information on Conrad Koh Samui, please visit www.conradkohsamui.com

Movements

New GM for Four Points Sukhumvit 15
New GM for Four Points Sheraton JesselynKohHotel veteran Jesselyn Koh has been appointed as General Manager (GM) of Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15. Jesselyn will be responsible for continuing the culture of simple pleasures of honest, uncomplicated comfort – the brand’s core values. Prior to her post at Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Jesselyn served as GM of Four Points by Sheraton Qingdao, China, a property of 303 rooms with three F&B venues and two large ballrooms. Jesselyn has been with Starwood for 14 years, starting her journey as director of sales & marketing at Sheraton Subang, Malaysia. She went on to accept an overseas posting to The Great Wall Sheraton Hotel Beijing, China, the first international Starwood hotel in China, a grand property of 827 rooms where she spent 10 years there in various positions, such as, Director of Sales and Marketing, Hotel Manager and finally Acting General Manager in 2011.