Lifestyle Curators for Thailand + Southeast Asia

Travel News – January 2013

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The Ultimate Wedding @ Royal Cliff Hotels Group

Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and Minister of Tourism and Sports, Chumpol Silpa-archa (4th from left), presided over the wedding of Royal Cliff’s vic,e-president, Vathanai Vathanakul (5th from left), and his beautiful bride, Ummarapas Julkasian (5th from right) at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel’s Infini Poolside. Photo shows the groom’s mother, Panga Vathanakul, managing director of Royal Cliff (2nd from right); father, Chan Vathanakul (far left); and brother, Vitanart Vathanakul, executive director of Royal Cliff ( 2nd from left). Also in photo are the bride’s mother, Uthaiwan Threetanyutakul (far right); Chonburi Governor Khomsan Ekachai (3rd from right), and Chumpol’s wife, Duangmal, and daughter (3rd and 4th from left). The elegant reception at the Inifini poolside was a stunningly memorable affair.

Asita Eco Resort Opens Soon

Amphawa — A new eco-resort is opening soon — asita eco resort, just 10 minutes away from the Amphawa and the Damnoen Saduak floating markets, and only 65km from Bangkok.

Asita Eco Resort offers a perfect escape from the congested city. The eco-friendly lifestyle resort is surrounded by countless pine trees, and is adjacent a large tranquil canal designed to preserve the simple idyllic lifestyle of rural Thais. Guests can stay at either the traditional Thai house or a villa, both designed for comfort with eco-friendly amenities, and a private swimming pool inspired by nature right in front of the room’s porch.

The resort also ensures guests enjoy various activities both within the resort and nearby.

The resort is soft opening in March, and bookings can now be made for only Bt1,999 net per night in a Superior or Deluxe room with breakfast for two and a welcome gift (subject to availability). For more details and reservations, visit or call 089-866-2168, 089-866-3168.

First DoubleTree by Hilton in Thailand Opens in Phuket

Phuket — Hilton Worldwide has announced the opening of its first DoubleTree by Hilton property in Thailand. The 250-room DoubleTree Resort by Hilton- Surin Beach is located on the west coast of the island on Surin Beach, which is approximately 24 kilometers from Phuket International Airport.

“Hilton Worldwide has been in Thailand since 1983 and we currently operate six hotels in key destinations including Bangkok, Pattaya, Koh Samui, Hua Hin, and Phuket. Thailand is a key focus market for us due to its enormous potential for growth and as we continue to expand our footprint here, the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton – Surin Beach marks the entry of one of our fastest growing brands, DoubleTree by Hilton, into Thailand,” said Martin Rinck, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide.

Formerly the Courtyard by Marriott, the rebranded, four-story DoubleTree Resort by Hilton, Phuket-Surin Beach sits strategically between Phuket International Airport and Patong, the island’s popular tourist center. The resort offers over 80 suites and has three food and beverage outlets. There will also be four meetings rooms as well as a business center, fitness club, outdoor lagoon-style pools, water slides and a kids club.

TAT Promotes Khao Yai National Park to Asia-Pacific Travel Trade

Nakhon Ratchasima — About 100 travel agents and media from 11 Asia-Pacific countries convened in one of Thailand’s most famous national parks recently for the first such travel mart organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

“The Ultimate Khao Yai” travel mart was organized by the TAT’s Asia and South Pacific regional office, fluing in 61 buyers and 29 media from China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taipei, India, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia. A number of domestic Thai tour operators were also invited.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005, Khao Yai National Park is the second largest national park in Thailand. Located about two-hours drive from Bangkok, its perimeter areas have attracted considerable investment in eco-friendly resorts, lodges, and boutique hotels catering to niche-market travelers.

“The Ultimate Khao Yai” travel mart aims to create awareness of and stimulate travel to new tourism attractions located within a short traveling distance from Bangkok. It is also designed to help boost weekday traffic from the Thai capital, especially for small meetings, business events, and conferences.

Intercon Samui Gets Another Accolade

Samui — InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort bags two new awards, securing both the “Thailand’s Leading Beach Resort,” as well as “Thailand’s Leading New Resort ” titles at the 19th World Travel Awards (WTA) in Asia recently.

In addition to the two prizes, the resort was also nominated in six additional categories.

The prestigious annual travel awards ceremony for Asia, Australasia, and Indian Ocean region took place at InterContinental Singapore attended by leading delegates of travel and tourism sectors from the region, along with other VIP guests and international media.

Arnaud Girodon, general manager of the resort, said, “This is a truly magnificent achievement and tremendous recognition for our team at InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort. In 10 short months since opening, we have received overwhelming praise from our guests, media and our industry peers. We will continue with our efforts and we’re excited to see what else the future holds for us!”

To date, InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam has been recognized as one of “Top 5 Asian Spas” by Condé Nast Traveler 2012, only one month after the signature spa’s July grand opening. The resort also made DestinAsian Magazine’s “Luxe List 2012,” an annual collection of the best new hotels and resorts in the Asia-Pacific region.

Trang Welcomes 1 Millionth Visitor

Trang — The stunning southern province of Trang welcomed its one millionth visitor recently, Wichaya Kiatying-angsulee. Senior executives of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Trang Provincial Authority, Trang Chamber of Commerce, and Nok Air presented a certificate to the millionth tourist of 2012 at the Departure Lounge of Don Mueang Airport, Bangkok. The event was presided over by TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni.

Trang is a magnificent coastal province with a beautiful 199km shoreline along the Andaman Sea. In recent years, it has become as popular as Krabi and Phang-nga, both of which are attracting a growing number of foreign and domestic visitors seeking to go beyond Phuket.

Official statistics show that 70% of total visitors are Thai and 30% are foreigners. Major factors that have contributed to the tourism growth are the increased flights by Nok Air and Thai AirAsia, the absence of natural disasters and a stable social and economic situation, thanks to a combination of private and public sector policies which are designed to ensure a balance between the local cost of living and income levels of the local people.

Laguna Shores: Affordable Holiday Apts with Quality Resort Facilities

Phuket — Laguna Property, Phuket’s largest developer of high quality resort residences, has announced the launch of Laguna Shores, a unique investment opportunity offering stylish serviced one- and two-bedroom holiday apartments at affordable prices, set in the heart of Laguna Phuket complete with a range of the popular resort’s renowned lifestyle benefits.

Targeted at a new upwardly mobile, travel savvy generation, with prices starting at Bt3,675,000, Laguna Shores aims to combine the best of contemporary Asian interior design with resort ambience in a picturesque setting, and is the latest addition to Laguna Property’s extensive award-winning portfolio.

The finished development will comprise 229 chic apartments in a stepped U-shaped building up to six storeys high, with facilities including a six-storey atrium lobby housing a café/restaurant, bar and gym, as well as lush gardens and swimming pool overlooking one of Laguna Phuket’s iconic tropical lagoons. The building’s eye-catching angled design will give each apartment a balcony and almost all uninterrupted views over the lagoon and the Andaman Sea beyond.

The compact apartments, ranging from 40 to 88sqm, are offered in various layouts with thoughtful use of space to provide convenience and comfort.

Construction of Laguna Shores is scheduled to begin in mid 2013, once all regulatory approvals are in place, with completion of the development expected in mid 2015.

Imperial Queen’s Park welcomes Garuda

Bangkok — Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel, Bangkok welcomed the aircrew of Garuda Indonesia on the inauguration of the airline’s third daily flight into Bangkok recently.

“This marks a wonderful opportunity for two great organizations to work together and promote the interests of two of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic nations,” says Michal Zitek, general manager of Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel. “It is our privilege to work with Garuda Indonesia and we look forward to furthering a long relationship garnered towards the planned additional flights to Thailand in 2013.”

I Wayan Subagia, Garuda’s general manager for Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam said, “Garuda Indonesia will always seek the best partners to work with and share the airline’s dream of continued growth in this region. Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel has been selected as our partner as they share the same passion for quality, service excellence and reliability as Garuda Indonesia.

“We are very happy to work with such a partner at the commencement of our business expansion plans into Thailand and we look forward to developing future opportunities as well”

The number of Indonesian arrivals to Thailand is expected to reach 265,200 this year and is likely to grow to 286,000 next year, he added. Garuda currently serves the Jakarta-Bangkok route with Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 162 seats in two classes.

PEACH Hosts Glenmark Star Awards

Pattaya — Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd. recently held their Annual Star Awards 2012 at Pattaya’s largest and best convention venue, Pattaya Exhibition And Convention Hall (PEACH).

More than 700 delegates from India gathered to celebrate their achievements at PEACH where all were warmly welcomed by a traditional Thai long drum parade and village dancers.

The event was attended by Rajeev Sibal, senior VP of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, who delivered the opening speech and presented the star awards 2012 to their employees; as well as Glenn Saldhana and Swati Rustagi, Glenmark’s CEO and senior VP, respectively.

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Mumbai, manufactures and markets generic formulation products and active pharmaceutical ingredients, both in the domestic and international markets.

PEACH is the largest MICE venue outside of Bangkok. This world class award-winning convention center can hold any kind of event and accommodate up to 10,062 people.

Conrad Bangkok Appoints Harald Feurstein as GM

Bangkok – Conrad Bangkok has announced the appointment of Harald Feurstein as general manager.

With a career that spans across three continents having worked in Europe, Africa and Asia, Feurstein brings with him extensive experience in the global hospitality industry.

Feurstein’s experience in Asia includes working in the Philippines, China, Korea, Malaysia, Japan and Vietnam. His previous role was with Hilton Pattaya, a 302-room upscale hotel, as the pre-opening general manager in 2010. Prior to Hilton Pattaya, Feurstein was general manager of Hilton Cebu Resort & Spa, Philippines. In 2008, as director of business development at Hilton Beijing, he was awarded the ‘Best Professional Executive of the Year’ by China Hotel Executive Magazine.

Accor continues AsPac expansion with Pullman Debut in Vietnam

Hanoi — Accor, the largest international hotel operator in Asia-Pacific, has announced the opening of Pullman Hanoi, the first Pullman brand hotel in Vietnam. Previously known as Hanoi Horison Hotel, Pullman Hanoi recently completed a comprehensive refurbishment that transformed it into one of the city’s most modern properties.

Pullman is Accor’s upscale hotel brand specifically catering to the needs of today’s cosmopolitan traveler.In addition to Pullman Hanoi, three other Pullman hotels are in Accor’s confirmed development pipeline in Vietnam. There are now 38 Pullman Hotels in Asia Pacific with a further committed pipeline of 35 Pullman hotels.

Patrick Basset, senior vice president of Accor Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and the Philippines says, “We are very proud to introduce the Pullman brand to Vietnam with the opening of Pullman Hanoi, completing Accor’s brand portfolio in the country.With the opening of the hotel, we now offer a hotel brand for every market segment including luxury Sofitel, upscale Pullman and MGallery, midscale Novotel and Mercure, and economy ibis. This hotel will offer guests a unique, tailored hotel experience – catering to both business and leisure guests visiting this capital city.”

“Our hotel is ideal for travelers seeking an upscale hotel in Hanoi that provides services and facilities that satisfy today’s modern lifestyles,” adds Simon Jinks, general manager of Pullman Hanoi. Pullman Hanoi, is located just 10 minutes from Hanoi’s historic quarter and within close proximity to government, embassies, and business offices. The hotel is a 40-minute drive to Hanoi’s NoiBai International Airport.

Philippe Kronberg is new Hilton Pattaya GM

Pattaya — Hilton Worldwide has announced the appointment of Philippe Kronberg as general manager of Hilton Pattaya. In this role, he will oversee hotel operations and lead the team in delivering quality and exceptional guest experiences at this award-winning property.

Holding dual citizenship of France and Australia, Philippe is well versed in hotel management, having gained rich experience in the hospitality industry, over 10 years of which has been spent with Hilton Worldwide. His climb into the industry began with the Ritz London right after his professional education from ‘Les Roches’ Switzerland. He had also worked in a number of Hilton Worldwide properties in China, Japan, Australia and Europe. Philippe’s investment into the industry has culminated in his completion of his Hotel management MBA awarded by the University of New South Wales and University of Sydney.

Conrad Concierge Launched

Bangkok — Conrad Bangkok knows today’s luxury traveler has come to expect more than simply great service – they expect offerings customized to meet their needs. Additionally, consumers are using technology more than ever before. A survey released by Conrad Hotels & Resorts shows nearly 75 percent of consumers use a smartphone, tablet or computer when booking elements of their travel. With these insights in mind, Conrad Bangkok has announced its next leap in intuitive, personalized service to accommodate the luxury traveler: Conrad Concierge. The first service-enabled technology to be completely integrated with hotel management systems across a brand’s portfolio, Conrad Concierge invites travelers to customize their accommodations through a mobile device across the more than 20 Conrad hotels and resorts.

“The new Conrad Concierge Application is a simple and easy to use tool for anyone carrying an Iphone or Android device. It allows our guest to fully experience the luxuries that we offer here at Conrad Bangkok, while making life simpler. With most guests on a busy schedule, this allows them to make special request from anywhere and anytime; from ordering room service to the most detailed request of setting up a sight seeing schedule with a simple click” said GM Harald Feurstein.
Visit to download Conrad Concierge to any Apple or Android mobile device. To learn more about Conrad Hotels & Resorts visit

Centara launches new brand

Bangkok — Centara Hotels & Resorts has launched a new hotel brand, COSI Hotels, designed for cost-conscious travelers who mostly do all their own bookings on-line and who are searching for pocket-friendly accommodation prices. The first COSI Hotel is to open in 2015.

Thirayuth Chirathivat, Centara group CEO of Centara Hotels & Resorts, said the COSI brand has been developed in response to rapid economic expansion within the Asia Pacific region, which is increasing the volume of both domestic and international journeys.

Hotel PR Association holds media thank you party
Bangkok — The Hotel PR Association of Thailand, headed by its president, Earth Saiswang, recently organized a “Thank You Press Party” at the Paulaner Beer Garden in Chaeng Wattana to express its thanks to the media who have been supporting its members in the last year.

The theme of the annual event this year was Oktoberfest, and the night was filled with German food, beer, and other fun activities. The setting of Paulaner Beergarten, sole distributor of Paulaner Beer in Thailand created the perfect atmosphere for a night of great fun and revelry.