from TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND Thailand has always been a destination of choice; there is a myriad of attractions from its islands and beaches to the cuisine and big city vibe of Bangkok. The Kingdom also has a long tradition of catering to luxury travellers. In recent years, Thailand has seen the emergence of spectacular health and wellness resorts, and intimate boutique pool villas located in some of the most scenic parts of the Kingdom. Today, wealthy travellers are seeking new “Discover Thainess” experiences. It is not just about friendly people, but what Thailand does really well is luxury with the emerging of Thainess that can be found throughout the Kingdom. From six-star super-deluxe resorts to restaurants fronted by Michelin-star chefs, from laid-back beachside holidays to high adventure, and from shopping breaks to romantic cruises, it has it all. The Amazing Thailand Luxury Travel Book is part of our continuing effort to help make Thailand the first-choice destination. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is proud to have teamed up with Luxury Society Asia and its team of distinguished writers to come up with several lists and ideas to help you enjoy Thailand’s take on the luxury lifestyle. It puts the best experiences in the Kingdom all in one place. From the finest luxury hotels and travel experiences to exclusive destinations, from resorts, spas and luxury cruises for a family vacation to a romantic getaway… plus the finest restaurants and shopping malls that Thailand has to offer. It is all here. Travellers can use this book to plan the next luxury travel holiday, which will always be accompanied by the famous Thai smile and legendary quality of service. We look forward to welcoming you, along with your family and friends for what could be the holiday of a lifetime.
JUTHAPORN RERNGRONASA Deputy Governor for International Marketing
Golfing in the kingdom
World Class Dining
The Great Luxury Escape
Stylish Beach Getaways
Luxury Thailand contributors Wanida Tardivel , Founder of Luxury Society Asia, an association portal aimed at promoting and strengthening business relationships among sophisticated and affluent professionals in Asia, through their mutual interest in all things luxurious. Her hospitality experience also includes leadership positions with luxury hotel brands.
Barbara Woolsey is a freelance journalist, writer and television presenter from Canada. She spends her time between Bangkok and Berlin, writing for various publications across Southeast Asia and anchoring business news for Germany’s international broadcaster DW Deutsche Welle.
Gaby Doman is a Bangkok-based writer who arrived in Thailand for the sunshine and stayed for the incredible dining scene and bars and the relaxed way of life. She has a penchant for Thai design, interviewing upfront people and spending evenings tying herself in knots at yoga. She spends her free time in the gym, sipping on strong cocktails or daydreaming about holidays.
Laurence Civil left the airline industry in 1997 and relocated to Thailand to pursue a successful career as a food, wine, travel and lifestyle writer. He believes that luxury travel is about the wealth of the experiences encountered and not the brand; a journey that engages all the senses, and that good taste should never be compromised.
Paul Myers is an Australian writer, editor and publisher, with a long history in media and tourism, having worked in print, electronic and digital media in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the United States for 35 years. Paul is based in Bangkok and travels frequently throughout Asia/Pacific.
Paul Poole is an independent marketing consultant with over 20 years experience of international brand marketing. Paul is also a founding member of the ‘Culturepreneur® Network’ an initiative designed to improve the dialogue between the arts and business which was acquired by London based Cult.Brand in 2012.
he Land of Smiles is one of those rare destinations where it’s easy to combine business
and pleasure. Thailand’s growing economy brings many foreigners here for the first time on commerce and trade. Soon enough, they are hooked on the country’s sunshine and charm – either coming back for a straightforward holiday, or turning a business trip into a family getaway or couple’s vacation on the side. In response to such rising demand, Thailand lays claim to some of Southeast Asia’s best air service providers. When it comes to delivering five-star connections around the region, Thailand is a hub of splendour and elegance. For chartering a private jet, to and from exotic destinations, the options are endless. What makes indulgent travel in this country really stand out is the traditional way of life that’s been built over time. Thais are known for their generosity and service-mindedness, and as a result the service standard here reflect both in generous doses. We’ve put together a list of five air service
providers in Thailand that are the cream of the crop. But trust us when we say, it wasn’t easy to choose.
JETS is Thailand’s leading specialist in private aviation, providing luxury flights by charter around the region. Based out of Bangkok, the company was founded in 2007 and remains the country’s first and only fixed based operator (FBO) with a private jet terminal at Don Mueang Airport. MJETS operates an impressive fleet of Gulfstream and Cessna aircrafts boasting bespoke cabin configurations and in-flight amenities, and of course, fast-track immigration and customs clearance go without saying. www.mjets.com
Siam Land Flying F
or more than 20 years, Siam Land Flying has been at the head of the pack when it comes to executive air travel across the region. Whether chartering for business or pleasure, the companyâ€™s
Hawker and King Air airplanes provide top comfort as well as cutting-edge design, performance and technology to its ultra-premium clientele. Siam Land also offers emergency medical services, handling evacuations with a team of doctors on 24 hours standby, ready to fly anywhere. www.aircharterthailand.com
his Bangkok based independent aviation company facilitates private jet charters across AsiaPacific primarily for customers from the U.S., Europe and China. Founded in 2004, OrientSKYs works with a network of trusted operators based in strategic locations like Bangkok, Shanghai and Tokyo, in order to match clients to the most perfect charter. OrientSKYs is also able to provide Asian customers with charter in Europe and Americas through its full-time U.S. and European offices. Through a partnership with Global Jet Sales, the company helps to broker private jets sales. Their inventory is highly exclusive, featuring only the most top-quality aircraft and coveted off-market products. www.orientskys.com
Stratos Jet Charters T
here is no destination too far for Stratos Jet Charters. They source private aircrafts and provide global access to private jets, on both an international and domestic basis. By matching clients with charters, they are free of the strenuous responsibilities that come with owning and maintaining aircraft – leaving the company able to focus entirely on the execution of its guests’ travel itineraries. They coordinate everything from Point A to B, whether it’s chauffeured ground transfer to in-flight catering, and even hotel booking. www.stratosjets.com/jet-charter-airports/thailand
dvance Aviation is Thailand’s largest VIP helicopter charter service. Also offering private jet charters, the company’s fleet consists of a Gulfstream G-200 aircraft and five
top-notch EC-135 and EC-130 helicopters in flashy red and white. Since Advance Aviation’s founding in 2010, the company has expanded to three strategic locations around the country: Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. They can fly anywhere around the region. www.advanceaviation.co.th
oh Samui is one of Thailand’s top tourist destinations, popular for its white sand beaches and luxury five-star resorts. Naturally, yachting fits right into that equation, with plenty of luxury boats up for charter. Don’t miss sailing through the archipelago of Ang Thong National Marine Park, and its distinctive shores from Sleeping Cow Island to Three Pillars Island.
huket’s is a big star on the global yachting map, thanks to the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta. It’s Asia’s biggest and most popular regatta, a jam-packed week of yacht racing on the Andaman Sea coupled with mega-parties on the island. Plus, the Regatta attracts several world-renowned names from the yachting world. Phuket also plays host to a prestigious consumer’s Phuket International Boat Show, where big deals for most high-end yachts are brokered right on the marina.
Koh Phi Phi W
ith lots of small islands to discover, each
one as breathtakingly unique as the next, Koh Phi Phi is the perfect location for a yacht cruise. The two biggest islands, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh have spectacular cliffs and dives for those who are interested in a snorkel and a swim, but there are lots of other uninhabited islands to explore in between.
Surin & Similan Koh Chang
Phang Nga Bay
seeing any other bareboats. There are also plenty of coves and remote beaches in the Koh Chang archipelago to discover.
sailing destination and a World Heritage Site, with many unique characteristics to discover from a 200-metre long cave tunnel from Koh Phanak to Khao Phing Kan, to
he Similan and Surin Islands are among
the world’s top dive destinations, and that’s what makes it prime territory for sailing too. This group of nine islands northwest of Phuket boasts beautiful coral reef and a superflous amount of fish species below the water. An absolute must for those who think that dropping anchor and diving into this underwater world is the ultimate adventure.
oh Chang offers up perfect yachting
experience for those who want to go off the beaten track and get away from the tourist crowd. Unlike in Koh Samui or Phuket, you’re likely to cruise for quite some time without
ua Hin is a well-known laidback beach town. Plenty of families come here seeking good seafood and a memorable sailing adventure. It’s not as much of a yachting destination as nearby Pattaya, but does offer a wide range of boats to sail the Gulf of Thailand,whether your style is bareboat or crewed.
he Butang Archipelago, the group of 51 islands that Koh Lipe belongs to, is simply divine. Taking off from Koh Lipe, you will very quickly get the full experience of being away from civilization, sailing past uninhabited islands covered in lush tropical rainforest and foliage. It’s also a great spot for fishing, and all kinds of kingfish, red snapper and tuna are fair game in these crystal blue waters.
coast of mainland Thailand, this bay contains perhaps the most beautiful and famous group of islands in the Land of Smiles. Phang Nga Bay is a wonderful
the island where the James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun” was filmed years ago. Unfortunately, these days James Bond Island, as it’s now called, is over-crowded with tourists, but that’s what makes charting a boat the perfect way to explore the bay – you feel as though you’re escaping the crowd, and embarking on unchartered waters.
estled between Phuket and the western
Credit photo Thailand Eilte
Credit photo Thailand Eilte
AZIMUT Showcases Latest Yachts from Italy, Offering Comprehensive Service for the Ultimate Marine Experience
GC-Marine (Asia) Company Limited,
a subsidiary of Master Group Corporation (Asia) Company Limited, the sole authorized importer and distributor of AZIMUT Yachts, under the name â€œAZIMUT Yachts Thailandâ€?, showcased its latest yachts by AZIMUT Benetti Group, Italy. The company ensures clients the ultimate marine experience with comprehensive yacht service.
r. Sunhavut Thamchuanviriya, Group Managing Director, Master Group Corporation (Asia) Limited or ‘MGC-Asia’ revealed that,
“As the sole authorized importer and distributor of AZIMUT Yachts by AZIMUT Benetti Group, Italy under the name ‘AZIMUT Yachts Thailand’, MGC Asia has invested over 300 million baht in its subsidiary, MGC Marine (Asia) to offer the ultimate marine experience to yacht owners.Sea trials are available now for the latest uber luxurious yacht models including Magellano, 50 ft, Fly Bridge, 64 ft and S Collection, 86 ft.We have also opened our first exclusive AZIMUT lounge which offers a full range of yacht services at Ocean Marina Yacht Club Pattaya and we are preparing to launch the second branch in Phuket.” AZIMUT Yachts Thailand offers comprehensive yacht services ranging from complete Yachts Financial Service, long-lease service, warrantee coverage, to cruise catering, crew members and captain, as well as after-sales service and technical support by AZIMUT Italy-certified experts. A specially-designed yacht maintenance programme and an automatic notification system when maintenance is due are also available. Included as well is the brokerage service which encompasses purchasing, selling and exchanging both in Thailand and abroad, in which every yacht is inspected according to AZIMUT Italy’s standards. “Additionally, we have set up a Call Center at 02-931-8300 to for consultation service about AZIMUT Yachts to guarantee the ultimate seafaringexperience”, added Dr. Sunhavut.
Tawan Cruises T
his world-class yacht charter service offers the opportunity of a lifetime: sailing the Andaman Sea
in ultimate luxury and style. Based in Phuketâ€™s newest marina Ao Po Grand, Tawan works with five-star hotels and resorts around the island to provide guests with an intimate means of exploring the surrounding waters. The companyâ€™s range of boats are crewed by experienced professionals, leaving seeking adventure as the only mission for its passengers. From snorkelling to fishing, from diving to kayaking, the deep-sea possibilities are unlimited. www.tawancruises.com
Senses Phuket W
ellness retreats are the latest rage, but what about going on a wellness cruise? Senses
Phuket offers luxury detox programs while sailing the
Andaman. Organic produce from the islands fuels the cuisine offered on board; it is combined with an endless supply of nutritious cleansing juices and fresh coconut water. Departing from Chalong Bay, the healthy holiday cruise stops at destinations like Koh Phi Phi and Phang Nga Bay according to guest preference. www.sensesdetox.com
The public meeting was the first step. Led by Chula Sukmanop, Director-General, Thailand Marine Department and Nisit Jansomwong, Governor of Phuket, more than 150 members of the Island’s marine industry and relevant authorities were present to hear Mr. Sukmanop explain the government’s position on turning Phuket into a maritime hub in Asean, to improve the current legal framework for the yachting industry in the country, and to develop a special charter license for superyachts. “The superyacht charter license could be for one year. This would attract more superyachts to Phuket, and allowing them to charter while here will provide a lot of revenue to Phuket and Thailand. We hope to have this in place for the next High Season,” said Mr. Sukmanop. “There are still many details to discuss but I am very pleased to see my suggestions to Khun Kobkarn earlier this year are making progress. The potential superyacht charter revenue will be significant for Phuket and Thailand. The people who charter superyachts are wealthy individuals, exactly the type we need to encourage to visit Thailand more. Royal Phuket Marina fully supports this idea and I can see in a few years that Thailand’s economy will receive hundreds of millions of US dollars from superyacht charter,” added Mr. Lalvani.
With its stunning cruising grounds and the best marina facilities in the region, Thailand is the destination of choice for superyachts coming to Asia. On average 50 superyachts come to Phuket each year currently and with amendments to the current rules and regulations this number will likely increase dramatically as more superyachts are encouraged to visit Phuket and Thailand, delivering revenue direct to the local economy.
All Aboard! By: Laurence Civil
Luxury boat cruises and trains add to the magic of experiencing Thailand in style
hailand has a rich heritage of train travel, after all it was the railways that pioneered the tourist industry. The heritage is glamorous and today’s service depends on a spider web of 4,043 kms of one-metre gauge track reaching the Kingdom’s borders with Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia with a through service to Butterworth for the island of Penang and onward services to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The country’s several rivers and canals also open the heart of the Kingdom to the traveller. The historic means of travel in Bangkok (and Thailand) was by canal/river rather than by road. The city was nicknamed ‘The Venice of the East’ by Sir John Bowring, Queen Victoria’s Governor of Hong Kong. The options are several and below are the ones that must not be missed out on.
The Luxury of the Eastern & Oriental Express and the Nostalgia of Steam A
ir travel may be faster but the most elegant way to arrive in Bangkok from Singapore is aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express. Originally built in Japan in 1972, the 31 carriages started life as the Silver Star in New Zealand. Having being acquired by Orient Express, now Belmond, they were remodelled by Gerard Gallet who was responsible for both the British Pullman and the Venice Simplon Orient Express. The interior panelling is decorated in elm, cherry, teak and rosewood, the diamond shaped marquetry is hand cut by local craftsmen. The compartments are panelled in cherry wood and elm and the Bar Car in pale ash wood. The Observation Car is floored in Burmese teak. The three restaurant cars Adisorn, Rosaline and Malaya have skillfully engraved marquetry, distinctive table lamps and exquisite table seating in a two or four configuration. The Salon has a traditional Chinese feel, decorated in dark rosewood with richly coloured upholstery. The window pelmets are hand embroidered in Malaysia and the carpets are hand tufted in Thailand.
he two and a half day journey is a ritual of breakfast and afternoon tea served in the cabin with allocated sittings for lunch and dinner served in the dining room and daily stops for excursions. An indulgent life of eating and drinking and changing for the next meal. From 15th October 2015 they are launching The Ancient Kingdom of Lanna, a 3 day 2 night journey north with a stopover in Lampang and turning around in Chiang Mai to discover the cityâ€™s Lanna heritage.
Fun on the water with an overnight cruise
nantara Song is the river-borne equivalent to the Eastern & Oriental Express, the overnight luxury rice barge journeys from Bangkok to Ayuthaya the former capital of Siam. Below deck she has four well-appointed suite-par cabins each with a queen sized bed and a compact ensuite bathroom. On deck there is an expansive salon and dining area with bar, plus an ample sun deck forward with loungers; offering a great view of the river life as the boat plies the majestic Chao Phraya. The refurbished rice barge features Teak, Padua and Mahogany woods throughout, custom-designed furniture complimented with luxurious Thai silks and cottons, oriental rugs decorated with Thai and Southeast Asian art, sculpture and artefacts. Departing from Anantara Riverside Resort & Spa the tour began on the west bank of the river in Thonburi, at one of Bangkokâ€™s best known landmarks, the Temple of Dawn, the vessel then charted a northward course, stopping at the Royal Barges Museum and then passing the island of Koh Kret in Nonthaburi Province. A delightful lunch was served on deck followed by a decadent English Afternoon Tea complete with scones, strawberry jam and cream. We moored overnight at Wat Samakkeeyaram and a formal Thai dinner was served on white linen as we watched the beautiful sunset over the horizon. After a comfortable nightâ€™s sleep we were served a Champagne breakfast and Mediterranean lunch before arriving at the World Heritage Site of Ayutthaya where we spent the afternoon engaging in an enthralling Ayutthaya tour in the company of an expert guide, marvelling at the ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage site. It is an amazing experience that takes you on a journey back in time.
Spending Spree in Siam By Barbara Woolsey
A shopaholic in Bangkok is spoiled for choices Listed here are Bangkokâ€™s 10 best shopping malls
here’s honestly no better place to indulge a shopping addiction than in Bangkok. Thailand’s capital is a shopaholic’s tropical paradise, and mega-malls offer a welcome, air-conditioned retreat from the hot tropical weather. This is where Thais spend their weekends, and it can be a chance to relax or dress to the nines depending what you’re into. Whether browsing, dining at restaurants or taking in a movie, Bangkok’s biggest shopping complexes offer an entire day’s itinerary in just a single building. In contrast, there are also plenty of boutique malls and niche shopping centres – so whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s designer jewellery or that designer bag, it’s only ever just a BTS ride away. That being said, with such limitless possibilities and unbelievable excess, it can also be hard to know exactly where to go. That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of Bangkok’s top shopping malls, what they offer and how to get there. Now all you have to do is track down a traditional Thai foot massage to relax after your shopping spree, but many of these malls cater for that too.
angkok’s newest mall, EmQuartier, is proving to be quite the spectacle. It houses more than 10 venues and halls so far, and the locals are definitely excited about the range of brands available: luxury designers like Jimmy Choo and Valentino, high-end regional favourites like Mugendai (Japan) and Stylenanda (Korea) and affordable labels like H&M and Uniqlo.
Siam Paragon S
iam Paragon is probably Bangkok’s best-known shopping mall and the most centrally located in the heart of the downtown Ratchaprasong District. It’s home to the Paragon Cineplex cinema, where you can watch movies in IMAX, 4D or in VIP seats with blankets, waiter service and alcoholic beverages. Siam Ocean World, the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia, and Madame Tussauds can also be found here. The mall also holds a variety of large-scale events, performances and exhibitions in its adjoining exhibition and opera concert hall. Access: BTS Siam
After some serious retail therapy, you can always hit the EmQuarter Gourmet Market that promises artisan foods from around the world or hang out in the Quartier Water Garden, a beautiful tropical garden with Asia’s highest man-made waterfall, Quartier Falls. For a proper dining experience stroll along the Helix, a gentle path that slopes uphill climbing climbs five floors in a spiral with restaurants and cafes on either side – recreating the European outdoor, café culture but in air-conditioned environs. There is also the Virgin Active fitness centre, one of the company’s flagship locations with a club lounge and a massive indoor pool and spa. EmQuartier together with Emporium and a new mall to be called EmSphere, will form the EM District – a new world-class commercial and tourist hub in the heart of Bangkok. Access: BTS Phrom Pong
Siam Center S
iam Center caused a big splash when it revamped a couple years ago, throwing a
big glam party with guest appearances from Adrian Brody and Nicki Minaj. But actually, Siam Center has a long history that goes back to 1973 when it opened as one of the cityâ€™s very first shopping malls. Located right next to Siam Paragon, this mall is popular with the young and hip for shops like Forever 21, CC Double O, Steve Madden, SuperDry and Jeffrey Campbell (Villians SF). There is also a selection of Thai designer brands to choose from, such as Fly Now III, Kloset and Greyhound Original. Access: BTS Siam
Gaysorn Shopping Centre G 30
aysorn Shopping Centre is the veritable hub of international lifestyle brands, flagship stores and luxury brand name products from around the world. This is also the place to shop for high-end Thai fashion and accessories brands. For the pastdecade, Gaysorn has brought exclusive lifestyle shopping experience to its local and foreign clients. With its discerning selection of world-class fashionbrands it maximizes the shopping experience, its skilled customer service personnel enhance the experience. And adding to it, is a dedicated team of valets and concierges. The customerâ€™s comfort being of the utmost importance. Access BTS Siam or Chitlom
Luxury Concierge In almost every country, concierge companies attend to the needs of high-end clients. It’s not a case of what’s possible: with the right connections and the wherewithal to pay, almost anything is achievable. Thailand, too, has its own exclusive concierge services provider, Thailand Elite, aimed at international visitors to the Kingdom. It not only facilitates entry to Thailand, but also enables members to live in the country for extended periods and gain access to exclusive services.
Here’s a run-down of concierge services that Thailand Elite provides. hailand Elite is an international membership club aimed at foreign visitors and expatriates, offering
superior lifestyle services from the moment they arrive in the Kingdom. It is also the world’s first in-country membership program with benefits including immigration privileges, exclusive connections, recognition and access to golf clubs, spas and other exclusive (often private) facilities. Backed by the government through a limited liability company, a key aspect of the program is the Thailand Privilege Card Project that assists travellers by offering special rights and services. A Privilege Entry Visa is a multiple-entry visa valid for five years and is renewable as long as Thailand Elite membership is valid. Members are granted an exclusive one-year length of stay for each entry into the Kingdom. Members may personally complete Privilege Entry Visa affix at Immigration Bureau Offices at Suvarnabhumi, Phuket, and Chiang Mai International Airport on arrival in Thailand via international flight upon arrival or at Chaengwattana, Bangkok.
hailand Elite members can stay in the country as if they are a Thai citizen. Extension of one-year stay can be made every year without the usual need to leave the country under Thai law. To ensure the ultimate in service, Elite Personal Assistants are at the aircraft door itself to greet members as they arrive. The members are then swiftly guided to an exclusive arrivals lounge where they can complete immigration formalities in comfort and without wasting any time. The members are also assured a limousine transfer to their hotel or residence. The same service is extended to those members who are leaving the country... it is all about ensuring memorable experiences. Thailand Elite provides 24/7 Member Contact Centre support in several languages such as English, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. Access and fees at exclusive golf clubs and spas are provided 24 times a year (each), an annual complimentary health check-up is available at leading hospitals, also included Duty-Free shop benefits along with special discounts from selected partners, hotels, dining establishments, and shopping malls. For more information, visit www.thailandelite.com or contact email@example.com or call + 66(0) 2352 3000
GOLFING IN THE
KINGDOM by Paul Myers
Thailand’s nearly 300 top-of-the-line golf courses and its reputation as a fun and friendly destination have made the Kingdom the world’s third largest destination for golfers
There are many countries in the world with great golf courses, but none that offer the overall golf experience of the Kingdom of Thailand. Thailand’s 280-plus golf courses and its reputation as a fun, friendly, safe and cost-effective destination have made the Kingdom the world’s third largest golf tourism destination – behind Spain and the United States and ahead even of Great Britain, the home of golf. More than 700,000 foreign golfers – about half from within Asia
itself come to tee off in Thailand each year. With world-class courses and facilities in all major tourism centres, it’s not hard to find great golf and unforgettable experiences, which not surprisingly, result in the highest
return visitor rate of any other golf destination worldwide.
Bangkok, Thai Country Club
Golfing in the Kingdom
Thai Country Club
Bangkok Thai Country Club Owned by the Peninsula Hotel group, Thai Country Club offers a five-star experience. Every detail is covered, from the immaculate clubhouse to customer service and, as you would expect, the course itself. The Club has hosted six Asian Tour events and recorded winners including former US Masters champions Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh. There are many standout holes on this wonderful course, with the quad of par-3s – all adjacent to water – offering as interesting and testing short holes as you’ll find anywhere. Before or after your game, be sure to spend some time sampling the clubhouse buffet, by far the best at any club in Thailand. www.thaicountryclub.com
Golfing in the Kingdom
The Royal Gems City One of the most unique courses in Asia, the five-year-old Dream Arena layout is a replica course that mimics the great holes of the British Isles and United States. The front nine contain copies of such revered holes as the ‘Postage Stamp’ hole at Troon and the road hole at St Andrews in Scotland and the Blue Monster at Doral and island hole at TPC Sawgrass in Florida. Holes 10 to 18 are a full replica of the back nine at Augusta National, home of the US Masters, all with the similar yardages and appearance to the famed Georgia course. While the vegetation and environment is clearly different to the venues on which Royal Gems City’s holes have been modelled, they are remarkably similar to the originals and provide a great talking point during and after your game. www.royalgemsgolfcity.com
The Royal Gems City
Alpine Golf & Sports Club
Golfing in the Kingdom
Alpine Golf Club
Alpine Golf Club Like Thai Country Club, Alpine Golf Club is a private club that allows limited visitor play. Although up to an hour’s drive from downtown Bangkok on the north-east outer ring road, the trip is more than worthwhile. From the opening hole through to the end of the round, Alpine is a pleasure to play, with large mature trees, bushes and shrubs providing shade and a serene ambience in a parkland environment. Some regard Alpine, which hosted the 2000 Johnnie Walker Classic won by Tiger Woods, as the most challenging course in the greater Bangkok area. As a point of difference two holes – the 7th and 11th – have island greens, accessed by just small slivers of grass. www.alpinegolfclub.com
Hua Hin Black Mountain Golf Club 40 Regarded as the number one course in Thailand and one of the best courses in Asia, Black Mountain has considerably raised the bar for other courses in the Kingdom since it opened eight years ago. Owned by a Swedish entrepreneur and run with typical Scandinavian efficiency, Black Mountain has hosted several Asian Tour events, including the newlycreated Thailand Classic, held for the first of a three-year arrangement in February. With villas and condominiums providing on-course accommodation (and ownership opportunities), as well as a spa and tennis facilities, an adjacent water park and wakeboard park, Black Mountain is clearly Thailand’s leading and most comprehensive golf resort. The course itself is majestic, providing pristine playing surfaces and offering wonderful vistas to the black-rock hillsides on the site and further afield to the Burmese Mountains. www.blackmountainhuahin.com
Black Mountain Golf Club
Golfing in the Kingdom
Banyan Golf Club Although it plays second fiddle to Black Mountain, Banyan has its own special charm and a p p e a l . A m o re r u s t i c e x p e r i e n c e t h a n immaculately presented Black Mountain, Banyan is just10 minutes from Hua Hin. It usually plays a few shots harder due to heavy rough along the fairways and numerous side-hill lies. The modern Thai-style clubhouse has one of the best open-air casual after-game relaxation facilities in the Kingdom, with wonderful views over the course and beyond to the mountains. Managed by former British/Irish hoteliers, food and beverage is a feature, as is the opportunity to meet and mix with visiting golfers from all over the world who enjoy the laid-back atmosphere. www.banyanthailand.com
Banyan Golf Club
Red Mountain Golf Club
Red Mountain Golf Club If a spectacular jungle backdrop is your preference for a challening game of golf, nothing beats Red Mountain. Set on a former tin mine, the course provides a colourful kaleidoscope of green jungle...
If a spectacular jungle backdrop is your preference for a challenging game of golf, nothing beats Red Mountain. Set on a former tin mine, the course provides a colourful kaleidoscope of green jungle and playing surfaces, exposed red land formations, blue water in many former quarry holes â€“ and the sky. Although requiring a 30-plus minutes drive from most beachside destinations on Phuket and charging some of the highest green fees in Thailand (up to Baht 7,200 including cart and caddie),Red Mountain is a must-play experience for any serious golfer. Donâ€™t miss it. www.riverdalegolfclub.com
Nakhon Pathom Suwan Golf & Country Club This picturesque, waterside course in a rural setting flies under the radar when compared to other Thai courses. Host of the 2011 Thailand Open and two other Asian Tour professional tournaments in 2009 and 2010, Suwan
was designed by an army general who demonstrated considerable talent for creating a testing, interesting and attractive golf experience. Situated close to Nikanti, it’s a pity there isn’t yet quality international standard accommodation nearby as there is plenty of golfing and general interest appeal in and around Nakhon Pathom – the town where Buddhism is said to have been introduced to Thailand in the third century BC, a town that is home to Pra Pathom Chedi, the world’s tallest stupa. As hotel options in Nakhon Pathom are limited, plan a day trip for the golf. Make it an extension of your stay either in Bangkok or Kanchanaburi. www.suwangolf.com
Suwan Golf & Country Club
Golfing in the Kingdom
Nikanti Golf Club
Nikanti Golf Club Nikanti is a Sanskrit term that roughly translates into “the step before enlightenment”. As Managing Director, Warawit (Nick) Sasomsub, aptly explains: “We don’t want our visitors to go beyond nikanti, because if they do they won’t come back.” But such are the reviews of the course, almost everyone who plays seems certain to return. Officially opened late in 2014, the Pirapon Namatra-designed course is the first in the world known to feature a 6-6-6 six-hole loops. Appropriately, the club’s logo is the number 6, as written in Thai. Nikanti is also the venue of undoubtedly the most modern and sumptuous clubhouse in Thailand. An all-inclusive rate includes golf, cart and caddie fee, soft drinks and a meal before or after your round. www.nikantigolfclub.com
“We don’t want our visitors to go beyond nikanti, because if they do they won’t come back.” - Warawit (Nick) Sasomsub
layout comprising six par-3, six par-4 and six par-5 holes, configured in three
Golfing in the Kingdom
Pattaya, Siam Country Club
The Old Course, opened in 1970, was the first private golf club in Thailand
Pattaya Siam Country Club The largest golf complex in Thailand, Siam Country Clubâ€™s three
courses comprise two championship layouts that have hosted (and continue to host) the annual Honda LPGA female professional tournament. The Old Course, opened in 1970, was the first private golf club in Thailand (until then all golf courses were owned by the government). In 2005, the 27-hole Plantation course was opened and the Old Course was remodelled. In 2014, a third layout known as Waterside came into play, providing 63 holes of golf at one destination, albeit with three separate clubhouses. More than 100,000 rounds a year are played at Siam Country Club, testament to the quality of the courses and the commitment and attention to detail of the owners, the local Pattaya-based Phornprapha family www.siamcountryclub.com
Chiang Mai Highlands Golf & Spa Resort
O n e o f t h e m o s t p i c t u re s q u e c o u r s e s i n t h e K i n g d o m , Chiang Mai Highlands could have been lifted out of a guide to the most beautiful golf courses on the planet. Set in stunning highland surroundings, this is a golf course to savour. The front nine is relatively flat, contrasting greatly with the back nine that features sweeping uphill and downhill holes. There is no better finishing hole in Asia than Chiangmai Highlandsâ€™ 18th hole, which sweeps downhill from the tee before rising sharply to an elevated green with the clubhouse behind. www.chiangmaihighlands.com
Chiang Mai Highlands Golf & Spa Resort
Golfing in in the the Kingdom Kingdom Golfing
Alpine Golf Resort A sister course to the Bangkok club of the same name, Alpine Golf Resort Chiang Mai is renowned for its immaculate presentation, natural surroundings and lakeside setting, especially on the back nine. US designer Ron Garl brought the same standards as his Florida jewels, TPC at Prestancia and Palm Beach Polo Club, in developing the layout. A sheer delight for golfers of all abilities, Alpine Chiangmai plays a long 7541 yards from the black tees, almost as long from the championship tees as Black Mountain. 窶サhe course will challenge the serious player, although anyone who enjoys golf in fresh country air and being close to nature will find it equally pleasant from whichever tees they choose. www.alpinegolfresort.com
Alpine Golf Resort
Golfing in the Kingdom
Laguna Phuket Golf Club
This recently remodelled resort course has leapfrogged competitors to become acknowledged as the best overall golf experience on the resort island. Part of the Banyan Tree-owned complex that includes seven hotels set on and near picturesque Bang Tao beach, Laguna Phuket is an eco-friendly course that features watercourses attracting numerous bird and wildlife species. Itâ€™s also a challenge, despite playing a relatively short 6,600 yards from the back tees. With world-class resort facilities on site, the number of rounds being played on the Paul Jansen redesign has escalated dramatically compared with business on the original layout that opened in 1992. The change from old to new is remarkable. www.lagunaphuketgolf.com
Phuket Laguna Phuket Golf Club
Holistic Getaway, for A Whole New You by Barbara Woolsey
Sometimes, it’s impossible to say no to dessert. You know you shouldn’t, but sometimes that spoonful of cheesecake really is the cure to a rough and strenuous day. Thankfully, modern living is all about keeping everything in moderation – enjoy yourself, but don’t forget to work those toxins out later. Detoxes can be stressful and tiring, especially while trying to juggle work at the same time. So one of the best ways to keep a good balance is going away on a health retreat. It’s become quite easy these days with the wide array of resorts and spas available, all geared towards helping people achieve their health goals through detox, yoga, organic food and more. It’s good for the mind, body and spirit – and let’s face it, it’s a lot easier (and more effective) than being grumpy on a juice cleanse in your everyday life. Luckily, the Land of Smiles is known to have some of the best health retreats in the world. We have rounded up a list of Thailand’s most outstanding to help you plan your next soul-purifying getaway.
The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai 52
Dhara Dhevi’s five-star spa is structurally jaw dropping, and to say it’s the most beautiful of its kind in Thailand wouldn’t be a stretch. Created in the image of the splendour of a palace in Mandalay, the building took Chiang Mai artisans three years to complete thanks to the elaborate motifs chiselled on the facade. The treatment menu is equally luxurious, featuring homemade scrubs made from rice and herbs and ancient therapies using Ayurvedic oils. The Dhara Dhevi even offers Shirodhara, an intriguing technique from the Indian tradition where warm oil is poured onto the forehead or “third eye” in a steady, continuous stream. It’s said to improve the nervous system’s flow of impulses, while instilling a feeling of being centred. www.dharadhevi.com
Chiva Som International Health Resort
Chiva Som International Health Resort Hailed as the world’s leading health retreat, Chiva Som is as luxurious as shedding toxins can be. Since opening in 1995, the resort has welcomed Hollywood celebrities and business moguls to its resort on the Gulf of Thailand, taking pride in putting them back on the path to rejuvenation. Chiva Som’s naturopaths and holistic practitioners are the best in their industry, creating detox programs tailor-made to individual guest needs. It’s a hefty task, considering there are over 200 treatments offered, and packages range from the strictest of system flushes to a non-threatening introductory option. One of the coolest offerings is the daily cooking classes, where guests learn healthy recipes that include fresh produce from Chiva Som’s much-lauded organic garden. www.chivasom.com
Kamalaya Koh samui
Kamalaya Koh samui
The Sanctuary Thailand
Kamalaya’s holistic spa and resort is full of good vibrations – after all, it’s located next to a cave where Buddhist monks once made their spiritual retreats. The resort builds on that energy today, offering traditional meditation and wellness programs to meet specific
Don’t let Koh Phangan’s party island status fool you, it’s hippie yes, but its holistic side is alive and thriving at The Sanctuary. This is the ultimate low-key “get away from it all” retreat, located in Had Tien, a clandestine bay that’s more easily reached by water than wheels.
needs - from stress burnout to weight loss.The programs are taken from ancient Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, offering a full mind-body-spirit approach to wellbeing. The rooms are cosy and scenic, nestled between natural rock walls and primeval trees, with the day spa located on top of a cliff.It’s the perfect place for a little quiet and reflection. www.kamalaya.com
The Sanctuary offers a wide variety of detox options, including raw food menus, liver, candida and master cleanses and more. Those who don’t want to commit to a program can take all their cues from the restaurant menu, featuring tasty vegetarian Thai and Indian dishes and revitalizing fruit smoothies. www.thesanctuarythailand.com
Koh Chang’s most hip and trendy health retreat is all about indulgence of the healthiest kind. A lengthy menu of detox juices and raw foods will leave any guest wanting for nothing, proving that detox definitely isn’t about going hungry. The restaurant menu is also
Absolute Sanctuary is where your complete lifestyle overhaul is about to begin. The Moroccan-inspired resort on Koh Samui offers signature detox programs in three, five and seven-day stints that include daily lymphatic drainage, colon hydrotherapy, massages and more.
locally sourced, with fresh fruits and vegetables coming from the nearby Doi Kham Royal Project and seafood from the Salak Kok fishing village. Yes, there’s even healthy raw food dessert! Toxins stand zero chance against such detox programs coupled with The Spa’s signature rock cabin, where a recycled old wooden shingle roof holds in a healthy
For those who need a little more help getting on track, there are even alternative therapies like Chi Nei Tsang (a deep abdominal massage that helps digestion) and holistic Shiatsu. The resort also offers the mother of all detoxes, the “20 Day Detoxer’s Delight” which includes reiki sessions, body wraps and scrubs, unlimited yoga and more.
steam of 15 Thai herbs. The resort tries to combine detox with stimulating activity, for example exploring the island by hiking and kayaking. www.thespakohchang.com
Lounging on bright Marrakesh carpets or next to the pool and eliminating toxins, it’s impossible to leave the Absolute Sanctuary not feeling totally invigorated. www.absolutesanctuary.com
The Atsumi Retreat Healing Center This resort on the southern tip of Phuket offers an experience that’s both dreamy and authentic. Days start off with ginger tea in the open-air yoga sala, and end with a traditional wood-burning Thai herbal sauna in the late afternoon. Outdoor gazebos provide the perfect escape for a little contemplation or an afternoon siesta. Spa treatments include everything from galvanic facials to anti-cellulite body wraps, and the detox programs are packed full of system-boosting goodies like wheatgrass shooters and probiotics. For those who are curious about getting into raw food, the enticing dishes at Atsumi’s Raw Café are bound to make you a believer. www.atsumihealing.com
The Spa Koh Chang Resort
58 Chiva Som International Health Resort
Samahita Retreat Samahita is one of the worldâ€™s top destinations for a yoga holiday, offering daily programs complemented with detox and cleansing options. Many people come here for their yoga teacher training while also taking advantage of the spa menu and infrared sauna. The rooms boast an eco-friendly design, including solar-powered hot water and structured brickwork that minimizes energy and sound loss. Whether on the sea view or private balcony, thereâ€™s no better place to do a few sun salutations and be at peace. www.samahitaretreat.com
The Spa Resort Chiang Mai Whether youâ€™re seeking a healthy retreat or a health boot camp, Spa Resort plays to both sides of the spectrum. They offer relaxing massages, yoga and even a meditative labyrinth walk â€“ on the other side, thereâ€™s also the opportunity for jogging, swimming and other vigorous workouts. The resort also has its own 20-acre organic farm, which carries up to 40 different vegetables according to season and cows and ducks that help compost. Guests are encouraged to come and learn about organic farming, and perhaps even take home a few ideas about sustainability. www.thesparesortchiangmai.com
Thai Beach Retreat Krabi Absolute Sanctuary This modest, little retreat in Krabi is all about getting healthy, and giving back to the environment at the same time. It was started by a retired boat captain from Hawaii and his Thai wife, who are always on hand for a friendly hello or a little help. The resort is home to an impressive 20-acre organic garden, which only a few years ago was wild and untouched jungle brush. Guests can get their hands dirty gardening or orchard keeping, or simply relax and take in the beauty. www.thaibeachretreat.com
World Class Dining
Culinary Masterpieces By : Laurence Civil
The culinary scene in Thailand, especially Bangkok and Phuket, will lure even the most demanding palate. We list Thailandâ€™s 10 world-class dining destinations
World Class Dining
hailand has two significant dining hubs Bangkok and Phuket, but each has a different dining scene. Generally businesses drive top class dining because they have the expense accounts to afford the higher price
tag. Bangkok being the capital, and where business is done, has the greater concentration of top restaurants while in Phuket the dining scene is more leisure based despite the island being home to a wealth expatriate community. This is why nine of our top 10 are in Bangkok, with just one in Phuket. Bangkok is one of five top Asian dining hubs alongside Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. It has become a magnet for Michelin star chefs, six of our ten are under the culinary direction of either a current or former Michelin star chef. Two of them were rated
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon L
’Atelier’s casual elegant dining concept is new to Bangkok. A professional interaction between chefs and diners in a convivial atmosphere lets diners relax and enjoy the experience, seated around the open kitchen watching as chefs experiment and create, work on new ideas and fuse different concepts, right in front of them. The culinary opera’s stage is set in classic black and red with the open kitchen dominating. Conducting the performance is Executive Chef Olivier Limousin who has worked with ‘The Master’, Joël Robuchon, for the past 12 years starting in Paris, then London, and now here in Bangkok for the past years. He is the gatekeeper, meticulously controlling the flow of dishes from the kitchen to the counter. He never stops reminding his team that the core of this business is to give pleasure to their guests. The place settings are simple and modern, yet elegant. Just a simple dark brown place mat, cutlery which is replaced before the serving of the next dish, a water and a wine glass, the benchmarks of today’s comfortably elegant dining. There is no formal dress code just that it should be appropriate. This is an enchanting dining experience that awoke all the senses playing some of the best music. A new generation of dining that left us feeling invigorated www.robuchon-bangkok.com
No.1 by Asia’s 50 Best: Nahm in 2014 and Gaggan in 2015, and five of them are in the Top 50 list 2015. World-class dining is chef focused. Customers are drawn by the cooking style of specific celebrity chefs, even though they know that the cooking will most likely be done by their kitchen team. The restaurants listed below are all chef-driven.
World Class Dining He was sensitive to many Asians feeling uncomfortable with the traditional way French cuisine is eaten, so he made the radical decision to serve his food Asian family style with zero compromise on its authentic French taste. Individual dishes for each course are placed in the middle of a rotating glass ‘lazy susan’. This gives guests the option to either put an individual portion on their plate or share collectively. Another gesture he made was to add a pair of black lacquer chopsticks; the silverware is replaced course by course. This was done so that his style of French cuisine would to be more accepted in Asia. He doesn’t make the same concession at his flagship in Burgundy. The interior is also unique with its ‘upside down’concept including a grand piano hanging from the ceiling. This Asian friendly, classical French dining experience is serving their style of food in a way that is appropriate to its location. www.jaime-bangkok.com
J’aime by Jean-Michael Lorain I
n 1986, Jean-Michel Lorain of Cote Saint Jacques in Joigny, Burgundy, France, was the youngest chef in France to be awarded the coveted three Michelin stars.
When he opened J’Aime at U Sathorn to ensure the authenticity of his food he put his protégé Amerigo Sesti in charge of the kitchen and his daughter Marine Loraine front of house as Maitre d’.
Aziamendi A 62
once in a lifetime dining experience created by Eneko Atxa Spain’s youngest recipient of the coveted three Michelin stars at Aziamendi in Bilbao Spain. It’s located 20 minutes north of Phuket International Airport at Inalia Beach House on the shores of Natal Beach, the home of Mark Weingard, a former derivatives trader turned hotelier. The restaurant designed by A-cero is inspired by the nature surrounding it. Undulating timber waves on the ceiling symbolize the beauty of the Andaman Sea. The tropical landscape is represented through the natural tree like forms of the tables and the lush foliage is reflected in the green velvet of the chairs. Chef de Cuisine Alexander Burger previously worked with Daniel Boulud at Daniel in New York for five years. This talented young chef shares Eneko’s culinary passion to ensure uncompromising consistency. Pouring the wines is Fabian Etienne, Head Sommelier whose wine lists recently won Best National, Restaurant &Wine Bar and Phuket & region categories of Wine list of the Year 2014 Thailand. www.aziamendi.com
World Class Dining
Savelberg utch Chef Henk Savelberg has the distinction of having had four restaurants across the Netherlands that were each recognized with
a Michelin star. Having previously delighted with his exquisite culinary creations as a visiting chef he decided to open Restaurant Savelberg Thailand, his first overseas, in front of the main Oriental Residence building on Wireless Road, opposite All Seasons Place. A gourmet, modern French restaurant with a Dutch touch, that strives to serve the absolute in quality dining focusing on luxury details. What distinguishes the best from the rest lies in the details, the little things that most guests won’t even notice. It’s his meticulous attention to those tiny details that built Henk Savelberg’s reputation. Every detail was made to measure and custom fitted, every wine poured is served in the finest Riedel Crystal, the culinary creations are presented on specially designed German tableware finished with platinum, the first of its kind in Asia. And orange, the national colour of the Netherlands, is subtly incorporated into the design a reminder of where they are coming from. It’s a warm friendly and accommodating experience, modern comfortable luxury rather than the stiff fine dining. The service has a classic European approach, engaging with the guest to give a rewarding and memorable dining experience. They use the finest imported ingredients and is the first restaurant in Thailand with a Michelin heritage to use Marou chocolate from Vietnam. A delightful destination. www.savelbergth.com
World Class Dining
ustralian born David Thompson is globally recognised as the Master of Thai cuisine.
In 2010 he was the first chef of a Thai restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star with Nahm in London. Nahm in Bangkok was the first restaurant in Thailand to be listed in the Worldâ€™s 50. David didnâ€™t re-invent Thai cuisine, rather he painstakingly researched the cook books of Thai matriarchs and then set out to source which regions produce the best of each of the ingredients he needs to paint authentic flavours on the plate. Currently this is arguably the worldâ€™s best Thai dining experience. All of his dishes respect the perfect authentic balance of sour, sweet, salt, and spice flavours; true to Thai culinary heritage. The meal is served Asian style: all the main course dishes served to share at the same time. The art of Thai dining is to balance the four flavours by picking from each of the bowls. www.comohotels.com/metropolitanbangkok/dining/nahm
World Class Dining
Gaggan hef Gaggan Anand was the first Indian and second Asian to study molecular gastronomy in Catalonia with Ferran Adria at El Bulli. “This is the first restaurant in the world to serve this style of cooking,” says Gaggan, “it’s not just Indian… it’s a totally new style of cooking.” His temple of gastronomy is located in a 70-year-old house off Langsuan in Bangkok”s shopping district. The most popular seat is at the Chef’s Table for ten, to get that book at least two weeks ahead and you may be lucky. From here at the flick of a switch the smoked windows clears with a unique view into the laboratory and the kitchen. The three tasting menus are inspired by seasonal ingredients, fresh produce, amazing diversity of India’s regional cuisine and his childhood street food memories. It is a culinary journey of 10 exquisitely plated dishes that create an intense yet perfectly balanced taste explosions in the mouth. His obsessive commitment to culinary perfection has Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015 rating this restaurant at no 1. www.eatatgaggan.com
World Class Dining
Le Normandie F 66
or the past 40 years Le Normandie with its sparkling chandeliers, antique furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows has been Bangkok’s culinary hub.Occupying the entire fifth floor of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok’s Garden Wing it has the most stunning view looking out over the Chao Praya River. This 12-table restaurant, the culinary playground of Chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier, has worked for renowned chefs such as Georges Blanc of Vonnas, Marc Veyrat of L’Auberge de L’Eridan, and Emile Jung of Crocodile and has welcomed countless Michelin- starred chefs including the likes of Michel Roux and Christian Bau. It’s an institution with old-fashioned values that have evolved. Dining at Le Normandie is a special occasion to be celebrated and dress up for as if attending your best friend’s wedding, which is why gentlemen are required to wear a jacket for dinner. The food is the hardware, the software is their flawless service, it just happens without notice. It’s all in the detail from fresh flowers on the table to the stool beside the chair so that a valuable bag doesn’t have to sit on the floor. And an attentive eye that misses nothing that anticipates what has yet to be thought. www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok
World Class Dining
Water Library Chamchuri Square ater Library Chamchuri Square has recently undergone some cosmetic renovation and the new look employs a few subtle shades of grey. Ironically this fine dining restaurant was originally intended just to be a water bar and coffee shop. That changed when Pote Lee the founder of Water Library tasted the culinary creations of Singaporean celebrity chef Haikal Johari at the former Ember Restaurant; Lee offered him the position of the Executive Chef to found the Water Library dynasty. Haikal is now Water Library’s Group Executive Chef, the current Chef de Cuisine is German-born Mirco Keller with a lifetime passion for cooking and a Michelin star background. Mirco gave the burger legitimacy aiming to make “the most yummy version on the planet with an Australian Wagyu Beef that’s exclusive to Water Library, roasted shallots and the rare pungent Cambodian AOC black Kampot pepper”. His three times cooked fries made with US potatoes have a soft interior enveloped in a crisp case served in a ceramic paper bag. www.waterlibrary.com
World Class Dining
Vogue Lounge V 68
ogue Lounge on the 6th floor of Mahanakorn CUBE adjacent to Chongnongsri BTS station Bangkok is licensed by Conde Naste International Restaurants. Earlier editions in Moscow, Dubai and Kiev were cafés, here in Bangkok it’s a lounge; all serve food for the fashionable. Conde Naste and David Collins Studio worked together to create a concept that mirrored the core values of Vogue, the world’s most influential fashion magazine Vogue Lounge cuisine is exquisite bite size servings created by Vincent Thierry the former Executive Chef at the two Michelin starred Caprice at Four Seasons Hong Kong. Their cocktail philosophy is based on classic cocktails shaken or stirred by Japanese Mixologist Hideyuki Saito. Each invented for a reason, with a story to tell. Music entertainment is directed by famed Hong Kong DJ Maarten Goetheer. The small interior is inspired by 1920s art deco movement with rich plum leather seating, gleaming bronze bar stools and Italian marble. Two Andy Warhol originals grace the walls. The outdoor air conditioned area in black and white is the most comfortable roof terrace in Bangkok. www.voguelounge.com
World Class Dining
Sirocco aving arrived at the 63rd floor Lebua at State tower the dining experience starts with the ceremonial descent dwon the artistically lit stone staircase to the soothing strains of the jazz band resonating through the warm breeze. Sirocco was The Dome’s first restaurant and the world’s highest alfresco restaurant, Lebua’s signature Mediterranean dining venue set against possibly the most exhilarating views in the city. Impeccably delivered by an unobtrusive and knowledgeable wait staff, Sirocco’s clean and uncomplicated cuisine is the product of a continuous quest by the culinary team for the pick of the seasonal harvest, which often includes rare ingredients never before seen in Thailand. The restaurant’s new chef, Gonzalo Ruiz, guides his customer on a culinary journey to discover both his personal and Sirocco’s roots in Mediterranean cuisine with “The 2003 Heritage Collection”. Dishes such as Carabinero Red Prawns with Parsley emulsion, baby Octopus and Portuguese Cod with Pilaf rice and, Sirocco Bouillabaisse for two made of Catalan Monkfish, Brittany lobster, red mullet, rockfish, mussels and a homemade rouille. www.lebua.com/sirocco
The Great Luxury Escape
The Great Escape By : Gaby Doman
The Great Luxury Escape
Looking to head up north for cooler climes and cultural days out? From Lanna-style living and colonial retreats to intimate boutique hotels and adventure-packed getaways, we’ve got northern Thailand’s very best luxury hotels covered in this selection
hailand’s north has always beckoned the traveller with its smorgasbord of cultural, exotic and adventurous offerings. The discerning traveller however, was always left askance at how little the northern hoteliers had to offer. No longer though, a new breed of brave hoteliers have upped the ante offering lodgings that would please even the most demanding; the product as creative as it is differentiated.
Stylish Beach Getaways
Stylish Beach Getaways By : Gaby Doman
For the sun-worshipper Phuket and Khao Lak offer the ultimate in exotic getaways.
hen it comes to island getaways in Thailand, few places beat Phuket, Thailand’s biggest island, which is, undoubtedly second only to Bangkok in terms of luxury accommodation, gastronomy and spas in Thailand. Nearby Khao Lak – just 60 kms north of Phuket offers similarly stunning beaches and luxury accommodation, but on a more low-key, secluded scale. Here’s our pick of the area’s most exclusive locations for a Phuket getaway.
Stylish Beach Getaways
rivate infinity pools, a private beach, smooth grooves, a beautiful spa and ultimate luxury await you at Sri Panwa. Villas lend themselves perfectly to a very chilled getaway, with terrace bathtubs big enough for two, stunning ocean views and a poolside bar that spins house tunes that make it almost criminal not to indulge in sundowner cocktails. Live life in the slow lane at this blissful retreat, where your every need is catered for – extra touches include a fleet of yachts, a cooking school, floating yoga pavilion, jogging and biking trails, pre-loaded iPods and a deck to-die-for. Just a little word of warning: when it’s home time, you’ll have to be dragged kicking and screaming from this little slice of heaven. www.sripanwa.com
Stylish Beach Getaways
Stylish Beach Getaways
JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa A
favourite for weddings, this beautiful spot has everything going for it. As well as a stretch of
white sand beach, the property is surrounded by thick greenery, making the tropical paradise comparisons inevitable. The resort is also home to South East Asiaâ€™s longest pool, a lagoon-esque 16,000 sqm, which you can slide into straight from your room if you book for a pool access room. The resort, which was acknowledged by Conde Nast as being one of the worldâ€™s top new hotels in 2010, is also home to some fabulous restaurants, including Thai, Japanese and Mediterranean cuisines. www.marriott.com
Stylish Beach Getaways
Iniala Beach House I 84
niala Beach House is one of Phuketâ€™s most memorable resorts. The beach house has just three villas and a penthouse. Each of the 10 suites within the villas is uniquely designed by a different designer giving it an incredible, art gallery feel. The resort has no reception and, instead, each villa has its own service team, including driver, butler, chef, spa therapist and housekeeper. Still not convinced? Perhaps Aziamendi, the sister of Spainâ€™s threeMichelin starred Azurmendi restaurant, with its focus on progressive Basque cuisine, will convince you. Not only the best restaurant on the island, but one of the best in Thailand, too. It also boasts awardwinning sommelier, Fabien Etienne. www.iniala.com
Stylish Beach Getaways
hile many of Phuket’s luxury resorts opt for modern chic, Amanpuri takes traditional Thai as its inspiration. Set in the middle of a lush coconut plantation, the beachside resort is elegant and peaceful, with a pristine private beach, a fleet of yachts and some of the island’s best dining, including Naoki, which combines French fare with Japanese artistry. But it’s the resort’s spa, Aman Spa for which it’s best known. Six Thai-style pavilions of wood and glass offer a private steam room, shower, bath and outdoor sala for meditation. There’s also a sauna and steam room and, as part of the package, guided yoga and meditation sessions are offered in the teakwood salas on the hillside. www.amanresorts.com
Stylish Beach Getaways
The Surin Phuket S
imple and sophisticated, The Surin Phuket has been given a new lease of life by one of the US’s top architects, Ed Tuttle. Among the surrounding coconut plantations, this pretty location complements its surroundings, making it a timeless, elegant spot. Shunning pretention for comfort, this is a spot that’ll make you feel instantly at home. Lomtalay, meaning sea breeze, offers Thai specialities overlooking the sea – and makes a lovely spot to enjoy a dramatic sunset. The resort also offers a spa with a striking black-tiled pool, fitness centre, tennis courts and a choice of three nearby golf courses. www.thesurinphuket.com
Andara Resort & Villa
Stylish Beach Getaways The Surin Phuket
Twin Palms Phuket
Twin Palms Phuket P
huket isn’t just a great spot to lounge around in pool villas and be massaged. Twin Palms Phuket caters to a younger crowd with two world-class beach clubs and three bars, which are ideal for a spot of barefoot beach
dancing throughout the evening and into the night. The location is also noteworthy for its beautiful, shady 1,600 sqm pool and the resort’s modern architecture, which makes it for those jealousy-inducing Instagram snaps we all want on holiday. Other highlights of the hotel are daily Thai cookery classes, lush gardens, Surin beach access and private room terraces, which lend themselves well to afternoons spent working on your tan. www.twinpalms-phuket.com
he sign of a great Phuket resort is when you want to stay exactly where you are for the duration ofyour trip. Andara’s spacious pool villas and suites are some of the most beautifully designed on the island – you’ll feel as though you’re staying at your millionaire friend’s exquisite ocean-side pad. If luxe living in your villa gets too much, you can always relax at Andara Spa, where Asian-inspired massage techniques, including Thai, Ayurveda and Javanese are employed. Treatments are even available in the comfort of your room, if you can’t tear yourself away from your infinity pool. www.andaraphuket.com
Andara Resort & Villa
Stylish Beach Getaways
ho wants to share a pool when you could have one of your very own? Every suite and
villa at Trisara has its own pools and ocean views over its own private bay, making it a top choice for a really private getaway. Its hillside location further adds to the intimacy of the spot and, it’s sophisticated style make it a favourite of those seeking an elegant, unshowy retreat. The venue is home to one of Phuket’s best spas – with treatment suites overlooking the ocean and a signature six-handed massage. But, Trisara also has plenty to offer if you’re looking for it, a more active retreat, with tennis coaching on two floodlit championship courts, a 45 m saltwater chemical-free lap pool, jet ski, kayak or dive gear hire and resort yachts to charter. www.trisara.com
Point Yamu by Como P
oint Yamu by Como has a reputation for some of
the best food in the Andaman. Nahmyaa restaurant dishes up hard-to-beat traditional Thai cuisine with a focus on seafood, while La Sirena offers tasty Italian dishes. The resort is one of the more stylish in the area, with interiors by the ultra-cool Paola Navona. Not to be missed is the Shambala wellness retreat, which is worth travelling for in itself, with its holistic approach to health. The spa offers a yoga studio, two double and five single treatment rooms, four Thai massage alcoves, steam rooms, a Jacuzzi and a gym. Contemporary and oh-so-cool, this is our pick for the most effortlessly chic venue in Phuket. www.comohotels.com/pointyamu
Stylish Beach Getaways
ai Khao Beach is a hard destination to top and, with the added plus of Renaissance’s renowned knack for service, its utterly stunning – and dramatic - architecture and a choice of restaurants that include Thai cuisine, barbecue, pub food and lighter options, it’s easy to see why Renaissance sees so many repeat guests. Opt for one of the resort’s 25 villas with private whirlpool spas – and be sure to make use of Quan Spa to add a little more luxury in your getaway. As well as a full range of scrubs, wraps, massages and facials, the spa also offers fitness counselling, therapy baths and plunge pools. www.marriott.com
Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa
Paradise Found By : Laurence Civil
Island breaks take a luxurious turn on exotic Koh Samui
ack in the late 17th century, this island was where fishermen, sailors, and sea traders sought refuge from a storm while traversing the Gulf of Siam. It first appeared on the global tourist map when it was discovered in the 1970s by backpacking hippies arriving on this palm-fringed tropical island on a simple ferryboat. Today, Koh Samui is a luxury magnet for tourists who are jetting in to stay in some of the most luxurious retreats in the Kingdom of Thailand. Sitting in the Chumphon Archipelago of over 80 islands, which form the Ang Thong National Marine Park, the island is just under one hourâ€™s flying time south of Bangkok. Measuring 25Kms in length and 21kms across, it is Thailandâ€™s third largest island after Phuket and Koh Chang home to about 40,000 local inhabitants, 90 percent of whom are Buddhists. The easiest way to get there is by air. Bangkok Airways have nearly hourly departures throughout the day to and from the island and Thai Airways have twice daily departures. The privately owned Samui International Airport has two terminals one international the other domestic. All arriving passengers disembark at the parking stand and are transported to and from the terminal in brightly coloured fairground style opened-sided trucks. Welcome to paradise.
Conrad Koh SamuiÂ ocated on the southwest tip of the island, on Aow Thai Beach, Conrad Koh Samui has a secluded hillside location, home to 81 freestanding villas, each with a private balcony commanding breath-taking views over the Gulf of Thailand directly facing the Five Islands. An Ocean View Pool Villa offers the guests 130 sqm of combined indoor and outdoor space with a 10 m ocean-facing infinity pool set on a wide terrace. The space is equally divided between the bedroom and the bathroom which houses an oversized bowl-shaped bathtub, separate rain shower and twin hand-basin with illuminated mirrors. The plus in the bedroom was the Apple-based TV system, personal espresso machine and milk in the fridge The must do here is dinner at Jahn, to enjoy the ultra-fine Thai cuisine in an opulent setting. As the restaurant only seats 28, reservations are recommended. The only true way to understand the experience is to take their Taste of Jahn Menu. The two stand out dishes are a very unique Tom Yam Kung and a distinctively creative Massaman of Wagyu Beef. The perfect couples retreat for those wanting to get away from everything, itâ€™s too far to go clubbing anyway. www.conradhotels3.hilton.com
W Retreat Koh SamuiÂ A
20-minute drive from Samui International Airport and just a five-minute drive from Bo Phut Pier, the Big Buddha statue and Fishermanâ€™s Village, the hilltop W Retreat Koh Samui is nestled between
Maenam and Bo Phut; 74 private pool villas sit up on the cliff overlooking one of the finest and most pristine beaches in Thailand. Ultra chic and cutting edge design with stunning sea views is on offer here. Positioned at the highest point of the hotel is the 162 sqm. Ocean View Escape Villa with its stunning floor to ceiling windows that offer the best views in the entire resort. On the deck outside is a private pool measuring 11 X 2.5 m, when it comes to private pools, size does matter. Inside the living space is decorated with silk lamps and designer furnishings giving each villa a relaxed, yet elegant feel. Toys for grownups abound, from a 46-inch flat-screen TV, DVD player and Yamaha Wi-Fi sound dock. Each room also has an Illy espresso machine and the signature W Bliss Spa amenities in the bathroom. www.wretreatkohsamui.com
Akyra Chura Samui T
ucked away at the secluded northern end of Chaweng beach. Just a 10-minute drive from the airport. The beach front Akyra resort offers 65 rooms and suites. Styled in Japanese aesthetic , the accommodation is minimal yet functional recreating the innocence of the original Samui beach huts. The one-bedroom villa offers 70 sqm of luxurious privacy with a pair of sun loungers on the terrace. On entering guests are greeted by the polished concrete floored living area complete with a sofa and occasional table for casual in-room dining. The only decoration is two framed Japanese floral silk prints. Next door is the polished teak floored sleeping area where a protective mosquito tent hangs from the ceiling. A short bamboo corridor connects the lounge and bedroom with the larger wet space. On the left are double alabaster wash basins while on the right is a large circular bath tub scooped out of a single block of granite set in it’s own private bamboo garden. Overhead is the outdoor rain shower. Southern Thai style green glass windows are used in the indoor shower and toilet area. The beachfront swimming pool looks out on to a pristine white sandy beach and a crystal clear sea in 50 shades of blue. An adult’s only retreat. www.theakyra.com
Akatsuki Samui A
private residential beachfront villa, that just takes one booking at a time. Designed by Italian architect Ricardo Tossani based in Japan the architectural style was inspired by the dramatic roofs of local architecture and vernacular traditions of cool, shaded spaces. It is a fusion of Thai and Japanese design with Japanese building traditions that respond to climate, view, privacy and comfort in an exquisite beach and tropical forest setting. The energy efficient screens minimize the UV rays entering The Umi Ocean master bedroom has a lawn and sand separating it from the turquoise sea. Inside is a sea facing king size bed; behind the glass wall backing the bed is a large oval bathtub and separate rain shower. At night silk Yukata, casual Kimono bathrobes are draped over the bed. All meals and beverages are inclusive and are served in the dining pavilion with an unrestricted fully stocked bar on the counter with ice and mixers in the refrigerator. Entertainment is in the Theatre Pavilion complete with a 65’’ HD TV and the Ultimate in Surround Sound and Apple TV with an extensive library of complimentary videos. It also has its own private pantry and bar. Perfect destination for couples, a group of friends or family. www.akatsukisamui.com
a ui Paradise Found
program a custom soundtrack on the iPod docking station. An intimate place to enjoy freshly made tea of coffee or to sip from the Champagne bar; a personal butler is on hand to care for any needs. When it’s time to sleep a signature king-size Luxury Collection bed awaits. The 43 sqm granite-lined bathroom offers dual vanities combined with a rainforest shower enclosed
haweng Noi on the smart end of Samui’s
most popular beach Chaweng is home to Vana Belle,part of the Starwood Luxury
in frosed glass,a large stone bathtub, and a glass door that opens directly onto the terrace. www.starwoodhotels.com
Collection. Their Ocean View Pool Suite offers 172 sqm of space which includes a private terrace with a sea view a raised outdoor bathtub and captivating infinity pool that cascades in the direction of the resort’s lush tropical garden. On the deck there is a shaded table and chairs and a pair of sun loungers with an umbrella, while at the shallow end of the pool floating on the water are another pair of sun loungers. The villa itself has floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors for optimum daylight. The contemporary Thai décor with a sofa and two armchairs is delivered in tranquil cream and brown tones completed by the dramatic sculptured light fixtures and an abstract interpretation of the creatures of the mythical Himavanta Forest, the resort’s inspiration. Entertainment is delivered through the 46inch LCD television with CD/DVD player, or
Sala Samui Resort & Spa S
ala Samui is located on the pristine Chaoeng Mon Beach at the northeast end of the island with 69 stylishly spacious villas and suites of which 53 have their own private swimming pool. The Garden Pool Villas offer in excess of 100 sqm of privacy set in their own walled lush tropical garden. Entry is through a private gateway and once on the other side guests find themselves in their own maical world with an outdoor daybed, a stunning 3m x4m swimming pool and a pair of sun loungers. The sleep is indoors in the air-conditioned bedroom with its own full-sized daybed. While the bathroom is outdoors with a free-standing tub and rain shower set in the colourful tropical garden. This is the epitome of modern understated Thai luxury enhanced by both personal and private service. At the far end of the resort is a pristine 80-metre stretch of white sandy beach, perfect for a romantic getaway. www.salaresorts.com
InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort T
he southeastern village of Baan Taling Ngam has for the past 20 years been home to the island’s oldest five star resort which for the past
four years has been Intercontinental Koh Samui. The new ‘Thai-inspired designs meet colonial-style features’ look offers 79 superbly appointed rooms suites and villas. From the top floor lobby the most striking feature are the hanging birdcage lamps drawing inspiration from the competition singing birds, which are popular with locals in southern Thailand. Their 67 sqm Premier Ocean View Rooms are located on the top floor. White panelled doors lead out onto the spacious terrace with a day bed and outdoor dining area. From here there are stunning views looking out over the sparkling sapphire waters and sandy white beaches of Taling Ngam Bay. In the bedroom there is a lounge area at the foot of the king-sized bed. The bathroom is behind a glass wall with double vanity units, a stand alone oval bathtub with taps midway, built for sharing and a spacious open rain shower. A must do here is a sunset cocktail at Air Bar, a Koh Samui attraction in its own right as it directly faces the sunset. The best seats are the three ocean facing sofas. www.samui.intercontinental.com
Six Senses Yao Noi B
eing located on its own small island midway between Phuket and Krabi in Phang Nga Bay gives Six Senses Yao Noi its very own unique sense of privacy and adventure. The natural vegetation and lush landscaping provides privacy between the elevated villas. Sea View villas offer glorious views over Phang Nga Bay, while Mountain View villas face a classic plantation of rubber trees. Guests arriving at Phuket International head to the Ao Por Grand Marina by car taking 20 minutes and then a 45-minute speedboat ride to the resort. For those arriving at Krabi Airport there is 45-minute car journey to Thalane Pier and then a 20-minute speedboat ride to the resort. An Ocean Panorama Pool Villa offers a 181 sqm footprint, 88 inside, 75 outdoors with a stunning 180 degree panoramic view looking out over Phang Nga Bay.The accommodation comprises a separate bedroom, a bathroom with outdoor shower and a sitting area with its own wine fridge, Bose hi-fi and iPod dock. Their culinary highlight is at the Dining Room where they serve fine organic European cuisine. www.sixsenses.com
Soneva Kiri Koh Kood K
oh Kood is Thailand as it was years ago: untamed jungle, pristine beaches and fishermen going about their business. This slice of paradise is just one hour from Bangkok by private plane where Soneva Kiri offers barefoot intelligent luxury at its best. 24 resort Villas and 11 private residences located either on the idyllic beach or sunny slopes in the rainforest, all have stunning infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies and impeccable service courtesy of Mr. or Ms. Friday, the resort’s private butlers. It doesn’t get better than the Beach Front Pool Villa Suite, 403 sqm in total, 268 sqm living space with 135 sqm half moon infinity private pool with direct beach access, a dream spot set on soft, white sand. Sink into one of the shaded cushioned day beds and sun loungers scattered around the private freeform swimming pool and beachside gardens. Bathe and shower by starlight in the outdoor bathroom – a jungle hideaway of elephant ear palms and other lush green drapings. Then slip between the organic cotton sheets on the pillow-topped king-sized bed in the sea-facing luxury master bedroom and float way into a blissful night’s sleep. www.soneva.com
Boat Show Boat
PHUKET INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW 2016
new edition for the 2016 Show will be a dedicated superyacht section. Organisers will offer a VVIP reception lounge in one of the luxury villas dockside for owners and agents to meet and greet invited guests interested in chartering or purchasing a superyacht, and potential customers will then be transferred to the yachts directly from the lounge by express launch. Located just outside Royal Phuket Marina, the collection of superyachts will offer interested parties the opportunity to view and walk through the yachts on display. “The Thai Government has identified the superyacht sector as one they wish to grow. Phuket already attracts more superyachts than anywhere in Asia, approximately 50 a year, and the Government plans to introduce a one year charter permit for superyachts that wish to charter in Thailand’s waters,”commented Dowden. He adds, “This is likely to have a significant impact on the local marine industry. It will attract many more superyachts to Phuket and Thailand. We are very happy to support the Government on this initiative and provide a platform for these superyachts and superyacht businesses to showcase.” www.phuketboatshow.com
Following a record breaking 12th Phuket International Boat Show presented by Thailand Elite in 2015, Royal Phuket Marina will once again host the event from 7th to 10th January 2016
Boat Show Show
OCEAN MARINA PATTAYA BOAT SHOW
cean Marina Pattaya Boat Show was launched in 2012 to much acclaim from the industry and visitors. Attracting a wide range of marine and luxury lifestyle exhibitors, the 2015 Show will take place from 26th to 29th November at Ocean Marina Yacht Club, South East Asiaâ€™s largest marina, and will showcase Jomtien and the Greater Pattaya region to the world, underscoring the Gulf of Thailand as a strategic yachting hub in South East Asia.
Ocean MarinaYacht Club Ocean Marina Yacht Club is Thailandâ€™s premier marina resort complex, in Jomtien, Pattaya, just a short drive from Bangkok, less than an hour from Suwannabhumi international airport, and only 15 minute from U-Tapao airport. It is one of the best international-class marinas and yacht clubs in Asia home to hundreds of yachts anchored in the safety of the giant U-shaped wave breaker with complete marine services. Edged by hills, a beach, and the splendid seascape of the eastern coast the Ocean Marina is close to many tourist attractions, golf courses, shopping and entertainment areas as well as islands. In effect, it is a unique nautical resort, a leisurely hideaway where, along with tranquility, you can indulge in water sports and relaxing yacht excursions. The seaside marina resort includes a boutique hotel of 51 guest rooms, marina-front restaurant, meeting-seminar-banquet facilities that can serve both small and large scale functions and a grand sports complex. Besides, it also has two twin towers of luxury residences, San Marino Condominium and Ocean Portofino Condominium for those who dream of owning a private home with a marina lifestyle. Affiliated with Asara Villa & Suite Hua Hin, Ocean Marina Yacht Club assures the ultimate luxury, elegance, privacy and nautical amenities coupled with Thai hospitality. www.oceanmarinaboatshow.com