My Thailand trip began with a stay at the stunning St Regis Bangkok Hotel. Just three years old this beautifully appointed property combines Thai culture with luxury. With it's 227 rooms, of which 51 are suites, Starwood Hotels really knows how to pamper you.I had my own butler to help with anything I desired. After my stay here I was traveling throughout the country for 12 days and then returning to Bangkok so my butler arranged for me to leave all my gifts and winter jacket in storage to pick up when I returned from my adventures. During my stay the St Regis was holding an SPG concert starring pop singer KT Tunstall and invited me to join them. Drinks, appetizers, a huge dessert table and fantastic music. The perks of becoming a Starwood Preferred Guest is well worth it. This property is well equipped for the business traveler with one ballroom, 4 meeting rooms that can be divided into 7 separate function spaces, with 16,300 square feet.. Viu restaurant located on the 12th floor with captivating views of the The Royal Bangkok Sports Club with it's golf course and horse race track below..Here their Champagne breakfast buffet is one of the best I have ever experienced. Besides your traditional western choices of made to order egg station, pancakes and waffles you can also choose from a selection of many fresh squeezed exotic juices like watermelon, guava, pineapple. There is a full selection of cooked Thai dishes like curry chicken that will knock your socks off it is that good. Also some nice Dim Sum dishes. I love fresh mango and they were more than happy to bring me out some to add to their vast fruit selection. Also they feature a vast selection of home made baked breads. At night Viu turns into a romantic setting with international cuisine. JoJo on the lobby level serves Italian dishes. Thailand is a country that loves to please and here the staff go all out. The attentiveness and kindness of the staff will make you feel so very welcome. Throughout Thai resorts the staff will bow and greet you by saying (saw-at--dee) a hello and greeting of good day. Centrally located with a sky train station right on their second floor. You can avoid the terrible car traffic of Bangkok by taking train to and from the airport. Also just one stop away on the train is the famous Night Market a great place to pick up a few souvenirs.. And a short five minute walk from the Hotel is a beautiful shopping mall. It was the King of Thailand 88th birthday and the entire staff held a candlelit ceremony out front of the Hotel that we were all invited to join in. It was nice and quite moving to see how much pride they have in their country. With a stylish outdoor swimming pool and world class spa this is the perfect hotel for your Bangkok get away. For more information go to The St Regis BangkokA short one hour flight from Bangkok my next adventure was at the Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort. This magnificent beachfront property re-opened under the Outrigger flag in April 2013 boasting 255 rooms, 38 villas, 18 one, two and three bedroom suites. With all new modern interiors subtly blended with contemporary Thai touches.They have on site event and catering experts to meet your corporate or wedding needs. Voted best family hotel in Thailand 2013 by Holidays With Kids Magazine. This is truly one of the nicest family properties I have ever stayed at.One unique feature is the Kids Club, with a staff to watch and entertain your children with games and activities from noon till 4 PM daily. Thus freeing the adults up to jet ski on their beach or indulge in a massage.The Outrigger swimming pool features one of the longest water slides in Phuket. In the pool in one afternoon I met families and couples from Russia, Japan, China, Australia and England. Many parts of the globe have 8 hour or less direct flights to Phuket. Making this hotel truly an international destination. Did I mention that Candy a 2 yr old baby elephant lives nearby and comes over to the pool area twice a day. Hotel guests can feed, pet her, and take photos. Little ones can sit on her as well. Candy is more than happy to wrap her trunk around your neck and give you a kiss on the cheek. Now that was an experience I have never found at other tropical resorts.Outrigger has a wonderful white sand swimming beach that stretches for miles. Next to the beach are several local little stands to buy souvenir hand bags and clothing at great prices. I picked up a Hawaii style shirt with elephants on them for a third of what it would cost in most USA resorts. You can also find a one hour massage for $10. Can't find that in Hawaii. The hotel has a very nice Thai restaurant overlooking the beach. The other restaurant inside the hotel features Thai and international cuisine, and a singer nightly which adds to the romance. This property is the only one in the Laguna Phuket area offering Club Rooms with club privileges and a private guest reception.A one hour boat ride from Phuket is a water lovers paradise, the Zeavola Resort on Phi Phi Island. And yes that is the only way to get there. Even Bradley Cooper and the Hangover 2 cast took a boat for their stay at Zeavola. Your boat pulls right up onto the white sand of Laem Tong Beach at Zeavola Resort, and that is the last time you are encouraged to wear your shoes till you depart.This resort opened in 2005 and features 52 all suite private villas. These unique teakwood villas are inspired by rural Thai villages yet equipped with all the modern day conveniences, air conditioning, mini bar and flat screen TV and DVD player.Perfect for honeymooners and special getaways. A perfect adventure for a CEO to take his top staff. The GM Florian Hallermann is very friendly and will encourage you to leave your shoes at your private Villa, Embrace the soft white sand whether you are headed to dinner, spa, pool, or the beach. Yes that's right go barefoot to dinner. Baxil is an Authentic Thai cuisine restaurant is open air and right on the beach. Nature is first and foremost at this eco friendly resort. Each villa is surrounded by overgrown trees and birds abound as you walk along powder white sandy paths. Stroll the resort and you will find many photos identifying all the birds that live here. But I'm a water guy and I came to Zeavola for the amazing snorkeling and world class scuba diving.A great excursion at Zeavola is the speedboat snorkel trip. The boats hold 6-10 visitors so it is a very intimate adventure. Leaving at 8 AM returning at noon you will visit the small island and Maya Beach where Leonardo Dicaprio shot the film The Beach. This stunning beach sits on a National Park and has become world famous from the film. For that reason the Zeavola boat goes there early in the morning before the crowds arrive.After swimming and hiking around for an hour we were back on the boat to snorkel off that island. Then our boat whisked us to Monkey Island where we were given watermelon and had chance to feed and photo the monkeys that come down from the trees.One monkey stole the Sprite soda right out of my hands, they have no fear of people. Then it was off on the boat to another great snorkeling spot. our guide handed me fish food bringing them all around me and making it easier to get great photos. Before your trip pick yourself up a digital camera that goes underwater its a ton of fun. This boat excursion is only around $75 and was one of the highlights of my three week Asia trip. For $40 Zeavola has their own Thai longboats that will take a couple on a private romantic 2 hour snorkel excursion.The resort can set up private island getaways, sunset cruises, along with custom culinary packages to fit your desires.This 5 Star Padi Dive Resort offers a two scuba dive day with a guide for total of $130. Only a short ten minute boat ride from the resort, soon I was underwater exploring the colorful coral reef of the Andaman Sea. We went down around 50 feet and looked up to see 20 feet above us a school of 60 Barracudas, each 2 feet long just casually motoring along. It was breathtaking. I will take that memory with me for the rest of my life.After a morning dive enjoy a tasty Thai lunch overlooking the resort beach. Featuring a wonderful selection of Thai dishes, seafood and Italian cuisine for dinner as wellThe Zeavola Spa uses ancient Thai healing massage techniques and natural herbs turning a massage into an artistic experience not to be forgotten.Zeavola has won many awards including the 2012 Traveler choice award by Tripadvisor. So tap into your inner Peter Pan and Robinson Crusoe for a great adventure go to Zeavola ResortThe Vana Belle a Luxury Collection Resort is tucked away in a secluded cove on the island of Koh Samaui. With striking ivory white sand beach and breathtaking Ocean views of the Gulf of Thailand. This prime beach location features emerald lush tropics. Vana Belle means beautiful forest, This Starwood resort is only one year old and features 80 stunning villas and suites.They have 2 meeting spaces, the largest being 323 square feet. Perfect for a one of a kind executive staff getaway. The resort was beautifully designed around existing trees and natural rock formations.There are many statues of the hotel mascot Kunchorn Waree, a mythical creature with an elephant head and front legs with the body and tail of a fish. My Ocean View Pool Suite sat up on the hill offered a panoramic sea view framed by my private infinity pool and terrace. The bathroom with floor to glass doors and windows featured an elevated tub with an ocean view. Enjoy a private Thai cooking class or kick boxing lesson, I found both quite fun.I loved the relaxing beachfront infinity pool features several canopy beds in the pools edge. This world class Spa unites the resort stunning setting with traditional Thai therapies. I loved the 90 minute Hot Stone Massage, extremely relaxing and rejuvenating.Kiree restaurant indoors and air conditioned with an outdoor patio with ocean views offers a leisurely buffet breakfast with western as well as Thai dishes. in the evening it turns romantic and offers southern Thai cuisine.Panali is an open air restaurant and sits right near the pool and beach offering seafood and Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner. For a small business meeting I love the outdoor lobby lounge with panoramic views of the Gulf of Siam, here choose between tropical cocktails, premium wines, whiskeys and cigars. Very private and steeped in luxury this property is sure to become a favorite of the rich and famous. The island of Koh Samui offers many adventures from the famous full moon parties, snorkel and scuba adventures, a water slide park and a tiger preserve. The Vana Belle concierge can tailor a private getaway just for you. To read more and book your stay go to Vana Belle Luxury Collection ResortSpecial thanks to Jay Diamond who helps out with many of my articles including this one.
Published on Mar 14, 2014