Samui Wining & Dining
Attracting MICE.

There’s an entire network behind the conference facilities
at Nora Beach Resort & Spa.


19Establish an excellent 4-star beachside resort with outstanding accommodation and facilities complete with two fine-dining restaurants attached. Combine this with astute management and competent international marketing. Result? A new Samui resort which, within a year, is successful and one of the island’s finest. Repeat the formula, this time with two budget-class resorts but with similar attention to detail and quality. And keep the brand-name, Nora. It has a local family of owners, a regional brand name that’s rooted in a Southern Thai folk-tale and it’s gone on to become a contemporary legend on Samui, too.


The first of the ‘Nora’ group’s resorts was the luxurious and extensive Nora Beach Resort & Spa, right up at the very far northern end of Chaweng Beach. It’s set in a large and lazily sprawling landscape that’s terraced down the rocky hillside in this part of the island – with a ‘hewn from the rock’ kind of feeling that instantly inspires confidence. But it was a measure of the group’s effective marketing policies that the subsequently- solid 3-star family town hotel, the Nora Chaweng Hotel, was booked to capacity in the Christmas and New Year period that followed only 5 months after its opening. The message here being that the Nora Group might be local but they’ve really got their finger on the pulse.


And last year, their 5-star flagship enterprise, Nora Buri Resort & Spa, burst proudly onto the Samui scene with sumptuous landscaping, world-class standards and facilities that were second to none, and rivalling the offerings of those several international brand-names which had sought to secure a foothold on our island paradise. The point being? The point being that each of the ‘Nora’ resorts is a part of the whole. They’ve pioneered a unique management structure that operates laterally between each of their resorts and, in effect, each of their individual resorts is a party to and shares all the resources that the whole group has to offer.


In the last several years, Samui has become an established focus on the South East Asia map. From Mumbai to Melbourne, with all points in-between, our little island has risen to the fore as a location which is only a few hours away by air and an excellent place for pleasure and business alike. And the combination of business with pleasure is drawing more and more people here every year. The Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) niche is flourishing on Samui. And the Nora Group has got this taped: not to mention wrapped, packed and presented quicker and slicker than anyone else around.


Khun Jeff – formally-known as Khun Prajuabphan Sakakorn (hence the alias of ‘Jeff’) – is both the General Manager of Nora Beach and also the Group Director of Sales and Marketing for the entire Nora Group (he’s an extremely busy man) – explained it like this: “The Nora Group is a group. We share management and responsibilities and we share facilities and amenities. Let’s say a MICE party wants to come to Samui. They have a set budget, as is the case with everyone. If their funding is world-class and unlimited then they will be accommodated at Nora Buri in 5-star luxury. But if they are a little more cost-conscious, then they might opt to stay here at Nora Beach. We’re 4-star. It’s easier on the pocket, although it would be hard to spot the difference in terms of day-to-day experience.


But the big plus is that, even though they are lodging here, the extensive facilities and amenities of the 5-star ‘Buri’ are at their disposal,” he continued. “Nora Buri has an ultra-modern fitness centre with personal trainers. There’s ‘The Barge’ restaurant that’s become a Samui landmark, with three individual restaurants within. The spa facilities are world-class. And all of the business aspects, the secretarial services, the fax and copying or reprographic services of the 5-star Nora Buri are shared between our other resorts.


Khun Jeff then proceeded to tell me about Bridgestone International Australia – the tyre company. They stayed at Nora Beach for five days last February with 50 people. But they were easily shuttled up to Nora Buri every day to utilise the conference and leisure facilities: it’s just about the next resort up the hill!


The business equipment available ranges from a Bose multi-channel Dolby surround system to 35mm slide and overhead projectors, to large-screen video projection facilities with computer inputs for PowerPoint presentations. There are Sony HD and Blu-ray video players. There’s a floating support team which can swap connections and plugs and adaptors to match the cross-platform tangle between Apple-Mac and Microsoft. And, wherever you decide to have your meeting or conference, at the splendid Nora Beach or the lavish Nora Buri, you’ll be accommodated and supported every step of the way.


Nora Beach itself has an attractive in-house conference suite in any case. This is an entirely private area to one side and on a level beneath the reception lounge. There are two dedicated rooms, each measuring about 30 feet by 20, which can be opened into one large space that can cater for up to 100 people or minimised down to a comfortable 10-person confab. There’s a wide coffee-cum-buffet deck right outside, and with a side entrance that allows for the easy-access of samples or display materials.


But, in the end, it all comes down to money. The international Panasonic Group were pleased enough to bring 55 people to stay Nora Beach last March with a one-million baht budget over a six-day period. And they’ve booked again for later in the year.


You don’t always get what you pay for everywhere you go and it’s never easy to know quite what it is that you’re going to get. But, on Samui, there’s one name that you don’t have to worry about. The name is Nora. And, whether it has ‘Beach’ or ‘Buri’ tacked onto the end of it, you can rest assured that you will get something to remember and it will inspire you to return.


Rob De Wet


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