Samui Wining & Dining
Attracting MICE

Business and pleasure do go together at Chaweng Regent Beach Resort.


Attracting MICEYou’re sitting on a park bench in dappled sunlight. The sun beats down but the air is mild. The breeze flutters refreshingly. There’s a steady and drowsy pulse of crickets and cicadas, sharp against the melodic whistles of birdsong in the background. The lawn is thick and green and bordered by glossy bushes bursting with colour. There’s the top floor of a wooden Thai-style house playing hide and seek through the trees. A lone songbird begins a piercing rhythm that startles you and you gaze around in satisfaction, then stand and stretch.


And happily stroll back to join your colleagues, climbing the antique wooden stairs as you do, back into the deep shade of the heavily-curtained Benjarong Room, where the hum of the ceiling fans and the computer fans merge seamlessly together. Lunchtime is over and it’s back to another two hours of the conference before you can once again enjoy the surrounding parkland that is more usually known as Chaweng Regent Beach Resort.


Chaweng Regent was one of the first high-end resorts to be built on Samui and, with a couple of notable exceptions, still remains one of the biggest in Chaweng. Styled along traditional wood-built Thai lines, it sits on a huge rectangular parcel of land that runs between Chaweng Beach Road and the sea, several hundred metres north of the central landmark of Soi Green Mango. There are 139 spacious bungalows, villas and suites, two swimming pools, two quality restaurants, a spa, a beauty salon and a health club and two purpose-built conference rooms.


But what none of this can convey is the sheer visual scale of the fully-mature tropical fruit trees, bushes and shrubs that abound. Things grow rapidly over here in the tropics and even places that are only a couple of years old have impressive landscapes. But add another 20 years of growth onto that and you’ll begin to understand why the Thais worship the spirits of these mighty trees, some of which are festooned with ribbons and offerings and stretch into the heavens, almost beyond sight. Another effect of all this gigantic greenery is that it masks the obvious scale of things and creates glades and nooks which seem to be separate and apart from everywhere else. It’s absolutely ideal for visiting MICE groups to tuck themselves away for team-building or problem solving activities without becoming an amusing focus for bored and sleepy passers-by!


And when it comes to Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE), Chaweng Regent is an old and experienced hand at providing what people want and can back this up with an impressive and established track record. There are two conference rooms, the larger one being the Koh Samui Room, measuring 14 metres square and seating up to 150 people in a banquet layout. And right alongside this is the Benjarong Room that’s only just a touch smaller and can accommodate up to 120 businesspeople or partygoers.


The resort’s Marketing and Communication Manager, Nadine Rouget, has been organising and supervising MICE groups here for several years now, as well as overseeing the numerous weddings for which the resort is well-known. “We have two big purpose-made meeting rooms,” she explains, “which, between them, are suitable for every kind of group occasion. Naturally, we’re equipped for every contingency, too, with all the latest audio-visual hardware. But where we seem to score our brownie points is in the alternatives we offer. More often than not our groups opt for the open air – this is a tropical island after all! There are several private garden areas where we can set up the tables and equipment needed. And sometimes we alternate between an informal outdoor session and something more businesslike that’s ready and waiting indoors. And the same goes for private dining, too.”


And so it should. First of all, the resort’s beachside restaurant, Chomtalay, offers a super menu of International and Thai cuisine, right on the beach, with several evenings dedicated to theme buffets. And then there’s the resort’s superlative signature fine-dining venue, Red Snapper, on the vibrant Beach Road itself. It not only specialises in the gentile fusion of classical Mediterranean and Thai cuisine, courtesy of internationally-acclaimed French Executive Chef, Sébastien Meunier, but it’s also one of the very few restaurants on the island which has its own late-night live music lounge.


What all of this means is that MICE groups that come here have the time of their lives. There is the possibility of three separate meeting formats at the same time, from group activities outside to a boardroom heads-down or a seminar next door. Catering options run from included coffee and snacks to cabaret-dining at Red Snapper and there are several beach-barbecue choices, too. Spa and massage options can be woven in. Or any of the outdoor activities from water sports to team training and problem solving. And there’s also a fully-equipped business centre with secretarial, dictation, and translation facilities, fax and reprographics, and, naturally, complimentary broadband WiFi throughout.


The sounds are taken care of via a QSC Audio RMX 1450 400 watt amplifier mixed through a Soundcraft Spirit F1 12-channel mixer with 18 combination outputs. And there’s the usual array of projector screens and LCD flat-screen monitors that can be instantly hooked up to a laptop for presentations. All of which should take care of your needs without a qualm – even if the name of your group happens to be Black Sabbath.


And if you need independent references, then ask the 150-strong Maxis Telecommunications party that came from Malaysia last year for 5 days. Or the management of the Thailand Family Mart group. Or even the local Thai Hotels’ Association, which meets here regularly. But the two events which brought all the gardeners and housekeepers out of the woodwork for a week occurred firstly in 2009 when all the contestants for the ‘Miss Thailand’ pageant stayed there, followed by the ‘Miss Lebanese Emigrant’ beauty contest two years later. It’s certainly a rich and varied world!


And that’s without revealing all the minutiae of the numerous discounts and promotional combinations of accommodation and dining and/or spa options and packages that are also available.


MICE certainly do have fun at Chaweng Regent Beach Resort, whether the cat’s away or not!


Rob De Wet

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