Samui Wining & Dining
Attracting MICE
Combining business with pleasure at Impiana Resort Chaweng Noi Koh Samui.


Attracting MICEThis is a lovely island. It’s got just about everything – the whole picture postcard spectrum from palm-fringed beaches to blazing sunsets. The weather’s wonderful, the food’s just fab, and there’s a hundred fun-filled things to do. There’s a lot of people living and working here now and this number is growing every year. It’s everybody’s dream, to work in a tropical paradise. And the unique combination of work and play is what’s now put Samui firmly on the international MICE map.


No, not the small furry sort! M.I.C.E. as in Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions. Samui is perfectly placed between Hong Kong and Singapore and within easy reach of South East Asia and Australasia. And, with all the big companies now having branches around the globe, our island’s become a popular venue when it comes to an annual company get-together. But today’s management approach places the emphasis on teamwork and rewards. And this means that Samui’s beachside resorts are just the job to combine business and pleasure in the form of a short working holiday.


Of course, there’s more to it than simply offering a resort with a meeting room: the MICE industry comes complete with its own special needs and expectations. There has to be a full range of up-to-date audio-visual equipment, and universal WiFi internet access is a must. And superb catering with quality dining options are just as important. As are the healthy-lifestyle facilities of a spa and a health club or gym. But the crux of the matter is just how all this is presented and packaged. Experienced resorts will have a range of different combined options and will discount their pricing accordingly. And one resort that’s fully experienced in MICE-related activities is Impiana Resort Chaweng Noi Koh Samui.


‘Impiana’ has been a familiar name on the Samui scene for quite a while now. There are 98 rooms, cottages and suites terraced down the hillside in peaceful Chaweng Noi, just a few minutes around the corner from busy Chaweng Bay. There are two excellent restaurants: Sabai Beach Restaurant at ground level and with the upper level of the open-sided Tamarind Bar & Lounge having an adjoining lounge and games room. There’s the delightfully-tranquil retreat of Swasana Spa with its relaxing treatments and massages. And there are also two purposeful and well-equipped conference rooms.


The larger of the rooms, Chaba, is located on the quiet first floor of the main reception block. It’s impressively large, with one entire wall of curtained floor-to-ceiling windows and a full-sized podium at the far end. This is an important feature if there’s anything near a full-house (Chaba can seat up to 160 people) as a common complaint at other venues is that often the presenter or speaker is hard to see. This ‘stage’ also houses a huge 80-inch drop-down projector screen, should it be needed. “We can handle just about any format of presentation,” the resort’s Assistant Marketing & Event Manager, Diah Intan Maulidya explains. “Today, the usual thing is that people bring a laptop with a ready-prepared PowerPoint presentation. But we’ve previously rigged-up connections with external hard drives and even USB thumb sticks. We can handle just about everything when it comes to audio and video presentations.


On the same floor and just a moment or two away is Dalah. This is the second and smaller of the meeting rooms at Impiana but can still seat up to 50 people, according to the layout. This is the room that’s chosen for board meetings or small conferences and can be kitted-out with the appropriate furniture according to what’s required.


Both rooms have air-conditioning and also a well-equipped area for catering and refreshments. But where the resort scores lots of brownie points is the sheer flexibility of the optional extras on offer. “We’re happy to add any of our facilities onto the overall package,” continued Diah, “and the dining options are the most popular. We have frequent requests for a big nest of tables right on the sand and a private seafood buffet usually goes down well here. And we’ll add private chefs and butlers to that as well,” she added. “Plus there’s a range of entertainment we can combine with this, with everything from a DJ or live band to a Polynesian show or even a ladyboy cabaret. The same goes for the spa treatments, although this is usually approached as an individual option and not part of a group package.


You’ll discover that Impiana has already prepared a comprehensive price list of MICE options, covering all the aspects mentioned above and presented both as a ‘per day’ costing or, alternatively, pitched at a target of a block of 30 visitors. But, as Diah is happy to point out, extras and add-ons are quite usual and can be provided subject to negotiation. “All the groups who have come here for conferences have gone away happy,” Diah concluded, “and most of them have come back again on future occasions.


And if you needed any endorsements to this you could check out the ASEAN Meeting Pollution Control Department who enjoyed their conference here in June 2010. Or the international assemblage of Thai Gypsum (a subsidiary of British Plaster Boards (BPB) PLC) who came with a similar group a few months later. But perhaps the biggest splash was made by the prestigious TV3 Malaysia, back in January 2011, when their group enjoyably ensconced themselves for a total of four days and three nights whilst enjoying all the options that Impiana has to offer.


It’s a thriving industry and one where there’s now a lot of competition. But when it comes to combining business with pleasure there’s no doubt that Impiana Resort Chaweng Noi Koh Samui has proven itself admirably capable and is firmly on the international MICE map.


Rob De Wet


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