Samui Wining & Dining
Attracting MICE

Nora Buri Resort & Spa is a luxurious place for a meeting as well as a meal!

 

19It’s great! It’s not too hot and never too cold. When it rains, it’s usually a quick shower. The people are delightful, the accommodation varied and the food fabulous. Our lovely little island is only an hour from Bangkok and has direct flights to Phuket, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. It’s the perfect place for a holiday. It’s a relaxing place to work. And it’s one of the best spots in Thailand for combining these two things together.

And more and more people are coming to Samui to do exactly that. And because of these Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions, the MICE facilities on Samui are getting better all the time. And none more so than the lavish suite to be found at Nora Buri Resort & Spa, just a little way north of Chaweng on the road to Choeng Mon. The Nora Group has established a name on Samui for sumptuous standards, beginning with the first of its resorts, Nora Beach Resort & Spa, in Chaweng. But its recently-completed flagship, ‘Nora Buri’, has moved the bar even higher. It’s effectively in two sections (although joined by a subway) with one area on the slope down to the beach and land-marked by the dramatically-designed The Barge restaurant; and the other part on the opposite side of the road, stretching in terraces up the hillside.

The view is superb, the layout intriguing, and there are 46 pool-villas, 98 deluxe-villas and two presidential suites to choose from. There are two big, layered infinity pools, together with no fewer than four fine-dining restaurants, a snack bar, a tapas bar, a spa, a fitness centre and a conference suite that includes a business centre. It’s all very impressive.

The conference suite is on the lower level and joined to the restaurants and pool area by one of the sets of steps and walkways that proliferate. But they’ve been a bit clever here, or thoughtful, at least. There’s an elevator that runs up from the conference room to the pool level and then to the restaurant floor above. Once you’ve explored the site for a while you’ll really come to appreciate the convenience of this!

Spacious and lofty, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors along one side that can be either opened completely or blacked-out for presentations, the conference suite has been designed with every practicality in mind. There’s also a choice of seating arrangements for different occasions. Using the ‘theatre’ setting, with the seats in rows close together for larger groups of lecture-style presentations, the room will accommodate a maximum of 250 people. But if notes need to be taken then the more appropriate desk-style of the ‘classroom’ seats up to 180. And then for group discussions or interaction various permutations of ‘U-shaped’ or ‘hollow square’ settings can be tailored to individual requirements. And for smaller groups there are rectangular tables set together in ‘nests’ – ideal for meetings of up to 24 people. (And the resort also is a popular venue for more festive occasions, such as weddings or birthdays, when you can expect to see the circular tables of the ‘banquet’ format come into play

As you might expect, the quality and range of equipment available is first rate, too. There’s a full range of audio-visual equipment, with everything from a JBL multi-channel Dolby surround system and 35mm slide and overhead projectors through to large-screen video projection facilities with computer inputs for PowerPoint presentations or rapid-access internet viewing. There are wireless mikes and laser pointers. There are four 50-inch HD plasma screens and Sony HD and Blu-ray video players. But on this point please do check your connectors and sockets beforehand: the range of HDMI cabling options (which has a composite HD video signal combined with up to 8 channel sound) and the various formats of DVI (dual or single) may need the support team to provide you with the appropriate interface or adaptors. They’re even equipped to use your computer hard drive directly as a media player, or your iPod or USB memory stick! On the same subject, their consoles can accept data transfer via USB2, FireWire or eSATA interfaces.

But where Nora Buri scores a big handful of brownie points is with its supplementary business centre. There’s obviously internet access, and fax machines also for those legal documents and papers. There are multilingual personal assistants available for translation and correspondence (English, French, German and Thai) to assist with dictation, typing and layout and to collect/research/compile information. And there’s also the useful facet of video conferencing, should you need it.

Everything is brand new and shiny here as this (the second) phase of Nora Buri was only recently completed, in time for this current Christmas/New Year high-season of 2010/2011. The gym and fitness centre gleams with the latest state-of-the-art equipment and electronic technology, and comes with a personal trainer if you want to plan a series of daily programs. I’m told that this is often knitted into the business-meeting planning as it’s now an established approach to encourage healthy bodies to go along with active minds. There are also daily yoga classes if your preferences are more sublime.

This applies to the resort’s Anodas Spa, too, offering a whole range of pampering and rejuvenation treatments. One of the most popular activities is to spend the afternoon in a seminar and then head for a massage afterwards before a gentle splash in the pool and a doze in the lowering sun.

And in the evening, together with the live entertainment that goes with it, not the least of the attractions here is the superb choice of restaurants. As well as the established Rice Barge Thai restaurant and the international The Barge Fine Dining across the road, on the same side of the road as the conference suite you’ll be able to enjoy a refined meal at either their new Italian or Royal Thai restaurants, too. Even the humble-sounding ‘snack bar’ is a luxurious and open free-standing café, complete with three white-uniformed chefs. And there’s also the indulgence of 24-hour room service if you’re working late and burning the midnight oil preparing for your presentation in the morning!

Whether it’s a one-day conference or a long weekend’s set of presentations and seminars, at Nora Buri business and pleasure have been designed to go hand-in-hand. The accommodation is superb, the amenities extensive and the facilities first class. When it comes to attracting MICE they use a great deal more than cheese here!

 


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