Samui Wining & Dining
Attracting MICE

Rocky’s Boutique Resort is the perfect place for a meeting as well as a meal!

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15Island of dreams. A tropical get-away with picture postcard palm-fringed beaches, blue skies with fluffy clouds and an ocean that stretches forever. Samui is truly a little paradise on Earth. More than a million people come here every year to soak themselves in sunshine and recharge their batteries. The weather’s great and the food is fabulous. Even the people that live here would agree with this, although they don’t spend all their time on the beach. But all work and no play makes Jack very dull. Which is why Samui is attracting more and more MICE nowadays.

No, not the furry sort that cats chase! M.I.C.E., as in Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions. It’s been a long-established ploy for benign businesses to add a little playtime to their workers’ schedules. Sometimes this comes in the form of a reward – a pat on the head and a short sponsored holiday for high achievers. But more often it’s a combination of business and pleasure. As in, “If we really have to have a meeting then let’s all get together somewhere nice on Samui for a while.” And one of the nicest places that you’ll come across anywhere on the island is Rocky’s Boutique Resort, in Lamai.

This is very much a family-owned and -run resort, courtesy of Ole and Collette Larsen and with their son, Erik, directing and managing things on a day-to-day basis. It’s situated on the ring-road road, just after the ‘Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks’ (Hin-Ta Hin-Yai) as you’re coming from Lamai towards Hua Thanon, and it’s one of the island’s most laid-back and picturesque places. Their fine-dining restaurant (of the same name) is one of the best around. And it’s Collette’s design background that’s to the fore of everything, with the décor throughout being dramatic yet subtle, and that extends to the meeting/conference room too.

Collette’s a great fan of antique timber. You’ll find sculptures and cameos made of gnarled wood everywhere. The restaurant is dotted with such works of art. But the meeting/conference room is upstairs, on a higher level overlooking the bay. And at first sight it’s a shrine dedicated to ancient wood! There are two magnificent large painted wooden panels dominating the décor, and every surrounding surface is a creative mosaic of latticed timber. It’s only at the second glance that you notice the high-tech equipment tucked discreetly away on shelves and stands.

There’s this main meeting room plus a comfortably-sized balcony that can be incorporated by means of full-length folding windows. This is big enough to hold two very comfy sofas and is usually where the buffet and bar is placed when the room’s in use. Rocky’s hosts a lot of wedding parties and the room can easily seat 80 guests. But such is the resort’s reputation that increasingly more companies are using it for their MICE events, too.

There are two ways that companies like to do this,” explained Erik. “For example, we were pleased to host the executives and management of Tesco-Lotus when they opened their latest outlet in Lamai. They came for a business lunch and then a series of presentations that highlighted aspects of the new branch. In the evening they relaxed with a party. Everyone was based locally so there was no need of accommodation.

But the resort does offer some superb accommodation should you need it. There are 50 villas available and all of them have been fitted, furnished and decorated by Collette – meaning that they are each charmingly and exquisitely an essay in interior design. The villas are grouped on the higher part of the resort, screened and landscaped, with an attached bistro bar and small swimming pool.

And this is where groups will find themselves when they stay overnight. “We recently had a group of bankers from Bangkok,” continued Erik. This was a weekend conference to outline the procedures needed for international VISA Card registration. As well as setting up all the equipment for the AV presentations, we scheduled meals and entertainment for them – a dance show and fireworks on the sandy beach just below. We’re not only fully geared-up for meetings but we can provide all sorts of entertainment, too. We can even lay-on transport if some of them want to go out for the night.

Naturally, there’s a powerful PA system, and with a choice of free-standing speakers or the series of overhead units that are discreetly set into the wooden ceiling. There’s a large projection screen and computerised console for PowerPoint presentations, plus flat-screen TV’s, too. “Whatever form the data comes in,” Erik explained, we can accommodate it. USB sticks, i-Pods, external hard-drives, even 35mm slide shows. And, of course, if someone has a laptop with the presentation already on it then that’s no problem either.

There are actually three distinct areas that such business guests will find available to them. The first is the meeting/conference suite, already outlined. The second is the open-sided restaurant below, and this is where smaller groups often prefer to eat. And the third is the terraced area next to the pool and bar. But this is essentially recreational; an informal space where a little bit of business can be mixed with a lot of pleasure. This is the ‘sundowners’ space and also where the fire-dancers, visiting cabaret shows and fireworks can be seen.

It’s also worth mentioning that Rocky’s has in-built entertainment too – useful to know if you’re scheduling a conference. Each Tuesday there’s a Thai Buffet Night with an excellent Thai dancing group, and on Fridays you can enjoy the visiting Cabaret Show and Buffet. Both events are a cut above the ordinary. And with award-winning Executive Chef, Azizskandar Awang, plus the resident Sommelier, Florian Winkler, in attendance, there is very little more that you could possibly wish for!

They say that when the cat’s away then the mice do play. Well, there seem to be no cats at all, anywhere in the vicinity of Rocky’s Boutique Resort. I can say that with assurance because the MICE here can really relax. Well, certainly the ones that come for the meetings can – the little furry ones I’m not so sure about!

 


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