Samui Wining & Dining
Attracting MICE

Kandaburi Resort & Spa is the perfect place for a meeting as well as a great night out.

 

15Watch out! MICE! It’s OK, you can calm down. I’m not talking about the furry sort that scamper about after dark. The type of ‘mice’ this article is about aren’t anything to worry about at all and they just love being on a dreamy tropical island. This MICE stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions. And that covers everything from a wedding party to a bunch of bankers from Bangkok. It might be an event where 80 people get together for a meal. Or it may be all serious stuff with graphs and pie-charts and PowerPoint presentations. But whatever the occasion there are several things that are usually needed. A big room, for a start. Equipment, like a sound system or audio-visual gear. And then catering, or food that’s readily available. And, finally, accommodation – it’s just so handy if you have the option of staying overnight.

Almost a million visitors come to sun-soaked Samui every year. Most come for a holiday. But increasing numbers are coming here to tie the knot and get married. And, because of this, Samui now has quite a few places where everyone can assemble for the ceremony, or get together for a party afterwards. Others come here simply because it’s nice! It’s only about an hour away from most of Thailand’s main cities and that’s perfect for businessmen. And the ability to hold a serious meeting and have some fun at the same time is a strong attraction. That’s why there are now places on the island that are equipped to cater for both market-makers and merry-makers alike. And one of these is Kandaburi Resort & Spa, right up at the northern end of Chaweng Beach Road.

You’ll find ‘Kandaburi’ straddling Chaweng Beach Road right up at its northernmost end, close to where the town comes to an end. This resort is deceptively large – it actually spreads across the road in two sections. But the thing to look for is the landmark of the resort’s twin roadside restaurants, on the side opposite the beach. The stylish Mediterranean-cuisine Kandalina is on the left of the entrance and the signature fine-dining Thai restaurant, Tom Yam Thai, on the right. There are also around 100 rooms on this side of the road, together with a breakfast restaurant, a pub, a spa and the conference suite. And more of this last one in just a moment.

On the opposite side of the road the resort continues downwards on a slope towards the sea. It’s big, it’s shady and it’s very laid-back, with a broad central avenue leading between the rest of the rooms and down towards the beach and the expansive beachside restaurant, Frangipani. As with everything else here this has a big dining area but it doesn’t feel so because of the cunning way it’s laid out. It can hold upwards of 180 people, although the whole area is split into terraces and bounded by the huge frangipani trees, which make it all feel very cosy and intimate.

Heading back uphill again, on the opposite side of the road, you’ll climb a long central set of steps before you level-out onto a huge terrace with a carp pond in the middle. Beyond that is the stylish open restaurant that’s used for breakfast in this section.

To the right of this and adjoining the terrace where you’re standing is The Pub: it’s exactly what it says, a pub with pool, darts, music and other beer-related activities. Then just alongside this is what is officially dubbed the Kanda Ballroom. And this is the event-centre for everything MICE at Kandaburi.

It’s a huge space, air-conditioned and about 50 square foot with a high ceiling. Two of the walls have floor-to-ceiling windows, making it light and airy but the heavy drapes lend themselves to a rapid blackout, if needed. Everything is arranged to face the blank wall, unless there’s a banquet in progress when the seating arrangements are more sociable. And this wall is where the gigantic projector screen is situated, along with whatever other audio-visual aids are required. Of which Kandaburi has plenty.

Naturally, there’s a powerful PA system and a quality music set-up to complement it. There’s a whole range of whiteboards – some of the biggest you’ll ever see. There are inputs for laptop computers so that presentations can be projected and even broadband internet should anyone want to go online via the big screen. And if you’re business-based, then the resort will present each of you with a monogrammed clipboard complete with paper and pen.

But this is also the ideal venue to hold a wedding reception – exclusive and private – and with the option of remaining here for the meal afterwards, staying at The Pub, or heading down to Frangipani for some beachside frolics. Kandaburi is an experienced host when it comes to party groups and will provide whatever you require.

We have several patterns of seating,” the resort’s Food and Beverage Manager, Khun Saksorn Sangsuk, told me. “A dining layout with tables, for example, that can cater for up to 200 guests. Or we can set it up as a classroom or a theatre also and that means seating for 150 or 250, respectively. It’s all very flexible and if you let us know what you need we’ll arrange things accordingly.

The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. And the MICE who visit Kandaburi do a lot more than nibbling!

 


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