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A Banyan Tree Phuket villa, viewed from the private pool

Indian Marriage Made in Heaven for Banyan Tree

Saturday, November 21, 2009
Banyan Tree Honeymoon Photo Album Above

INDIAN weddings have become an extremely desirable commodity for resorts on Phuket. Wealthy Indian families will splurge millions of dollars on nuptials.

And the biggest one we've heard of has just taken place over three days at the Banyan Tree Phuket, the most upmarket of Laguna Phuket's resorts.

A total of 700 guests have flown in for the big occasion. It is believed they came on specially chartered flights.

Bill Barnett on thephuketinsider.com reports that the whole exclusive five-star resort has been booked out, including the 149 villas.

This is, our wedding expert calculates, at least a $3 million dollar hitch. That's about as far from the simple ceremony at the downtown registry office as it's possible to get.

And more sumptuous Indian weddings on Phuket are on the way.

We believe there's another scheduled for the Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket involving 230 guests in December. Five hundred more guests from India are due to celebrate a wedding at the Banyan Tree Phuket again in February.

Other large resorts, including the Hilton Phuket Arcadia at Karon, have also become favorites for Indian brides and grooms who travel in large family groups.

Indian weddings, often arranged marriages where wealthy families are involved, cater to hundreds, bringing lavish performances, food and festivities on a scale that defies the imagination.

Who is getting married in secrecy on Phuket? We can't say . . . but you can be sure some Bollywood stars will be involved, and it's also certain that the Indian media will be keen to reveal all once they know a little more.

Phuketwan has ''honeymooned'' in a Banyan Tree villa and can vouch for the quality of the sheets, the butler service and the ambience. This is luxury with a capital L, and at a rather large price.

The BT villa bathroom was the largest we've seen. The bedroom was surrounded by glass windows and water.

Around the wooded villa area, golf carts transport guests through grassy glades. It's a dream destination, in every way.

You can ride bicycles to the beach, or to enjoy a dinner at Tre, an exclusive restaurant that only caters to BT guests. The resort spa is a sanctuary, one of the best on the island.

And staying at a villa also means personal butler service. When Phuketwan received the honeymoon treatment at a Banyan Tree villa, it meant that when we returned from dinner, the entire floor, the bed and every other surface was covered in rose petals.

One can only contemplate how much more overwhelmingly romantic the present Indian wedding must be.

The growth of Phuket as a popular destination from India is increasing to the point where the Tourism Authority of Thailand has made weddings in Thailand a specialty.

It's close enough to be easy to get to, in some ways similar, yet excitingly different.

Sethaphan Buddhani, the recently departed regional director of the TAT on Phuket, is now heading up the operation in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), the second TAT office in India.

And AirAsia has just announced plans for a major expansion into the sub-continent that will eventually bring a direct flight link to Phuket.

India, it seems, is being looked at as both a new market at the Banyan Tree quality end and as a productive source for budget travellers as well.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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I want to thank you for excellence of your reporting and for keeping us informed on our community as well as the world at large.

Congratulations are indeed in order!

Adrienne

Posted by Adrienne Tusoni on November 21, 2009 15:20

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Kanye West performed at that wedding on Thursday night.
Must have cost a fortune.

Posted by Glen on November 21, 2009 16:24

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i attended, Kayne West was paid a million dollars, says thephuketinsider.com. Baby, .easily a $20 million wedding

Posted by Anonymous on November 24, 2009 18:50

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this kind of extravagance is just disgusting.

Posted by Vfaye on November 26, 2009 13:13

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Vfaye nailed it.

His money, his choice. It's a free world.

But this particular choice displays an arrogant, self-indulgent, cluelessness. Think of the good that could have been done with that money.

What an opportunity squandered away. At least Kanye West won't go hungry.

Posted by D on November 26, 2009 17:02


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