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Anantara offers seabedded bliss with underwater weddings

'Superstar Search' as Thai Resorts Fight Back

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
BE THE next ibis superstar. Or should that be Ibis Superstar? Marry underwater, or snaffle a ''lazy break'' at a discount price . . .

Resorts on Phuket and elsewhere are reacting to troubled times with all kinds of novel ideas to boost profiles and business, and lower prices.

As one brand says, it's all part of ''May Madness.''

With so much uncertainty, lower prices are one certain way to restore consumer confidence. But how low will they go?

The ''Search for the Ibis Idol 2009'' has just begun, with contestants having the ''chance to win the experience of a lifetime as the new face of the ibis brand in Thailand, plus 100 free ibis hotel stays to win by competition voters.''

What's on offer, say ibis idol promoters, are ''fashion shoots, personal portfolios, trips abroad, DJ-ing and free hotel stays is just one click away at ibisidol-thailand.com''

Anyone aged 17-35 ''with the right look, style and personality to represent the new generation for the ibis Hotel Thailand brand, is welcomed to get online and complete the entry with introductory photos or a video clip.

''The winner of ibis idol 2009 will live the dreams of millions with a year long, trendy lifestyle which includes a trip to Korea for two, a year of free accommodation at ibis hotels across Thailand and the star role in a professional photo shoot to create a personal fashion portfolio.

Taking its lead from reality tv, much as the Australian tourism ''Best Job in the World'' also did recently, the competition will involve online entries and voting.

The ibis idol 2009 winner will also enjoy a one month stint as a ''superstar VJ Rookie on Channel V'' and a monthly salary of 10,000 baht for a year.

''Like all ibis customers who enjoy a fun and friendly stay at affordable price, the winner will experience fame and a cool lifestyle with ibis Hotel Thailand.''

There, Phuketwan has done its bit to promote the competition, even though it discriminates against those under 17 and those over 35. Thailand's culture, fortunately, remains one of the least ageist in the world.

Details of the ibis idol 2009 competition can be found at ibisidol-thailand.com.

we remain puzzled why some resort brands have taken the constantly confusing lower case route while others scream for attention, all in capital letters.

Established in 1974, ''ibis is the European leader and one of the first economy hotel chains in the world, with nearly 90,000 rooms and 790 hotels in 39 countries, including five in Thailand.''

There's one in Patong on Phuket, with another on the way.

Thai brand Centara is also stumping for customers, offering ''a selection of special rates exclusively for members of the travel industry.''

This usually means the rate applies to everybody.

''We really want the industry to see for themselves just what great value Thailand is, and that everything is back to normal,'' Chris Bailey, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing, is quoted as saying.

Rates start at just 999 baht a night for ''a double room with Buffet Breakfast included'' (strange how Buffet Breakfast deserves capitals but the whole ibis brand does not).

''So whether you fancy a lazy break on the paradise island of Samui, a visit to that old favourite Phuket, the charm of Hua Hin, 'newly discovered' Trat, a browse round the markets of Chiang Mai or an exciting break in bustling Bangkok, Centara Hotels & Resorts has it all.

''And with Krabi, Mae Sot and Hat Yai participating too you may be tempted to stay longer than planned!''

For just one baht more, you can stay at a Millennium Hotel where 1000 room nights from 1000 baht are going at the five-star Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok and Millennium Resort Patong Phuket.

Packages are available online at www.millenniumhotels.com from now until June 15.

Special rates are valid for a maximum two-night stay and include a 30-minute massage. Additional room nights are also discounted.

At the very top end, Anantara, which recently opened a Phuket resort at Mai Khao, is now promoting weddings underwater for divers and non-divers, who can undergo a lesson before the wedding at no extra charge.

''A wedding is a once-life-time experience that every bride and groom wants to be unforgettable, unique, amorous and special.

''Anantara Koh Samui presents couples with an amazing underwater wedding location full of coral and of course colourful fish as the witnesses!''

We are holding our breath to see what kinds of interesting offers come next.

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Wednesday September 22, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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