Dear friends of Tongsai Bay
Well another year is drawing to a close and as we go through the gentlest of monsoons in living memory, we are gearing ourselves up for Christmas and what looks like a positive 2012. As usual we have slowly but surely made improvements to the resort. The big project, opening at the start of the year, was the new look ‘Po-Lad Beach Bistro’ complete with major refurbishment, new furniture, new Chef and new menu. Guest comments and increased revenues have more than justified the significant investment. On a smaller scale we have moved the hotel shop to a strategic position by the lobby and moved the exercise room down to a new facility on the pool deck. Prana Spa has had a ‘facelift’ and we have built new walkways and pathways throughout the 25 acres of gardens. Over 40 rooms and villas have had individual upgrades and all our restaurants (and room service) are operating with brand new menus.
On reflection, 2011 certainly started out well as the ‘recovery year’ and after a perfect start it turned into a year of highs and lows. The lows being dominated by ‘the weather’. Who can forget the shock horror of the Japanese Tsunami closely followed the worst storm in recent Koh Samui history in March (traditionally our driest and hottest month)? As soon as we got back to a semblance of normality, horrendous floods worked their relentless way down the Kingdom leaving a trail of devastation and grief in their wake. Whilst in no way diminishing the pain and damage caused to the lives millions of Thai people in the countryside, the mainstream press, in particular CNN, BBC and many international newspapers, merely added to the problem with irresponsible and exaggerated ‘blood and guts’ reporting. As usual they then completely forgot about us when positive things were happening. Why do they only report extreme bad news and never recovery and good news? The wonderful resilient Thai people deserved better and should not have been punished further by such negative reporting which led to a huge and, for the most part, unnecessary loss of tourism revenue. Koh Samui, Phuket, downtown Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi Airport and the southern resorts together with their road, rail and infrastructures were totally untouched thoughout. Enough of the bad news – I won’t even start to mention recessions, politics, wars, Euro-zone meltdown……
Koh Samui continues to develop, albeit at a slower pace than before and as always, some of it is good and some of it – well not so good! We have certainly seen the arrival of many of the big brand name hotels, all using their global marketing muscle to promote their fantastic facilities. Private pools, personal butlers and high-tech ‘toys’ are now the norm like mini bars and tea & coffee making facilities were just a few years ago! Clearly it is the brands that are promoting the destination globally which has to be good for us all. The continuing saga of limited airlift and too much hotel development will continue to run with no real end in sight! At the end of the day it will be the survival of the fittest and the most determined. In that connection, please forgive me if I end with a blatant piece of “showing off”. Two days ago The Tongsai Bay achieved the Number ONE position of all Hotels in Koh Samui on Trip Advisor, having started the year at Number 9! Love it or hate it - believe it or doubt it, there is no doubt that Trip Advisor it plays an ever increasingly powerful role in people’s decision making processes. What makes our position even more satisfying to me, it shows that it is not necessarily amazing state of the art facilities and million dollar corporate budgets that reaches the hearts and minds of today’s hotel guests. It is still, without doubt, good old-fashioned quality service provided by naturally friendly and professional staff. It has to be, because that is what we do!
On behalf of our wonderful owners, and the best 200+ members staff in Koh Samui, I wish you a happy Christmas and a peaceful & healthy 2012. Thank you for your continuing support.
Michael R. Holehouse