Vol. VI No. 43 - Tuesday
December 18, - December 24, 2007



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


FEATURES
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

British bikes triumphant in the north

Talented new musicians at Glass Onion’s anniversary party

Christmas Tonight brings joy to the world

Location, location, location, Le Meridian to open in the heart of Night Bazaar

Stars from the Academy Fantasia made everyone’s night at the Baan Wongmalee Christmas Party

 

British bikes triumphant in the north

Big Bikers thrilled with arrival of Triumphs to Chiang Mai

Ploy and Nung the two lovely Triumph girls flank Panuphong,
 Jon Glendinning, Dom Hetrakul.

Dr. Duentemduang na Chiangmai would turn heads on the streets
of Chiang Mai if she ever to ride one of these monsters.

Combined energies create electric sparks to light up the crystal ball as Nareerat Chantaramungkorn, Dr Duentemduang, Jon Glendinning and Dom Hetrakul perform the opening ceremonies.

Jeff Pike receiving a key as the first customer of Triumph Niyom Phanich Chiang Mai from Dom Hetrakul - watched by Jon Glendinning, Dr Duentemduang, Nareerat Chantaramungkorn, Karen and daughter Fern.

The Britbike Company Ltd, the sole distributor of British Big Bikes in Thailand and Niyom Phanich Co. Ltd, the Triumph Authorised Dealer here in the north), together organised the grand opening of the new Triumph Niyom Phanich Chiang Mai showroom on Nimmanhaeminda Road, the first ever in the Northern Region.
Dr Duentemduang na Chiangmai presided over the ceremony along with Jon Glendinning, the Honorary Consul for Great Britain.
Jon mentioned in his speech that as he grew up in England he was very familiar with the Triumph name, and was sad when Japanese imports decimated the British Motorcycle industry. As a result it gave him great pleasure to see Triumph motorcycles arrive here in Chiang Mai’.
Along with honoured guests, over 40 ‘Big Bikers’ attended the opening ceremony, bringing their bikes with them, of course and competing to see who had the biggest.
Jeff Pike received a special key as a reward for being the first customer of the new showroom. Six bikes were sold in the first week, a great beginning for a very popular store.
Mr Asawin Mallamphut, Director of Britbike Co. Ltd. emphasized the quality of service prospective customers can expect. All ‘Triumph’ customers will receive the same level of quality service, regardless of the dealer’s location. “Technicians from Thailand have been trained and certified by Triumph’s experts in the United Kingdom.”

 

Talented new musicians at Glass Onion’s anniversary party

Also celebrating CM’s new contemporary fashion label!

Laurent Chiarelli, Hannah Oelbe, Jonas Dept with congenial host Kris.

Jessica Loh, Mike Hock, Gao Linprasert, Keeley Robinson and Nida Laohavad enjoying themselves thoroughly.

Valerie, Wad, Kris and Jessica making a fashion statement.

Beautiful people all in a row. Leah, Emily, Liz, Matt, Carissa and Schuyler

Kris, the always amiable host, took the opportunity of the second anniversary of the Glass Onion in Nimmanheimin Road to introduce some talented musicians, amongst whom was Jonas Dept; who completed his Masters’ degree in piano and Chamber music in Brussels. He has toured all over Europe and is now settled in Chiang Mai. He will perform every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at The Glass Onion at 10pm. Accompanying him at the anniversary party were Hannah on the violin, and Laurent on the guitar.  The Glass Onion was packed out with trendy young things, which bodes well for the coming years with many more anniversary parties expected. Also Kris used the evening to introduce Valerie and Wad to his friends. Valerie and Wad have started a Fashion Brand, designed and made in Chiang Mai called LABCNX. It is based on contemporary design for successful Asian people living abroad. Valerie and Wad are already in final negotiations with a well known Fashion Show in the West - and it looks like Chiang Mai will soon be ‘on the map’ for more things than Elephant camps and Spas! .


Christmas Tonight brings joy to the world

The Chiang Mai Choral Society International took the stage recently in bright holiday dress at Chiang Mai University Art Museum’s Theater for a performance of Christmas Tonight! its annual celebration of the holiday season.

Sid Richardson, Pianist and Music Director; Pitijet (Xavier) Vichitporn, Conductor seem thrilled after a most rousing performance.
The variety of music chosen by Music Director Sid Richardson, who is also pianist for the group, delighted the full house. Directed by Pitijet (Xavier) Vichitporn, the Choral Society performed both sacred and secular selections that varied from the classical Nazareth to All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.
The program began with a performance of The King’s Anthem, which was immediately followed by the signature song of the group, “It’s A Grand Night for Singing.”
And a grand night it was as Mark Walder welcomed the audience. New pieces such as Everywhere Christmas Tonight and the rollicking and humorous ‘Christmas in a Minute’, a contemporary version of harried holiday life based on ‘The Minute Waltz’ by Frederik Chopin, were balanced by old favorites ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘We Need a Little Christmas’ from the stage play ‘Mame’.
Sid Richardson, pianist, Xavier Vichitporn, director and flutist, and Krang Pakawanit, flutist, performed a flute and piano ensemble of traditional Christmas carols that were arranged by Mr. Richardson.
The beautiful and classical ‘Nazareth’ by Gounod was skillfully performed by baritone soloist Tony Bayliss, bass Bill Moeller, tenor David Geddes, alto Sharon Landwer-Johan and soprano Rachel Cox.
The evening ended with a sevenfold ‘Amen’, ‘The Lord bless you and keep you’, by Lutkin and a bright and rousing reprise of ‘Everywhere Christmas Tonight’. Own-Own Pakawanit, piano student, assisted Mr. Richardson in the performance. Rebecca Lomax recognized the Music Director and Director as well as the Flutist and student assistant with flowers, then thanked the audience and extended the Choral Society’s Christmas wishes to all. “We wish you the merriest of Christmases, a very happy New Year, and, most of all, peace.”

The beautiful voices of Tony Bayliss, Bill Moeller, David Geddes, Sharon Landwer-Johan, Rachel Cox lent gave meaning to Nazareth.

Accolades to the Chiang Mai Choral Society International.
You have filled our hearts with joy this festive season.


Location, location, location, Le Meridian to open in the heart of Night Bazaar

Chiang Mai Mail talks to Mr Yves Mudry, GM of this new 5 star property

CMM: When will Le Meridien Chiang Mai open, and when can people start making reservations?
YM: It is scheduled to open in April 2008. The hotel is perfectly located in the heart of the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. We are located only 7kms from Chiang Mai’s International Airport. There are many channels in which guests can make bookings or enquiries. Our branded websites (lemeridien.com + spg.com) guarantee the best rate available on the day. We also have Starwood Customer Calls Centers or simply phone the hotel directly; 053-820-140. Each of these options is available 24 hours a day. We will start taking reservations 3 months prior to our opening, therefore bookings from January 2008.

Yves Mudry
CMM: How many rooms will Le Méridien Chiang Mai have, how tall is the building, and how many floors does it have?
YM: We have 384 rooms and suites. There are 22 floors to the hotel. Room types include 113 Deluxe Rooms, 40 Junior Suites, 3 Diplomatic Suites and 1 Royal Suite. Many of the rooms have stunning views overlooking the majestic Doi Suthep Mountain and feature the exclusive Le Meridien Bed, available in king or twin. The rooms are chic with sleek glass and marble bathrooms and an ultra-cool rain shower. The rooms are fitted with all the ultra modern fixtures. Broadband is available in all rooms. The floors include Royal Club Floors, Starwood Preferred Guest Floors and Non-smoking floors.
CMM: What other facilities are available?
YM: There are two main restaurants as well as our lobby bar and pool side bar. Chiang Mai will be the first Le Meridien Hotel to have a ‘Favola’ restaurant which will offer affordable Italian cuisine. Not just the usual pizza and pasta offerings but a whole range of authentic tastes of Italy. We will also have an extensive wine cellar. Also new will be the Latest Recipe Restaurant which will be an interactive dining experience inspired by international flavours. It will have a buffet or a la carte selection for breakfast, lunch and dinner. ‘Latitude 18’ - coffee and cocktail lounge and ‘Plunge’ - healthy cuisines overlooking the pool terrace. There is a Spa and Fitness Centre which will offer extensive services. Le Meridien Chiang Mai has 1800sq.m. of convention and meeting space; the largest area being the Convention Hall, which can host up to 700 guests or can be divided into 3 separate rooms. We also have the Grand Ballroom and various other rooms. There is plenty of space providing perfect venues for weddings, cocktail events, seminars and meetings.
CMM: Most of our readers are from the expat community – what’s new that you will be able to offer them?
YM: The idea will be for people to come and enjoy good quality yet affordable food, whilst in the area of the famous Night Bazaar. We believe one of a hotel’s greatest assets is its location— ours, we believe, is perfect— close to the Night Bazaar, the most popular night spot in Chiang Mai for both shopping and entertainment.
CMM: How will Le Meridien differ from other 5 star hotels in Chiang Mai?
YM: Le Méridien has an enviable reputation amongst both Thai and foreigners living in Thailand. Now Chiang Mai can boast its own Le Meridien. Guests will look forward to returning to their luxurious hotel room or suite. From Le Royal Club and on higher floors there are the most amazing views of Chiang Mai, Doi Suthep and the surrounding areas. Also, with our six other hotels in the region we are in an excellent position to offer ‘multi hotel’ packages. We intend to offer our guests a Le Meridien experience; not just a place to stay but a place that will inspire new experiences and encourage an active discovery of this wonderful city and its environs.
CMM: Who manages Le Meridien?
YM: It is managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
CMM: How many staff from the local community will you employ?
YM: The hotel will employ a total of 410 associates; over 95% are Chiang Mai people. There are also 6 expatriates working in the hotel.
CMM: Have you found it difficult to find staff locally, experienced or otherwise?
YM: Our recruitment process started in July 2007, focusing on the key positions and department heads. This allowed us time not to be pressured into decisions and to be able to identify and appoint associates who had the right attitude as well as the skill base. We also have had the luxury of a recruitment drive here in Chiang Mai with an overwhelming response.
CMM: Do you offer training to local people?
YM: Le Méridien Chiang Mai offers extensive training to all associates. Firstly, all associates will be exposed to a full orientation program including brand culture training. Other training includes skills workshops, customer care and service, and safety and security. A number of our associates will also have the opportunities of exposure at other Starwood Hotels in Thailand and abroad.
CMM: Where do you come from and what is your background?
YM: I am a Swiss national and received my Bachelor’s degree in International Hospitality Management from Switzerland’s Lausanne Hotel School. Joining the company in 1997, I have been with Le Méridien Hotels for over 10 years. Before moving to Chiang Mai, I was most recently General Manager of the luxurious Le Méridien Angkor in Siem Reap. I was in Angkor, Kingdom of Cambodia for 2 years and truly enjoyed the opening experience. Prior to that I served as Resident Manager at Le Royal Méridien Baan Taling Ngam, Koh Samui, as well as being Food and Beverage Manager for Le Royal Méridien and Le Méridien President Hotels in Bangkok. I first joined the company as Food and Beverage Manager of Le Méridien Nirwana Golf and Spa Resort, Bali.
CMM: What attracted you to Chiang Mai personally?
YM: I am very fond of Thailand. I love the food, the people and the Thai culture. I was fortunate to work in this country for 5 years in the past, based in Bangkok and in the south. Chiang Mai offers a new opportunity and I am so excited to introduce the fabulous Le Meridien brand to Chiang Mai.
CMM: What do you think are the main tourist problems for Chiang Mai?
YM: From an international tourist point of view, Chiang Mai is not yet considered a key destination in Thailand, either for leisure or for business meetings and events. The usual length of stay is just a couple of days which doesn’t provide visitors enough time to really discover this fascinating city. There have also been challenges with securing flights during the peak months.
CMM: How do you think Chiang Mai will change in the next 5 years?
YM: Chiang Mai is transforming into a hub of distinctive boutiques, luxury accommodation and creative cuisine options. The combined resources of TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) and TICA (Thailand Incentive and Convention Association) along with the Chiang Mai Tourism Forum and the individual international branded hotels will help to promote quality tourism. I am confident that, with specific marketing and an on-going commitment to the international MICE market, over the next 2-5 years Chiang Mai will become a front-runner for hosting major international events.


Stars from the Academy Fantasia made everyone’s night at the Baan Wongmalee Christmas Party

Stars of Academy Fantasia with Lance, the evening’s host. L/r Jack, Nat, Kiang Lance, Look Pong, Boy and Ta.

Look and Nat entertained with ever-popular songs
form Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals.

The U.S. Consul General Michael K. Morrow and his family enjoying
a fabulous evening at Baan Wongmalee.

President of Chiang Mai Expats’ Club Alan Hall and his family enjoying
a relaxing evening at the party.

The Baan Wongmalee home opened its doors and heart to welcome friends and family to their annual Christmas and New years celebrations.
Lance, head of the household said “This year our family pays tribute to Thailand’s finest young artists who were winners in the country’s reality TV show - Academy Fantasia. It is a magical night under the beautiful Thai sky as we give our guests our best show of the past 12 years.” And a magical night it was.



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