Jun 21, 2012|
Low season in Phuket has its perks. Despite drizzly and generally ominous weather, there are fewer crowds and hotels have cheaper per-night rates and special deals on offer. During a long weekend earlier this month, a friend and I stayed at the Angsana Laguna Phuket along Bang Tao Beach, which was one of five hotels in the area around a lagoon offering discounts to marathon runners for the race that weekend. Less than a year old, the Angsana (which is a newish brand under the Banyan Tree umbrella) overhauled what used to be a Sheraton on the same site. Its cool and comfortable purple décor, attentive staff and huge, winding pool helped us enjoy our few days there. Just outside the gates of the Laguna complex was a Twin Palms-run restaurant, Flame, where we scarfed down some delicious rotisserie chicken with different marinades and sauces. Our trip did teach me one thing, though: when it’s storming and windy, even the so-called coolest beach club on the island shuts down. A friend and I intended to spend the night at Catch Beach Club, touted as THE place to be seen this summer. Upon arrival, we joined the handful of well-dressed (them, not us!) folks having dinner inside, and subsequently ordered smoothies (it was a dry, athletic weekend) to the neon-blue-lit bar where we were virtually the only other customers (does the DJ count?). It was raining, and waves were crashing high up on the shore, so the luxe cabanas on the sand were shuttered and the beach was cordoned off. I mean, we could see how it WOULD have been cool… had the weather not sucked and kept the glitterati indoors. On the same topic—that is, impossibly chic beach bars—a brand-new one formally opens on June 30 at the Angsana. We scoped out Xana Beach Club during its soft opening, and despite the fact that the area we wanted to sit in had no cushions, it ticked other boxes: a sophisticated infinity pool with recliners placed in the (very) shallow end, thumping music and beachfront cabanas with picturesque curtains blowing in the breeze.
Angsana Laguna Phuket (and Xana Beach Club): 10 Moo 4 Srisoonthorn Road, Phuket 83110, Thailand, (+66) 76-324-101, www.angsana.com/en/phuket and www.xanabeachclub.com.
Catch Beach Club: Surin Beach Road, Cherng Talay, Phuket 83110, Thailand, (+66) 76-316-567, www.catchbeachclub.com.
Hong Kong’s starving artists should make a beeline for the Clarion Hotel Stockholm. Sure, you’ll have to splash out for the long-haul flight, but as of June 8, the Clarion is accepting works of art in lieu of currency for a night’s stay. Seems too good to be true? It’s really not. The back story is that general manager Marcus Majewski‘s dad paid for a room at New York’s Chelsea Hotel in the 70s with a piece of art. And since that hotel shut its doors, Majewski decided to start his own initiative in Sweden. The fine print: artists have to use a piece of standard A4/legal US paper. Rooms (for two people max) can be reserved seven days in advance at the earliest, and at the latest one day before check-in. You need a put down a credit card to guarantee the reservation. The art-for-accommodation offer can only be used two times per person per calendar year, and the hotel gains ownership of the artwork. The hotel won’t set a cap on the number of rooms that can be paid for this way, according to the hotel’s PR & marketing manager, Tess Mattison. “Before the launch... we had over 60 requests, and during the first week we’ve had over 100 new e-mails from artists requesting rooms—so the interest has been bigger than we expected,” she writes to me in an email. “As long as we have available rooms that we don’t sell, we’ll give them to artist paying for room with art! Some nights this might be 20 rooms—and some none.”
Clarion Hotel Stockholm, Ringvagen 98, Box 20025, Stockholm 10460, Sweden (+46) 8-462-10-00, www.clarionstockholm.com/room-for-art. For reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the booking code “Room for Art.”
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