The Kalima Resort and Spa is an imposing multi-level complex that sprawls over a jungly hillside on the Thai island of Phuket. From inside the lofty foyer – and most of the 190 rooms – visitors look out over the sparkling blue waters of Patong Bay.
When I arrived at the two-year-old property on a warm day recently, I sat in the lobby for a moment to catch my breath and mop my brow. Seconds later, a smiling staff member brought me a scented refresher towel and chilled glass of lemon-grass cordial. I’d be happy to spend a few days here, just unwinding, I thought.
Plenty of events organisers are thinking the same thing, according to the Kalima resort’s marketers, with delegates in the past year from countries including Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, the US, Singapore and Australia. One of the main attractions is the flexible, hi-tech conference hall, which has a maximum capacity of 220, theatre-style, (130 classroom-style and 80 for banquets) and can be used for any kind of gathering, big or small. Its plug-in-and-play laptop facilities and high-tech gadgetry make it useful for video conferencing, seminars and other events that require folks attending to be connected.
But as an old mentor of mine once observed, most people remember the fun they had at conferences and nothing else, and the apres-conference facilities here are very appealing. Some rooms have their own private infinity pools, and the main swimming pool area is a vast space with panoramic views of the sea. The hotel has its own nine-hole mini-golf course and a private “beach,” an exclusive, elevated stretch of sand, and plenty of dining options. It has its own luxury spa and is a short drive from the big tourist hub of Patong with its bustling nightlife.
Meeting and accommodation rates are flexible and depend on the season, according to Senior Sales Manager Minako Koreeda. The time for the best rates is April through to October.
Daily accommodation rates vary according to the season and room types, but start from just over 3,000 baht, which is about AUD105. The full-day meeting package, including lunch, two coffee breaks, organising support and all the usual technological bells and whistles (and floral arrangements) is USD66 a day per person. The half-day rate is USD55. Yet more evidence that Thailand is terrific value for money.