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With the Covid-19 pandemic crisis hitting the globe, a new genre of travel has appeared i.e. private, whether individual or group. Lifestyle + Travel has compiled a list of top villas and suites in Thailand for your next holiday in private and in style, as it looks like we will have to live with the ‘new normal’ for quite some time.   Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood Known for its unparalleled luxury meets eco-friendly philosophy, Soneva Kiri nestles within lush rainforest on an unspoiled island with some of the best beaches in Thailand. The Six Bedroom Sunset Ocean View Pool Reserve, a magical haven atop the cliff, spans over 2,928 sqm and caters up to 16 guests with its six bedrooms. The tree house is a dream come true for children, their own realm in a private jungle canopy. There is a separate master bedroom with walk-in dressing area and bathroom with outdoor vanity, blitz shower, steam room and bath. Four further ensuite bedrooms have with indoor and outdoor showers, bath and personalised deck areas. Other enticing features of this haven are the gargantuan swimming pool with its own water slide, gym and steam room, games room, outdoor dining table and oversized cushions on enormous day beds overlooking the water. E. mail@soneva.com / reservations@soneva.com W. soneva.com   Villa Siam at Iniala Beach House, Phang Nga Designed by Eggarat Wongcharit, Villa Siam is an eclectic fantasy inspired by Thai culture and Buddhism in Phang Nga. Eggarat’s extraordinary creations use a modern take on traditional Thai craftsmen’s techniques, and his unique and original work includes beds and sofas suspended from the ceiling by wicker bamboo, as well as a spa inscribed with Buddhist teachings translated into English, located within an ancient golden Thai bell. Intricate wickerwork and glass mosaics grace the rooms, one of which pays tribute to the sacred Buddha with three large illuminated images on the wall behind hanging white sofas, covered in mother of pearl. A wrapped pagoda with traditional Thai weaving expanding over it onto the ceiling ties the room’s contemporary lines with its Thai roots seamlessly together, and the weaving incorporates an elaborate dream catcher facing down upon guests as they walk in. A dining table seats up to six, with a backdrop of playfully-waving cats. E. info@iniala.com W. inialathailand.com   Villa 24 at Samujana, Koh Samui Set on a tranquil, pristine beach of Samui, Villa 24 is the largest of the Samujana villas at an impressive 1,808 sqm. This is a home for a big family or someone with many friends, as it showcases eight bedrooms. Villa 24 has both south and west views over the Gulf of Thailand for enjoying sunrises and sunsets over the ocean. It comes complete with an outdoor dining sala, private gym, cinema, large infinity edge pool and jacuzzi. The friendly Samujana Villa hosts have been handpicked and professionally trained to ensure guest needs are not only met, but exceeded. For fun beyond the villa, Samujana offers an extensive range of land and water experiences from boating excursions on a private sailboat to chauffeured tours

Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse brings you to a whole new GLAMPING experience without having to leave Bangkok! “Surawongse Glamping” has landed in Bangkok for the very first time, transforming the hotel's pool terrace into your one-off outdoor get-together, with the whole space all-to-yourself for ultimate enjoyment with an exquisite choice of indulgent tailored menu and beverages while soaking in splendid views of the glittering city under a starry sky. Open for booking for every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and starting from this 18 December onwards. Priced at THB 2,888++ per person, including dinner and beverages. The package is for 2.30 hours and 2 - 10 persons. For more information and booking, please contact pawika.j@marriott.com or send us Facebook message via www.facebook.com/marriottsurawongse

The month of joy has finally arrived, when the whole country is filled with jolly ambience. Even though a lot has happened in the year of 2020, don't forget to reward yourself for coming through the year gorgeously with one of these special feasts.   Bangkok: Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road To make the festivity even more extraordinary, Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road elevates your experience at various venues on the top of the upscale hotel. Lavish in an exclusive Surprise Me set menu for a surprisingly special price of THB 999 per person at CHAR Restaurant from 1 - 23 December 2020. On 24 and 25 December, experience CHAR's signature culinary moments with a festive five-course set menu including with 1 glass of mulled wine, a most popular holiday drink. Get yourself ready for fantastic 2021 with such great fun at the hotel's infinity pool on the 24th floor, CHAR Restaurant on the 25th floor, and CHAR Rooftop Bar with a special five-course set menu for THB 3,500 per person, featuring Chef Sebastian’s delicious culinary creations and a complimentary countdown drink. Countdown to the new year with unrivalled panorama of the city and electrifying fireworks at CHAR Rooftop Bar, Bangkok's top spot to get lively all night long with famous DJs. Entrance tickets required. Date: 1 - 31 December 2020 Booking: +66 (0) 2 207 4999 ext. 8980 / bangkok.hotelindigo.com / CHARBANGKOK@ihg.com   Bangkok: The House on Sathorn Quaintly elegant The House on Sathorn offers an exclusive feast to pamper your taste buds will your special ones on New Year's Eve. Celebrate the last day of the year with Paii special six-course modern Thai seafood set menu including lobster yellow curry terrine, French razor clam with citrus sauce, tom yum steamed egg with blue swimmer crab and many more at THB 3,200++ per person (additional 5 wines paring at THB 1,800 per person). Date: 31 December 2020 Booking: +66 (0) 2 344 4000 / megatix.in.th/festive2020-wbkk / bf.wbangkok@whotelsworldwide.com   Koh Samui: Banyan Tree Samui Nestled in the secluded hill with a completely private, pristine beach, Banyan Tree Samui invites you to pass the year with unforgettable joy. The resort's all-day dining spot, The Edge, serves a special set menu for New Year's Eve. Before 2021 arrives, beachfront Sands restaurant makes you merry drinks to enjoy along groovy beats by a live DJ and a fire show before witnessing spectacular fireworks to welcome the brand new, better year. Date: 31 December 2020 Booking: www.banyantree.com/en/thailand/samui / reservations-samui@banyantree.com   Chiang Mai: Anantara Chiang Mai Resort The weather is right, the pleasure is yours – Anantara Chiang Mai Resort turns its exquisite self into the stage to celebrate Christmas and to end the year spectacularly. The Restaurant serves magnificent Christmas Eve Dinner, comprising international fares, Thai favourites, and traditional Christmas cuisine by award-winning chefs at THB 2,500 net per person with free flow house wine, local beers, and soft drinks. An all-you-can-eat festive brunch on Christmas Day, serving traditional Christmas fares, by the tranquil Ping River with free flow drinks at THB 2,900 net per person. Rejoice in mouthwatering dishes and enchanting performance of

Phuket is an island of sophistication with an ever-evolving cultural scene. The recent opening of Living Art Gallery has elevated the local art scene to international level. Set in the centre of Blue Tree, the lifestyle hub of Phuket, the new gallery promises to showcase revolving exhibitions of works by Thai artists of different genres, as well as by designers who work closely with Thai artisanal communities, which the gallery intends to support. Led by Somchat Krainara, The Living Art Gallery will host its inaugural annual festival in Phuket during 26 - 29 November 2020. “Phuket is a tourist destination because of its local attractions. The city has its own charms and characteristics, drawing in visitors from all over the world. The city is incredibly rich in culture, and by bringing art into Phuket I’m hoping it will enhance the art and cultural reputation of the destination -- in other words making Phuket become known as a MICE destination for arts, and creating a truly cultural and creative city,” said Somchat. Both the gallery and the upcoming festival hold on to the same purpose – to provide a platform for emerging Thai artists to showcase their work to an international audience, and to support artisanal communities across Thailand with opportunities to make connections with art lovers, fellow artists and designers, and an international audience.   Living Art Gallery is divided into four zones:   Zone 1: Peranakan Culture (Baba-Yaya) in Phuket Province Inspired by the traditional Peranakan houses of Phuket old town, Awika Samukrsaman – the apparel designer – creates woven textiles in pastel hues that interpret the patterns, colours and symbols of southern Thai culture. Awika has been w orking closely with local communities to preserve the local traditional knowledge of textiles and weaving, while pushing it into a contemporary direction. Within the conceptual Peranakan house, the vivid and intricate embroidered paintings of Sunisa Assawinrungroj are displayed. Stirred by the death of her pet rabbit, Sunisa embroidered delicate rabbits in traditional Phuket dress into these pieces. Hanging in one corner is Rungcheewan Kamvichit’s collection of contemporary tie-dyes, made using fine Thai silk and the rare Shibori tie-dye technique. On the opposite side hang a painting titled Sao Phuket by Sarawut Yasamut which depicts a southern woman carrying a Chinese-style food basket and embraced by flowers native to Phuket and Indonesia. Ongkorn Sinlapangkul is also featured in this zone, with the artist’s special interpretation of the colours and sights of Phuket in two fantastical paintings of a seahorse and woman with a dragon mask.   Zone 2: Forest and Landscape of Phuket The second zone of the gallery takes visitors on a journey through Phuket’s landscape from the viewpoint of artists. It kicks off with a special collection of nature-inspired ceramics crafted by master artisan Professor Somlak Pantiboon, known for his pottery studio Doi Din Dang in Chiang Rai. Also hailing from northern Thailand, but from Chiang Mai, is Likit Tunoud who describes the interaction of humans and nature, and its oftentimes destructive consequences, in intricate ink-on-paper drawings. Adding his influence to this zone is Professor

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) joins forces with ICONSIAM and entrepreneurs along the banks of Chao Phraya River to unite Thai hearts by organizing the mega-phenomenon “Amazing Thailand Countdown 2021” promising to become the most spectacular celebration of Thailand to ring in the New Year, under the concept of "The Wonders of Happiness upon the River", representing hope, faith, prosperity, and happiness. The mega-event will feature  over 20,000 spectacular, eco-friendly fireworks, which are made from Thai sticky rice, that will be lit up along the most beautiful curve of the Chao Phraya River spanning an area of over 1,400 meters and within a distance of over 5 kilometers of the city-wide celebration. Each act signifies auspicious meanings of Big Hope, Believe, Brilliant Life, Beautiful World, Blooming Wealth, Be Together (presented by True Corporation), and Best Begin. In addition to a myriad of entertainments throughout the night of New Year’s Eve by top artists and the avant-garde fireworks, one of the unmissable activities is the “Amazing Thailand Countdown 2021” video and photography contest under the theme of “Magic upon the River”, granting over THB 500,000-worth prizes to the winners. The countdown celebration event will be broadcast live on Thairath TV 32 HD Channel as well as on the online platforms via Facebook pages of ICONSIAM, Thairath Online, Khaosod and TrueID application. ICONSIAM is easily and rapidly accessible via the complete modes of transportation - cars, rails, and boats. The operation of Bangkok’s Gold Line electric rail route in December will also ease the public transportation.

Banpu NEXT,  in collaboration with Phuket Patri Tour, has recently lauched innovative Banpu NEXT e-Ferry in Phuket as Thailand’s first marine tour electric ferry, starting its first route with Phuket – Phang-nga tour. Tourists are welcomed to embark on a clean energy ferry to take pleasure in green tourism, visiting the country's most stunning spots in gorgeous Phang-nga Bay including Ko Pa Nak, Ko Hong, Khao Ta Pu (James Bond Island) and Khao Phing Kan. Key features of Banpu NEXT e-Ferry include its capabilities in terms of traveling comfort, high level of safety, being built under ISO 9001: 2015 standards for quality management system, and energy-saving and eco-friendly advantages because it does not create any oil and noise and air pollutions. If all of  marine tourism activities in the Andaman Sea and the Gulld of Thailand are electrified like Banpu NEXT e-Ferry, over 53 million liters of fuels can be saved and 140,000 tonnes of CO2 emission can be reduced in one year, which is equivalent to planting 17 million trees. This pioneering project could lead to massively beneficial changes to the environment, without having to sacrifice the joy of travelling. For more information and for booking a chartered tour, please call + 66 (0) 76 263 558, visit website www.phuketpatritourgroup.com or go to Facebook page ‘Phuket Patri Tour’.

Loy Krathong Festival has long been one of the most awaited ones for Thai residents and visitors alike, as the vista of thousands of candlelit floats on moonlit rivers is uniquely indelible. This year, to make the festivity even more special, these 4 hotels in Bangkok are more than willing to make your time with your beloved ones extraordinary!   CAPELLA BANGKOK This new beautiful face in town sits on the shore of Chao Phraya river, boasting heavenly cuisines by world-class chefs and culinary teams, as well as a boutique stay that is unique to Capella. What's special: A wonderful riverfront celebration that lets you explore deeper into the cultural and culinary heritage of Thailand with live classical music, Thai dancing, and krathong floating in the moonlight. A special buffet diner with cuisines of Old Siam by Chef Wichian and his team at Phra Nakhon Thai restaurant, priced at THB 6,000 net per person. (Advanced reservations and pre-payment are required) Ultra-fine dining experience by three-Michelin-starred Chef Mauro Colagreco at Côte, featuring the nine-course ‘Carte Blanche’ blind menu, inspired by the tastes of French and Italian Rivieras, priced at THB 9,000 net per person, with an optional wine pairing at THB 3,200 per person. (Advanced reservations and pre-payment are required) Date: Saturday, 31 October 2020 Contact: phranakhon.bangkok@capellahotels.com / +66 (0) 2 098 3888   CHATRIUM BANGKOK The riverside hotel is famous for its unbeatable panorama of the gleaming metropolis and the tranquil Chao Phraya river. What's special: A fabulous contemporary Thai performance show, Thai band and exciting fireworks, as well as a krathong floating tradition. Enjoy sumptuous Thai cuisine, fresh seafood, and international dishes at River Barge Restaurant and Pier 28 at THB 2,499 net for adults and THB 1,249 net for children (6-11 years old). "Loy Krathong Package" including buffet dinner for 2 persons and a 1-night stay in a gorgeous Grand Room City View (room only) priced at only THB 5,888 net. Date: Saturday, 31 October 2020 Contact: riverbarge.chrb@chatrium.com / www.chatrium.com / +66 (0) 2 307 8888   ROYAL ORCHID SHERATON HOTEL & TOWERS Situated by the bank of Chao Phraya river in a culture-rich area of Bangkok, the hotel offers a luxurious stay with unforgettable view and finest delicacies. What's special: An Isarn-themed celebration with an exquisite dinner Giorgio's Loy Krathong International Buffet, priced at THB 2,800++ per person. Riverside Grill, an extensive selection of a la carte dishes plus one premium dish of your choice, priced at THB 2,000++ per person. Thara Thong, royal Thai cuisine a la carte menu featuring complimentary Thai costume for you to wear during dinner upon prior arrangement, priced from THB 290++ per dish. *Top up with free flow of house red/white/sparkling wines, local beers, soft drinks and drinking water at THB 999 net. *Children 0-4 years old eat free, 5-12 years old pay half price. Date: Saturday, 31 October 2020 Contact: bit.ly/roloykrathong / events.rosh@sheraton.com / +66 (0) 2 266 0123   SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, BANGKOK Luxury at its finest can be found here, plus a gorgeous view that will take your breath away. What's special: Get dressed and join the magical celebration with a Long Drum

Set amidst lush nature, Banyan Tree Krabi is now open with elegant villas, ranging from ultra-luxury beachfront pool villas to polished pool suites overlooking the Andaman sunset, with first-rate facilities to make your every minute memorable, with the sound of flowing water that will soothe your soul. Along with the glamour of its landscape, you are invited to indulge into culinary excellence, drinkable joy, and an one-off rainforest-themed spa. Meticulously designed to reach the high standards of grandeur, you will witness works of art throughout your stay, right from the naga legend-inspired lobby with a backdrop of tranquil horizon. Banyan Tree Krabi offers 8 suite and villa types, all of which have private saltwater pools. The most modest accommodation type, coming in at 99 sq.m, is the Deluxe Pool Suite with a lavish double bed, private terrace, plunge pool and jet pool surround the bedroom, giving guests the feeling of being on a small island. The largest is the palatial seven-bedroom beachfront 1,335 sq.m Presidential Villa. Guests can reserve the villa as a three-bedroom unit or take an option to combine the three-bedroom with the two adjoining 2-bedroom beachfront villas, transforming it into a seven-bedroom wonderland of saltwater pools, canals, and myriad balconies and terraces. The three “Bird’s Nest” tables perched precariously among the trees around the resort’s highly-elevated Saffron is one of the most stunning features of the resort. All-day-dining The Naga Kitchen caters breakfasts, lunches and dinner with a plethora of international choices. One of the not-to-be-missed experiences here is the spa. Renowned as a global wellbeing brand, Banyan Tree has an avalanche of awards mirroring this acclaim. In Banyan Tree Krabi, the spa will build upon the reputation, maintaining its sense of “Thai-ness” with local treatments and ingredients such as coconut potions and pearl powder massage. For reservations and enquiries, visit www.banyantree.com/booking

VALA, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, has recently run a soft opening of a 5-star beachfront boutique resort, VALA Hua Hin - Nu Chapter Hotels. With its uniquely luxurious character and outstanding architectural design, and first-rate services, VALA is the new dream destination for seekers of seaside tranquility within a few hours' drive from Bangkok. Managed by new generation group, Nu Chapter Hotels, VALA Hua Hin’s distinctive character draws on the “Nature's Touch with a Modern Design” concept on a vast beautiful land while featuring 97 rooms and suites in the 3-storey building, so privacy is gauranteed. Besides, All the rooms boast a sea view and spacious terrace. The resort is surrounded by an abundance of lush trees and overlooks an extensive stretch of beach. This stunning location allows guests to enjoy a panoramic view of the ocean, a rare sight to be found in Hua Hin and Cha-Am, making VALA the ultimate retreat for tourists to slow down during the holidays and return home feeling more energetic and rejuvenated. While VALA VILLAS zone featuring 13 secluded pool villas with uninterrupted sea views, are designed in the ‘Glamping’ style with maximum privacy. Five of them are situated in the nearest area to the beach. Garden area and a spacious terrace can be decorated for outdoor activities such as private BBQ dinner parties. Butler service is on hand to take care of every little detail throughout the stay. Here, guests can try exotic cocktails made with local ingredients created by VALA Hua Hin in collaboration with Vesper, a bar ranked 11th in Asia's Top 50 Best Bar Awards.  For lunch, selections of Thai and international favorites are served. For dinner, WOODS transforms into a more sophisticated setting with a menu of tapas, seafood and grill curated from a decadent combination of fresh locally-sourced produce and fine ingredients. VALA Hua Hin also offers a range of activities including morning meditation, yoga on the beach, Thai massage, tai chi, boxing, cooking/cocktail class, art for kids and a visit to an organic farm. Guests are invited to explore both the hidden gems of Hua Hin - Cha-am and local dishes rarely found outside the area. Visit www.valahuahin.com for more information and reservation.