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    Lifestyle Curators for Thailand + Southeast Asia

    Creating Minor Miracles on a Daily Basis

      /  HOTELS   /  Creating Minor Miracles on a Daily Basis

    By Atthasith Khupratakul

    Wittaya Chuaboon (Wit), has been working in the hotel industry for almost 20 years, in the last five years as concierge at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Spa Samui. Born Aug. 12, 1972, Wit says he totally enjoys being a concierge, which he describes as “going above and beyond every time an opportunity presents itself in serving hotel guests.” He says, “The guests that we interact with are at one of the happiest points in their lives. They’ve usually worked hard for months and looked forward to their Koh Samui holiday for a long time. When they’re finally here they’re happy, excited and having the time of their lives. That cheerfulness is contagious! I love being around guests who are having new experiences and creating lasting memories. There’s a wonderful sense of contentment being part of the cycle of holiday travel.”

    Wit looks at every guest interaction as a chance to be an ambassador and ‘fixer.’ “As a concierge, we have to know what the guest needs before they ask,” he says. “It’s also about creating minor miracles on a daily basis.”

    Being a concierge in a resort is very different from those in a city hotel, he says: “There are always so many guests headed out for snorkeling, diving or around-the-island tours. Everyone is feeling some emotion – the guests arriving are excited when they see the brilliant blue sea and shining white sand beach from our open-air lobby. On the other hand guests on their way home may feel some sadness to be leaving the beauty of Koh Samui.”

    During the course of the day Wit answers lots of questions about local points of interest, restaurants, and things to do. Here’s what he usually shares with them:

    Best Thai restaurant — “Assuming they have tried our restaurants, which are among Koh Samui’s finest, I’d recommend Spirit House restaurant in Chaweng as they provide a traditional Thai experience with dishes one won’t find on every menu. The Walking Streets are also very popular. The Chaweng version of Walking Street is right outside our hotel’s front entrance.”

    Where to bring their friends for a chill-out and party — “Koh Samui has a vibrant nightlife scene –Ground Zero is Soi Green Mango and the party goes on until the wee hours.”

    Where to go for bargain/high-end shopping — “Again, the Walking Streets (Chaweng, Lamai and Bophut) have an eclectic variety of locally made goods. The new-ish Central Festival Shopping Mall is really the only proper mall-type experience on Koh Samui.”

    The easiest way to get back and forth the hotel — “Whether its bars, restaurants or shopping guests can comfortably walk to most attractions in Chaweng. Traveling to the other beaches and areas is easily done by songtaew (pick-up taxi with benches at the back), or regular yellow taxi. It’s also simple to rent a scooter, but we don’t recommend this to guests with little or no experience riding motorbikes.”

    How to avoid pimps, hecklers, and scammers — “In Samui there isn’t too much in the way of scams or danger, but we do advise guests to avoid jetskis and timeshare salesmen. These both involve a number of pitfalls and can end up costing a lot in terms of both wasted time and money.”

    Best way to enjoy their holiday — “First, use plenty of sunscreen. Most of our guests are so thrilled to be in the warm embrace of the sun that it’s easy to overdo things in the first days of a holiday. Second, take a hike! Samui is a very open and friendly island, and when one gets off the beach road there are glimpses of local life that will make the holiday a richer experience. Lastly, try new things. I overheard a tourist walking down the street the other day saying, ‘I can’t believe they didn’t have french fries!!’ Travelers who can expand their horizons beyond their familiar tastes will be infinitely happier when they return home.”