From our own little JUNGLE LUXURY into a bigger jungle of luxury.
My skipper and I are so proud of this...
The nicest thing about being recognized is, it's such a delightful surprise. To be labeled as one of the best and most beautiful in the world by Relais & Chateaux's standards, wow, it's such an unintentional success!
The restaurant started off as merely a place where skipper & I could translate our experiences as travelers and gourmet explorers! Making big bucks or winning accolades were not the driving force behind our aspirations. Rather, capturing hearts and minds were. Hence the idea of creating something unique enough to get people talking, wanting to be remembered for the experience we give and offering food so good people would travel miles for, formed our business model. Looks like we've done something right...
I guess you could call this idea the 'brand experience' in marketing terms. Of course, we started it right - location, location, location.
Then again, the brand promise is only as good as its delivery. We want to be different not only in the physical product but in the delivery of expectations guests pay for - a quality meal, an emotive appeal/ambiance, friendly service and the overall value-for-money packaged experience. After all, this is exactly what we would expect to get if we were the customers ourselves.
I believe the price people are willing to pay all depends on the value of the product
(in our case cuisine, ambiance, location & the bundled emotional factors) generated by the brand's trust. Price is not necessarily the stumbling block all the time.
Perhaps this sums the fact that Tamarind Springs qualify for Relais & Chateaux's 5Cs philosophy - character, courtesy, charm, clam and cuisine - and it fit the bill in providing the brand promise they see exist.
As a matter of fact, our resort in Tioman, JapaMala is also selected as the only resort property in Malaysia for this very first entry of Relais & Chateaux in Asia! Now how can we get away with this without throwing a big party huh?!
So, that was exactly what we did last night at Tamarind Springs except it was not quite a wild party but more of a formal affair with a discerning guest list. Dato' Dr. Victor Wee, our Secretary-General of the Mnistry of Tourism was gracious enough to officiate our event. Guest list was a smorgosboard of people from society.
Ambassadors, dignatries, prolific CEOs and of course media friends. Sasha was there too but unfortunately I didn't get to take a picture with her because she came late.... Then Linda was also there. New friends like Joel from Melium and Wan Zaleha came too!
Tamarind Springs' 'Queen' Chef prepared the culinary treats while we cheers-ed with more wine and more Moet. Too bad Vernon didn't make it! He was at another event, Ning was shooting a new movie in Ipoh, Chef Wan was on tour in Morocco, Vince was obliged to go to a birthday bash, Camelia was in Shanghai and Datin Seri Tiara was on holiday with family.
Well, the show must go on.
During the slide show, many of our friends started gawking over our 'cousin' hotels in the Relais family network. Only then it struck me, "We really ARE in this jungle of luxury aren't we?" Well, it'd be a real shame if we didn't find time to enjoy some of these amazing hotels, resorts,homestays, chateauxs, you name it, all over the world sometime or another.
Fortunately, we have already seen one... 3 days leading to the launch in KL, we were in Bangkok to attend the Relais meeting. We partied after that at 'cousin' The Eugenia. It's also a very small boutique property with only 13 rooms, built in a totally new building structure but made to look old... colonial old. Their special touch is limo services with vintage cars! Charming.
More canapes, more wine, more Moet!
& 'parent' of Heritage Hotel Cambodia