Functional integration

Armed with hotels, resorts, event spaces and recreational facilities, these new developments in Asia are offering organisers the convenience of having all components of their event under one roof

Laguna Lang Co, Vietnam


Photo by Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts

Vietnam’s Laguna Lang Co held its grand opening in April, with the first of its hotels now ready to receive guests. More accommodation options and facilities will be added to the vast 280-hectare site over the coming years, with the integrated resort eventually set to emulate the scale of the successful Laguna Phuket.

Like its Thai sister, Laguna Lang Co is targeted at a broad spectrum of high-end travellers. Banyan Tree Lang Co offers luxury with its spacious private pool villas, while Angsana Lang Co’s room inventory ranges from modest deluxe rooms to rooftop pool suites. Rates start from US$280++ at Angsana Lang Co and US$735++ at Banyan Tree Lang Co.

MICE business is integral to the business plan, with top-end meeting facilities in the form of a 392m² ballroom, four meeting rooms, a 12-seat conference room and the capacity to cater to major events outdoors.

Other facilities include a world-class Nick Faldo-designed golf course, two spas and an activity centre.

To capture the eye of event planners, the integrated resort has launched a MICE campaign that includes tantalising perks. Bookings of at least 10 guestrooms will earn event planners complimentary rooms,  transfers, use of a mobile phone with a local SIM card, and more.

A dedicated MICE website for the development will materialise later this year.

Sitting amid UNESCO World Heritage sites – Hoi An’s ancient town, the Cham ruins of My Son and the imperial city of Hue – Laguna Lang Co provides day-trip access to all three. That said, the location also means the resort is
somewhat out on a limb. It is best reached via Danang International Airport, a 40-minute drive away.

George Ehrlich, general manager of Exotissimo Vietnam, told TTGmice: “(It) is an option for groups that will be happy to just stay in-house. For dining out or excursions, many hotels on the Danang Strip (are) more convenient.”

“At present almost all our customers request hotels or resorts in the centre of Danang city, but Laguna Lang Co is an attractive and exciting new development that we will consider in the future,” said Vietravel’s director of marketing, Nguyen Minh Man.

Khiem Vu, general manager of Indochina Travelland, believes that the combination of the Laguna brand, the beauty of Lang Co bay and its location between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, will make it a success. – David Lloyd Buglar

Lagoi Bay, Bintan, Indonesia

Close to completion now, Plaza Lagoi will be an energetic lifestyle destination for guests of Lagoi Bay integrated resort

Following its launch in 2007, the 1,300-hectare Lagoi Bay in Bintan will be opening key facilities from the second half of this year. They include beach and lakeside resorts, a mall and first-of-its-kind recreational activities. The entire development – including an airport in Busung, Kuala Lobam, a 30-minute drive south-west of Lagoi Bay – is scheduled to be completed by 2015.

Plaza Lagoi, a cluster of dining establishments, retail shops and impressive fountains that sits within the sprawling Lagoi Bay Beach Village Mall, will be among the first facilities to open. According to Asad Shiraz, marketing director with Bintan Resorts International (BRI), the spacious grounds of Plaza Lagoi will be used to host annual festivals.

Geared to take off in October this year will be the Air Adventures Flying Club Bintan, an ultra light aircraft ride centre and flying school that claims to be South-east Asia’s first seaplane facility offering an open cockpit seaplane experience to seasoned pilots as well as novices.

Adventrees, a new canopy adventure trail in the forest surrounding Lake Lagoi will also be ready by October for teambuilding activities involving ropeways, as will an off-road rally car circuit.
On the accommodations front, The Sanchaya will debut 19 luxury villas and nine suites in November, while Alila Villas Bintan and Swiss-Belhotel Lagoi Bay, Bintan will further plump up the inventory with over 250 new rooms by early next year. Room rates are estimated to range from S$80 (US$65) for beach cabanas to over S$4,000 for four-bedroom pool villas.

A 45-minute ferry ride from Singapore’s Tanah Merah ferry terminal, travel consultants said Lagoi Bay had potential to draw meetings and incentive groups.

Judy Lum, group vice president – sales & marketing with Tour East Singapore, a company that offers Bintan for corporate events, most often for Russian groups with 450-600 attendees, said: “Bintan…is a good alternative to Singapore’s Sentosa (and) is more attractive for MICE groups because resorts there can accommodate large groups of up to 600 pax, which allows us to conduct meetings and teambuilding activities. Beaches there also allow for larger beach parties that can go on through the night, unlike in Sentosa where we have to keep the noise level down after 23.00.

“Based on the updates we’ve seen on Lagoi Bay, it seems that the integrated resort will have mostly villas, which are more suitable for smaller groups. Large corporate groups usually need to stay together. We have to wait until Lagoi Bay is completed then can we assess its suitability (for MICE).” – Lee Pei Qi and Karen Yue


(From Left) The Sanchaya’s grand arrival courtyard and luxurious Thai Villa

Funtasy Island, Riau Islands, Indonesia

Funtasy Island will boast a luxury resort development managed by Meritus Hotels & Resorts

Situated between Singapore and Batam, Funtasy Island on Riau Islands is envisioned to be the world’s largest eco theme park with residential, commercial and tourism components, which will be rolled out in batches from mid-2014.

At 328 hectares, the island itself is two-thirds the size of Sentosa in Singapore, with 70 per cent of its total area preserved as a nature sanctuary.

In the first phase is a five-star deluxe resort development run by Meritus Hotels & Resorts, comprising a 200-room condotel, 230-suite hotel and 413 villas. Eco-themed activities such as aquaculture tours and nature trails will also be available, as well as a beach club that will offer a slew of sea sports from diving to parasailing.

To be revealed later in 2015, one of the highlights will be a heart-shaped islet, which will have a 1,000-pax banquet hall and a wedding chapel. There are six islets in total.

Funtasy Island Development director, Michael Yong, said at least one million visitors are expected to arrive annually once the island is fully completed in 10 years’ time.

He said: “We are targeting Singaporeans and international visitors who come through Singapore.”

Located 16km off the coast of Singapore, Funtasy Island will be accessible via a 20-minute ferry ride from the HarbourFront ferry terminal. – Lee Pei Qi

Desaru Coast, Johor, Malaysia

Desaru Coast will offer two championship golf courses, perfect for friendly games before a conference or meeting

Adding to Johor’s growing bag of tourism products is Destination Resorts and Hotels’ (DRH) Desaru Coast, a 17km beachfront stretch at the south-eastern tip that will comprise hotels and residences, water theme parks, golf courses and a retail village, among other offerings.

The integrated resort will have a strong business event appeal, thanks to a convention centre which will be managed by Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. Located adjacent to Sheraton Desaru Resort with close proximity to the Riverwalk, the entertainment hub of Desaru Coast, the venue offers approximately 1,200m2 of exhibition space, banquet capacity of up to 1,000 pax, meeting rooms, VIP lounges, pre-function rooms and a beautiful landscaped courtyard.

The 1,600-hectare integrated resort will be developed over three phases, with the first targeted for completion in 2015.

Lau Yin May, senior vice president, programme management & corporate communications, DRH, said: “There will be a number of world-class brand names such as the Aman Country Club and Aman Villas, situated along pristine beachfront; Sheraton Desaru Resort, also with direct beach frontage; and Datai Desaru, nestled on a hilltop. Plantation Hotel will be a four-star hotel integrated with two theme parks.”

At Ocean Quest and Ocean Splash, guests will be able to interact with marine animals and play at the salt water wave pool respectively, while The Els Club Malaysia will feature two championship golf courses – a 27-hole course designed by Ernie Els and an 18-hole course designed by Vijay Singh – as well as exclusive villas.

There are several tourist attractions within close proximity to Desaru Coast, providing event planners with recreational options for pre- and post-meeting programmes. They include a fruit farm and an ostrich farm.

Further out, a scenic one hour drive will take guests to Puteri Harbour, where accompanying family members can spend a day at The Little Red Cube, a lifestyle complex that is also home to an indoor theme park. Legoland Malaysia is a five-minute drive away.

From Kuala Lumpur, Desaru Coast is a four-hour drive using the North-South Highway or a 45-minute flight to Senai International Airport, followed by a 45-minute drive. From Singapore, it is a 30-minute ferry ride from Changi Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal in Kota Tinggi, followed by a half hour’s drive. By land, it is a 90-minute drive from the Second Link or Causeway.

World Avenues executive director, Ally Bhoonee, added: “Due to its close proximity to Singapore, it will make a perfect pre- and post-tour option for MICE events held in Singapore.”  – S Puvaneswary

Grand Kawanua International City, Manado, Indonesia

Growing air access into Manado, North Sulawesi will provide a lift for the Grand Kawanua International City (GKIC), which will see hotels, hospitals and a water park rising on its 300 hectares over the next few years.

Developed by Jakarta-based AKR Group, GKIC is already home to the 176-room Novotel Manado Golf Resort & Convention Center and the 6,500m2 Grand Kawanua Convention Center that can host up to 4,000 people. There are also residential properties and public facilities such as tennis courts and a swimming pool.

Currently, Novotel Manado’s room rates are between Rp400,000 (US$38) and Rp800,000.

A number of projects are scheduled for completion this year, including the conversion of the 15-hole golf course to an 18-hole one, as well as the Citiwalk Shopping Mall and a wedding chapel.

Earlier this year, the six-country Regional Secretariat of Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security also set up base here, with ensuing marine conservation activities expected to drive more visitors to the destination. Other recent additions include an art gallery with US$3 million worth of Indonesian art and painting collections, and Siloam Hospital.

AKR managing director, Widijanto, said some 10,000 more rooms were needed  over the next few years, and noted that a 100-hectare site had been earmarked for hotel development.

He said: “Lion Air is opening Manado as a hub for its regional routes to Hong Kong, China, Japan and Singapore, in line with the arrival of new aircraft. This will add to existing direct services from Manado to Singapore and Davao, as well as the route network within Indonesia.”

Incito Travel managing director, Ng Sebastian, said GKIC had succeeded in positioning itself as a MICE destination.

Mapanget Mega Wisata Tours and Travel managing director, Reenaldo Wangkar, added: “We can develop golf packages to Manado when the 18-hole golf course is ready. The water park may also add facilities for corporate teambuilding and gatherings.”

Meanwhile, the North Sulawesi and Manado City Government are developing supporting infrastructure such as a ring road connecting Manado with surrounding areas like Bitung and Tondano, to be ready in two years. – Mimi Hudoyo


(From left) Aerial view of the sprawling Grand Kawanua International City and Novotel Manado Golf Resort & Convention Center
Picture from www.kicmanado.com

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