The Anantara Experience

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With its heavenly spas, plush accommodations, exotic amenities—such as an onsite elephant camp at the Anatara Golden Triangle in Thailand—and drop-dead gorgeous settings, Anantara Resorts aim to provide your most well-to-do clients with more lavishness than most mortal souls are used to. Here, in these resorts that dot Thailand, the Maldives, Indonesia, Abu Dhabi, and soon Morocco, your clients can expect a destination experience, not merely an overnight accommodation.

“’Anantara’ is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘without end,’” says Dillip Rajakarier, COO, Minor Hotel Group, Anantara’s umbrella company, “and the resorts encapsulate the excitement of discovery and exploration that comes with entering new territory. Creating a ‘destination experience’ is at the core of the Anantara philosophy and one that the brand takes seriously. This value is reflected in Anantara’s commitment to harmoniously blend with the local environment, whether that be in the verdant mountains of the Golden Triangle, the unspoilt beauty of Si Kao, south of Krabi, the island magic of Koh Samui or the majestic seaside air of Hua Hin.”

The Anantara “experience” was born in 2001, with the launch of the first Anantara Resort in Thailand’s historic seaside resort enclave of Hua Hin. There, the company sought to bring guests closer to the heart of the rich culture and history of Thailand by surrounding them in the atmosphere of a traditional Thai village. Located just a short drive from Bangkok, this 14-acre resort—where guests can unwind in lush seaside gardens along the Gulf of Siam—offers interactive immersion in the destination’s culture through cooking courses, fruit carving demonstrations, a weekly floating market and even instruction in the traditional martial art of Muay Thai.

“All Anantara resorts offer peerless, unobtrusive service, spa pampering and each offers a range of adventure activities that are uniquely associated with that particular location,” says Rajakarier. “For example, at Anantara Resort Golden Triangle, guests can interact with elephants that have been rescued from the city streets and even learn how to ‘drive’ an elephant like the local caregivers. This experience is in the heart of Thailand’s northern hill-tribe country, where the countries of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand converge. Such an exotic encounter could not be experienced anywhere else.”

The accommodations at an Anatara property are equally without parallel. There are, for example, the 19 secluded houses at the Naladhu property in the Maldives fronting the Indian Ocean. Here, clients can choose a beach house with direct access to the sugary sands of the island’s beach or an ocean house with dramatic yet private views of the cerulean sea from the swinging daybed. The best part? Both residence types come with a “house master,” the guest’s personal concierge.

Adding to Anantara’s luxurious profile are its spas, which, according to Rajakarier, “embrace the indigenous roots of their locale through an exotic, passionate integration of architecture, treatments, service and ambiance. Wellness traditions that transcend expectations are accentuated by a line of signature spa products.” A perfect example of this are the luxuriant oils that are used at the spa at the Bali property, which are derived from vanilla pods deep in the jungles west of Bali, and then there’s natural volcanic pumice, mandarin and powdered spices….

The two newest Anantara resorts, both located in Abu Dhabi—the Anantara Desert Island Resort & Spa and the Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort (which will open later this year)—also pay homage to the core essence of the Anantara brand. For example, at the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort—which is located in the Liwa Desert—clients can ride off into the desert atop camels, go game viewing, sand boarding or partake in falconry. At the Desert Islands Resort, meanwhile, situated on Sir Bani Yas Island, the Royal Nature Reserve established by the late ruler and founder of the United Arab Emirates, guests can go hiking in the wadis, go kayaking in the mangroves or go on a desert safari.

“The Middle East,” points out Rajakarier, “is rich in culture and heritage, making it a natural fit for the Anantara brand.” Another natural fit, it seems, is Morocco, where the hotel company is set to manage two five-star properties; it’s the brand’s first entry into the African market.