During the day they perform their bellmen tasks dutifully, ensuring luggage is swiftly taken to and collected from guestrooms – but come nightfall, this talented duo at Anantara Koh Samui Resort & Spa take on an entirely different role… With guitars and microphones in hand they are instantly transformed into the star performers at the General Manager’s cocktail!
Wattana (Utadchakun) and Soomboon (Surin) met at the resort where they have been working as bellmen for 3 and 4 years respectively. A year and a half ago they concocted an act to entertain colleagues at the annual staff party. This proved such a big hit that it wasn’t long before General Manager Bodo Klingenberg put in a special request for them to make a guest appearance at the regular cocktails hosted for guests. Again, it was encores all-round and ‘The Singing Bellmen of Samui’ were on the road to fame. Well, exclusively within the boundaries of the resort anyway.
"I was 15 years old when my uncle gave me a guitar," says Wattana. "I taught myself how to play, and have been practicing very hard for the past ten years. Soomboon caught on from his brother, who had a guitar. "I found myself liking it too, so I started playing," he says. Along with that, the singing part happened naturally for the both of them – talents that are now finally put to good use when they serenade guests.
Apart from the opportunity to show off their musical prowess, the singing bellmen agree that their double-up role is especially rewarding since it gives them a chance to chat with guests. "It’s very enjoyable to be able to entertain guests in a different role. They look at us differently too," says Wattana. Soomboon adds: "The guests who recognize us the next day would come over for a chat and tell us how they enjoyed our performance. That makes us very happy."
Their repertoire is varied and fast-growing, which means they can often also accommodate special requests. Says Wattana: "If we know the song, we’ll sing it of course. Sometimes guests would sing along too". But their favorite song – according to Soomboon – is ‘Thed Thai Ong Rachan’. "The song is about our King (H.M. King Bumibol Adulyadej), and it makes us very proud whenever we sing it."
The charming singing partners are very happy to have the opportunity to perform at the hotel. Says Wattana: "I never thought we would have a chance like this. It’s something we did for our own enjoyment, but sharing it with our guests here at the resort has given our hobby a very special meaning." Soomboon confirms that with a nod of the head. "Yes, and being able to do this makes us more than just the bellmen. We enjoy our work very much, but now we can do even more to ensure guests can get to know us, and remember us…"
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For hundreds of years throughout Thailand, people would leave a jar of water outside their house to provide refreshment and extend a welcome to the passing traveller. Anantara is taken from an ancient Sanskrit word that means ‘without end’, symbolising the sharing of water and heartfelt hospitality is at the core of the Anantara experience.
Anantara resorts and spas are currently located in the seaside town of Hua Hin and on Koh Samui, both in the Gulf of Thailand, and in the Golden Triangle in the country’s north. In the world-renowned destination of the Maldives, the neighbouring Anantara Dhigu and Anantara Veli are a 30 minute boat ride from the capital Male. The newest member of the Anantara family, Anantara Seminyak Resort & Spa, opened in 2008 in the most fashionable district of Bali – the Island of the Gods. October 2008 will see the launch of Anantara Phuket Resort & Spa, situated in the serenity of Mai Khao Beach and just 15 minutes from Phuket International Airport. www.anantara.com
Anantara is a member of Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel groups. GHA partner hotels are renowned for reflecting and respecting local traditions and culture through their products and services. www.globalhotelalliance.com
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