Classic Reinvention

A new attraction in Thailand’s buzzing dining scene, Italics delights palates with its unique reinterpretation of Italian fare.

It’s hard to ignore Bangkok’s dining scene, which is as fabulous as it is eclectic. A recent addition to the string of dining rooms with Michelin-star affiliations is Italics. Opened in April, the brainchild of Michelin-starred chef James Noble has quickly gotten the attention of the well-heeled.

The restaurant is located away from the city’s colourful, more chaotic districts, in the upscale Soi Ruamrudee district that is home to embassies, prime residences and offices, and has a gourmet village vibe. It serves up Italian favourites with a twist. While traditional fare like pizza, pasta and grills features on the menu, there’s always a surprise on your plate, be it Thai basil in a caprese salad or tom yam sauce slathered over pastrami meatballs, inviting the diner to enjoy comforting Italian favourites but in a different way. For even more creative options, try unusual dough balls with Thai pesto and crispy garlic, or the watermelon topped with cured pork belly.

Not innovating just for the sake of it, this Thai influence highlights the restaurant’s commitment to provenance. All of its ingredients, from Parma ham to mozzarella, are painstakingly sourced from Thailand’s farms and the range of produce available in the country. The thyme in the roasted mushroom spaghetti and the basil and oregano that top the grilled sea bass come from Italics’ very own herb garden, where a range of herbs is carefully tended.

The sustainable approach is a refreshing change that goes down well with diners’ conscience, when many other restaurants use only imported ingredients.

Another surprise not expected of a casual dining restaurant is the dash of theatrics. When you order a pizza, the chef emerges from the kitchen, skilfully tossing and swirling the pizza dough before it goes into the brick pizza oven. Put it all together and you get a completely new, livelier way to go Italian.

Now, it’s not just Bangkok where gourmands can go for Italics’ exceptional food. In August, the restaurant opened its second outlet in Chiang Mai where it is the banner restaurant in the five-star boutique hotel Akyra Manor Chiang Mai. A partnership between Akayrn Hospitality Management Services and Singapore-owned Manor Group, the restaurant houses indoor and outdoor dining areas, a coffee bar and a deli bar. Rich leather and distressed wood lend a warm, cosy feeling to the black, white and grey-themed establishment, where wall art depicting local farmers and livestock was carefully chosen by the design house Manor Studio to reflect the restaurant’s sustainability promise.

Italian food that comes with this much style and conscience certainly deserves attention!

ITALICS
• 63/3 Soi Ruamrudee, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand
• Akyra Manor Chiang Mai, 22/2 Nimmanhaemind Road Soi 9, T.Suthep, A. Muang, Chiang Mai, Thailand italicsrestaurant.com

(Source: Tatler Singapore | Page 219)

Where to eat in Chiang Mai?

Italics, Innovative Italian. Pretty cool name! This hip and happening restaurant is in the lobby of Chiang Mai’s newest boutique hotel, Akyra Manor.

The decor is rather fresh and modern. The ambience is sophisticated, stylish and cool (air-conditioning cool)!

As it was a lovely day out, my friend and I decided to have our early lunch on the terrace, which happens to also have more of a relaxing atmosphere. It was nice to just sit there, chill out and slowly enjoy the meal and do a bit of people watching.

And the food? That’s what we’re here for, and Italics does not disappoint. The menu is very interesting, with a variety of innovative dishes created by the Executive Chef Phubase that you won’t find elsewhere.

Highly recommended was Chef Phubase’s signature dish, the Coffee Braised Short Rib ( 695 baht) . This is beef marinated in coffee, and slow cooked in duck fat for over 24 hours, resulting in super tender beef that’s packed full of flavour but still had kind of soft roundedness to it (from the duck fat?). The beef was served in a little pot over some spinach, and also with gnocchi cooked in duck fat. The gnocchi was wonderful – slightly crispy and hard on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. It was like, wow, when everything was eaten together. The only downside for us was that this dish was quite rich and we couldn’t finish it all. Lucky we had some green salad that we ordered separately. I didn’t think of it at the time, but I think the beef would have been perfect with a glass of red wine.

Now the Garden Greens Salad (220 baht) was no ordinary “green salad”. It also contained marinated pepper and grilled vegetables, coated in a light balsamic dressing, and served with a generous amount of parmesan. It was a great salad, very enjoyable to eat. Eat slowly to enjoy the different flavours and textures.

As for the appetiser (sorry, we’re going backwards!), East Meets West (250 baht) was suggested to us. This is almost like 2 dishes – a selection of “cured and smoked” sausages, and a sweet potato and edamame salad. The sausages were very strongly flavoured and quite salty, but they went well with the lovely, milder tasting sweet potato and edamame salad (in a kind of mayonnaise dressing). The salad is a bit like a Japanese style potato salad with edamame added to give a little crunch. Great idea!

For dessert, we had the Banana Ricotta Cheesecake (220 baht). This wasn’t what I was expecting in terms of taste and texture. The cheesecake itself was incredibly smooth and surprisingly not sweet at all. The base also had an interesting texture, (which I can’t work out!), but it wasn’t like other cheesecakes that I’ve had. All in all, it was quite lovely.

Towards the end of the meal, Chef Phubase, and the Hotel Manager, Chris came round for a chat and asked for feedback. The restaurant (and hotel) was opened just a couple of days before. Apart from a couple of minor things, I think pretty much everything was great.

The staff was very friendly, from the guy who valet parked my car (yay! parking is available!), to the restaurant manager, Cy, and the waiters/ waitresses who took turns to man the terrace, making sure our water is topped up – very attentive service indeed!

Incidentally, Chris mentioned that they will be implementing a “Resident’s Program” where residents can get 15% discount. So, if you live in Chiang Mai, it would be worth asking about this when you visit the restaurant.

Italics is an interesting addition to Chiang Mai’s food scene. The service and food is great. If you’re looking for somewhere for a special night out, or even just looking for something a bit different, the restaurant is worth checking out.

Italics
22/2 Nimmanhaemin Soi 9
T Suthep, A Muang
Chiang Mai 50220
Website: http://theakyra.com/chiang-mai/akyra-manor-italics/
Opens: Daily 11am-11pm
Tel: 053 216 219

(Source: http://cm-eat.blogspot.sg/2015/08/italics-restaurant-akyra-manor-hotel.html)

The New Italics Restaurant

The NEW Italics Restaurant opened at Akyra Manor Hotel Nimmanhaemin Road, Soi 9 on 10 August 2015. Italics is all about traditional Italian recipes combined with local ingredients. Open daily from 7am until 11pm.

Christophe Gestin, Resident Manager, explained he wants Italics Restaurant to appeal to local residents as well as hotel guests, Therefore they are giving away ‘Resident Discount Cards’ until the end of August 2015; the discount card entitles customers to 15% discount on food and beverages for ONE Year.

Signature dishes include Coffee Braised Short Ribs, served with duck fat & homemade gnocchi (695THB), Spinach Ricotta Calzone (280THB) Chiang Rai Four Cheese wood fire Pizza (320THB), Wood Fired Italics Lasagna (390THB), and Grilled Buffalo Chicken Caesar Salad (320THB). For desserts the Hot Chocolate Lava Cake served with vanilla ice cream (250THB) and Banana Ricotta Cheesecake (220THB) are recommended. Many other choices for breakfast, lunch or dinner are available. All prices are subject to VAT & Service Charge.

Check out the August issue of Sppon & Fork or September issue of Citylife Magazine for further details For reservations or further info 053-216-219 or email fb@akmc@theaykra.com.

(Source: Citylife Chiang Mai)

Manor Group (Thailand) in collaboration with YMCA Sao Hin build five Local Dams in Chiang Dao National Park

On 10 August 2015, the staff of the Akyra Manor Hotel, Chiang Mai together with YMCA Sao Hin and students from Hauy-Pao School, Na-Waii School and Thung Khao Phuong School came together to construct five local check dams.

These check dams were built to slow down the flow of water in the river so that the water remains at a correct level during the dry season. One other benefit of the check dam is that it can help maintain soil moisture, hence, preventing forest fires. With the cooperation of the volunteers, the check dams were built over two days.

With Manor Group’s sponsorship, we hope to contribute to the local community by educating the new generation about the environment and improve lives, not just for our customers, but also for the people living in the vicinity of our project sites.

Manor Group gives back to the community through provision of jobs, training, and livelihood programs and also in the preservation of the environment to ensure that the success of the projects translates to a more harmonious life for a greater number of people.

S’pore’s Manor Group to Open Chic New Hotel in Chiang Mai

MANOR GROUP, a real estate investment and development company based in Singapore, will open a hotel in Chiang Mai in October, aiming to cash in on the growth of tourism there and to pave the way for further investment in Thailand and neighbouring countries.

John Lim, founder and chief executive officer, said the group had invested Bt300 million in the hotel in Chiang Mai. This is the first step for Manor Group’s foray into the hotel business in Thailand as well as other countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia.

In Thailand, the group already runs a wide range of businesses. It is responsible for Italics Restau-rants, while Manor Studio Thailand Co handles design and architectural projects, and the latest entity, Manor Suite Chiang Mai Co, owns the Akyra Manor Chiang Mai Hotel.

Lim said a Thai hospitality firm, Akaryn Hotel Group, would manage the hotel under its Akyra brand via a 10-year contract with Manor Group. Akaryn also owns and operates the Aleenta resorts in Phuket, Phang-nga and Hua Hin-Pranburi, as well as the Akyra Chura Samui resort. Akaryn Group is gearing up for next year’s launch of Akaryn Koh Krabeay, a resort and spa on its own private island in Cambodia.

The Chiang Mai hotel has 23 deluxe suites at 56 square metres and seven larger suites at a spacious 97 sqm. It is located in hip Nimmanhaemin Road, which is known as “coffee street” and is a growing centre of the city’s booming art scene.

“Chiang Mai has too many three-star hotels, so we went all the way to do an all-suite five-star hotel, with a courtyard-within-room concept, very generously sized suites and a minimal, contemporary and decidedly urban feel, as that is what the market here was lacking. There is an extreme shortage of high-end hotels there. Occupancy rates are 80-100 per cent at the best hotels,” Lim said.

He said the hotel’s official launch, originally scheduled for this month, had been pushed back to October because of unforeseen construction delays. Lim said Thailand had great potential in the logistics sector as both the overall population and gross domestic product per capita are moving upwards.

Known for its abundant natural resources and strong manufacturing sectors, Thailand has always been an export-strong country. However, as per capita GDP increases and as the country moves towards becoming a developed country, new trends are created and modernisation takes place, so its imports are also moving up quickly, he believes.

The growth of cities outside Bangkok and the connectivity linking them are also contributing to the growth of logistics demand. Cities such as Hua Hin and Chiang Mai are good examples of such cities. The high-speed rail links that will eventually be built will also provide more connectivity.

For hospitality, tourism, food and beverages, Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s major travel destinations. The core of any hospitality industry is the people involved in it, and Thailand never fails to reflect the inherent service mentality of its culture, Manor Group believes.

When looking at travel blogs and sites, the quality of service at a wide array of hotels and restaurants can vary. High-end hotels and restaurants are relatively consistent and well received by many, though it’s also a fact that quality of service at the middle to lower end has received mixed reviews, the group has noted.

(Source: The Nation)
Correction: MANOR GROUP is not “a design and architecture enterprise” but rather “a real estate investment and development company.”

Manor Group Sets out Thai Investments, with Focus on Hotel and Restaurant Businesses

English Translation:

The number of foreign tourists continue to grow even with the current unstable political situation. It seems though that it only has a minor effect to the travel industry and Thailand is still a very attractive country for investors.

Mr. John Lim, The MD and Founder of Manor Group Singapore, mentioned that he had started his business in Singapore by developing small properties, however the investments in Singapore have high risks because of high expenditures especially for a plot of land. To invest in other countries is a good alternative especially in the hospitality industry. Beach destinations are not the main idea and he prefers a unique design building to create memorable experiences.

The first country for his project is Malaysia with the Edison Hotel in Penang and the second one is in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The akyra Manor Chiang Mai, with an investment of 300 million Baht and managed by the AKARYN hotel group, is a 5 star hotel located in Nimmanhaemin area. It is scheduled to open in October 2015.

Akyra Manor Chiang Mai takes its inspiration from of a state of the art concept. A hotel for people with strong interest and passion for art and photography, it comprises of 30 keys with 23 Akyra Deluxe at 60 sqm and 7 Manor Suites at 100 sqm. With its outstanding design compared to other buildings in the same compound, the average room rate is between 200 – 300 USD.

The hotel room rates in Chiang Mai ranges from 10-20 USD to 400 USD. The akyra Manor is rated 5 star hotel; therefore, the rate strategy focuses on 5 star services, focused on delivering the best and memorable personalized services with the outstanding and unique design of the building and its facilities.

Manor Group continues to look for and plans to develop more properties in Thailand. Plans include a second 5 star hotel property in Chiang Mai with a total investment of 400 million Baht, a co-working space and hotel in Bangkok targeting Thong Lor area. For both areas, Manor Group will take over existing buildings by reconditioning and designing the interior and exterior by their own experienced and professional design studio.

The concept for the Bangkok property is to meet the demands of new generations who are looking to set up their own businesses where a working space, small meeting room combined with accommodations will be provided with reasonable room rates as compared to the other competitors in the area.

Manor Group also works on an F&B business where “The Italics” is their first Italian fusion concept restaurant in Soi Ruamrudee, Bangkok. Within 2-3 years’ time, Manor Group plans to expand the restaurant to 6 branches. The expansion of the restaurants will be mainly located within new hotel properties and a few stand-alone units.

After Thailand, Manor Group has plans to develop more hotel properties in Penang, Malaysia and further extend their business to new destinations like Tokyo and South Korea where tourism is constantly increasing.

Apart from hotel businesses and restaurants, Manor Group also handles a logistics company in Singapore which they plan to develop in Thailand as well.

(Source: Post Today, Thailand | Business-Marketing Section | Page B4)

Akyra Manor Chiang Mai Targets a Younger Affluent Crowd

MANOR Group will launch the 30-suite Akyra Manor Chiang Mai this October, as part of its planned 500 million baht (US$14.2 million) investment in Thailand’s hospitality and F&B sectors, said CEO John Lim.

The Singapore-based developer has invested about 350 million baht in the hotel, which is located in the west of the city near Chiang Mai University and will be managed by the Akaryn Hotel Group.

According to Lim, the property will leverage its contemporary design, high service standards and hallmark F&B offerings to differentiate itself in the market, as well as pricing rooms in the US$200-US$250 segment.

Lim admitted he was “taking a bit of a risk” developing a property with an investment cost of about US$333,000 per suite, but he was confident that the high-design city hotel would create the demand needed to hit the profitable occupancy rate of 70–90 per cent.

“Currently Chiang Mai has a lot of properties at the US$10 per night market and the traditional five-star properties at about US$200 per night,” he said. “There are also some very successful luxury boutiques charging US$400 per night. So we’re targeting a different guest, someone who’s younger, design conscious and wants to stay in an iconic property.”

Akyra Manor, which also has meetings facilities, will focus on its F&B offerings, including the poolside/rooftop Rise Bar, to attract customers in a city with a burgeoning café culture but lacks high-concept branded venues.

Manor Group recently opened Italics restaurant in Bangkok, a joint venture with Akaryn, and plans to develop another property in Chiang Mai.

(Source: TTG Asia)

Akyra Manor Hotel Chiang Mai Opening in October

Fusing an eye-catching exterior with luxurious five-star amenities, award winning hospitality group AHMS – The Collection will be opening akyra Manor Hotel Chiang Mai in October.

Designed by visionary Manor Studios’ talented Chaw Chih Wen (2012 A’Design Award winner for Interior Space and Exhibition Design), akyra Manor Chiang Mai combines past and present, providing guests with a stylish urban sanctuary in Thailand’s northern capital of Chiang Mai with the unique and luxurious details any member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World offers.

For instance, the stunning exterior brickwork was curated from the city’s crumbling ancient wall while the contemporary suites provides guests with a distinctive “courtyard within the room” feel with a covered outdoor hot tub that, along with an indulgent bathroom, serves as the focal point of the akyra Manor experience.

Additionally, since the hotel is ensconced in the architectural and social centerpiece of the city’s most happening art and culture boulevard, Nimmanhaemin Soi 9, a delightful collection of boutiques, galleries, bars, and cafés frequented by fashion-forward locals are readily available.

Or never leave the akyra Manor Hotel Chiang Mai and ascend to the rooftop pool bar, Rise. Creative cocktails surrounded by a stunning transparent walled pool offer extraordinary views of the city’s skyline. Then indulge in akyra Manor Hotel Chiang Mai’s signature dining experience Italics, with its Italian cuisine menu utilizing locally-sourced and home grown ingredients from the Thailand’s first organic hotel rooftop nursery.

(Source: Examiner)

Thailand for Honeymooners

Take note: The Akyra Manor Hotel Chiang Mai, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, opens August 1 in the northern city of Chiang Mai. The city provides a cool ambiance for honeymooners with ancient sanctuaries and temples dotted among traditional residences, and we say the scenic Doi Suthep Mountains outside the city just might create the ultimate backdrop for post-wedding photos. Akyra Manor also sets the honeymoon tone with its “Manor Suites”: There are only seven of them, and they each come with 1,050 square feet of space and sport an “outside living” theme.

Case in point: The private balcony in each Manor Suite has a hot tub; there’s also another private terrace with an outdoor bathtub (it pairs well with the naturally sourced bath products). When guests roam inside the suite, they will find touches like a fully stocked minibar, Espresso machine, and a walk-in changing area. Tip: A three-day, two-night honeymoon package comes with free sparkling wine and a flower bouquet, roundtrip transportation to Mae Sa Waterfall with lunch, a body scrub for two, daily breakfast and dinner at the rooftop bar.

We suggest travelers explore Nimmanhaemin Soi 9, locally known as “Coffee Street,” which is within walking distance of the hotel. The street is the perfect place to shop with its collection of boutiques and galleries, and a cup of coffee at one of the cafes is a must. Upon returning to Akyra Manor, dinner at the hotel rooftop RISE Bar completes any perfect day. This is the place to be seen and includes crafted cocktails, a pool surrounded by transparent walls and memorable views of the city skyline. For an exciting dining experience, guests should order the private barbeque to their rooftop table. Dishes include chicken satay skewers, garlic parsley prawn and a homemade marshmallow skewer. Reservations for VIPs should be made with Jon Makhmaltchi (jon@jmak.com).

(Source: Luxury Travel Advisor)

Eastern Promise

“Further afield, Singaporean design house Manor Studio is the bold and colourful creative force behind Akyra Manor House, which opens this month in the northern capital of THAILAND, Chang Mai. Sharing the

brand’s “courtyard within a room” concept, all 30 suites feature outdoor hot-tubs nights in the larger of the two suite configurations costs £198 until 31 October when booked through destinology.co.uk.”

(Source: GQ UK Edition | Travel | Page 87)

Urban Retreat in Chiang Mai

Chic akyra Manor Chiang Mai unveils introductory opening rates for stylish ‘outside living in’ deluxe suite concept.

Luxury akyra Manor Chiang Mai, a hip urban concept hotel and new style beacon in the northern capital’s art precinct and ’coffee street’ Nimman Haemin, has announced a special introductory rate for its opening.

Heart of arty soak: Sink back into the centrepiece circular al fresco bathtub, dial up the suds and bubbly, and contemplate the portraits of modern master Dr Andy Gotts as he goes behind the mask of Hollywood.

From August 1 to October 31, 2015, the starting rate for a Deluxe Suite is only THB4,200++ per night – a deal that allows guests to luxuriate in a capacious 60 square metre environment highlighted by a chic stylishness and a large, absolutely private balcony bathtub.

The 23 Deluxe Suites are the signature offerings of an ’outside living in’ philosophy that is ideal for couples, the intimate design-centred space created around a courtyard-within-a-room concept, just like all of akyra Manor Chiang Mai’s 30 sanctuaries.

Other features include his and hers cotton gowns, slippers, amenity boxes and the ultimate snuggling linen – 430 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. The rooms also have an LCD TV with cable and IPTV, naturally sourced toiletries, oversized towels, an espresso coffee machine, an iPod and iDock with a large music library and Bluetooth speakers, a fully stocked mini bar and complimentary high speed WiFi connectivity throughout the hotel. An extra bed is available.

The introductory rate provides the perfect opportunity to experience akyra Manor Chiang Mai’s urban chic, warm service at the debut partnership between Thailand’s award-winning boutique hotel operator AHMS – The Collection and the design visionaries at Singapore-based Manor Design Studio. The companies have combined to deliver a new level of finesse and sophistication at the ’Rose of the North’ and its vibrant ’Artists’ Quarter’.

To also mark the launch of the all-suite hotel, celebrated UK portrait photographer Dr Andy Gotts will personally premiere his new exhibition of Hollywood A-listers exclusively at the hotel from August 21, 2015, with the added bonus of limited edition signed portraits being available in every guestroom and the promise of many more artists par excellence set to showcase their work at the property.

(Source: The Nation)

Design Destinations – Siam Style

Oozing chicness and boasting artsy, creative locales, these luxury hotels are worth the trip in themselves.

CHIANG MAI

The Land of Smiles is fast becoming a quick getaway for Singaporeans from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and the opening of Akyra Manor Chiang Mai provides yet another alternative for a relaxing vacation

Located in the buzzworthy boulevard of Chiang Mai’s Nimmanhaemin Soi 9, the neighbourhood is reminiscent of quirky Williamsburg in New York’s Brooklyn. The resort-style establishment touts an elusive “courtyard-within-a-room concept”, where each room has its own individual bathtubs to give guests an outdoor feel while indoors. With bespoke guided tours that highlight an authentic Chiang Mai experience connecting with the locals, the contemporary hotel is set to become the newest hit in town. theakyra.com/chiang-mai.

(Source: Tatler Singapore |Life, Travel | Page 194)

The Manor of Plenty

Set in Chiang Mai’s uber-chic precinct, the soon-to-open five-star Akyra Manor Chiang Mai combines plush accommodation with magnificent views, culture, fine dining and a plethora of bespoke luxury experiences.

Thailand’s Rose of the North just keeps blooming. One of the best places in Thailand where you can look back into the past with its historic temples and shrines, Chiang Mai is also where you can soak up modern Thai culture. One increasingly popular attraction is the trendy precinct of Nimmanhaemin Soi 9, also known as “coffee street”. The place to see and be seen, Nimmanhaemin Road is a bustling city centre nestled between majestic mountains and a meandering river. Named after Chiang Mai’s oldest family, it is today characterised by an infectious energy likened to the bohemian urban chic of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, with its landscape dotted by chic cafes, high-end restaurants and quaint galleries.

If you want to be at the heart of this dynamic scene, check into Akyra Manor Chiang Mai. Set to open its doors in July, this five-star luxury hotel, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is the flagship project by Manor Group, a Singapore-based firm headed by founder and CEO John Lim with interests in property and hotel development, management and investment. You can trust a Singapore company to pull out all the stops when it comes to delivering the pinnacle of luxury experiences, but this project was also the result of Lim’s endeavour to develop Chiang Mai as a tourist destination while creating opportunities for training and employment among the local communities.

Steering the design for the 30 all-suite property is Chaw Chih Wen, the award-winning design director at Manor Studio, the group’s architectural and spatial design subsidiary. Each suite, spanning a generous 610sqft (or a lavish 1,050sqft if you check into one of the seven larger suites), was built around its own courtyard so guests can immerse themselves in the tranquil beauty of the outdoors without having to compromise their privacy.

Take a sunset soak in the bathtub, set in a private interior courtyard at the centre of your suite, while sipping a chilled glass of champagne before heading for a gastronomic feast at the hotel’s all-day banner restaurant Italics. Serving up modern interpretations of classic Italian artisanal fare, the trattoria-style restaurant is helmed by chef James Noble. With the show kitchen concept, you can watch Noble and
his team as they masterfully prepare your food before it is brought to your table by friendly staff. All dishes, from the pastas to the pizzas from the brick oven feature, are made from fresh local produce, so you’ll not only be dining in style but also with a conscience, thanks to reduced food miles.

For postprandial drinks with a view, adjourn to the rooftop bar, Rise. Set to be a gathering place for the well-heeled urban crowd and artists, this chic watering hole boasts a see-through swimming pool that’s perfect for a late-evening dip. With a blanket of stars overhead and the cool breeze against your skin, savour the romance in the air over your favourite tipple made to your exact specifications by the bartender.

Start the next day bright and early with a yoga session or hit the gym for something of a faster pace. Then, ask the concierge to arrange a car rental so you can go sightseeing at your leisure. Apart from the beautiful temples and colourful markets, you’ll also want to visit the Baan Tawai village, known for its carved wood handicrafts, and Wualai Road, home to a string of silverware shops. On the way back, make a stop at one of the cafes along Nimmanhaemin Road for your coffee fix before checking out the trendy lifestyle shops in the vicinity.

Adventure seekers can speak to the staff at the concierge about bespoke elephant rides and customised adrenaline-pumping tours, or go hiking at the lush Mae Taeng Valley, where you’ll get a glimpse of caves, cascading waterfalls, rice paddies and local villages. Birdwatchers should head to Doi Inthanon National
Park, home to many different species of birdlife, as well as wildlife, including deer and, if you’re lucky, tigers! With a host of other activities, from golf to shooting, hot air ballooning and horse riding, there won’t be one dull moment in Chiang Mai.

At the end of a day out, retreat to the creature comforts of your suite at Akyra Manor Chiang Mai, have a bottle of wine sent to your room and drink to the undeniable charm of Thailand’s Rose of the North.

AKYRA MANOR CHIANG MAI 22/2 Nimmanhaemind Road Soi 9, T. Suthep, A. Muang, Chiang Mai, Thailand
tel: 66(0) 5321 6219,
e-mail: rm.akmc@theakyra.com theakyra.com/chiang-mai

(Source: Tatler Singapore | Page 192 – 193)
Correction: Manor Studio is not “the group’s architectural and spatial design subsidiary” but rather “the group’s spatial design consultant”.

Mod Thai

“In the heart of Chiang Mai’s vibrant art district, Akyra Manor is a new, contemporary all-suite five-star hotel. The northern Thai city is awash with history and culture, and the city’s ancient wall inspired the hotel’s exterior – a mixture of stonework and undulating wooden ribbons. Inside, there are seven 100sq m Manor Suites and 23 60sq m Akyra Deluxe suites, all with their own outdoor bath, so you can soak up the scenery in style. On the rooftop, take a dip in the glass-walked pool or while away time enjoying classic cocktails at the Rise bar as you watch the sun set over the hills.
theakyra.com

 

(Source: Harrods Travel | Autumn and Winter 2015 | Lifestyle | Latitude | Page 38)

Akyra Manor Shortlisted for Hotel Under 50 Rooms Award (Asia-Pacific)

Akyra Manor Chiang Mai submitted by AHMS The Collection, has been shortlisted for the Hotel Under 50 Rooms Award (Asia-Pacific) in the International Hotel & Property Awards 2015.

A contemporary urban retreat, the all-suite akyra Manor gives Chiang Mai an invigorating shot of design and style, juxtaposed against the heritage of its location. The original brief to designer Chaw Chih Wen was to re-invent hospitality in Chiang Mai through akyra Manor. In an area best known for its mountainous surroundings, the hotel was to breathe new life into the downtown area of the city by providing a contemporary urban space for entertaining and relaxing: creating a new ‘hot-spot’ for the city.

It was also important to establish a landmark building that would draw attention and create discussion. The challenge was to make a bold statement, whilst reimagining and embracing the strong rooted Chiang Mai culture and heritage. Any development would also need to continue the sustainability drive of AHMS The Collection and its deep founded respect for nature.

According to design visionary Chih Wen, a key aspect of the design was the inspiration to build each of the 30 suites around its own courtyard: a ‘room within a room’ concept designed to bring the outdoors inside while not sacrificing privacy. This is central to the AHMS The Collection concept of Outdoor Living In, and sees an outdoor bathtub as the centerpiece of each courtyard. The unique and striking design of akyra Manor pays homage to the history of the ‘Rose of the North’: the outer shell has been created to capture the essence of the city’s crumbling ancient wall. The sculptural design of the building is an art installation in its own right, reflecting its setting in the vibrant Nimmanhaemin art district. The hotel will be a real hub for creative minds, acting as a ‘living gallery’ to showcase rotating exhibitions of local artists.

Inside, the bold and edgy sophistication of the 30 guest suites provide a sanctuary from the buzz of Thailand’s northern capital. The 23 akyra Deluxe suites offer a spacious 610 sq ft of living space, while seven decadent akyra Manor Suites at 1050 sq ft will give guests a stylish expanse of space to unwind.

(Source: The Design Society)

Values are in the Fine Print at ‘Italics’

COCONUTS HOT SPOT — Inside Italics a Thai guy is spinning dough in the air and around his shoulders like a slinky basketball. There’s no doubt he may not be Italian, and he makes a damn good Margarita.

He also nicely sums up what this latest edition to Soi Ruamradee is about: With a menu of pastas, pizzas and appies, Italics is heavily Asian-inspired but not quite out-there enough to be fusion.

The restaurant opened just a couple weeks ago. They’re calling it a “soft” opening, probably to excuse all the drilling and construction happening out front of the refurbished house that’s home to the restaurant and deli bar, where a whisky and cigar lounge will soon be added.

I walked in knowing only the buzz: Italics is the brainchild of Michelin-starred James Noble (formerly Mick Jagger’s chef) and 100 percent of everything served is sourced from Thailand. Indeed, the interior design echoes this commitment to provenance: Black-and-white, avant-garde photos of cows and women in sexy poses next to cuts of meat.

The eclectic menu starts with appetizers that strike strange combinations but surprisingly work. Take for example the seared watermelon, topped with cured pork belly and grape balsamic jelly cubes on the side. Pork and watermelon together is just a weird idea in theory, but in practice presents a delicious sweet and salty contrast. The balsamic cubes end up as a bit of an afterthought off to the side the plate, but when included in a single bite with the other two ingredients there’s a pop that’s purely next level. Likewise Japanese edamame beans and pesto sound like a very bad experiment in fusion, but when that edamame is wrapped inside a dough ball as a paste it’s a chewy delight, reminiscent of Chinese buns.

The main courses are heavy, just the way that Italian should be, but with a very contemporary spin. I could hardly make a dent into the coffee braised beef short rib mixed with duck fat, topped with deep-fried gnocchi and a layer of greens underneath. It was rich and savory, and I would’ve loved to shovel in a few more bites if it wasn’t for those appetizers. I also really enjoyed my dinner partner’s el dente pasta dish: slow-braised beef penne in a Sambuca peppercorn sauce that was creamy yet finely textured by the meat.

And when the menu says these pizzas are hand-kneaded and high-thrown, it isn’t joking. The chef, a young Thai guy with a swirly, shaved hairstyle, left the wood-fired oven (visible through a glass window) and tossed around a knot of dough in wild 360s.

The food and its presentation (lots of little jars and swirls of color) are great, but the service needs to improve. It’s a new restaurant, and the skills of staff could still use some fine-tuning. For example clearing plates and better timing to ensure the main course comes out just long enough after an appetizer. But with the official opening not for another month, there is definitely still time.

The restaurant is ambitious, aiming for servers to be able to field inquiries about exactly where the ingredients come from to their customers (according to its marketing copy). The sourcing is definitely a really cool talking point, with the beef in the penne and short rib coming from what the restaurant touts as an ethical supplier in Nakhon Pathom and the pork (salami, pastrami, parma ham, right down to the cured pork belly appetizer) sourced from Joe Sloan’s farming cooperative in Chiang Mai.

It’s touches like the pizza guy and values that are going to make this place popular for large parties and get-togethers (including the fact that you can eventually also enjoy a single malt before or after in the same building). So you can either wait until Italics has a little more polish in the coming months, or beat the rush and go straightaway.

(Source: Coconuts Bangkok)

Italian Updated: Italics Restaurant Bangkok Opens

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While most fine dining restaurants serving up international cuisines boast of importing everything they cook from lands afar, Bangkok’s latest opening, Italics, sources 100 percent of its produce from Thailand — a long and painstaking process, we’re told but, nevertheless, one that proudly supports local farmers and the diverse range of produce available in Thailand.

The concept for this contemporary Italian restaurant was conceived by Michelin-starred chef, James Noble of Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi Resort & Spa. His talent for Mediterranean cuisine and love of Thai ingredients — as well as a fondness for organic, sustainable and fresh ingredients, merged to create this innovative Italian menu in which Italian classics are deconstructed and reimagined — think edamame stuffed dough balls, ceviche fish & chips with coconut mayonnaise and wild mushroom & tarragon calzone with spicy ricotta.

Even the cocktail menu utilises local flavours in an unusual way — one cocktail has a buffalo milk base. Authentic flavours aren’t radically changed and never jar, but rather they’re given a little Thai punctuation — a Caprese salad with Thai basil simply adds a little bite to the classic dish. Even the most staunch Italian cuisine lover can’t fail to be impressed at Noble’s seamless interlacing of two very different cuisines.

The relaxed venue, right in the heart of Soi Ruamrudee, is refreshingly low key in style when compared to Bangkok’s other Michelin-starred chef’s openings. A surprising, but very entertaining addition to the night is the pizza chef, who — if asked — will entertain with a spot of table side pizza dough flaring.

The restaurant is currently in its soft opening stage, and is gearing up for its official opening on 29 April. In the same building, and unaffiliated store is also preparing to open, which will reportedly be home to Bangkok’s biggest whiskey and cigar selection, which is rumoured to open in May.

A sister restaurant in the new Akyra Manor Chaing Mai is also opening this year, which will be the hotel’s flagship restaurant, with a show kitchen, authentic Italian pizza ovens and a rooftop pool bar, Rise.

Italics, 63/3 Soi Ruamrudee, Pathumwan, Bangkok, www.italicsrestaurant.com

(Source: Lifestyle Asia)

AHMS The Collection Officially Launches Partnership with Top Singaporean Design Company Manor Group at Gala Event

Thailand’s leading boutique hospitality company, AHMS The Collection, officially launched its partnership with the Manor Group recently at a glittering dinner event at fashionable Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar in Singapore.

The partnership between the two innovative companies begins with the opening of Italics Restaurant in Bangkok on April 1, the first of an expected regional rollout of the Italian culinary concept showcasing proven provenance cuisine.

This will be followed on July 1 with the opening of akyra Manor Chiang Mai, a 30-all suite contemporary urban hotel located in the hippest district in town, Nimmanhaemin, known as the Artist Quarter of the city and which will also have an Italics restaurant on the ground floor.

Guests were treated to a star turn by Italics’ Michelin-starred chef, James Noble, who created an eight-course dinner, packed with originality, flavour and authenticity, showcasing what will be Thailand’s first proven provenance Italian dining concept.

Anchalika Kijkanakorn, award-winning AHMS’s Managing Director and Founder, said she was delighted to be launching the partnership in style as that was at the cornerstone of how the two companies operated.

“After meeting John Lim (head of Manor Group) for the first time I knew we would one day be working together. There was too much chemistry and we are both forward thinking, ambitious companies.

“That day has now arrived and we will launch these two projects this year and then after that who knows. These are very exciting times for AHMS The Collection and we are thrilled to be working with such as wonderfully creative partner in the Manor Group.”

Manor Group Chief Executive Officer John Lim said he was excited to be entering Thailand with such a strong partner as his group made its first foray into the hospitality.

“Thailand has a very strong and growing tourism industry and we are happy to now be a part of that and blend our abilities with the already well established reputation for excellence in luxury hospitality Anchalika and her team have and continue to pioneer.”

(Source: eGlobal Travel Media)
Correction: Manor Group is not a “Design Company” but rather a “Real Estate Investment and Development Company”.

From Scientist to Property Developer

Entrepreneur John Lim seems to have done it all.

From scientist to businessman, police cadet to developer, he has got all those bases covered. And he is just 37 years old.

Now, the Singaporean founder of property firm Manor Group plans to hone his business acumen in the hospitality, and food and beverage sectors – in Thailand.

His latest venture, Akyra Manor, a 30-suite luxury hotel in Chiang Mai, will open its doors in November and his first restaurant, Italics, will open in Bangkok this month.

The biotechnology graduate from London’s Imperial College also owns Manor Studio, a design consultancy, interior fit-out firm, Black, and even a logistics firm.

Mr Lim’s journey started in the most unlikely of places: in a laboratory at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), where he developed composite materials such as body tissues for the regeneration of body parts.

He sums up how he went from being a scientist to shaking up the hotel scene in Chiang Mai: “I knew even before I graduated that I wanted to do my own thing, my brain is always bursting with ideas.”

That was why he declined A*Star’s offer to pursue a PhD.

Despite his entrepreneurial ambitions, Mr Lim had a philosophy. “My dad told me that I had to work for someone for five years first, to gain experience before doing my own thing,” he said.

His search for more exposure landed him another role in a field that could not be more different: at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

“I wanted to try something different. But I chose to stay on in the civil service because I believed some of the policies that I could learn from the ministries would be very useful,” said Mr Lim.

After seven years in various roles ranging from assistant superintendent at the Tuas Checkpoint and senior fire officer at Changi Airport to a subsequent stint at the former Ministry of Communication and the Arts (now known as the Ministry of Communications and Information), he felt prepared to step out in 2010.

Mr Lim’s father had at that time owned “quite a few” old properties which had not been renovated “since the 70s” and were rented out for a “low cost”.

Seeing the potential, Mr Lim asked if he could dress up the properties with savings he had accumulated before stepping out of the civil service.

“He didn’t give me a single cent. I saw that I could rent them out at a higher cost. After a while, I started pulling down some of the old houses and sold them at a higher value,” Mr Lim said.

His knack for increasing the latent value of the properties became apparent and, soon, he was approached by friends seeking to do the same. A pool of private funds was eventually raised and set aside to acquire property.

“I was in charge of identifying the opportunities. But when the fund grew, I thought we can’t just do property.”

The firm eventually diversified into its design, construction and logistics business.

Mr Lim does not think he has spread himself too thinly.

“I get involved, but my business philosophy is that you need really good partners that you can trust. And you need to let the person run the place.”

And at the Akyra Manor hotel, his bets are firmly on Ms Anchalika Kijkanakorn, founder of Akaryn Hospitality Management Services (AHMS) and chairman of the Small Luxury Hotels group worldwide, which is based in London.

AHMS, which owns the Akyra Chura Samui resort, Akaryn Samui hotel, Aleenta Phuket-Phang Nga and Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi hotels in Thailand, has inked a 10-year contract with Manor Group to run the Akyra Manor hotel.

The hotel will be in the Niemanhaemin area, an upscale precinct in Chiang Mai also known as “coffee street”.

“When we all went there to have a look at the place, there it was suddenly, this piece of land with an attap house on it,” said Mr Lim. We tore down the whole thing, so this is really our first flagship project that we’re building from scratch.”

The 9,000 sq ft site snapped up for US$8.5 million (S$11.7 million) in February 2013 has shown its worth, having “tripled” in value today, he added.

“At the start, we thought of just building a three-star hotel because we shouldn’t invest too much. But Chiang Mai has too many three-star hotels, so we went all the way to do a five-star hotel.

“There is an extreme shortage of high-end hotels there, occupancy rates are 80 to 100 per cent at the best hotels.”

His competition, for now, are the Shangri-La Hotel, Anantara Chiang Mai Resort and Spa, and Le Meridien Chiang Mai.

Mr Lim’s latest foray into the food and beverage sector, Italics Italian restaurant, will also have a sister outlet within the Akyra Manor hotel.

Certainly, the father of three girls is not stopping in Thailand. Plans are afoot to raise another fund worth US$20 million for more hotels and restaurants in Vietnam and Malaysia.

Bringing his businesses home is definitely on the cards, he said, but the firm would like to build on a brand established overseas first.

On top of maintaining a busy schedule, Mr Lim is a savvy investor in the stock market.

And he still finds time to run 8km every morning and tee off once a week.

“I wasn’t always this size,” joked Mr Lim.

“I have three to four mentors who guide me… they told me, ‘John if you can’t look after your body, don’t even think about looking after your company.’ So, in a way, running has been life-changing for me.”

(Source: AsiaOne)

Our Definitive Guide to Chiang Mai

From the grande dames to the mod boutiques, the city’s best hotels are rooted in history.

“AKYRA MANOR – This new boutique has a dreamy rooftop pool bar and an angular and undulating facade inspired by the Old City wall. Each of the 28 suites has its own light-filled courtyard. 22/2 Nimmanhemin Rd., Soi 9; 66-53/214-351; theakyra.com; Bt7,700.”

(Source: Travel + Leisure, Southeast Asia | T+L Decoder, Chiang Mai | Page 114)