Tech Bytes

Banyan Tree Samui introduces special smartphones for guests

The Portier smartphone is user-friendly and Banyan Tree Samui strongly feels that the innovation will offer its guests a great level of security and comfort

Banyan Tree Samui, a luxurious 88-villa beachfront resort on one of Thailand’s most compelling island destinations, is now offering its guests a Portier smartphone along with the room keys at check in. An initiative that got underway on December 16, the mobile phone allows the guests to make free and unrestricted international telephone calls and surf 4G Internet. It also offers its guests the access to a host of resort features including restaurant menus, daily activities, and tips for sightseeing around the island of Koh Samui.

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Banyan Tree Samui can phone anywhere, anytime on the resort’s new smartphones

The Portier smartphone is user-friendly and delivers all of its features in English, Russian, Chinese, German or French. Banyan Tree Samui strongly feels that the innovation will offer its guests a great level of security and comfort.

Remko Kroesen, general manager, Banyan Tree Samui said, “I am delighted to see exciting evolutions at Banyan Tree Samui. The devices will allow the guests to remain connected with family and dear ones at any point of time. We always aim at enhancing the stay experiences of our guests with ultimate comfort and security.” Kroesen says the most popular feature of the smartphone at the resort is the ‘Villa Host’ function.

Each guest is assigned a Villa Host – a personal butler-cum-concierge – who will contact them ahead of arrival to take requests and lay the groundwork for their vacation. Banyan Tree Samui has about 10 Villa Hosts on call at any point of time– that’s one per eight or nine villas when fully occupied. The Villa Host assists the guests to run through the Portier’s features when they check in. It is a very easy-to-operate device allowing the guests to make calls and click pictures and share with dear ones. The guests can also call the ‘Villa Host’ for room service, housekeeping, hire a car, or even just ask for translations or local advice.

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View over Banyan Tree Samui

While most upscale hotels offers robust Wi-Fi networks that enable communication between a guest’s own phone and the wider world, Banyan Tree Samui’s smartphones enable connectivity through Wi-Fi hotspots no matter where a guest travels on the island. “You could be in a coconut plantation or watching the sunset from a beach, and you can still take a picture and send it home,” said executive assistant manager Haruethai Maneerat.

The hotspot works in tandem with the GPS and provides a safety net for guests who might get lost. To give an example- one couple hired a car to drive around Koh Samui but soon got into a bump with a local driver. Not speaking Thai and not knowing where they were, the guests called their Villa Host on their smartphone. She was able to track them via the GPS and drive with the resort handyman to the scene of the accident, where she sorted out everything on the spot.

All the hotel information is downloaded onto the smartphone – menus for each of Banyan Tree Samui’s three restaurants, spa treatments, speedboat tours and daily kids’ club activities. It also features novel ideas such as a nature trail around the rolling 38-acre property, where guests can use their phones to identify some of the resident flora and fauna – birds of paradise, rubber plants, MacArthur palms, kingfishers, a white-breasted sea eagle that soars over the resort every day just before sunset and the occasional passing monitor lizard. “Our delivery to the guests must always be exemplary,” said Kroesen. “From the limousine service at the airport to the moment they check out, it’s those extra personal touches that people remember.” Villas at Banyan Tree Samui, each with private infinity pool, start from US$ 750 per night.

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