Recognized as one of the world’s leading hospitality and spa brands, Banyan Tree offers guests a sanctuary to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul in awe-inspiring locations around the globe. But what really makes the brand stand out from the crowd is the unique experiences enjoyed by guests who are lucky enough to stay at one of their idyllic properties. Claiming to provide “naturally-luxurious, ecological, culturally-sensitive experiences”, the brand is constantly coming up with creative new concepts to delight and surprise guests. Here we take a look of some of their latest ideas, ranging from the imaginative to the downright quirky.
Cool and photogenic cocktail spot in Koh Samui
Located on the island’s Lamai beach, the Banyan Tree Samui resort has recently opened what is probably the cutest bar in Thailand - a cocktail caravan remodeled from a classic tuk-tuk from the 1960s. The MP4 Midget, nicknamed as the “frogs”, used to be seen everywhere in Thailand, as it was the vehicle most commonly used as taxis. These days, it's pretty hard to see that cute little caravan anywhere on the streets.
This particular “frog” was discovered by Banyan Tree Samui’s head chef who had the idea of adding an artsy touch to Koh Samui’s beachfront with this unique tuk-tuk. The remodeled green three-wheeler, sporting a surfboard on top of its roof, now goes by the name “Froggy Sea Breeze Beach Bar” and serves beer and cocktails, including highlights such as the sweet n’ sour Froggy Melon or the absinthe-infused The Botanical. The bar is located outside the resort so guests and non-guests alike can enjoy the inimitable drinks and atmosphere. It’s also a picture perfect spot for Instagram lovers - something that is priceless for hotels looking to create that much-coveted brand buzz on social media.
Forget breakfast in bed when you can have floating breakfast
A tranquil oasis and exquisite backdrop for a private getaway, the Banyan Tree Phuket is another of the group’s five star properties where the team likes to do things differently. To ensure guests come away with the most enduring memories possible, the luxury resort offers the option to have “floating breakfast” in a private pool. The aquatic dining trend turned out to be such a instagram-worthy success that it has been adopted by many other Banyan Tree properties.
The floating breakfast concept is particularly clever as it not only encourages happy guests and brand loyalty but also attracts new customers to the hotel thanks to the resulting positive online reputation. I mean, who wouldn't want to share their floating feast with their friends on social media?
Coming in 2023: Banyan Tree’s first pod-shaped rooms and treehouses in Singapore
Opening in 2023, the brand has recently announced its first eco-friendly resort in Singapore, featuring 38 rooms and 24 treehouses designed in the shape of seed pods. The location of the resorts in the midst of the rainforest offers ideal access to the Zoo, River Safari, and the Rainforest Park. Elevated four meters above the ground, the rooms are nestled amongst the surrounding trees and interact seamlessly with the environment. Guests can enjoy scenic walks and breathtaking tours among other experiences in the heart of nature.
This resort is an addition to the many attractions already existing in Singapore with the aim of reducing environmental impact. The idea is also to offer residents in Singapore, who do not have the opportunity to travel to far-flung countries, the possibility of truly experiencing nature nearby. It will be a Super Low Energy (SLE) building in terms of its use of solar panels and natural ventilation. While some of the trees will be used for the resort, there will be new ones planted in areas where they vanished naturally, accounting for twice the number of trees at the end of the project.
Obviously a much larger undertaking that the previous examples, this project goes right back to the roots of the brand and the origin of its name (the Banyan tree symbolises the relief and comfort provided by nature). This latest creative initiative helps to reinforce the brand’s positioning as a company that creates hotels and resorts to suit the needs and lifestyle of guests - all built on a foundation of sustainability. Today, the ecological positioning has probably a much broader appeal to potential guests than at the launch of the brand over 30 years ago, when their founders transformed an ecological wasteland in Thailand into the first environmentally sensitive Banyan Tree resort.