sojourneys


Sofitel Phokeethra Krabi Resort and Spa, Thailand – More pics and YouTube clips
February 22, 2007, 12:56 am
Filed under: holiday, hotels, Krabi, photos, resorts, reviews, Thailand, vacation, videos

Here are some additional pictures I took at the Sofitel Phokeethra Krabi Resort and Spa, Thailand.

The picture to the left is a violet-hued lotus in bloom. Next, the spa, billed as Accor’s first Le Spa in Asia. Finally, the beach. It is picturesque for sure, and its tepid water is suitable for a frolic, but at low tide, the ebbing waves reveal a shoreline festooned with rocks.

There are also two YouTube clips around the pool.



Review of the Sofitel Phokeethra Krabi Resort and Spa, Thailand
February 20, 2007, 3:24 am
Filed under: holiday, hotels, Krabi, photos, resorts, reviews, Thailand, vacation

Spent the Chinese New Year at the Sofitel Phokeethra Krabi Resort and Spa.

Despite some invectives being left on various review sites by irate travellers, the Sofitel Krabi was mostly operational by the time we arrived. In fact, just the day before our arrival, the property was officially opened by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, third in line to the Chakri throne.

Like most Asian resort properties, the lobby opens out to the pool and the beach, and leverages on the premium view whilst conserving energy. Its natural wood flooring and understated lobby furniture and fittings exude an easy elegance that is in sync with its surprisingly congruent fusion of neo-colonial and Thai architectural design.

The room was well-appointed, as one might expect from a five-star property. Again, the theme of natural elegance continues. Room service was attentive; in addition to daily housekeeping, there was a nightly turndown service.

The pool deserves special mention. It is in one word, immense. Hotel brochures put it at 7,000 square meters, and one of the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. Swimming breast stroke at a reasonable space, I’d say it might take a steady swimmer some 15-minutes to go from one end to the other. Size apart, it boasts a nice pool bar, and is lined by luxe cushioned lounge chairs. Sofitel’s munificence on the pool, however, is to compensate for a poor beach too rocky to deserve mention.

We dined at Maya, its all-day dining restaurant (where buffet breakfast is also served), White Lotus, which serves Thai food, and Venezia (standard Italian fare). The chefs were generally able, delivering quality cuisine, although with the prices they charge, one might have expected more creative flair. Some of the wait staff seemed to be fresh from training, and were not as attentive as one might expect. One evening while dinning at White Lotus, there was a power outage, which lasted for some 20 minutes. The savvy F&B manager had the wait staff serve bubbly, presumably to chill tempers, compliments of the hotel.

The gym was very basic, and something of a disappointment, especially when compared to the usually well-equipped Hyatt equivalents. It consists of one elliptical machine, one treadmill, two cycles, and a multi-station. All are standard Life Fitness machines.

Finally, some assorted pictures of the property.



Sally Yeh (葉蒨文) in the Media…
February 12, 2007, 4:21 pm
Filed under: concerts, 葉蒨文, music, photos, reviews, sally yeh

Review from the Straits Times.

Feb 12, 2007 No frills, just thrills With few costume changes and no battalion of backup dancers, Sally Yeh used only her powerful voice to impress the crowd – By Ong Sor Fern

LOVE, Sally was billed as ‘A Special Valentine’s Day Concert’. The 21/2-hour gig was certainly a love fest in every sense of the word.

The 45-year-old singer flirted easily and sang her heart out for the 5,000 fans who had turned up, filling the venue to 80 per cent capacity. She promised them: ‘No guest, no husband, just you and me.’

And her screaming fans repaid her obligingly with unabashed adulation, lapping up her easy banter in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, and her polished vocals.

The concert was a fairly no-frills affair compared to the flashier concoctions of young pop things who come armed with a battalion of backup dancers and multiple costume changes.

Yeh had only three costume changes. And she joked self-deprecatingly about the two dazzling outfits she wore. Of the white ball gown, the singer confessed in Cantonese: ‘It’s a little bit tight and I’m afraid it’s going to pop.’

Reappearing in a daring backless green dress, she said coyly: ‘It’s held up only by this thread. If it falls off, let me know.’

But Yeh’s honeyed voice needed no additional frippery. Her versatility was evident in the varied programme which leapfrogged from Abba songs and Queen numbers to her own hits and Mandarin pop covers.

She could do girly crooning as well as diva-esque belting, pop opera coloratura and folk song warbling.

The strong singer understood that a little vibrato and melisma go a long way. Her earnest delivery plumbed sweetness even from an overwrought pop chestnut like My Way.

The only gimmicks in the show were when the veteran star lobbed cute soft toy pigs for the upcoming lunar Year of the Pig, and hit shuttlecocks, into the audience, prompting some scrambling for the souvenirs.

By the end of two hours, the audience was obviously unwilling to let her go. Those few who sneaked off early to beat the post-concert rush missed an energetic encore.

Yeh appeared in her third costume change, a backless sequinned top emblazoned with Sally, HKPO (or Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, with which she has performed) and silk cargo pants. She belted out Dancing Queen as she went on a walkabout amid ecstatic fans, handing out more soft toy pigs.

By the time she ended with My Love Goodnite and declared: ‘I will remember here (tapping her head) and here (hand on heart)’, her satisfied fans would agree wholeheartedly.
________________________

Interview with Channel NewsAsia



Sally Yeh (葉蒨文) in Singapore
February 12, 2007, 3:08 pm
Filed under: concerts, 葉蒨文, music, photos, reviews, sally yeh, videos

Went to Sally Yeh (葉蒨文)’s concert at the Suntec Convention Hall over the weekend. I must confess that I have never really followed Yeh’s career, and was pleasantly surprised by her considerable vocal prowess, adroit handling of technically challenging numbers, and ability to build a rapport with her audience. Yes, even the notoriously passive Singapore audience that seems perennially glued to the bleachers. For her encore, she created a stir with an unannounced appearance among the audience, moving across the length of the hall, shaking hands with an ecstatic crowd, and handing out teddy bears (afterall, it was billed as a Valentine Day’s concert). All while belting out Abba’s Dancing Queen nary skipping a beat.

Here are some video clips I recorded with my handy Canon Ixus 40. I was seated pretty far away, but the sound is surprisingly clear.

Clip 1 瀟灑走一回 (30 seconds)

Clip 2 晚風 Pt 1 (30 seconds)

Clip 3 晚風 Pt2 (30 seconds)

As the concert drew to a close, she invited the audience to mount the stage with her, and led them in a rousing number that she first co-sang with Alex To (杜德偉), 信自己, before capping the evening with a stellar rendition of My Love Goodnite. Yeh is also one of the few HK artistes who is conversant in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. However, few know that Yeh cannot read Chinese characters, and relys on romanized phonetics to help her read Cantonese and Chinese lyrics.

Here are some other pictures I managed to take. The last picture shows members of the audience on stage with her in her penultimate number for the evening.

I left impressed, and hope to see more of Yeh.