I had a 3-day 2-night stay at a brand new resort in Melaka and shares my experiences with readers
MARKETING INFO FOR DESIGN TRAVEL PTE LTD, www.designtravel.com.sg
1. Philea Resort & Spa, Ayer Keroh, Melaka. I arrived on Friday (Deepavali), 5 Nov 2010. There was a Bridal Fair 2010 at the Philea Ballroom which can seat a maximum of 500 people for weddings. For 200 people, the ballroom can be partitioned. There are small meeting rooms which seat around 10-20 people.
2. All info on the Philea Resort is at:
3. MARKETING SEGMENT. I believe that the type of corporate customers for this resort is:
3.1 Not those on budget like young adults who want to shop and dine till past midnight as they will need a taxi to come back to the Philea Resort & Spa which is not in the down-town location.
It will be OK for expatriates who can afford taxis and I have seen 2 older Caucasian expats in their 30s, returning by taxi at around 9pm.
3.2 Prospects with spending power including families and professional bodies. According to travel agency owner, Mr Richard Goh who picked me up from Equatorial Hotel on arrival in Melaka to send me to Philea Resort, thinks that church people may not have the spending power to host the retreat in Philea Resort & Spa.
3.3 If you send corporate customers, they will be those that appreciate the finer things in life like living in a spacious all-pinewood rooms including flooring and walls, new bathroom with long bath and showers rustic environment far from the city crowds and noises and villas instead of apartment-type or room-type hotel, low rise low density resort alternative to hotel high-rise of around 200 units or as pre-arranged.
3.4 Caucasians will definitely like this wooded villa ambience and the Russian-sourced pinewood buildings. Pictures are at the website.
3.5 Food & Beverage was generally good. During my 2 nights stay, the buffet dinner was excellent. The baby lobster was great on the first night but not so good on the second night. The satay of beef and chicken was consistently great. I like the braised beef. No pork is served. So this resort may appeal to the Singapore Muslim community for retreats.
3.6 50% F&B discount for senior citizens is a great incentive. The buffet dinner had 2 types of soups. There was a great interest in baby lobsters, prawns, shell fish, squids, Italian food, cakes, ice-cream etc was around RM26.00 per senior citizen. The breakfast coffee was bad and tasted like charcoal. Waiters' service was great. Dinner may be outdoors with no air-condition as the air conditioned cafe can seat around 100 people.
3.7. New resort. This is a selling point. Opened around June 2010.
3.8 Around 10-minute drive to the town centre. There are taxis available. For our corporate clients, you will need to provide a shuttle service and driver. I know of one operator who picked me up from Hotel Equatorial to this place. He is a travel agent and is contracted to Transtar. He has his own coaches and tour guides as well as taxis. Will give you the email later.
3.9 A Butterfly farm is just 5-10 minute walk by the back gate from Philea Resort. I will go there today, Sunday morning before I check out.
4.0 3-4 hour coach ride from Singapore to Melaka. There was an accident somewhere during my departure from Singapore to Melaka on Friday, Deepavali. The Causeway jam was from 9 am to 1.30 pm. I reached Philea Resort & Spa at around 6 pm.
4.1 The coach could have dropped me at the last toll gate which is a short walk to Philea Resort & Spa. Instead Transtar arranged for me to go to Hotel Equatorial. The taxi driver and travel agency owner, Mr Richard Goh was not around. I had to ask the Equatorial hotel receptionist to phone him. Transnational Travels had not made any arrangments for delayed arrivals nor give me instructions on what to do or tel when there is a delay in arrival. This was bad planning. Mr Richard Goh said it was unusual as most people from Singapore took 3-4 hours to reach Melaka by 3 p.m. So, he left the Equatorial Hotel which was just a drop-off point.
5. Room in the Pavillion Villa (180 units - 2 storeys bungalows, each with 4 units, upper and lower separated by a central staircase). Spacious and is bigger than some Singapore's 5-star hotel rooms like Westin. Pinewood flooring looks clean and bright. It feels great to walk upon, without the need to wear shoes. Bathroom has pinewood doors, rectangular white porcelain basin top, no-closed up screen on long bath, spacious shower area with glassed partition, big mirror and black tiled flooring giving a luxurious appearance. No adjoining room for big families but the central staircase of each level has doors facing each other and therefore the families with children can connect via the staircase landing.
6. Possibly Philea Resort & Spa has only two competitors. One in the same class will be A' Famosa Resort Malaysia, http://www.afamosa.com/main.php?m=Content&op=page&id=160. Philea Resort is not a theme-park concept unlike A'Famosa. It is said to be the only resort with pinewood logs (inter-locking, no screws and nails) with logged villa accommodation in Malaysia. There is one new development with villas built over the sea in KL I can't recall its name.
I hope the above info helps.