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Pictured left to right outside the new store are: Paul Hardwick, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Director of Retail; Emma Bailey, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Tutti Taylor, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Councillor Candy Vaughan, Mayor of Eastbourne; Trevor Ridler, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Business Development Manager; and Shirley Waters, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents..

Terrific Thai Hospitality

Madeleine Mayes, senior travel consultant at our travel agents in Felixstowe, took a luxury trip to Thailand recently. Here is what she got up to…

Destination: Thailand
Operator/Host: If Only
(Hotel names/Ship name): 
Indigo Pearl Phuket, Katathani Beach Phuket, Cape Panwa, Zeavola Phi Phi island, Sarojin Khao Lak
Airline: Emirates
Duration: 8 Days


The flight was amazing as we were upgraded to Business Class with features such as lie-flat beds offering 79 inches of space, regionally inspired gourmet menus and complimentary Moët & Chandon.

The cabin decor was really impressive; very relaxing with cream and walnut tones, fresh flowers in wall mounted vases (even in the toilets). There were plenty of toiletries along with perfume, aftershave and shaving kits and we were each given a complimentary Satin Bulgari bag packed with goodies.

The cabin staff were all very beautiful and friendly. They wore the customary headdress and were very attentive throughout the flight, addressing us by our names. The Ice entertainment system has a large touch screen, approximately four times the size of the ones in economy, with a choice of 1800 TV programmes, movies, audio books and games. The baggage allowance is a generous 40 kg and there is a complimentary chauffeur service for pick-ups within 70 km.


Taj – Dubai

We only went here for breakfast as we only had 4 hours during our stopover in Dubai. The hotel is brand new, really beautiful and built in the shadow of The Burg Khalifa. It’s an ideal hotel for a short stopover due to the close proximity to the airport and easy access to the famous Dubai Mall.

Indigo Pearl – Phuket

A very uniquely designed hotel based on the site of an old tin mine so all the decor is influenced by the past, making the hotel quite quirky but modern and trendy at the same time. It’s in a great location for the beach, good for couples and close to the airport, so a good place to start off on a multi-centre break.

Katathani Beach – Phuket

This is a very large hotel with just under 500 rooms and all were very modern, spacious, clean and in a great location right on the beach. Be sure to book a beach front room as there are many rooms classed as the same hotel but they are across the road. The complex is very close to Patong for shopping and the famous bars and sex shows (not for the faint hearted). I didn’t go, but I heard all the stories! It’s inexpensive to take a Tuk Tuk (taxi service) and it’s definitely worth trying a disco Tuk Tuk if you like music, but don’t forget to hold on as there are no doors.

Tuk Tuks Thailand

Cape Panwa

This was another great hotel with a wonderful manager and an English concierge who has lived in Thailand for years, so he gives fabulous advice. This is a good location if you want to visit Elephant Hills.

Zeavola Phi Phi Island

This is an idyllic place, surrounded by nature where time has stood still. It is a romantic village where guests can relax, walk barefoot and enjoy a simple lifestyle. There are 53 private villas in total; the bedroom is fully air conditioned and all furnishings in teakwood. There is an indoor and an outdoor bathroom and a large decked area featuring a mini bar and day beds. There are oversized bean bags on the beach which are ideal for sitting on and sipping cocktails whilst watching the sunset.

Sarojin Khao Lak

This is by far the most beautiful hotel I have ever stayed in. It has British owners, is really exclusive and is the perfect choice for honeymooners. The bedrooms are luxurious with a large swimming pool accompanied by private cabanas with drapes. It’s never crowded due to the fact that a lot of them have private pools. Breakfast is always served with a glass of bubbly and can be taken from 6 am to 6 pm! Staying here also means you are located right on the beach.


 James Bond Island Thailand

We took a trip to James Bond Island, which was 45 minutes by private speedboat from Phuket Royal Marina.

The manager of The Sarojin surprised us with a romantic dinner in a candle lit forest under a waterfall. It was breathtaking and had a real wow factor; ideal for someone who wants to propose and the hotel would be happy to arrange this.

Trip Highlights

The meal in the forest under Rainbow waterfall was a real highlight. Flying business class was also a fantastic experience and I really enjoyed the Thai hospitality.

Possible Improvements

The trip was perfect.


I would recommend this trip, or a similar one, for many reasons. Thailand is one of the most beautiful places I have visited; great scenery and beaches with plenty to do and see. The Asian hospitality is second to none.

Additional Comments

Just a big thank you to Fred. Olsen for allowing me to go and If Only for hosting the trip.

Must see? James Bond Island
Must do? A journey in a Tuk Tuk
Must try? Thai cuisine

If you would like to jet off on a luxury holiday to Thailand, just like Madeleine, Fred. Olsen Travel can put together the perfect package. We have stores across East Anglia and have recently opened a number of travel agents on the south coast. Alternatively, you can email us directly from the website.