Royal Cliff Beach Resort scoops world wine award
“Not just good for the Royal Cliff, but also for Pattaya” says wine club president
Miss Terry Diner
The New York based Wine Spectator magazine is the most
respected judge of food and wines in the world and this year has given a
Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence to the Royal Cliff Beach Resort’s
Grill Room and Wine Cellar.
This award is one sought after by thousands of
restaurants all over the world, and to receive the top accolade is a great
honour. “This is good, not just for us, but for Pattaya,” says Ranjith
Chandrasiri, Royal Cliff Grand & Spa resident manager and Royal Cliff
Wine Club president.
As the world becomes more sophisticated, and knowledge of
wines has spread exponentially, it has become harder and harder to meet the
ever increasing and exacting standards, to be “the best”. In the case of
the Wine Spectator Award, it is not a simple sample of the grape to go with
a decent imported steak, but is an evaluation of a restaurant, supported by
its wine activities. The Royal Cliff’s Grill Room with its adjoining Wine
Cellar had the correct base to begin, and the evaluation process went on
from there. This is an adjudication that is done by more than one person and
on more than one occasion.
honour would not have come about without the invaluable advice of Khun Panga
Vathanakul MD of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort (2nd right) with the expertise
of Ron Batori, MD of Ambrose Wines (left), and the many connoisseurs, who
have presented wines at the Wine Club. One such person is Thierry Tourneil,
the GM Asia-Pacific for the famous Baron Philippe de Rothschild Wines
The Grill Room has always enjoyed a good reputation
amongst the gourmets, and I rated this restaurant as one of my personal
favourites in my own ‘Miss Terry Diner’s awards’ at the end of last
year, but to garner the Wine Spectator Award requires the integration of
wine and dine. To this end, Ranjith emphasizes the importance of training,
which occurs as a daily procedure.
Would you like to know which wine goes with your
entrecote steak? The Royal Cliff’s service personnel has a pocket book
which will give Ranjith’s recommendations, if it is not already in the
forefront of their memory.
To say that the wines have to be handled and stored
correctly is an obvious parameter, but the wines themselves come under
scrutiny. 22,000 bottles are kept in optimum circumstances, covering 700
individual labels. “We have wines from every wine producing country in the
world,” said Ranjith proudly, since he personally selected the wines for
For such an award, the wine list needs more than just a
page or two of reds and whites, but has to be extensive and one which shows
the vintages, the derivation and even the correct spellings.
When wine activities were looked at, this was again one
area where the Royal Cliff Wine Club confirmed the approach taken by the
resort. From a handful of members a few years ago, the Wine Club, under
Ranjith’s guiding hand, has grown to over 300 enthusiastic members who
enjoy regular wine tasting educational evenings and Wine Club dinners that
are now so well attended that there was no restaurant large enough to
accommodate the numbers, and they are now held in the Grand Ballroom.
Ranjith freely acknowledges the assistance and
encouragement given to him by the owner of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort,
Panga Vathanakul and General Manager Andrew Wood. “I was given a free
hand. My first dream was the walk-in wine cellar, then to enjoy quality
wines you need quality glasses and so we changed to one thousand baht
It was obvious that for Ranjith, this award showed the
recognition from the industry of the efforts that had been put into
attaining the standard of excellence. “Now we have to keep this standard.
We must continue to focus on quality.” As an aside he also said,
“Whatever you do - do it in style.”
There is no doubt that “style” is one aspect of
wining and dining at the Grill Room and Wine Cellar, and it is certainly
satisfying to know that what we all understood to be quality has been
verified by the highest accolade given by the premium wine magazine in the
world. The Pattaya Mail adds its congratulations to the Award of
“Le Baron” attends Wine Club’s 2nd Anniversary
Miss Terry Diner
The Royal Cliff Wine Club is now two years old, and to
celebrate the event was a right ‘royal’ occasion. Whilst not
‘royalty’, the special guest, with some very special wines, was Thierry
Tourneil, the GM Asia-Pacific for the famous Baron Philippe de Rothschild
Wines. Yes, the Chateau Mouton Rothschild type wines!
The MD of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Panga Vathanakul
welcomed everyone to the second anniversary and then the Wine Club’s
‘Captain’ Ranjith Chandrasiri invited everyone to sit behind their lined
up glasses for a memorable evening of wine tasting.
now has a growing number of wine lovers, as can be witnessed at the ever
popular wine tasting evenings and the Vintners Gala Dinners.
Also present on the podium with Monsieur Thierry and
Ranjith was Ron Batori, the MD of Ambrose Wines, whose company has just
become the Thailand agents for the prestigious Rothschild label.
Monsieur Thierry held the attention of the crowded
ballroom, as he delivered an audio-visual presentation on the famous
label’s wines, saying “We are not making wine for everybody. We just
hope people like our wines.” The truth of that statement was to come with
the tasting of the eight reds supplied by Ron Batori, and some even
hand-carried, wrapped in Ron’s sox and jox, he told us!
It was certainly an evening of reds and an evening of
gasps when the prices of the bottles were read out by Ranjith, culminating
in the 1989 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac which had a ticket price of
120,000 baht per bottle - wholesale! That is a 750 ml bottle. The first
Jeroboam of this vintage apparently selling for USD41,000, which is roughly
1.7 million baht at current exchange rates. “Yes, waiter, you may open it
now and let it breathe a little, and if you spill one droplet I will kill
you with your cork extractor.”
Monsieur Thierry’s hope that people would like his
company’s wines was upheld, though there were many ranges of opinion, as
there always is with such a personal factor as taste in wines. While
everyone drained their glass of the 120,000 baht Chateau Mouton Rothschild,
it was not the ‘wine of the night’ for some of the Wine Club members,
though it was for the majority! For me, the winner by a short cork, was the
Escudo Rojo, Maipo, 2001, matured for 12 months in oak barrels, and
retailing under 3,000 baht, from the Le Cadet, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2001 at
2,500 baht. But then, perhaps Miss Terry has a cheap palate!
For all those amateur vignerons or winemakers who might
like to produce their own variety of the 120,000 baht Mouton Rothschild, the
breakdown was a follows - Cabernet Sauvignon 77%, Merlot 11%, Cabernet Franc
10% and Petit Verdot 2%. Oh, by the way, you do need to grow your grapes in
some special regions of Bordeaux in France and you are not allowed to
irrigate either. It is probably cheaper to dig deep and ask Ron Batori’s
Ambrose Wines to bring you in a bottle!
The Royal Cliff Wine Club’s second anniversary was
certainly an evening to remember.
Visiting Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawalee
Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawalee celebrated her
46th birthday on July 13. She usually celebrates in Bangkok, but this year
the Princess honored Pattaya with Her presence when she chose to receive
congratulations in her home near the Asia Hotel.
Chonburi Governor Pisit Khetphasook, Pattaya’s Mayor
Pairat Suthithamrongsawat and many top-ranking politicians came to humbly
offer their happy birthday wishes to Her Royal Highness.
group waits in anticipation to pay tribute to Her Royal Highness. (From
left) Dieter H. Pr้court, Nittaya Patimasonkroh, Peter Thorand,
Malinee Sarimran, Chayaporn Pechsawat, Elfi Seitz, Malinee Suwansanee and
Many organizations and clubs were also invited to
participate in this Royal event. The president of the YWCA Bangkok /Pattaya,
Nittaya Patimasongkroh applied on behalf of her club to be one of them, and
after receiving acceptance, invited Malinee Sarimran, Chaiyaporn Pechsawat
and me along with her. Since the YWCA often works with the Rotary Club of
Taksin Pattaya, President Dieter H. Precourt, Charter-President Peter
Thorand and treasurer Marliese Fritz also attended this exclusive party.
The two hour wait to get into the restricted area, and
the additional two hours of excited anticipation once inside, went quickly,
as we were all treated kindly with snacks and cool drinks, giving us an
opportunity to mingle with the other guests. Various officials greeted each
other and other guests while white -clad navy officials stood confident and
strong. My eyes were drawn to the exotic colors of beautiful gowns and
glittering jewels the Thai ladies wore.
After the governor from Chonburi, accompanied by the
mayor of Pattaya and many other high-ranking officials paid their tribute to
Her Royal Highness, it was then our turn to enter the terrace of the house,
where the celebrations took place.
Standing in line with many handsome navy officers, one
after the other we were allowed to kneel in front of the Princess to give
her fresh flowers and/or sums money to go to her many charity projects. In
return, we each received a very special Buddha image from the hands of Her
Royal Highness. She then addressed each group by name (what a marvelous
memory) and then thanked all for wishing her happiness on her birthday.
Princess Soamsawalee even repeated Her words in English
for us four farangs to understand.
The only part of the proceedings that left me a bit
disappointed was that taking photos was not allowed at the ceremony.
Exhausted, but ecstatic, after a long day, we all rushed
home to tell our families all about this wonderful experience.
Tourism and culture representatives visit Underwater World
On their recent trip to Pattaya to promote the marathon,
two representatives of tourism and culture, Miss Personality and Miss
Thailand 2003 first runner-up Suphinya Chayaputi, and Eakchitra
Khammeesrisukh, second runner-up, made some time to visit the new Underwater
World in Jomtien.
The ladies were led into a glass tunnel and were
delighted with the thrilling scenery of a variety of fish and other marine
life, and were very impressed with this fine facility.
is more exotic and beautiful, the tourism and culture representatives or the
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) assigned four pageant
winners, these two plus Miss Thailand 2003 Chalisa Boonkrongtham and Miss
People Chanida Sattabut, to endorse tourism throughout Thailand and
neighboring countries. They are scheduled to visit many places in the
kingdom to urge people to go out and travel.
First runner-up Suphinya said, “When people start to
travel more, our economy will improve. Plus, there are so many wonderful
things to see in Thailand that it makes our job a real pleasure.”
As representatives of their country and culture the
pageant winners are promoting TAT’s many projects including its latest
‘Unseen in Thailand’ campaign. Their visit to the city was one of their
missions to endorse the tourism sector here.
Before they left they agreed, “Pattaya is one of the
best holiday spots in the country and we will spread the word.”