Corporate travelers seeking Asian ambiance, island relaxation and total privacy can save 20,000 miles of trans-Pacific travel by visiting the newest destination on Anna Maria Island, Florida.
The Siam Garden Resort is hidden in a small coconut grove next to Tampa Bay at the quiet northern tip of this sub-tropical Gulf Coast Island. The intimate compound offers 15 luxury suites with a climate, gardens, décor, art and atmosphere reminiscent of Siam, now known as Thailand.
“We`re already attracting a sophisticated clientele,” relates resident owner Kent Davis, “but even I was a little shocked when I helped a guest close a $3 million dollar executive jet purchase from our office.”
In contrast to the crowded beach towns that lie to the south, Anna Maria Village has less than 1,500 residents and only a handful of nightly accommodations for visitors. The result is an exclusive hideaway far from tourist crowds that appeals to travelers seeking a low profile escape. “Privacy is one of our most charming assets,” explains Kent`s wife Sophaphan. “Our guests know how to find us.”
The resort size, privacy and accessibility through Sarasota Bradenton International Airport make it an appealing choice for corporate retreats and small events. Wireless broadband Internet service is available on property. Shopping, fishing, historic sites, beaches and the finest restaurants on the island are all within easy walking distance. For board meetings, the resort manages a large, luxury waterfront home.
The couple just completed a total restoration of the property that began as a fish camp in 1938. The two met while Kent was marketing technology services during a five-year residence in Thailand in the 1990`s. Both share a fascination for Thai design, cuisine, horticulture and hospitality. After moving to the US, they decided that creating a tropical Asian resort was the perfect project to pursue their passions.
The golden stucco apartments and lush gardens feature a growing collection of Southeast Asian art and artifacts including pottery, bronzes, paintings, woodcarvings and golden teak furniture made from antique ox carts. Next to the 42-foot heated garden pool stands one of the largest teak “spirit houses” in the United States, a traditional Thai architectural accessory that provides a residence for celestial beings. A life-sized baby elephant carved from Acacia wood greets office visitors beneath an antique Siamese flag, giving passersby another hint that Southeast Asia is closer than they imagine.
Despite its distinctive cachet, Siam Garden Resort is reasonably priced for visitors. Kent concludes, “Anna Maria doesn`t have high-rises, franchises or even a traffic light. Since 1893, the city fathers have preserved an old Florida lifestyle that makes this one of the most peaceful and exclusive escapes in the world.”