To: Balesin Members and Friends
Today is the last day of October and, surprise, I am not at Balesin! I had to come to Hong Kong in order to attend the wedding tomorrow of my friend Robert Kuok’s son, Hua. But I should be back in Balesin the day after tomorrow.
As has been the case in the last two months, our aviation requirements and our many attempts to improve these which have mostly ended in frustration, have taken a lot of my personal time and the time of a number of the senior management of Alphaland. As I write this, however, I am pleased to inform you that we are in the process of finalizing the acquisition of at least one and perhaps two British Aerospace Jetstream twin engine turbo props, the first of which should be in service by the middle of this month. The first plane is a Jetstream 32 which carries 19 passengers. It is the ideal aircraft for a Manila/Balesin route because it flies at about 100 knots faster than our existing CESSNA Grand Caravan and carries more than double the number of passengers.
The second aircraft is also a Jetstream, but a J41 which carries 29 passengers. Regrettably, the Jetstream 41 will not be available until early next year. Thus, between now and Christmas, and together with the two CESSNA Grand Caravans, the Jetstream 32 will allow us to have a daily capacity of some 180 passengers, certainly enough to adequately meet our requirements. In addition, the Falcon 900 is always on standby for really heavy days.
I have been very conscious about ensuring that our aviation requirements are adequately served. Being an island resort, aviation capability is the jugular vein of our operations and we cannot afford any missteps. We are very proud of our beautiful island and the unique facilities we have created but they will all come to naught if we fail in our aviation services. I am also pleased to inform you that I have given the green light to expand our Manila hangar facility so that instead of accommodating 49 people, we should be able to accommodate 80 people.
We are very happy that visits to Balesin of our members and guests have been increasing dramatically. For example, last weekend, a total of 47 villas were occupied by 97 members and their guests. For the All Saints’ Day holidays, I am told that we have bookings for 65 villas and 145 members and their guests.
Additionally, we had our first visitors from Hong Kong who are prospective members who were unanimous in their amazement at the beauty of Balesin and the unique concept of the resort. The South China Morning Post, the leading English newspaper in Hong Kong, published a flattering special on last Sunday’s magazine about Balesin Island Club and this I know will definitely heighten the interest of Hong Kong people about Balesin Island Club.
Despite the bad weather situation the last few weeks, the construction progress on Balesin continues unabated. I am pleased to be able to report to you that the following major projects are now complete:
The Sports Center, with its extensive facilities, is now fully operational. We have engaged the services of Mr. Sonny Orallo to be the Manager of the Sports Center and the Balesin Spa. Sonny has more than 25 years of experience in managing sports and health clubs. I understand that the Sports Center activities have been increasing dramatically as the days go by.
- We also have now completed the Balesin Fish Fun, which is located only 100 meters from the Clubhouse and sits out over the water. Originally designed to simply be a launching pad for our aquatic sports facilities, we have re-designed it to being able to include “fishing for your own lunch or dinner” while also offering a variety of sea food such as oysters, crabs, and lobsters. The demand has been so great that we have had to double the original 32 seats to now 64 seats. I had lunch there last Saturday and while I was too lazy to catch my own fish, I had a most enjoyable meal with oysters and grilled blue marlin steak.
- We have now also completed Bali Village, the first phase of Mykonos Village, and the Phuket Village dining and beach facilities. At the same time, St. Tropez Village is quickly taking shape and it is truly a thrill even now to admire the palm tree lined avenue leading to the porte cochere of the St. Tropez Village.
- At this point, I should let you know that one of the decisions we have made recently, in addition to adding Costa del Sol, a 48-unit village, is to re-christen Costa Smeralda (Sardinia) as “Toscana.” Thus, while it remains an Italian-themed village, Toscana is actually a more appropriate village for us to develop rather than the almost unknown Costa Smeralda which is very difficult to get to and, therefore, unfamiliar to most of our members. On the other hand, Toscana is where Florence, Sienna, Lucca, and the island of Elba and other famous resorts, many of which are familiar to our members.
I myself have lived in Toscana for over 23 years now and know the lifestyle, the ambiance, not to mention the food which in my view is the best in all of Italy. This re-christening will result in minimal architectural changes but will be more appropriate to being appreciated by our guests and members who are familiar with Toscana.
We expect to complete both Toscana and Costa del Sol and the additional 33 Mykonos beach villas during the first quarter of 2013.
- As the number of members and guests increase, we need to improve our island transport facilities as well and have thus acquired two additional 12-seater jeepneys to ferry our members around the various island villages and destinations. They will go on a regular half-hour schedule from the Clubhouse to the various villages so that a member staying at Bali can get to Mykonos for dinner in a maximum of 10 minutes using the jeepney rather than the existing electric golf carts which can take as much as double that time. By Christmas time we will be adding a 3rd jeepney.
I would now like to summarize for you the various completion schedules of villas/rooms of Balesin Island Club as follows:
Projected Number of Villas/Rooms – Balesin Island Club
Number of Villas/Rooms
End of November 2012
1st Quarter of 2013
Costa del Sol
You will note that we have greatly increased the number of villas/rooms to 292 from the originally promised 240, an increase of 52 villas/rooms.
In closing, let me just say that I have been away from the island for only one day but I already miss it, believe it or not!
The British Aerospace Jetstream 32
The cabin of the 19 seaterBAe Jetstream 32
Balesin Aquatic Sports Center
The New Balesin Fish Fun
Catch Fish at The New Balesin Fish Fun Fishing Hole
The Balesin Fish Fun at Night
Our New 12-seater Jeepney
Entrance to the New Sports Center
The Indoor Basketball Court at the Sports Center
The Indoor Tennis Court at the Sports Center
6 Badminton Courts at the Sports Center
The Gym at the Sports Center
Nusa Dua Bar at the Bali Village
View of the Bali Warung from the Nusa Dua Bar
The Nusa Dua Bar in the morning
The Nusa Dua Bar at Night
Rice Terraces on the way to Bali Warung
The Bali Warung
The Souvlaki Bar at the New Mykonos Cove Deck
The Mykonos Cove Deck at Dusk
View of Mykonos Cove Deck showing one of four Jacuzzis
The Reception Center at the Mykonos Village
The Mykonos Village viewed from the sea
The Upper Deck at the Mykonos Taverna
Lunch at the Upper Deck of the Mykonos Taverna
Entrance to St Tropez showing a pair of giant antique urns bought at auction in Drouot, Paris
Close up of the magnificent, antique giant urn
Looking Out from St Tropez lobby to the palm lined avenue
Entrance to Phuket Salathiep
Lunch Time at the Phuket Salathip
The Beach at Phuket Village
The Pool at Phuket Salathip
View of Phuket Salathip, the Pool and the beautiful sea
Buddhas by the Phuket Pool