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Fah Thai Magazine May-June 2017

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THANAKORN AND SAISIRI HOONTRAKUL<br />

T<br />

hanakorn and Saisiri Hoontrakul<br />

make it their business to be<br />

green in running their hotel and<br />

in their lives. How ecocentric<br />

do they go? <strong>Fah</strong> <strong>Thai</strong> gets a lesson on<br />

distilling citronella and more while<br />

checking out the lemongrass plants in<br />

their hotel organic garden.<br />

Top<br />

The waters around<br />

Tongsai Bay are<br />

calm and secure, no<br />

large boats or jetskis<br />

ruffle the waters for<br />

kayakers.<br />

Top Bottom Right<br />

Many<br />

accommodations<br />

provide a shower of<br />

sorts for people to<br />

clean the sand off<br />

their feet. Here, an<br />

urn does the job<br />

just fine and<br />

saves water.<br />

Bottom<br />

Thoughtful<br />

gardening goes to<br />

plants at the organic<br />

farm in case it might<br />

be the final touch to<br />

a dish or a cocktail<br />

or a sunburn<br />

remedy.<br />

They look like the nice couple<br />

next door, but to know hoteliers<br />

Thanakorn and Saisiri, (Gob<br />

and Goya) means respecting<br />

their policies on protecting the<br />

environment. Friends and family<br />

who visit their home in Bangkok<br />

know that non-recyclable items<br />

like plastic bags cannot make it<br />

past their front door. So if you’re<br />

gifting food wrapped in plastic,<br />

rejection is guaranteed.<br />

Sure, plenty of people profess<br />

to the same eco-philosophy to<br />

protect the environment. But<br />

the dynamic couple immersed<br />

into the practice over a decade<br />

ago at their eco-luxury property<br />

Tongsai Bay in Koh Samui and<br />

by natural extension live a life<br />

that they believe pays respect to<br />

the earth. They go beyond using<br />

cotton tote bags and meals in <strong>Thai</strong><br />

tiffin containers in a cry against<br />

unnecessary packaging. Solar<br />

panels line their rooftop at home<br />

and home-grown herbs have a<br />

spot in their living space.<br />

While talking about their<br />

green philosophy on a hot day<br />

in the family-owned hotel, the<br />

couple is however the epitome of<br />

cool – in appearance, demeanor<br />

and thinking. Despite their<br />

youthful appearance, they’re<br />

veterans in the hospitality<br />

business. Gob was 12 years old<br />

when his father, the late Akorn<br />

Hoontrakul took him to Tongsai<br />

Bay for the hotel while Goya had<br />

worked on the lush property in<br />

Guest Relations.<br />

All this is part and parcel of<br />

the deeply-entrenched green<br />

philosophy that began at the<br />

hotel in Koh Samui. Goya relates<br />

that concern for the environment<br />

began rather unhappily when a<br />

neighbour pointed out that one<br />

of their hotel caretakers burnt<br />

garbage that created constant<br />

air pollution. Dismayed by the<br />

information, the couple did<br />

detective work and discovered<br />

that a staff member, through<br />

good intentions, eliminated<br />

rubbish via burning.<br />

This incident lit an altogether<br />

different fire in Goya, ‘because<br />

burning still left toxins,’ she<br />

explains and such concerns<br />

sparked ideas of environmental<br />

protection and revolutionised<br />

their approach to the hotel. Staff<br />

education began with classes in<br />

sorting recyclables. ‘Then, global<br />

warming was not a fully formed<br />

concept that was understood. We<br />

just knew we had to sustain the<br />

environment,” Goya said.<br />

Now there’s composting<br />

of kitchen scraps for fertiliser<br />

and responsible disposal of<br />

kitchen grease followed. The<br />

site horticulturist and gardener<br />

creates a cleaning solution by<br />

C<br />

M<br />

Y<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

CY<br />

CMY<br />

K<br />

46

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