People will often go to certain venues just to check it out and to be seen. In my experience, these places that ‘you’ve just gotta see’ end up being nothing but a big disappointment.
For hoteliers and F&B consultants, having an imagination and creativity is a good starting point. Guests love stories and good stories sell. Executing your dream is somewhat different. Anantara Chaingmai took a ballsy step in reinventing a colonial house, turning it into a sensational new F&B experience.
“Chiang Mai is famous for its high standard of street food, Thai restaurants, quirky coffee shops and growing number of cosmopolitan eateries, but certainly has a gap in the market when it comes to hip and trendy dining venues. Anantara wants to offer a truly unique culinary experience that is one of a kind in the city, for in-house guests as well as discerning travellers staying elsewhere. Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa’s colonial house is a splendid feature of our resort and needed bringing back to life. This provided us with a unique opportunity to create a brand new restaurant and bar concept that would celebrate our resort’s unique heritage and also make Anantara the hub of the city’s social scene” said, the General Manager of Anantara Chiangmai, Syreza Ishawara.
The colonial building that is now The Service 1921 was once the British consulate of Chiang Mai, having opened in 1921. The primary duty of the British consul was to ensure justice for the Queen’s citizens in Chiang Mai and to protect the interests of the teak companies in northern Thailand.
The inspiration behind The Service 1921 is based on creating a “restaurant as a consulate”, where the guests enter into a surreal experience influenced by the Royal Secret Security Intelligence Service of the British government. Although there is no actual record of any royal secret intelligence activities being undertaken at the British Consulate during that period, once you experience ‘The Service 1921, you could be led to believe otherwise.
‘The venue is very different from other projects we have worked with due to the historical presence of the building and the opportunity to work on a heritage site for the first time in my career. The site of the restaurant was the former British Consulate built in 1921 to protect the teak logging concessions of the British trading companies in Northern Thailand and Burma. As part of the design development effort, our team put a lot of effort in researching the history of the building and finding out what type of activities took place at the Consulate. Surprisingly, there is even a book written by the first Consul W. A. R. Wood called Consul in Paradise, which I read as part of my research. There were a lot of challenges in terms of executing the design intent while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the building’s existing architecture’ added Rohit Sachdev, the owner of Soho Hospitality who is responsible for the reinvention.
The restaurant also boasts a display of distinctive objects that may have been used as part of the royal secret service intelligence activities, including teak trading routes, confidential files, spy equipment and vintage accent pieces and artworks.
The Service 1921 presents authentic Thai, Vietnamese and Sichuan cuisine with Asian influenced cocktails and a collection of whisky and cigars. This is a new social scene for guests who enjoy escaping to a place that is the product of some wonderful imaginations.
“We believe it will be successful because the concept is completely unique. No other five star hotel or restaurant is offering a menu of gourmet Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine, and no other property in Chiang Mai can boast such an enchanting venue in which to enjoy distinctive culinary experiences.” Reza commented further.
‘I believe it will be successful due to the cohesiveness of the concept not only from a design perspective but also the attention to detail that has been emphasized towards the F&B concept, lighting, branding, staff uniforms and tabletop items. Additionally, the guest experience is very compelling as one navigates through the various chambers of the restaurant and a story unfolds before them’ Rohit said.
Next time you need a place for a Rendezvous in Northern Thailand, The Service 1921 at the Anantara Chiangmai is the only place you should be considering.