Integrated resort Laguna Phuket has opened its first social enterprise restaurant in Thailand, providing training and job opportunities for marginalised local youths.
The restaurant, Seedlings Phuket, is the second such initiative under Banyan Tree's mentorship programme. The first was launched less than two years ago at Seedlings Hoi An at Laguna Lang Co in Vietnam.
Youths will embark on an 18-month food and beverage skills training and restaurant career mentorship pogramme.
To date, 23 local youths from two batches have joined the Seedlings training and mentorship programme. The first batch has started nine months on-the-job training at Seedlings Phuket in July this year.
During the two-hour opening of Seedlings Phuket, guests were invited to a "Taste of Phuket" showcase with local performances and a ceremonial wild rice cutting.
Mr Ravi Chandran, Managing Director of Laguna Phuket, said the programme exemplifies how hotel and resort companies can use their resources to invest back into the growth of local communities.
Ms Claire Chiang, Co-Founder of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and Chairperson of Banyan Tree Global Foundation, said, "From Hoi An to Phuket, and from Thailand to Mexico and China in the coming months, Seedlings fosters the same inspiration, the same purpose, the same use of global resources to help local community."
Patrons to Seedlings Phuket can enjoy Phuket, Asian and Western dishes such as Yum Hua Plee (banana blossom and beef salad), Moo Hong (stewed pork belly), the restaurant's signature Seedlings Burger and Seedlings Pizza. The restaurant is open every day, from 6.30am to 10pm.
Laguna Phuket is located on the northwestern coast of Phuket, half an hour away from the airport and Phuket Town or Patong Beach.
Callling itself the "first integrated resort in Asia", it incorporates the Angsana Laguna Phuket, Banyan Tree Phuket, Cassia (to open by end 2015), Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort and Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort and Villas plus the Laguna Holiday Club Resort.
Check into any one of the seven resort hotels, and you can sign for meals or drinks at some 30 restaurants and bars. Guests may also use any of the beach facilities, health and fitness centres, child-care centres and the newly redesigned 18-hole, par-71 Laguna Phuket Golf Club.
Transportation between the hotels is via shuttle bus or ferryboat on the system of lagoons and canals.