Club Med Bintan in Indonesia, which is located just an-hour-ferry-ride-away from Singapore, was a hive of sporting and fun recreational activities during the final week of March as the ‘widest reaching sport school in the world’ and upscale holiday provider Club Med celebrated its global partnership with athletic clothing brand Lacoste.
With the two brands both sharing a passion for sports along with their common French roots, on the agenda for invited guests (comprising a select group of media representatives from the region) between March 26 and 28 were a pro-am golf tournament and golf clinic as well as a tennis clinic, topped off with signature nightly Club Med GO shows that are pure entertainment for the young and young-at-heart. (‘GO’ is short for ‘Gentils Organisateurs’ in French, which translates to ‘Gracious Organisers’, essentially guest relations officers who are always around with a smile, assistance or even just a friendly chat, a unique trait of Club Med.)
The highlight of the week was the launch of an exclusive co-branded collection of L.12.12 polo shirts in navy, white and red as an homage to the two brands’ shared French heritage, accentuated by the number ‘45’ which is a symbol for Club Med guests and GOs.
These co-branded shirts are exclusively available at all Club Med resorts in Asia Pacific, or online on Lacoste’s website www.lacoste.com.
Xavier Desaulles, Club Med CEO East and South Asia & Pacific, welcomed all members of the media during the press conference on Day 1, announcing the partnership along with VP, Marketing of East & South Asia Vincent Ong, followed by cocktails under the stars between swaying palm trees in the evening breeze, before guests fell under the bewitching spell of the ‘Twilight Trapeze’ performance.
Day 2 kicked off with the pro-am golf tourney which saw 35 eager golfers – including professionals Reagan Png, Nicholas Seng and Ooi Ui Lip – taking to the sprawling, scenic Gary Player-designed course of Ria Bintan Golf Club, situated practically a-buggy-ride-away from Club Med Bintan. After enduring a bout of rainstorms in the afternoon, the event eventually concluded with seasoned golfer and Indonesian singer-musician Angga Puradiredja claiming top spot on the leaderboard. The pre-dinner prize presentation bash was a sprightly affair, held at one of Club Med Bintan’s three main bars.
The golf clinic on Day 3, meanwhile, was a fun one for golf newbies as it was tailored for beginners – conducted by Lacoste ambassador Valentine Derrey at the driving range of Ria Bintan. The 30-year-old Parisian spent about two hours covering the basic facets of the sport – from equipment to technique – subsequently taking attendees onto the course as she demonstrated her skills. Following which, the ‘golf virgins’ returned to the driving range and got the opportunity to get their stance in check and test their swinging aptitude with the expert guidance of Wayan and Zandile, Club Med golf GOs who hail from Indonesia and South Africa respectively.
Q&A with Xavier Desaulles, Club Med CEO East and South Asia & Pacific
What prompted Club Med’s partnership with Lacoste?
Xavier Desaulles (XD): We share in common three main things. First of all, our French roots; Lacoste is a very established brand with a strong heritage in the same way Club Med is. Another savoir-faire which is quite unique is that just like how Lacoste has their distinctive Piqué fabric, the way they design their apparel, we at Club Med have our own unique formula which is the spirit of the GOs. In that sense, within the clothing world, Lacoste is in a class of its own, and within the resorts world, Club Med is in a class of its own. Lastly, we both cater to the premium end of the market … we have this premium ‘attitude’. And this complements our partnership.
What does this partnership mean for Club Med?
XD: This is our first partnership with a clothing brand. Lacoste shares the same values as Club Med, the same premium attitude, that unique savoir-faire. By working together we reach a larger much-desired audience who “speak our language”.
Tell us a little bit about the capsule collection.
XD: The design of the polo collection is one of their classic fits, with our logo incorporated on them. This is just the start. We expect this collection to evolve as the partnership grows.
When did you start playing golf, and what do you like about it?
XD: I picked up golf about 10 years ago. I try to play at least once a month, and when I do it’s usually in Singapore, and usually a nine-hole game. For me, it’s a social outlet – I get to be on the course with my friends. It is, however, quite a demanding sport and I like that. The sport itself is a great escape.