March 2013


Around the end of March, beginning of April spring starts in Japan, the popular Cherry Blossom Festival, also known as Hanami, marks the beginning of spring. Hanami is literally translated as festival to “watch flowers”.

To help you get an idea of what this festival is like, the expectation is such all around Asia that the Met office announces every year the blooming forecast for each area, called Sakurazensen.

In our luxury hotel, Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, we have everything ready for this event and we would be delighted to have you enjoy it with us.

The cherry blossom festival is full of symbolism. On the one hand it marks the end of the harsh Japanese winter and also the end of bare trees all around. On the other hand, it marks the arrival of the spring and the good weather with Sakura, the cherry flower, full of life, which blooms to spread the spring spirit to everyone around it.

These delicate flowers, do not usually last long, allowing us to enjoy their beauty without seeing them fade. In fact, in Japanese society Sakura represents the fleeting quality of human life, as these flowers disappear completely in only one or two weeks.

This fact is closely related to part of the Samurai code in Japan, as these warriors aspired to die at their highest point during battles and wanted never to get old and “fade”. The cherry flower is an emblem of the Samurai, an icon in Japanese society and culture, and we often see it portrayed in Japanese art.

For Japanese people, Hanami (often referred to as o-hanami, as a sign of respect) is the perfect excuse for a family picnic, or a gathering with friends or work colleagues. It is peculiar to see how many people save the best spots days in advance by spreading a long piece of blue tarpaulin waiting for the other members of the group to arrive. There are Japanese companies that reserve the best places to celebrate Hanami with their employees. Once gathered, sitting under the cherry blossom trees, they all eat and drink. These gatherings always include the traditional Nihonshu, known by almost everyone as Sake.   The festival ends with the Yozakura, nocturnal cherry, spectacular nighttime lighting celebrations throughout Asia.

It is said that the best place, without a doubt, to enjoy this gift of nature, is the summit of mountain Yoshino. Although this is not available to everyone, if you are one of the lucky ones you will be able to witness one of the most exclusive views worldwide. At your feet, if you are one of the fortunate ones, the cherry trees will outline a pink cloud that covers the mountain.

If you are not keen on heights, you can still enjoy Hanami from practically any Japanese park, although there are some spots that are particularly cherished like Ueno Park in Tokyo, a place which holds several museums, a concert hall and even a zoo …. surrounded by thousands of cherry trees which make it even more special and especially attractive in spring. If you choose to go to Kyoto, you will enjoy this magnificent landscape in Naruyama Park or in Nagoya Castle, both favoured by the most demanding visitors.

As an interesting fact to share with you, this Japanese festival has been borrowed by many countries worldwide. Between 1909 and 1912 the Japanese government gave the North American government cherry trees as a gift and gesture of good will. Those cherry trees were placed in Washington where you can still see them to this day.

In Asia Gardens Hote, l the arrival of spring is also a very special moment for us, and this is why we would like to encourage you to come and spend a few days in our luxury resort in Alicante and become one with the spring colours and scents of our wonderful gardens.

We look forward to seeing you….


As you know if you have ever stayed with us, our luxury hotel, Asia Gardens, holds a very special relationship with the Asian continent: every corner in our hotel transports you to a different Asian place.

India is one of the most beautiful and unique spots in the world. Its unstoppable growth has, for many years now, brought about its own Hindi film industry. Their rich and diverse 200 tongues cohabiting in the same country have made cinema, and everything that surrounds it, the main national passtime for the citizens of India. The word Bollywood comes from a combination of Bombay and Hollywood, making reference to the former capital city of India and to the home of the famous American film industry. An interesting fact: North American productions are not very popular around here.

For Indian people, the film industry is a portrayal of their own lives and traditions, the characters play everyday stories that their society can identify with.

Boollywood’s favourite theme is musicals: traditional dancing and singing combined with eastern-style choreographies, accompanied by twisted dramas that end up in forbidden love and emotional plots. The storylines go from romance to loyalty, including other topics of everyday life in India.

The combination of all these factors in a movie, make this type of movie the perfect mix to get you hooked to these entertaining and far-fetched stories which the whole family can enjoy.

Another interesting fact about these movies, is that the characters generally don’t kiss on screen, an intense stare is enough to show their deep love for each other…This has a lot to do with the cultural traditions which are still deeply rooted.

Just like in Hollywood, Bollywood celebrities are all over the cover of magazines and the red carpets in India are the perfect catwalk for their love stories: everything revolves around this great star system. We couldn’t miss the mandatory annual awards to reward the industry: the Filmfare, equivalent to the American Oscar or our own Goya award, is the main event in Hindi cinema.

Currently, Hindi cinema is known internationally: Water, directed by Deepa Metha, is the fourth movie to be nominated as “best movie in a foreign language” in the Oscar.

Their celebrities go beyond Indian borders; it is not surprising to see Aishwarya Rai in the cover of Vogue or on a TV ad endorsing a brand of cosmetics popular in our country. Aishwarya is one of the most famous actresses and models in India also crowned Miss World in 1994 becoming famous worldwide.

Her recent wedding to the also Bollywood actor, Abhishek Bachchan, has everyone in a frenzy; the most important publications echo this event from the impressive Bollywwod.

From our 5-star resort, we encourage you to look up more information about this peculiar genre and we hope you have enjoyed this approach to Indian cinema as much as we do from our Asian paradise…

The best known and most loved “Farang” (Foreigner) in Thailand: the story of Jim Thompson

Thailand is the country in the world with the best quality silkand a great tradition of manual weaving silk fabric. This is one of the main souvenirs to be purchased in Thailand, highly recommended by any renowned tour guide in the country.

Today, in our blog we would like to tell you about this American man who became so famous and popular in Thailand, and what his relationship with silk consisted of: Jim Thompson.

This architect was born in 1906 and he was recluted as a CIA agent, a spy, during the II World War.

After the II World War was finished, and having spent some time in Ceilan, he moved to Thailand where he discovered the fascinating world of weaving silk fabric.

In spite of the fact that Thai people back then prefered to invest in products coming from Europe, once he quit his career as a spy, Jim Thompson wanted to focus on keeping the country’s traditions regarding weaving wonderful silkfabric.

Shortly after starting up his business, through his former American and European contacts as a spy, his fabrics started to get used in a musical call The King and I, it was then thathis business took off against all odds.

Just like us at the Asia Gardens, Jim Thompson decided to focus on the needs of his customers, paying attention to every Little detail. He is a role model for us and that is why we do our best to pay attention to every detail which will make your stay in our luxury resort in Alicante, perfect, as perfect as the quality of his colourful silk Thai. If you have already visited us, you must know that those details are the ones that will turn your stay in our hotel into a unique experience.

Thanks to his visión as an entrepeneur, this famous “farang” (foreigner) knew not only how to get the most spectacular combinations of colours in his silk, but he also managed to employ a significant part of the most disadvantaged population in Thailand, hence why he is so well known and loved.

But the most mysterious part of the story of this interesting character in Thailand’s most recent history, is that he went for a walk in Malaysia in 1967 and he never came back…

Nowadays, his business continues to be one of the main sources of income in the country, and that is why, from our blog in Asia Gardens, we wanted to share this colourful and mysterious story… the colours of Jim Thompson’s silk fabric.While you organize a visit to his shops in Thailand, we would like to welcome you to our luxury hotel in the Mediterranean, come and get away from everything for a few days…


The world of Bonsais has always appealed to us: the art of growing plants and trees pruning them and creating true beauties of nature to scale.

This is such an interesting and fascinating art, that when arranging the gardens of the Barceló Asia Gardens we decided to give one of them a leading role: the Asia Gardens Bonsai.

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This hundred-year-old specimen, located at the entrance of our magnificent gardens, was specifically brought from Japan. In our 5-star hotel, we decided that in order to provide it with better care it was necessary to have a specificcompany taking care of its needs, solely and exclusively.

However, when we mention our Giant Bonsai we do it from the European perspective of our tree. We should really refer to the “Ueki no Te Ire”, extremely beautiful trees, which are, as well as our Bonsais, handled and cared for by pruning methods trying to mirror the shapes of trees that can be found far away in the mountains of Japan. These “Giant Bonsais” can be mainly seen on the edges of summits and ravines, and are true living works of art. Isn’t this an extraordinary fact? The Japanese art of Giant Bonsais

Asian luxury at its highest… as you can see, we don’t lie when it comes to expressing how much we look after each and every detail.

Bonsai, is a Japanese word which means BON (Tray) + SAI (Nature)…meaning the art of growing trees and plants to scale; there are several types and different shapes.

However, this 2000-year-old art is originally from China and it represented ETERNITY. Our Giant Bonsai Asia Gardens will welcome you into our gardens, where you will be able to, and you will want to, lose yourself eternally.

It’s no wonder that growing bonsais used to be a task exclusively for the higher classes: only those who were able to keep their tree inside a pot were worthy of eternal life.

The most peculiar thing is that the aim was also to arrange the tree in a way in which it would remind us of those found at the top of mountains, showing different shapes due to the treacherous conditions they’re exposed to: wind, rain, cold, dry-land…..

You may be surprised to hear that in our country there are even those called “bonsai crêches” for extreme bonsai owners.

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In our luxury resort in Alicante, our Giant Bonsai will help you, without a doubt, to reach eternal life…a life of rest and balance.  We look forward to seeing you.


Those of you who have already visited us at the Barceló Asia Gardens already know that we welcome you with an exquisite cup of tea brought straight from Thailand; We do not doubt that tea is another one of those common elements in Asian culture that brings about a series of traditions, rituals, typologies and cultural aspects.

Today, we would like to introduce you to something new about Japanese culture, more specifically the Tea Ritual or “Chado”.
This ritual, which includes a choreography to prepare and serve this Green tea called Matcha”, is served along with some traditional Japanese pastries to balance out the bitter taste of tea.

For us in Europe this might not make much sense, but after watching this ritual you will be short for words: it is not about drinking tea in itself, but about the ritual behind preparing it for our guests, always respectfully…with every move…every gesture, even placing each necessary utensil in its place to carry out this ceremony which must be precise, even the angle at which the guest is approached at is relevant,Shokyaku.

As we unveil the history of Japanese tea rituals, we see that it is not of Japanese origin. A Buddhist monk, who returned from the neighbouring country, introduced it in Japan. The story goes that this monk had to opportunity to prepare this delicious tea, just brought from China, for the

Emperor, who after enjoying its taste and medicinal properties, issued an imperial document demanding the tea be grown in the area.
From back then and until nowadays, this tradition of serving tea to guests in such a refined manner in sign of respect and gratitude has been taking shape. We would like you to feel this way at the Asia Gardens,and that is the reason why we offer you this delicious drink which will reach your senses and will give you an idea of the kind of relaxation that awaits you at our luxury resort.

In order to properly celebrate such a visual ritual, first of all our guests shall wash their hands and mouth and remove their shoes. The entrance to the lounge where we celebrate the Chado is often quite low, in a way that our guests must kneel down when entering; the meaning of this is merely to make everyone feel at the same level showing as much humbleness and respect for others as possible.

The host shall heat up some water and thoroughly clean each of the twelve utensils that will be used in the ceremony. These utensils are often true works of art passed on from generation to generation.
Once warm, the water and tea are mixed together with a bamboo blender. Every move of the host will have choreography and the guests will be fully immersed in this performance.

There are two traditional ways of preparing and serving Japanese tea: Koicha and Usucha, making reference to the consistency of the drink: Koichais a much more consistent and dense type of tea prepared using 3 times the amount used when preparing Usucha, which is much lighter and less intense.

Koicha is an intense type of tea served in the same bowl shared by all guests, the lighter tea, Usucha, is served individually.
In Japan, there are even many schools to teach this ritual the correct and traditional way; you may even already learn about this very visual tradition in some schools and associations in Spain. There is no doubt about Japan’s pursuit of perfection. We, in our Asian corner in the Mediterranean, try to follow lead.

At the Asia Gardens we might one day celebrate one of these ceremonies; in the meantime, we shall continue to welcome you with a cup of tea upon arrival to give you a taste of the peace that awaits you during your stay with us.

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