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From a unique academic honour to our own Karma Group scholarships for disadvantaged kids, this edition we’re looking at learning… plus all the latest news from across the global Karma network!

Taking The Barefoot Luxury Trail to Yale

From a unique academic honour to our own Karma Group scholarships for disadvantaged kids, this edition we’re looking at learning… plus all the latest news from across the global Karma network!


Docendo Discimus

As Pink Floyd famously sang… ‘ we don’t need no education..’

Leaving university after the first year is probably something I would totally dissuade my children from doing and yet the fates have a strange way of intervening and without me doing it there would almost certainly be no KARMA today. I then drifted into the music business…then into Timeshare in Tenerife…and eventually washed up on the shores of Goa in 1993. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Being a total non-academic, you can imagine my surprise and incredulity when I was put up for an honorary fellowship to YALE University five years ago, arguably one of the most elite academic institutions in the world. They had seen that I had won the Entrepreneur of the Year title and someone had suggested that I would be a good addition to the teaching staff for a term.

YALE is incredibly perceptive in realising that while they have the smartest students and professors, a huge amount of money and facilities, yet often the students are shielded from how things actually work in the real world.

The purpose of this honorary fellowship is to invite a non-academic to teach a class for a semester and to give the students some street smarts. So…. I duly turned up for my interview with the Dean, rather nervous and feeling slightly like a naughty schoolboy who must have done something wrong!!

YALE was and is an amazing place and institution and its list of alumni is stellar…. I must confess to feeling rather out of place! Luckily the Dean had a sense of humour and was totally interested in me and my business and we bonded over a bottle of red wine and a long lunch. Bizarrely he offered me the Fellowship on the spot.

For my first Fellowship, I worked with Patrick Bellew, a leading sustainable engineer who had recently constructed the super tree and greenhouse project in Singapore, and Andy Bow, a partner of Sir Norman Foster, who was personally responsible for the design of the Gherkin building in London … clearly seriously smart people!

I remember turning up to do the lecture which opened the school year ( a tradition fulfilled by the Honorary Fellow ) and feeling that I was in a Harry Potter movie, as I was surrounded by proper professors in long gowns with very important sounding titles and strange archaic hats and caps.

Our project, or problem as we term it, was for the students to design a bodega in Rioja complete with hotel and tourism related facilities that was commercially viable as well as architecturally attractive and sustainable.

Our class was 50% architecture students and 50 % business management students

To a certain extent it was about teaching the architecture students that things needed to be commercially viable and the business management students that it was not all about making money and that development projects needed to look good and be sustainable.

It was a great success. I never would have believed that I could enjoy teaching so much and I can honestly say that I got as much out of it as I gave. Anyway, since then I was approached and accepted for similar assignments by the ULCA and the University of Pennsylvania.

So that brings us to now and I am delighted that YALE has honoured me by offering me a second Honorary Fellowship to return to campus this Fall Semester. (Please excuse me for blowing my own trumpet slightly but the is the first time they have offered a second Honorary Fellowship to the same person.)

This time the ‘problem’ is a very real one. We are asking the students to consider our resort in the Gili Islands … Karma Reef. Their assignment is to design a hotel and related amenities which looks amazing, is commercial, benefits the community and is resilient to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. Clearly very relevant as our resort there was recently seriously affected by an earthquake.

We will partly be teaching this assignment in YALE and partly bringing the students over to Bali and the Gili Islands, so they can fully understand the environment and conditions.

So here we go ….

I am extremely privileged and fortunate to be accepted by an institution like YALE and I look forward to hopefully adding some value to what the students learn, but I know that whatever happens I and all of us at Karma Group will come out having learnt more and benefiting from the experience.

As Seneca the Younger said

(By teaching we learn)

Speak soon.

John Spence


From Soaring Atlantic Sea Cliffs to Tropical White Sand Beaches…
Discover Karma’s Newest Resorts!

East Clare, Ireland

Ireland’s west coast – the so called Wild Atlantic Way – is famed the world over for its rugged beauty and soaring sea cliffs pounded by Atlantic surf. Perhaps the most dramatic stretch of coastline is to be found in County Clare, where the Cliffs of Moher offer 14km of astounding cliff walks and panoramic sea views.

A little way inland, among the kind of gently rolling hills and vivid green countryside that earned Ireland its ‘Emerald Isle’ moniker, you’ll find Karma’s latest Europe residence, the East Clare Golf Village – a perfect rural gateway to one of Ireland’s most historic and visually arresting regions.

Whether or not you have a penchant for the greens and fairways of the neighbouring East Clare Golf Course, you’ll find yourself in a cosy village style haven that marries tradition with contemporary conveniences – a peaceful 2-bedroom country cottage with living room, fully equipped kitchen and bedrooms with both king size and single beds.

There’s a wealth of natural and cultural attractions to discover: head to the capital Ennis and visit the 13th Century Ennis Franciscan Friary – while just 15 minutes north you’ll find yourself in an otherworldly glaciated landscape of limestone karsts, including a 5000-year old burial site.

Fancy some proper Irish craic? Head to the pretty little village of Doolin where establishments like McGann’s, McDermott’s or O’Connor’s host traditional music most nights of the week – as well as serving the smoothest, slowest poured Guinness in the world of course!

East Clare Golf Village →

Karma Apsara, Koh Samui, Thailand

10,000km away and just a few degrees above the equator lies a very different island – Koh Samui. Part of an archipelago of coral atolls and islands set in the crystal waters of the Gulf of Thailand, Samui is sparsely populated compared to some of its neighbours – especially so in the north. This is the location of Karma Apsara, our new Koh Samui Resort.

This is the Koh Samui of old – Karma Apsara nestles in a cool coconut grove just a few minutes’ walk from one of the island’s least crowded stretches of sand, Mae Nam Beach. You’re as likely to see locals bringing their water buffalo down for a dip here as you are to see fellow tourists. Refreshingly, resorts are set back from the beach, giving the area a back to nature atmosphere.

Not far from Karma Apsara is the world class Santiburi Golf Course – a fixture on the Asia PGA tour and well worth a visit, whether for a round of golf or a round of drinks – or both! Besides its iconic beaches and rainforest interior, Koh Samui offers a wealth of cultural attractions, from beautifully constructed wat Buddhist temples with their tiered roofs, carved reliefs and statuary, to Thai boxing and Thai dance performances. Head to Chaweng for shopping and nightlife.

Karma Apsara offers a mix of spacious one and two bedroom apartments with both garden and ocean views, an infinity pool, on site eatery serving local and western dishes. Enquire now for great introductory offers!

Karma Apsara, Thailand →


A Running Start at Life for Sindhu Paramesh with a Little Help From Karma

Camp Royal, Goa, India

Karma is a global brand dedicated to providing unforgettable experiences and top shelf entertainment in the world’s best destinations. Yet these destinations are not merely a backdrop – Karma Chairman John Spence has always been dedicated to building strong community connections and above all, to giving something back – indeed he has won many awards for his philanthropic work. Over the years, countless young people from disadvantaged backgrounds have been giving a running start by organisations supported by Karma Group.

Since its inception in 1993, Karma Group has supported Christel House in Bangalore, India – a unique and highly effective educational institution dedicated to supporting kids from impoverished inner city backgrounds. Karma Group has long partnered with Christel House, providing much needed equipment, financial support and – perhaps most popular amongst the kids – an annual ‘Camp Royal’ holiday at one of our Goa resorts for Christel House students, many of whom have never seen the sea before.

It’s the individual stories of course that bring this work to life – and one of those stories belongs to Sindhu. Born in the year 2000, Sindhu graduated from Christel House in 2019, having first joined at the age of five. A dedicated student, she realised at the age of 15 that she wished to pursue a career in hospitality. Karma Group is honoured to be able to help her pursue this dream by providing a scholarship so that she can complete four years of study at one of the best institutions in India.

“I am very passionate about working in this industry and I’m prepared to work hard for it,” Sindhu wrote in a letter to Karma Chairman John Spence and the Karma family worldwide. “What excites me about working in this particular field is the opportunity…to meet many new people and travel the world as well.” We’re definitely on board with this ambition, Sindhu!

Sindhu is one of 18 recipients of Karma scholarships since 2016 – and we’re sure there will be many more to come!

Amelia Spence at Christel House Bangalore, India

Karma Group supports many charitable organisations and causes around the world, with a special emphasis on empowering disadvantaged young people to pursue their dreams. From providing opportunities and equipment to children with disabilities in Bali through the Kupu-Kupu Foundation to working with impoverished children in Vietnam through Children’s Hope In Action (CHIA) in Vietnam, to helping young athletic talents fulfil their promise in sports like rugby, Karma is committed to giving something back.

It’s actions that count too of course – each year, John and a revolving cast of friends and associates undertake charity challenges, like the Penguin Walk – a 38km amble across Provence dressed as various types of wildlife that raises thousands each year for Karma Group charities and the Marathon de Medoc, which involves running a full marathon through the Bordeaux countryside, with 20 wine-tasting stops en-route! And John’s daughter Amelia Spence has been following in his philanthropic footsteps, volunteering with the kids at Christel House Bangalore.

In the end, it’s about combining the various elements of Karma into a fairly seamless whole – bringing enjoyment, opportunity and a sense of community into everything we do.

Karma Cares →


Karma Enters The Sport of Kings to Support Charities

Back in October we reported that Karma had invested in part ownership of a two year old thoroughbred racehorse. The idea was to train him up with a view to achieving success in some major races and putting the winnings into Karma’s many charitable pursuits.

Well, that horse has a name now – and it’s Sermon. Sired by the famous Irish bred stallion Dark Angel – a winning racehorse himself during his short career and one of the most sought after stallions on the market for breeding – Sermon comes from stellar stock and he’s already started proving his worth. In his very first race at Haydock Park in Merseyside, UK, Sermon came a more than credible third in a highly competitive race.

That means he’s already raised £850 towards Karma charities. It’s not a huge sum, but it’s a great start and we are expecting more memorable performances from Sermon over the coming months and years!

Karma Cares →





Hit The Schliersee Lake Festival this July

Looking to book that last minute summer holiday? Why not head to the Bavarian Alps in late July, when the mellow summer sunshine brings the mountains and valleys to life, recalling those famous scenes from A Sound of Music that were shot in this very region. And from July 26-28, locals celebrate the Lake Schliersee Festival – a riot of traditional Bavarian revelry featuring traditional costumes, delicious country fare and unique customs and competitions such as ‘fisherstechen’ (water jousting). Each day there’s a packed programme of events including concerts, dances and sports. It’s the perfect introduction to Bavarian culture.

Karma Bavaria – Germany →



Bespoke Karma Spa Escapes!

Elevate your vacation with a bespoke Karma Spa escape that will bring your three or four days of blissful rejuvenation at Karma Kandara, Bali, one of Southeast Asia’s most spectacular cliff top destinations or Rottnest Island with its idyllic beaches and balmy Mediterranean climate. Each day combines a mix of tailored therapies and healing practices including lingering spa rituals, holistic yoga sessions and blissful meditation to the sound of the surf. Enjoy delicious and healthful daily breakfast and lunch and full access to Karma’s award-winning facilities at each resort.


Luminaries From The World of Djing and International Rugby
at Karma Kandara

High season at Karma Kandara is well underway, bringing with it some high profile guests who’ve been enjoying some down time at our iconic Bali resort. We’ve had seminal UK DJ and producer Carl Cox with us – the legendary English jock was here performing with his pal Eric Powell, eschewing his usual four to the floor style for funk, soul and disco. It was a pleasure hosting both of them. Meanwhile, Aussie rugby union guru and head coach of the national Rugby Sevens team Tim Walsh joined us with his family for some much deserved R&R and took some time out for a video interview, sharing his thoughts with us on the parallels between parenting and coaching.



Industry Accolades for India Resorts and di Mare Restaurant

Destination restaurant di Mare at Karma Kandara, Bali has just been named Country Winner in the World Luxury Restaurant Awards 2019. Voted by more than 100,000 international travellers each year, the award is a true measure of excellence in an extremely competitive sector. Congratulations to the di Mare team on a stellar performance in beating out stiff competition to land the number one spot in Indonesia. Meanwhile over in India, we’re honoured to announce that no fewer than six of our resorts has been awarded the coveted TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2019. Many congratulations to Karma Royal Palms (Goa), Karma Royal Haathi Mahal (Goa), Karma Haveli and Karma Kasuri Restaurant (Jaipur), Karma Chakra and The Waterside Restaurant (Kerala).

News & Event →





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