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Lifestyle Curators for Thailand + Southeast Asia

Travel News – December 2012

  /  DESTINATIONS   /  Travel News – December 2012
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Centara celebrates 30th anniversary

Bangkok – Centara Hotels & Resorts is celebrating its 30th anniversary on Dec. 12. Part of the Central Group, the kingdom’s biggest retailer, and formed initially as Central Hotels & Resorts, the company’s first hotel was the Hyatt Central Plaza Bangkok, today known as Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok.

From the one property has grown a chain of hotels and resorts that currently includes 38 deluxe and first-class properties covering all the major tourist destinations in Thailand, and a further 18 resorts in the Maldives, Vietnam, Bali, Sri Lanka and Mauritius, bringing the present total to 56 properties.

There are currently six hotel brands within the Centara main brand, ensuring that specific categories such as couples, families, individuals, long-stay guests and meetings and incentives groups will all find accommodation that is appropriate to their needs.

Centara operates 24 branches of Spa Cenvaree, one of Thailand’s most luxurious and innovative spa brands, together with its newly launched value brand Cense by Spa Cenvaree, which provides core spa services for busy travelers. The company’s Kids’ Club is available at all the family-friendly resorts to ensure that the youngsters and teens are taken care of.

Centara also has three major convention centers in Bangkok, and two in the northeast of Thailand, at Udon Thani and Khon Kaen.

Amari announces partnership with BBC Worldwide

Bangkok – Amari has announced its partnership with BBC Worldwide, to introduce its international hit reality TV format, “Dancing with the Stars,” to Thailand.

“Dancing with the Stars” is one of BBC Worldwide’s Global Brands, and in 2010 was named the world’s most successful reality TV format by the Guinness Book of Records. The show pairs local celebrities with professional dancers who each week teach their partner a dance routine from the world of ballroom or Latin. Every week, the pairs perform their routines in front of a set of judges who mark each couple out of 10. Viewers are also able to vote for their favorite couple with scores from viewers and the judges combined.

With the addition of Thailand, there are 43 local versions of “Dancing with the Stars” around the world spanning six continents. The brand has also extended into live events, gaming and digital properties.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with BBC Worldwide to bring such a globally successful TV show to Thailand,“ said Peter Henley, president and CEO of ONYX Hospitality Group. “What better way to bring the colors and rhythms of modern Asia to life than through the medium of dance and music. We look forward to embracing “Dancing with the Stars” and introducing the energy and excitement of the show to our Amari guests and the Thai viewing public.”

For the first time, the show will be financed via an Ad-Funded Programming (AFP) model, with Amari as the exclusive sponsor of the show. “Dancing with the Stars” premieres on Thailand’s Channel 7 in January 2013 with seven 90-minute episodes. The Thai series will be independently produced by MCL (Metine Company Ltd) and Kantana Group PLC and funded by advertising. Amari will feature in ad breaks throughout the series and will have logo signage within the show.

RESET: Revolutionary Enzyme-Based Health Supplement Launched
From left: Bovy-Atma Chewanitphan; Vikrom Khorana, managing director of Power Corporation (Thailand); Bradley D. Hall, chief sales officer of Juventa Technologies; Sumitr Khorana, CEO of Power Corporation (Thailand); Aditya Khorana, marketing director of Power Corporation (Thailand); Top-Nattaset Poonsapmanee; at Leapfrog Bar & Restaurant of Ramada Encore Hotel, Bangkok during the launch of RESET in the Thai market. RESET is a revolutionary dietary supplement made from natural ingredients, including a ground breaking and advanced composite biocatalyst (“Tricylst™). The result is an enzyme-based technology that enables the body to speed up metabolic activity to help break down and eliminate toxins, its primary function, and to increase nutrient absorption and increase energy production.
Centara to open 4th hotel in Pattaya
Pattaya — Centara Hotels & Resorts will be opening its fourth property in Pattaya in March 2013: the five-star Centara Grand Resort & Spa Pattaya, located at Phratamnak Hill on the east side of the city.

Centara will be managing the hotel under a contract signed in February 2010 with the Cliff Residence Company Limited, a division of the Tulip Group. The newly built nine-storey hotel will have 161 rooms and suites and is being developed under a budget of Bt1.1 billion including land.

“We have worked very closely with the Tulip Group to bring this project to fruition, and we are delighted to be announcing the opening date,” says Thirayuth Chirathivat, chief executive officer of Centara Hotels & Resorts (www.centarahotelsresorts.com). “The location is superb, being in the center of the exclusive Phratamnak district and within just two minutes of Phratamnak Beach, and the design of the hotel is that of understated club-like luxury,” he said “We have enormous confidence in the future of Pattaya, and regard this beautiful property as being an important strategic step in our growth plans.”

Airbnb Continues Global Momentum with Expansion into Thailand
Bangkok — Airbnb, the world’s leading marketplace to list, discover and book unique accommodations, has announced it is continuing expansion into Southeast Asia with the beginning of focused efforts in Thailand. Airbnb will focus on engaging with its rapidly growing community in Bangkok and throughout Thailand, as guest nights booked in Thailand through Airbnb’s platform have nearly quadrupled just in 2012.

“Airbnb is about creating unique, memorable experiences, and we’re seeing a huge increase in demand in Thailand and across Asia,” says co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Nathan Blecharczyk. “Thailand is one of the premier travel destinations in the world, and Thai people are also traveling abroad at increasing rates, so Thailand will be a crucial market for us as we continue to grow.”

Airbnb is currently the world market leader in unique, short-term accommodations. In June the company celebrated 10 million nights booked, and on any given night, over 50,000 guests are staying at Airbnb accommodations around the world. Airbnb is also available for download in mobile application on both iOS and Android platforms. The app was named iTunes’ “Travel App of the Year. “

Classic Kameo Hotel Rayong opens
Rayong — The latest addition to the Kameo Collection hotel portfolio, Classic Kameo Hotel and Serviced Apartments Rayong opened last month. Conveniently located in the heart of the popular coastal town on Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard, the hotel offers high standards of service, excellent facilities, attractive rooms and exceptional value to short and long-stay business and leisure guests.

Classic Kameo Hotel Rayong (www.kameocollection.com) comprises four room types: deluxe rooms, studio suites, one bedroom suites, and spacious two bedroom suites, all decorated with high quality, contemporary furniture and feature separate living and kitchen areas, and a bathroom with shower and bathtub.

The stylish, modern Classic Kameo Hotel Rayong is the fourth Kameo Collection property in Thailand. The others are Kameo House Rayong; Kameo House, Sriracha; and Karavel House, Sriracha. A fifth Kameo Collection property, Classic Kameo Hotel, Ayutthaya, opens later this month.

Conrad Bangkok marks Global Service Week
Bangkok – In observance of the “Global Service Week” (Nov 11-18,) and to contribute to Community Social Responsibility (CSR), Conrad Bangkok conducted a charity event at Dhammajarinee Witthaya School. Dhammajarinee Witthaya School has been established as a private, charitable boarding school for girls administered by Thai Buddhist nuns of the Thai Nun Institute, Paktho Branch, Ratchaburi province. The purpose is to focus on training and providing education to nuns and young women who lack the opportunity to study, and to aid young women who are orphaned, poor, or with family problems to have equal education and develop their full potential, and to protect young women in at-risk social groups.
Hilton Pattaya wins ‘Best Hotel Architectural Design’
Pattaya – Hilton Pattaya has been named country winner for “Best Hotel Architectural Design.” at the 2012 Thailand Property Awards held at Dusit Thani Hotel, Bangkok recently. “This highly coveted design award bears testament that Hilton Pattaya will stand out as a distinctive, best in design and architecture and luxurious hotel that will excel in the keenly competitive hospitality industry in Thailand and Asia Pacific region,” said Peta Ruiter, director of business development, Hilton Pattaya.
Ninety Chinese couples in Dusit Thani Hua Hin mass wedding
Hua Hin — Ninety Chinese couples were married at a special mass wedding held at the Dusit Thani Hua Hin recently as part of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s “2013 Romance in Thailand” campaign. the event, which featured an elaborate and detailed ceremony involving the bridal procession and full Thai wedding traditions, also included Thai cultural performances. All 90 newly wed couples posed for a series of photographs in front of the hotel’s Royal Dusit Hall, which later, was the scene of a grand reception for the newlyweds and their guests.
Free stay at Cape Panwa Hotel for Elite Model Look Thailand 2012 Winner
Phuket – Elite Model Look Thailand 2012 winner Sarucha Nilchan (3rd left), receives a gift voucher for Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket valued at Bt50,000 from Cape Panwa Hotel PR manager, Kulaseth Hovongratana (2nd left), after the final round of the contest at Centara Grand Hotel, Central World, Bangkok. Also in photo are: 1st runner-up Pimnara Vonzurmuehlen (left), and 2nd runner-up Duanghathai Pingel (right).
Lebua sweeps 2 prestigious ‘World Luxury Hotel’ awards
Bangkok — Lebua Hotels and Resorts and Bangkok luxury hotel, Tower Club at lebua won two prestigious international awards from World Luxury Hotel Awards in an award presentation ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia recently. lebua Hotels & Resorts and Tower Club at lebua won in two categories: “Luxury Hotel Brand” and “Luxury Hotel in Thailand.” Photo shows (from left): Marco Metge, general manager of Tower Club at lebua; Marinique de Wet, director of the World Luxury Hotel Awards; Deepak Ohri, CEO of lebua Hotels & Resorts; and Kanokrat Kirkland, director of Public Relations of lebua Hotels & Resorts.
Order of Queen Isabella for Sukosol Hotels President
Bangkok — Mrs Kamala Sukosol (4th from left), president of Sukosol Hotels, was made an officer of the Order of Queen Isabella the Catholic by decree of Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, in recognition of her efforts to enhance Thai-Spanish relations. The event was held at the residence of the Spanish Ambassador to Thailand. Photo shows (left to right): H.E. Arsa Sarasin, His Majesty the King’s Principal Private Secretary; Aurora Sagaz; Daranee Sukosol Clapp; Kamala Sukosol; Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi; H.E. Mr Ignacio Sagaz, the Spanish Ambassador; H.E. Anand Panyarachun, former Thailand prime minister; Kamol Sukosol Clapp; Krissada Sukosol Clapp, and M.R. Thepkamol Devakula.
New Banyan Tree Bangkok GM
Bangkok– Nopparat Aumpa has been appointed general manager of Banyan Tree Bangkok. Ms. Aumpa’s managerial career began in 1996 when she joined The Westin Banyan Tree Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, as assistant manager in the front office department. At the start of her tenure at Banyan Tree Bangkok, she received the Thurston Dupar Inspirational Award in the same year. The following year, she received another award, Service of Legend. She was also a key member of the opening team that launched Banyan Tree Ringha, China in July 2005 and Royale Hayat Hospital, Kuwait in October 2006.

Her Banyan Tree experience includes managing the Double Pool Villa construction at Banyan Tree Phuket as executive assistant manager–rooms, from 2005 to 2007; hotel manager for Angsana Bintan from 2007 to 2009; part of the core pre-opening team for the Banyan Tree Mayakoba in 2009; opening Banyan Tree Samui as resident manager from 2010 to 2012; and a short stint as part of the pre-opening team at Banyan Tree Tianjin in July 2012. The Sukhothai-born Ms. Aumpa holds two degrees from Thammasart University in Bangkok and a Certificate of Education in Professional Development Program from Cornell University School of Hotel Management in New York, USA.

Dusit Hua Hin is Global winner of 2012 World Luxury Hotel & Conference Center
Kuala Lumpur — Marinique Truter (left), executive manager of the World Luxury Hotel Awards, present the trophy to Kamolnuch Bhiromsawad (right), director of sales and marketing of Dusit Thani Hua Hin, after the hotel was selected as the global winner of 2012 World Luxury Hotel & Conference Center at the 2012 Annual World Luxury Hotel Awards dinner in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia recently.
MPA confab in Pattaya
Pattaya — Serm Phenjati (4th from right), consultant of dusitD2 baraquda pattaya warmly welcomed high level authorities and delegates from Greater China (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau) on their Enforcement Conference organized by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) Nov. 14-16 at dusitD2 baraquda pattaya. From left: Frank Rittman, vice president and deputy managing director and regional policy office, Asia Pacific, MPA; Zhi Cheng Wang, deputy director general, National Copyright Administration of China; Ryan Murray, director of content protection, Asia Pacific, MPA: Mike Ellis, president and MD, Asia Pacific, MPA: Serm Phenjati; Wai Hung Ho, MD & GM, IFACT-GV (HK); Nan-san Liu, chief secretary of Second Security Police, IPR Police (Taiwan); and dusitD2 baraquda pattaya staff.

The MPA’s strategic conference focuses on a few keys that will help reduce copyright theft and expand the diversity of legitimate choices available to consumers as well as to seek ways to include strong intellectual property rights provisions in every Great China trade agreement in order to ensure that all parties uphold commitments to protect the power of creative ideas around the world.

Landmark’s Teddy Bears for the Environment
Bangkok – The Landmark Bangkok’s annual campaign to help raise awareness of the changes to our environment continues with an invitation to donate to our “Landmark Goes Green V – Plant Trees with ME!!” For every Bt250 or more donated by a hotel guest or member of the general public, the Landmark will fund the planting of tree saplings in a Royal Forest Reserve. As a way of saying thank you, the hotel will give guests the latest ‘Beanie’ Teddy Bear wearing its own orange ‘Plant trees with ME’ T-shirt, complete with a pastel color eco bag.
The Landmark Goes Green project/activity has been well received during the past five years. Contact 02-254-0404, ext 7777 to take part in the ‘Landmark Goes Green V’ activity/project or to purchase a ‘Beanie’ Teddy Bear at the Lobby area of The Landmark Bangkok.
Peninsula Hotels launch new ad campaign
Bangkok – The Peninsula Hotels has launched “Peninsula Moments,” a new, global brand campaign using video and photography to demonstrate how The Peninsula Hotels bring the very best and unique aspects of each destination to its guests with style, sophistication, and elegance. Moments and memories to remember, reflecting an authentic sense of destination, are brought to life by stunning architecture, thoughtful design, local insight, and the genuine desire of Peninsula staff to showcase the best of their cities.

Conceived and developed in-house, the creative brief and aim is to showcase the magic that The Peninsula brings to its guests with photography, video, and going “behind the scenes” – in short, each image and scene tell a story.

The “Peninsula Moments” images are shot by photo-journalist and portrait photographer Russell Wong, a Singapore-based photographer known for his portraits of celebrities ranging from Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh to Tom Cruise, together with his work in Hollywood as stills photographer for motion pictures such as “Underworld,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Hero,” and “House of Flying Daggers.”

The stills photography is complemented by a series of short video vignettes in various formats, produced by Ridley Scott Associates, and directed by Jean-Claude Thibaut and Antony Cook, whose previous work includes videos for Luis Vuitton, Hermes, and Boss.

InterCon Samui Scoops 2 Awards
Singapore — At this year’s 19th World Travel Awards (WTA) in Asia, InterContinental Samui Baan
Taling Ngam Resort scooped up two awards, securing the title of both “Thailand’s Leading Beach Resort,” as well as “Thailand’s Leading New Resort.”

In addition to its two prizes, the illustrious resort was also nominated for six additional awards categories at WTA. The prestigious annual travel awards ceremony for Asia, Australasia and Indian Ocean region took place at InterContinental Singapore recently. WTA is revered as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’ worldwide.

General Manager of the resort, Arnaud Girodon on receiving the prize said, “This is a truly magnificent achievement and tremendous recognition for our team at InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort. In 10 short months since opening, we have received overwhelming praise from our guests, media and our industry peers. We will continue with our efforts and we’re excited to see what else the future holds for us!”