Travel News: April 2013

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Amari Residences Phuket wins at AsPac property awards

1Amari Estates has announced that its newest project, Amari Residences Phuket, has won the “Best Architecture Multiple Residence” award at the prestigious Asia Pacific Property Awards 2013.

The Asia Pacific Property Awards are part of the long established International Property Awards and attaining one of these coveted awards is testimony to Amari Residences Phuket’s capability of outperforming some exceedingly strong contenders within the highly competitive Asia Pacific property arena.

2“We are hugely honored to have won the “Best Architecture for Multiple Residence” award at this year’s Asia Pacific Property Awards.,” said Yuthachai Charnachitta, CEO of Amari Estates & Italthai Group. “This is proof that Amari Residences Phuket stands head and shoulders above the competition in terms of longterm investment opportunities in Phuket, and will continue to set a high market benchmark in offering accessible and affordable luxury investment opportunities on the island.”

Boasting panoramic 270-degree sea views and set on approximately three hectares of tropical beach forest, Amari Residences Phuket is located on the last prime undeveloped coastal site above Patong Bay, Phuket’s most expensive location where land prices averages HK$20,000 per square meter. Architecturally designed as two and three-story low-rises, the residences are spaciously laid out within the peninsula’s natural and pristine setting and offers sea-views from every unit, as well as access to a private beach and private jetty.

Accor signs 3 new hotels in Myanmar
3Accor opens new frontiers in Southeast Asia entering into Myanmar with an MGallery hotel in the country’s capital and two newly built Novotel hotels in Yangon and Mandalay

The leading international hotel operator in Asia-Pacific recently announced the development of three new hotels in Myanmar – an MGallery hotel in Naypyidaw, Novotel Yangon Max, and Novotel Mandalay Mingalar – representing the group’s 18th market in the region.

“We are excited to announce the signing of three new hotels in Myanmar – the first of which will open this year – marking Accor’s return to Myanmar,” says Michael Issenberg, chairman and chief operating officer for Accor Asia-Pacific. “Southeast Asia has long been a focus market for Accor, and as the country’s tourism industry develops, we see significant growth potential for international hotel operators with long-term experience in the region. These three developments represent yet another step towards our goal of operating 700 hotels in Asia-Pacific by 2015.”

The upscale MGallery hotel in the heart of Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s capital city, will be the city’s first international brand hotel. The newly built property, expected to open this year, will be located a mere 15 minutes’ drive from the City Hall, Water Park and Gem Museum, and 20 minutes from Naypyidaw International Airport.

Novotel Yangon Max, to be completed by the end of 2013, is within walking distance of Shwedagon Pagoda, Bogyoke Aung San Market, Inya Lake, Junction Square Shopping Center, and a 20-minute drive from Yangon International Airport. Novotel Mandalay Mingalar, a newly built hotel scheduled to open in 2015, is situated near the Maha Muni Pagoda, Mandalay Palace, Shwenandaw Monastery, Mandalay Hill, and a 40-minute drive from Mandalay International Airport.

Holiday Inn Express opens first Phuket property
4Holiday Inn Express has opened their first property on Phuket, providing savvy leisure travelers with affordable comfort in a prime central location. Offering relaxed, hassle-free accommodation without compromising on quality, Holiday Inn Express Phuket Patong Beach Central has all the characteristics that guests expect of the trusted global brand.

The 277-room hotel defines smart travel by combining comfort and convenience with proximity and price. Only a few steps from Patong Beach, the island’s most popular and well-developed beach, Phuket’s first Holiday Inn Express is also located close to a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment options. In addition to comfortable guestrooms with high-quality bedding and private balconies, situated away from the bustle of Patong’s nightlife, guests can also enjoy a wide range of facilities including a 24-hour fitness room and a stunning swimming pool.

The launch of Holiday Inn Express Phuket Patong Beach Central underscores the brand’s commitment to expanding its footprint in Asia. The brand will open more hotels across Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia over the next 12 months. There are currently 39 Holiday Inn Express properties and 57 more in the pipeline across Asia, making the brand one of the fastest growing and largest in the region.

Amari Orchid Pattaya gives away Junior Suite Room

5Brendan Daly (right), general manager of Amari Orchid Pattaya presents a voucher to the lucky couple, Keawalin Juejan and Surapol Tongprasert, who joined the recently concluded “Love Festival” at Central Festival Pattaya Beach. The couple won accommodation in a Junior Suite Room in the Ocean Tower including breakfast for two people and valued at Bt10,000.

Novotel Bangkok Fenix Silom presents ‘new way to meet’
6Novotel Silom recently unveiled a new and innovative “Living Room,” designed to provide a far more relaxed and cozy atmosphere not just for meetings, conferences and functions but also for any type of social or leisure function.

Located on Level 7 of the hotel, The Living Room provides a modern setting for up to approximately 30 persons. Meeting packages start at Bt800 net per person and are available for half and full-day events. Food and drink amenities as part of event package include coffee break, choice of lunch/dinner international buffet as well as a special menu prepared for exclusive events and dinners.

SKAL relaunches Pattaya, East Thailand clubs
Skal International Thailand’s Pattaya and East Thailand club has been relaunched. The new club president Tony Malhotra, deputy managing director of Pattaya Mail Publishing Co Ltd, presided at the inaugural event held at the Dusit Thani Hotel Pattaya with travel and tourism professionals in attendance.

Asked why it is important to have a Skal Club in Pattaya, Malhotra said, “Pattaya is expanding rapidly and there are many new tourism projects planned. Add to that a wide and diverse number of new Pattaya tourism executives stationed in Pattaya; a projected three million visitors annually and a record 22 million international visitors to Thailand.

“They all add up to the need for a professional association that can communicate and share knowledge to ensure that Pattaya and East Thailand maintains its firm foothold on the stage of world tourism. A destination with a Skal Club sends out a message to all stakeholders and suppliers that we are serious about the business of tourism.”

Mövenpick marks Asian milestone with new hotels
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has embarked on a journey to celebrate its 40th anniversary this year with the signing of two new hotels in China and Thailand. The upscale hotel company of Swiss heritage is to open a new beach resort in Hua Hin, Thailand, and a 250-room hotel in Enshi City, China.

“The Mövenpick Hotel Enshi will be our first opening in China, marking an important milestone for our company. Chinese consumers regard Swiss products and services as refreshingly different and we are looking forward to leveraging our Swiss roots and culinary legacy to carve a unique niche in this fascinating country,” said Andreas Mattmüller, chief operating officer for Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Asia.

By 2015, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts will have four properties open in China: the upcoming hotel in Enshi; a 380-room resort on Phoenix Island, Sanya; a 350-room property in Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia, and a 300-room hotel in Jiading, Shanghai.

Within three years, the company will also be operating eight hotels in Thailand with two in Chiang Mai and one each in Koh Samui, Bangkok and Pattaya in addition to the new signing, the 190-room Mövenpick Resort & Spa, Hua Hin. The upcoming properties will complement the two existing Mövenpick resorts in Phuket.

11 Centara hotels place among ‘best in their locality
7Eleven Centara Hotels & Resorts’ properties ranked among the “best hotels in their locality” according to Trip Advisor.

With 38 deluxe and first-class properties covering all the major tourist destinations of the kingdom. A further 16 resorts in the Maldives, Vietnam, Bali Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Mauritius Indian Ocean, brings the present total to 54 properties.

“We are very proud to have received such a large number of awards. We believe this reflects on the quality of the individual properties, the strategic location each occupies, and the superb work of the management and staff, who are warmly congratulated, “ says Thirayuth Chirathivat, CEO of Centara Hotels & Resorts. “For 11 properties to have achieved such high profile honors despite formidable competition is a real achievement.”

Peninsula Bangkok bags Asia’s ‘Top Skycraper Hotel’ award
8The Peninsula Bangkok has been ranked Travel + Leisure magazine’s “Top Skyscraper Hotel in Asia,” “11th Best Hotel in the World,” and the “Top city hotel in Asia.” The Peninsula Bangkok’s Spa was also recently ranked the third Best spa in Asia and the Indian Subcontinent by Conde Nast Traveler (USA) and claimed a place on The Golf List of The World’s Best Places to Stay. The Peninsula Bangkok was also rated the No. 1 Best City Hotel in Southeast Asia by The Gallivanter’s Guide (UK) one of Asia’s Best Hotels by Institutional Investor (USA) and one of The Best Hotels Around the World by Fodor’s (USA).
U Inchantree Kanchanaburi earns TripAdvisor award
U Inchantree Kanchanaburi, under the management of Absolute Hotel Services (AHS), recently won a “2013 Traveler’s 9Choice Award – Top 25 Small Hotels in Thailand,” from TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel ranking website.

“This is a proud moment for all of us,” said John Westoby, AHS managing director–Southeast Asia. “Traveler’s Choice Awards are based on millions of reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor reviewers and winning this is a great honor for us as it reinforces our brand mission of delivering a superlative experience every time for our valued guests.” In 2012, the hotel also received TripAdvisor’s “Certificate of Excellence,” which honors top-rated accommodation, businesses, restaurants and tourist attractions worldwide.

Laguna Phuket Golf Club bares full course upgrade
Laguna Phuket Golf Club will begin a comprehensive course upgrade from July 1 to significantly improve complete golf experience at the world-class five-star golf facility. The entire project is estimated to take a maximum of 18 months to complete, with the upgraded 18-hole course scheduled for full operation by Jan. 1, 2015.
Phuket resort owner sold on China

10Allan Zeman doesn’t look Chinese and ethnically nor is he. But the former Canadian rag trader-cum-restaurant, entertainment, and property developer not only regards himself as Chinese. He has citizenship to prove it.

That may not be so startling for an entrepreneur who has spent two-thirds of his 63 years living in Hong Kong and amassing a fortune from building a restaurant and entertainment colossus named after the area of Hong Kong that he transformed in the 1970s.
Zeman, who has been a Chinese citizen since 2008, is embracing China like never before in his 40-year business relationship with Hong Kong and the Mainland.

“I regard myself as Chinese. I think that way,” the 63-year-old entrepreneur reveals during a visit to one of his latest and boldest projects, at Mission Hills’ Haikou resort on the island of Hainan. “So it seemed logical for me to become a Chinese citizen. Almost all my business is in Hong Kong and China, and anyway the Chinese government doesn’t allow dual citizenship.”
Zeman, who owns the Anadar Resort in Phuket, says what he admires most about modern China is the way things get done. “If I was starting out in business again, China would be my No. 1 choice. When China wants to do something, they just do it.”

“The Chinese model works for China, which is why I am such a strong advocate of investing in China and why we [the Lang Kwai Fong group] are so positive about our projects here,” he said. These include a landmark shopping and entertainment development in Chengdu that is the flagship of Lan Kwai Fong’s investment in China, the Mall of the World retail complex in Guangzhou and, when it is completed at the end of 2013, the massive Lan Kwai Fong project at Mission Hills, Haikou.

“We are going to build four or five [more] Lan Kwai Fongs [in China] in the next four or five years,” the flamboyant developer confirms. — By Paul Myers

New Centara Grand Bkk resident manager
11John Kendes has been promoted resident manager of Centara Grand Bangkok @ CentralWorld . John is a British national. He has extensive experience in hotel management and in food and beverage, with more than 35 years in the hospitality industry. He has worked in many leading hotels including Sheraton hotels in London and Australia; Carlton Hotels and Prince Hotel and Residence, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. John worked at The Intercontinental Yokohama Grand, Japan as executive director of F&B prior to joining Centara Grand at CentralWorld as executive assistant manager (F&B).
Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok Welcomes New Hotel Manager
IMG_3272-edittedMarcus Bauder has been recently appointed hotel manager of Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. A German national, Marcus holds a hotel management degree from a hotel school in Germany as well as several certificates from Cornell University, USA. He started his career as an apprentice at Hotel Breidenbacher Hof in Germany before leaving the country to work at Jebel Ali Hotel & Golf Resort and Burj Al Arab in Dubai. He later joined Corinthia Hotels in Libya and Prague. His first stint in Asia was as director of F&B at the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Taipei. He was subsequently promoted to resident manager (RM) for the opening of the Shangri-La Tokyo. Prior to joining Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok he was hotel manager at China World Hotel, Beijing. He also spent three months at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore assisting as RM looking after food & beverage.
Rujitr Susthanaseriporn, subsidary director of Sisley Thailand has organized an extraordinary event recently at the Millennium Hilton Hotel Bangkok to reveal the secret of the company’s latest innovation: Phyto-Blanc Absolute Lightening Essence, with several celebrities in attendance. Photo shows (from left): Suriyon Sriorathaikul; Saarunthorn Techaphaiboon, Benoit Wagner area director Southeast Asia and Travel Retail Sisley Paris; Rujitr Suthanaseriporn, managing director of Sisley Thailand; Nicolas Chesnier, regional managing director Asia Pacific Sisley Paris; Saraichatt Jirapaet; and Atchara Burarak.
David Baldwin (center), Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square general manager, receives the ‘Gold Circle Award’ from Oliver Libutzki (lfet), senior regional director-hotels, South Asia & Southeast Asia of Agoda.com, in recognition of the hotel’s customer service efforts. The sole criteria of this award is based on customer feedback and reviews.

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