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Travel News – October 2012

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Novotel opens its doors in HuaHin-Cha Am

Accor, the leading international operator of hotels in Asia Pacific and Thailand, has announced the opening of Novotel Hua Hin Cha Am Beach Resort and Spa, a 243-room resort located on prime beachfront between Hua Hin and Cha Am, Thailand’s favorite seaside destinations just a two-and–a half hour drive from Bangkok.

“The HuaHin-Cha Am area has always been a popular destination for both Thai and international travelers because of its small-town ambiance and proximity to Bangkok,” said Patrick Basset, senior vice-president, Accor Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, and Myanmar. “Accor sees the introduction of this hotel as a great opportunity to expand our network and provide more hotel options for travelers visiting this serene beachside destination.”

Alexander Parry, general manager of Novotel Hua Hin Cha Am Beach Resort & Spa, added, “Long renowned as a leisure destination, Hua Hin-Cha Am today also represents one of Thailand’s top meeting and incentives destinations. With our comprehensive capacity and prime location, the hotel hopes to attract more of the lucrative meetings and events market while also welcoming visitors looking for a place to indulge themselves on the beach and pamper their families with well-being retreats.”

To accommodate the meetings market, the hotel’s facilities include a 576-sqm ballroom, which can hold up to 400 persons, and 10 well-equipped function rooms for small to medium meetings/functions. All venues are furnished with innovative audio and visual systems, with experienced technical support teams on-hand to ensure that every function is a successful one.

Novotel Hua Hin Cha Am Beach Resort and Spa is a mere 10-15-minute drive from both the Hua Hin Airport and Hua Hin Night Market. The resort is offering a special introductory rate (see Travel Deals page) to celebrate its opening

Trade Fam Trip Highlights Country as “Health & Wellness Destination”
Nearly 90 tourism facilitators, health tourism organizations, and health insurance companies from 18 countries gathered at the Centara Grand at Central World in Bangkok recently for the “Thailand Medical & Wellness Tourism Trade Fam Trip 2012” organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Said Suraphon Svetasreni, TAT governor, “The Thailand Medical & Wellness Tourism Trade Fam Trip is the first trade event targeting medical tourism organizations and health insurance companies. During the first day of the event, visiting tourism facilitators had meetings with over 110 Thai medical and wellness providers to learn about the tremendous variety and high quality of services available in the Kingdom.”

In addition to the meetings, the TAT also organized a three-day trip that provided an opportunity for participants to experience Thai health and wellness providers, hospitals, spas, and specialized clinics onsite.

“Thai medical providers are well prepared and ready to expand into the global market,” Suraphon said. “For example, 18 Thai hospitals have received JCI Accreditation, which is the highest number any Asian country has received. In the wellness spa sector, Thailand is recognized by various international agencies as ‘The Spa Capital of Asia’.”

TAT believes that the Thai health and wellness tourism sector will help generate a significant portion of the total expected national tourism revenue of Bt2 trillion in 2014.

Visitors Urged to Ask for “Miracle Thailand Card” for Discount Shopping
Visitors to Thailand this high season should make it a point to ask their travel agents and tour operators for a “Miracle Thailand Card” to help them take advantage of discounted shopping during their stay.

TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said the TAT is supporting this initiative, launched by one of Thailand’s leading banks, the Krung Thai Bank (KTB), in partnership with the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), to help all visitors get better value for their money for their shopping experience.

Offered as part of a campaign titled, “Miracle Thailand Card for the Miracle Journey in Thailand,” the card is valid for use until Dec. 31, perfect for those planning to do their shopping for the Christmas and New Year period in Thailand.

AHS adds U Sukhumvit Bangkok to expanding portfolio
Jonathan Wigley, Absolute Hotel Services Group (AHS) CEO, has announced the latest addition to the group’s expanding portfolio, U Sukhumvit Bangkok, which targets an early 2014 opening. U Sukhumvit enjoys a prime location in the heart of Bangkok’s business and dining area on Sukhumvit Soi 15.

According to Wigley, the hotel will be built with modern lifestyle in mind as reflected in its overall interior and architecture design concept, but made more distinctive by the addition of unique touches from all regions of Thailand. “All 94 rooms – ranging from 30 sqm to 40 sqm in size – will be luxuriously appointed with the comforts of U brand’s unique concept of service.” He added, “Facilities will include a themed all-day dining restaurant, a rooftop swimming pool, fitness center, library/business center, and free Wi-Fi.”

Appointed as the interior designer for the project is Denmark-based Evaristti Studios, owned by Marco Evaristti, who for more than 20 years has become world renowned as a professional artist. Marco is known for creating installations using a unique choice of materials often taken directly from nature, heightening the experience of the viewer, making the work more “real” in a sense.

“We are very excited to work with the owners and Marco Evaristti in developing an authentic and original property in a tremendous location. U Sukhumvit will offer different visual and service experiences in the dynamic Sukhumvit area,” said Wigley. “With this, our second U property in Bangkok, we are delighted with the Thailand expansion of the brand, which now includes Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Kanchanaburi with properties shortly to be announced in Hua Hin and Pattaya.”

Novotel Bangkok Platinum Wins TripAdvisor Certificate
Novotel Bangkok Platinum was recently honored with a Certificate of Excellence 2012 by TripAdvisor for consistently achieving outstanding guest reviews. Only afew months after opening, Novotel Bangkok Platinum achieved excellence in service with a 90% guest satisfaction rating. To be qualified for the award, hotels need to maintain an overall rating of four and above, out of a five points covering different criteria such as location, cleanliness, rooms, service, value, and overall satisfaction. For more information, visit:
Centara Villas Samui Receives TripAdvisor Certificate
Centara Villa Samui has received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2012. The Certificate of Excellence award honors hospitality excellence and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. The awards, conducted by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, are based entirely on guest recommendations.
Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra in Siem Reap Voted One of the Best Hotels in the World
Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort, a luxurious property located close to the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat, was recently named one of the “Top 100 Best Hotels and Top 10 Resorts in Asia” at the 2012 World’s Best Awards by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Winners of the “World’s Best Awards” were selected based on a readers’ survey. Selection criteria for the hotel category included the overall performance in categories for rooms, location, service, food, and value. Featured in the list for the first time with a total score of 92.86, Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort is a blend of classic French colonial style with a touch of contemporary comfort featuring the ultimate living spaces fashioned for discerning travelers.

“It is rewarding to know that the dedication, the attention to detail and the “cousu-main” service that we provide on a daily basis is recognized by our guests,” said Fabrice Ducry, general manager of the hotel.

Centra Ashlee Hotel Patong Gets TripAdvisor Certificate
Wilawan Chiammanasombut (center), general manager of Centra Ashlee Hotel Patong, along with the management team, is pictured with the resort’s TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2012. The Certificate of Excellence award honors hospitality excellence and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor.
PEACH Hosts 11th Urology Asian Congress
The Urological Association of Asia (UAA) together with Thai Urological Association (TUA) under the Royal Patronage recently organized “The 11th Asian Congress of Urology of the Urological Association of Asia” under the theme: “New Era of Asian Urology” at the Pattaya Exhibition And Convention Hall (PEACH), Pattaya’s largest and top convention venue.

This was the second time TUA played host to this prestigious event in Thailand. The first was in 1993. The Asian congress is one of the most significant conferences devoted to the field of urology.

More than 1,300 UAA members from 21 nations from Pan-Asia and 110 exhibitors attended the fove-day event to showcase the latest innovations and new technologies in the sphere of urology. UAA, founded in August 1990 in Fukuoka, Japan, aims to promote urology and improve the care of urology patients in the region, which has 60% of the world’s population. UAA currently has 21 member nations and one affiliated member.

Cape Panwa Phuket sponsors Elite Model Look Thailand
The recent Elite Model Look Thailand 2012 press conference at GMM Grammy Place was co-hosted by Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket, one of the Elite Model Look Thailand 2012 sponsors. PR Manager Kulaseth Hovongratana (center) represented Cape Panwa while talk show host Nawat Itsaragrisin (left) was the emcee. Elite Model Look Thailand 2010 winner, Praew Kaewthip (right), was the special guest. Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket will also host The Elite Model Look Thailand 2012 Training Camp for 25 finalists between Oct. 1 and 2, with a catwalk competition on the hotel’s exclusive beach.
Mode Sathorn Hotel Congratulates Opening Team
Mode Sathorn Hotel Mmanaged by Siam@Siam, led GM Pinit Krisanavanit (6th from left), EAM Roland Aung (standing, 5th from left), and human resources director Naksith Kasempiriyaphong (standing, 4th from left) congratulate team members who recently graduated with their bachelor and master degrees and being part of the hotel’s pre-opening team