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Travel News – February 2013

  /  DESTINATIONS   /  Travel News – February 2013

Centara launches new brand: COSI Hotels

Bangkok – Centara Hotels & Resorts has launched a new hotel brand, COSI Hotels, designed for cost-conscious travelers who mostly do all their own bookings on-line and who are searching for pocket-friendly accommodation prices. The first COSI Hotel is projected to open in 2015 and Centara plans to have at least 30 operational by 2020.

Thirayuth Chirathivat, chief executive officer of Centara Hotels & Resorts, said that the COSI brand has been developed in response to rapid economic expansion within the Asia Pacific region, which is increasing the volume of both domestic and international journeys.

“Centara Hotels & Resorts sees a great opportunity to develop a new brand to cover this economic segment, and we are now in the process of brand and product development for COSI Hotels.”

COSI Hotels will focus on clearly identified products that include free Wi-Fi everywhere in the hotel, easy and convenient “grab-n-go” restaurants, seminar rooms for corporate guests, and an entertainment corner in the lobby area for movies and live sport. COSI will offer both twin and king beds for standard room types and specially designed rooms for families.

AHS announces 1st Eastin hotel in Pattaya

Bangkok – Absolute Hotel Services Group CEO Jonathan Wigley has announced the opening of the first Eastin Hotel in Pattaya with the rebranding of already well-established properties, The Sunbeam Hotel Pattaya and neighboring Hotel Idyll.

Both are going rebranding process and will be ready to be combined and re-launch as the ‘Eastin Hotel Pattaya’ on May 2013. The hotels are located between Beach Road and Pattaya 2nd Road, which is conveniently situated in the shopping and nightlife districts. The hotels comprise of a combined 268 beautifully decorated superior and deluxe rooms and suites. Every room features deluxe amenities. Facilities include an all-day dining restaurant, bakery, outdoor swimming pool, business center, fitness center, meeting and function rooms as well as all the signatures.”

The properties, still operating as Sunbeam Hotel and Hotel Idyll, respectively, are currently going through soft refurbishment and employee training to meet with the Eastin Brand Standards. “This is exciting news as it will be our first Eastin Hotel in Pattaya and the fourth property under the Eastin Brand in Thailand with a total of close to 1000 rooms.” added Wigley.

Starwood growth momentum continues

Stamford, CT–Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has announced that, building on its 2012 momentum with the most hotel deals signed since before the global economic crisis, it anticipates a strong year of openings and new hotel agreements signings in 2013. Over the last five years, Starwood has cultivated a quality pipeline of new hotels with well-capitalized, experienced owners for continued growth around the globe.

“Rising wealth, increasingly global businesses and a digitally connected world are creating unprecedented demand for travel and new travel patterns, and we continue to be as bullish as ever about our long-term growth,” said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO. “Whether it’s manufacturing in Vietnam, mineral resources from Nigeria, or outbound tourism from Brazil, Russia, India or China, globalization is spurring economic development and creating many exciting expansion opportunities for our business.”

In 2012, Starwood signed a total of 131 new hotel management and franchise agreements which represented an increase of 17 percent over 2011 signings levels, including 31 conversions, 12 of which opened during 2012.” Consistent with macroeconomic growth trends, nearly two –thirds of Starwood’s new hotels in 2013 will open in fast-growing markets. But Starwood executives say Asia remains a high priority market for Starwood, accounting for approximately one quarter of Starwood’s existing hotel rooms and over half of Starwood’s pipeline.

BLINK restores luster to Regent’s crown with 2 stunning resorts

Phuket – Hospitality aficionado BLINK Design Group is in the top seat again, creating two stunning new resorts on Asia’s most renowned tropical islands that will herald the rebirth of Regent Hotels & Resorts.

BLINK has created the new Regent Phuket and Regent Bali from the ground up, combining timeless tropical modern design inspired by a sense of place with subtle heritage and cultural accents. These twin gems in Regent’s new crown will soon be joined by other sparkling jewels of luxury and individuality in Taipei, Indonesia and China that will also bear BLINK’s hallmark of instinctive mind’s eye design combined with exhaustive research into each destination’s history, traditions, culture and people.

Regent Phuket Cape Panwa, located on a private finger of Cape Panwa on the southeastern tip of the island, was launched in December.

Regent Bali, which was launched January 2013, is located on the eastern part of the spectacular Bali coastline protected by a coral reef and in the exclusive Sanur District.

“It’s an exciting time for Regent. Both the Phuket and Bali properties will immediately become flagships for the Regent brand in these two absolutely crucial resort island markets in Asia,” Ohletz said.

Sukhothai Bangkok in ‘500 World’s Best Hotels’ list

Bangkok – The Sukhothai Bangkok was honored in the 11th annual “T+L 500 Best Hotels in the World 2013” in Travel + Leisure magazine, a compendium of the highest-ranking hotels and resorts worldwide as voted by readers in the magazine’s World’s Best Awards survey.

A resort-style sanctuary, the hotel is set amid six acres of greenery and lotus ponds in the heart of Bangkok, with the combination of traditional Thai refinement, immaculate contemporary style and personalized service,

The Sukhothai Bangkok achieved an outstanding score of 90.35 among the top 12 hotels in Thailand and has received this prestigious award for four consecutive years.

In addition, The Sukhothai Bangkok was also named as one of the “Top City Hotels in Asia” last August 2012 in the Travel + Leisure World’ Best Awards.

Helen Stirrup appointed director of sales for Conrad Koh Samui

Koh Samui – Conrad Koh Samui has announced the appointment of Helen Stirrup as director of sales. Stirrup will be responsible for developing strategies to drive sales at the luxury resort. She will be based at Hilton Worldwide’s National Sales Office in Bangkok. Stirrup’s hospitality career includes more than 12 years sales experience. She joins Conrad Koh Samui from Four Seasons Resort Langkawi in Malaysia, where she held the position of associate director of sales. Prior to that, she held sales management positions at the Singapore office of the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, and at Kerzner International/One&Only Resorts’ Regional Sales office in the UK where she was responsible for selling their portfolio of resorts including One&Only Reethi Rah Maldives, Le Saint Geran Mauritius and Royal Mirage Dubai to key accounts in the UK market. Stirrup earned her bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism management at Napier University, Edinburgh.

The Peninsula Bangkok has new GM

Bangkok – The Peninsula Hotels has recetnly announced the appointment of Katja Henke as the new general manager of The Peninsula Bangkok. Ms Katja will take over fNicolas Béliard, who has been appointed general manager of The Peninsula Paris. Before joining The Peninsula Hotels in May 2011, Henke worked for hotels in Switzerland, France, and England.

Henke has also worked as GM at Relais & Chateau, Four Seasons, Washington D.C., as well as Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, California.

“Ms Henke has a proven track record in managing luxury hotels, which is crucial to ensure the continued success of The Peninsula Bangkok.

“I wish to congratulate her on her promotion,” said Clement K.M. Kwok, CEO of The Peninsula Hotels.

Four Seasons Bangkok Holds 6th ‘Cancer Care’ Charity Fun Run

Bangkok – The Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok is organizing the 6th ‘Cancer Care’ charity fun run, referred to as Terry Fox Run a few years ago, an Lumpini Park on Feb. 23, in association with the Thai Red Cross Society with the support of the Canadian Embassy as well as major sponsors such as B.Grimm, Ananda Development Public Co., Ltd., Boonrawd Brewery, and media partners such as Hello and Masala magazines. Proceeds from the run will go towards the research projects currently conducted by the ‘Hematological Cancer Research Centre’ at Chulalongkorn Hospital.

Beginning and ending inside the Lumpini Park, the run promises to be a fun and enjoyable Saturday outing for families, joggers and health enthusiasts of all ages.
All are invited to participate in the run with a minimum donation of Bt350 representing the cost of an official ‘Cancer Care’ t-shirt or Bt500 representing the cost of an official ‘Cancer Care’ polo shirt which also includes a breakfast box and the chance to win exciting prizes such as accommodation vouchers at various Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and many others.

For the past 19 years, Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok has committed to hold a charity run to raise funds for cancer research in conjunction with its sister properties in Chiang Mai and Samui. Last year’s run with approximately 3,000 runners, raised successfully Bt3.7 million.

For more information, contact Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok’s Concierge Counter, Health Club or Mocha and Muffins at Tel: 02-26 8-866 or Fax: 02-253-5390
or the Thai Red Cross Society at Tel: 02-251-1218 or 02-251-6964.

TAT Launches 2nd Edition of Wedding Book, “Wedding & Celebrations in Thailand.

New Delhi, India — The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) launched its second edition of the Wedding book “Weddings & Celebrations in Thailand” at a gala evening held at The Leela Palace Hotel on Jan. 15. The first edition, “Fall in love in India & Get Married in Thailand” was so popular and extremely successful that a 2nd edition with more information has been produced. The book showcases the enormous range of facilities and services that Thailand has for hosting Indian weddings.
“We are very pleased to circulate this informative book among our valuable partners: wedding planners, wedding organizers, media and to couples and their families,” says Ms. Runjuan Tongrut, director TAT New Delhi Office.

Thailand has firmly become established as a perfect venue for Indian weddings. In 2012, over a hundred couples from India celebrated their weddings in Thailand. The popular destinations for Indian weddings are Bangkok, Hua Hin, Phuket, Khao Lak, Pattaya, Kanchanaburi, and Chiang Mai.

In a 2011 survey, Indians voted Thailand as “The World’s Best Wedding destination” survey done by Travel & Leisure magazine. And in November 2012 ,Thailand also received the “Best Wedding Destination” Award at the 8th Annual International Awards 2012 organized by Hospitality India and Explore the World. This resounding vote of confidence is sure to encourage more couples to plan their weddings in Thailand in the coming years. Also helping grow this market segment is the tireless effort in providing information and the ‘can do’ mindset of the Thai Hospitality industry.

Thailand was the first NTO in India to promote the country as an ideal dream-wedding destination. The trend started about 10 years ago and it continues to grow very strongly.

Starwood Resorts hosts ‘Wedding & Honeymoon Fair’

Bangkok – Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Thailand and Vietnam recently hosted a special Wedding & Honeymoon Fair in the Ballroom of the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit.

From a stylish wedding in Bangkok to a romantic beach wedding or honeymoon on a private island, the first Wedding & Honeymoon Fair by Starwood Hotels & Resorts will feature more than 20 Starwood properties in Thailand and Vietnam, with each offering attractive wedding and honeymoon promotions and packages. During the event, expert wedding planners will be on hand to answer questions and share their expertise to help plan the dream wedding.
Brands under Starwood Hotels & Resorts include St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and ElementSM. Sheraton Hanoi Hotel. For more details, please visit or e-mail

Conrad Koh Samui hosts familiaarization group from Hong Kong

Koh Samui –Conrad Koh Samui in collaboration with Tourism Authority of Thailand (Hong Kong Office) and Bangkok Airways recently organized a familiarization trip for delegates from travel agencies in Hong Kong.

The trip aimed to promote Koh Samui as a luxury resort destination to discerning travelers in Hong Kong and China who wish to travel to Thailand for a luxury holiday experience.

Samui is well known as “the island of coconut plantations” so Conrad Koh Samui arranged the coconut planting activity for the group as a part of their “Go-Green Concept” during the excursion trip around the island.

Commenting on the “Go-Green” welcoming concept, Helen Stirrup of Conrad Koh Samui said, “We were delighted to welcome our partners from Hong Kong to the resort and have them join us in the coconut planting activity as part of our Go Green Initiative. Hong Kong continues to be an extremely important market for us here at Conrad Koh Samui which has been re-enforced by the twice daily direct service with Bangkok Airways.”

Those who joined the familiarization tour are: Nitikorn Komkris, sales manager-Hong Kong and China market of Bangkok Airways; Henory Y. P. Tsang, assistant manager – product development & operations FIT & Wholesale of EGL Tours; Warren Kong, marketing manager of TAT Hong Kong; Titiporn Manenate, director of TAT Hong Kong; Susanna Lau, general manager, marketing & product development of Travel Expert; Shirley Mak, operations manager, Corporate Travel of Westminster Travel; Charlie Wong, general manager of Zuji Hong Kong,; Jamie Lam, business development manager of Wincastle Travel Hong Kong; Danny Cheung, sales manager of Sun n Sea Holidays; and Matet Lester, manager of Flight Center Hong Kong.

Asia’s Top 20 Beach Hotels Awards for Cape Panwa Phuket

Phuket – Kasemkij Hotels’ Travel Industry Group Director Poomiphat Navanukroh (2nd left), receiving an Asia’s Top 20 Beach Hotels 2012 Awards for Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket, from Now Travel Asia magazine Editor in Chief Kanapot Sitthiwong (3rd left); while Kasemkij Hotels Marketing Director Nick Laidlaw (left), and Now Travel Asia Marketing Executive Siremorn Mooham look on. The awards were the results of votes by the magazine’s worldwide readers and expert travelers, and the revierws of editorial team.

Royal Cliff Group welcomes Thai Bev president and CEO

ThaiBev’s President and CEO, Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi recently was at the multi award-winning Royal Cliff Hotels Group for “ThaiBev Group Annual Conference 2013.” Royal Cliff Hotels Group’s vice president, Vathanai Vathanakul and Royal Cliff Hotels Group’s executive director, Vitanart Vathanaku gave him a warm welcome. The 4-day event was attended by 100 of ThaiBev’s Managers and Executives from Bangkok. The main objective of this conference was to discuss the 2013 business strategic planning. Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (“ThaiBev”) was established in 2003 with an aim to consolidate its leading spirits and beer businesses in Thailand. Its business consists of 4 segments i.e. spirits, beer, non-alcohol beverages and food.

Centara Koh Chang Tropicana supports National Children’s Day

Jonas Sjostedt (center), general manager of Centara Koh Chang Tropicana Resort, shows the children of Wat Klong Prao how to make animals from balloons on the occasion of National Children’s Day. The kids enjoyed snacks and drinks as they made their own balloon animals. This activity was part of Centara’s corporate social responsibilities policy.

SCB Launches ‘Private Banking Club’ with THAI, King Power

Siam Commercial Bangkok (SCB) recently joined hands with Thai Airways International (THAI) and King Power to launch a new concept creating a brand new experience for its private banking clients. The bank launched the “SCB Private Banking Club,” billed as “the first time that a full range of “the best in exclusive lifestyles is being offered to meet the demand of high net-worth clients.”

SCB has selected the best privileges from the two firms for its clients, including the most competitive rate for using SCB Private Rewards to earn Royal Orchid Plus mileage at Bt15.4 per mile, privileges to upgrade THAI air tickets to first-class, privileges to upgrade THAI’s Royal Orchid Plus status to Gold Card by traveling on two intercontinental flight roundtrips in first class, and privileges to use THAI’s Royal Orchid Plus /Royal Silk Lounge and special guest lounge at airports worldwide using Priority Pass.

From King Power, privileges offered include discounts of up to 20%, a personal shopper to provide recommendations, and privileges to use special lounges located at the King Power Duty Free Downtown Complex, Rangnam Road and Suvarnabhumi Airport. They also include tee-off privileges at the renowned member-only The Royal gems Golf City, fitness privileges at leading hotels, as well as dining privileges at leading restaurants.

The bank has partnered with Visa International to offer its credit card, VISA Infinite, to SCB Private Banking Club members.

Yoi Phokasub, SCB senior executive vice president, said SCB is confident that the partnership with the two leading companies will ensure that SCB Private Banking Club members get only the best, tailor-made privileges in the market. “We hope that our offer will meet the satisfaction of our customers to the optimum,” he said. “These privileges belong to invited private banking customers only. “

Dusit Thani Hua Hin’s “Chinese New Year Package”

Dusit Thani Hua Hin welcomes the Year of the Snake in luxury! Celebrate in style with their exclusive “Chinese New Year Package.” Enjoy 5-star Dusit Thani luxury at the multi-award winning beach-side resort, including world class dining experiences in a choice of four international restaurants, a wide range of leisure and recreation activities, Deverana Spa and the personal attention of our famously friendly staff. The package includes: 10% discount off the Dusit Best Available Rates, inclusive of breakfast for two; a red fortune envelope containing a voucher for Bt1,000 per room per stay (including tax and service charge); and a special ‘Auspicious Platter’ of mandarin oranges and Chinese tea in room. Terms and conditions apply. For more details, contact: 032-520-296, ext. 2006;