Centara advances into luxury sector

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin's Deluxe Garden Wing room

Centara Hotels & Resorts will be repositioning its Centara Grand hotels in Hua Hin and Samui – two key resorts for European tour operators sending clients to Thailand – from upper upscale to luxury.

They will be the first two properties in a new, yet unnamed, luxury portfolio comprising heritage or idyllic-location products, revealed the chain’s new deputy CEO Markland Blaiklock.

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin’s Deluxe Garden Wing room

Another luxury portfolio comprising contemporary, design-led lifestyle hotels is also in the works.

The Centara Grand in Hua Hin will have its room inventory slashed from 250 (including 40 villas) to around 200 with just 15 pool villas. Work is scheduled to start in 2H2019 for a reopening at the end of the year.

Over in Samui, the Centara Grand, is scheduled for a major renovation at end-2018. A new wing will be added but the number of rooms, currently more than 200 rooms, is likely to be reduced to 180 rooms while there will be more villas.

Meanwhile, Centara is in discussions for a site in Pattaya for the first contemporary luxury property.

Blaiklock, who was appointed deputy CEO last November, is no stranger to luxury from his stints with brands including Sofitel and Wynn Resorts. Centara Hotels & Resorts, however, is new to the field.

But a culture of luxury can be cultivated, said Blaiklock. Bring in the right resources for one; upgrade facilities and offer services such as butler for the other.

“Luxury is an area we’re not currently in. With our aggressive development plan, we should be competing in that area too, not just the other end of spectrum with Cosi,” he said.

Blaiklock is referring to a charge he is leading to double Centara’s portfolio to 134 hotels by 2022. A large number of the new hotels, around 40, will be a Cosi. He is also looking at geographical growth, with developments in seven countries including Cuba, and prospects in Asia and North America.

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