Thailand’s Unicorn Hospitality steps up expansion plans

Thai hotel management company Unicorn Hospitality is planning a significant expansion of its global portfolio, with the aim of tripling its collection from four to 12 operating hotels and resorts by early 2021.

At present, the group operates a series of hotels and resorts in Thailand and Vietnam, including The Silver Palm Rama 9 in Bangkok, Zazz Urban Bangkok, Zazz Urban Ho Chi Minh and The Cove Phi Phi.

More Asian hoteliers seeking personal connections which boutique or smaller operators can provide: Gouriou

Most recently in October 2019, the 53-room Daraya Boutique Hotel opened its doors in Bangkok, kickstarting a period of rapid expansion for Unicorn Hospitality.

Villa De Pranakorn will open its doors in mid-December 2019, providing 47 rooms and suites on Mahachai Road in Bangkok’s old city, while the 44-key Hangout By Kly Phuket will also start welcoming guests in December when it opens on Patong Beach.

In 2020, The Chandler, a 55-key artisan hotel will open in the province of Pranburi, while the 80-room Hotel Casa 17 will launch in mid-March in the historic district of Bangkok Noi. Also in 2Q2020, Unicorn Hospitality’s largest project to-date, Live by Kly, will add 373 rooms and residences to Kamala, on Phuket’s west coast.

Going into early 2021, Unicorn Hospitality will make its debut in the Maldives with the Zazz Escapes Maldives Resort which is currently under construction.

The company said in a statement that its growth is being driven by an increasing appetite among hotel owners, especially in Asia, to move away from the large international chains and work with a local hospitality provider who understands their culture and can more accurately help them deliver their vision. Unicorn Hospitality also seeks to cater to the growing segment of customers who are “seeking more intimate experiences that reflect the essence of their destination”.

“For many Asian hoteliers, partnerships with big chains can be fraught with difficulties. Management contracts are often extremely rigid, making ‘divorces’ almost impossible or very expensive. Many owners we have spoken to complain that their relationships lack the personal warmth and intuition that a boutique or smaller operator can provide. Moreover, guests feel that these ‘cookie cutter’ brands don’t have a strong connection with their locale,” said Yann Gouriou, founder and CEO of Unicorn Hospitality.

“Big chains compensate for this by promising extensive global sales and distribution, but with more direct channels available than ever before, independent and small-chain hotels can now compete on a more equal footing. Unicorn Hospitality enables Asian hoteliers to enjoy professional and fully bespoke management services, and importantly, retain a product that matches their original vision and demonstrates a unique charm and personality,” he added.

Unicorn Hospitality currently operates six brands and white label management concepts: Unicorn Hotels & Resorts, Kly Hotels & Resorts, Hangout By Kly, Live By Kly, Zazz Hotels and The Unchained Collection.

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