Onyx Hospitality Group is growing its Amari Hotels & Resorts portfolio, with the first of five upcoming openings launched on August 1.
Speaking to TTG Asia on the opening day of the Amari Raaya Maldives, Onyx’s CEO Yuthachai Charanachitta described the 187-key resort as the group’s “ultimate resort” and “one of the big milestones” for the company.
Amari Raaya Maldives comes as Onyx ends its management of Amari Havodda Maldives. The new-build sits on an island that is three-kilometres all around, and maintains plenty of open space amid a busy collection of hardware that includes an indoor and outdoor kids zone, arts centre, eight F&B venues, a spa with 10 treatment villas, water sports centre, herb garden with open kitchen and dining area, mangrove forest, and more.
“Amari Raaya Maldives is one of the most expensive projects undertaken by an owner with us, under the Amari brand. While Amari is an upper-upscale brand, the opening of Amari Raaya Maldives means we are now playing in the luxury space. Furthermore, Amari Raaya Maldives is our first luxury resort under the brand,” he explained.
The Amari portfolio currently comprises 14 properties, including the new Maldivian addition, and the majority is made up of urban hotels in cities, with strong products for meetings and corporate travellers. Some of its recent openings include the 453-key Amari SPICE Penang, Malaysia, which is directly connected to SPICE Convention Centre and SPICE Arena.
Of the four Amari properties that are set to open in 2024, three will be city hotels – in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Vientiane, Laos; and Bangsaen, Thailand – and one will be a “small resort” in Niseko, Japan.
“So, you can say that Amari Raaya Maldives is our new benchmark for all Amari resorts. It will be a strong reference resort product for us when we speak to owners,” said Yuthachai, adding that the success of the property will also determine the scale of management enquiries Amari will get in the future.
When asked if Amari Raaya Maldives would be the turning point for Onyx to elevate all Amari properties into the luxury category, Yuthachai would only say that the group constantly reviews all its brand and properties.
“We will not be able to bring all our existing Amari properties to Amari Raaya Maldives’s level immediately, but over time we will. That said, I believe that hospitality branding needs to be focused. I do not believe in having extensions of brands – like Brand A, A.1, and A.2 – that just creates a lot of confusion around pricing,” he added.
Yuthachai also shared that he may be inspired to bring some concepts at Amari Raaya Maldives to other Amari properties in time to come. One concept is the application of a backstory to Amari Raaya Maldives, built on a fictional castaway Seb, who found his way onto the island and built his life there.
“This has not been done at other Amari hotels. We could adopt some essence of Seb’s story into other Amari resorts, but for now, Seb is unique to Amari Raaya Maldives. Or, perhaps a different backstory would be more suitable for individual properties in Phuket, Samui and Pattaya, so that the guests’ journey and interactions will be more meaningful,” he said.
Amari Raaya Maldives’ extensive activity centre and kids’ zone are also worth looking into for other Amari properties, he noted.