With the opening of two new properties, they are major changes in strategic development for Sofitel in Bangkok. With the revamp of the brand in 2009 and its positioning on a more exclusive note, current properties of Sofitel in Bangkok were not really matching anymore the new philosophy. Both Sofitel Centara Grand Bangkok located in the Northern district of Lat Prao and Sofitel Silom looked suddenly outdated or not up to the standards. Contract for the Sofitel Lat Prao was terminated with Central Pattana Company.
The removal of Accor into the management of Centara properties occurred last December. Partnership between both partners started in 1986 but eneded up as Central Pattana- one of Thailand’s largest real estate and retail owners in the Kingdom- wanted to promote its own brand Centara. The change also affected the prestigious Sofitel Centara Grand in Hua Hin as well as the Novotel in Southern city of Hat Yai. The loss of Novotel in Hat Yai leaves Thailand’s largest city in the South with no international brand, a possible difficulty to sell the destination worldwide. In Bangkok however, the change in names could be seen as a blessing.
Especially, as Accor Asia Pacific embarked into the development of two new Sofitel properties in the high luxury segment, offering unmatched comfort. “ We are looking to offer aa 5-star luxury product with prices reflecting the real value of our properties,” indicates Anthony Slewka, recently appointed director of sales and marketing for the Sofitel Sukhumvit, a property due to open this second quarter, most probably this April.
Sofitel So Bangkok opened this year with 238 rooms. The hotel raises above Lumpini Park in the city centre and is the sophisticated trendy side of the brand. The concept for the So Bangkok is unique. Brainchild of the Thai award-winning architect Smith Obayawat, Sofitel worked with five famous Thai interior designers as well as French fashion icon Christian Lacroix to shape the hotel around the Five Elements (Water, Earth, Wood, Metal, Fire).
Each designer took over an element and developed it on four floors of the property while Fire turned into the main restaurant theme. Visually, the hotel is full of surprising visions of emerging animal statues, water areas, Thai primitive paintings, wood panels and exquisite antiques. Bars and restaurants outlets are the brainchild of UK based Gorgeous Group, a specialist of brining experience in dining.
Sofitel Sukhumvit (345 rooms) is of more classical feature and targets business travellers. The hotel is located near Asok and has direct access to the new shopping centre Terminal 21.
The stylish property will reinterpret the art deco era, offering a grand ball roiom for 800 people as well as a dedicated floor for spa and well being managed by French company l’Occitane.
Meanwhile, the Silom property which was branded Sofitel since 2005, announced to change it into Pullman Bangkok Hotel G. The 470-room hotel has undergone a complete makeover complimenting the Pullman brand including the refurbishment of guest rooms, meeting rooms and public area.
Restaurants were also revamped, including the relaunch of the signature restaurant Scarlett Wine Bar & Restaurant located on the 37th floor with an open air terrace and great views on Bangkok. “The motivation behind the rebranding of Pullman Bangkok Hotel G came from the need to evolve products to cater to the increasing number of business & leisure travelers visiting Silom, Bangkok’s main business and entertainment district,” says Guy Poujoulat, general manager of Pullman Bangkok Hotel G.
“With an increasing number of new hotels opening up in Bangkok, major changes and upgrades to the hotel’s facilities to fit the new lifestyle of guests will be paramount to the success.”
In total, Accor is due to open a total of nine properties in Thailand this year, including three in Bangkok (Mercure Siam, Ibis Siam and Mercure Makkasan Station).
Source: Travel Daily News
Researcher: Claire Lee
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