MANOR GROUP, a design and architecture enterprise based in Singapore, will open a hotel in Chiang Mai in October, aiming to cash in on the growth of tourism there and to pave the way for further investment in Thailand and neighbouring countries.
John Lim, founder and chief executive officer, said the group had invested Bt300 million in the hotel in Chiang Mai. This is the first step for Manor Group’s foray into the hotel business in Thailand as well as other countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia.
In Thailand, the group already runs a wide range of businesses. It is responsible for Italics Restau-rants, while Manor Studio Thailand Co handles design and architectural projects, and the latest entity, Manor Suite Chiang Mai Co, owns the Akyra Manor Chiang Mai Hotel.
Lim said a Thai hospitality firm, Akaryn Hotel Group, would manage the hotel under its Akyra brand via a 10-year contract with Manor Group. Akaryn also owns and operates the Aleenta resorts in Phuket, Phang-nga and Hua Hin-Pranburi, as well as the Akyra Chura Samui resort. Akaryn Group is gearing up for next year’s launch of Akaryn Koh Krabeay, a resort and spa on its own private island in Cambodia.
The Chiang Mai hotel has 23 deluxe suites at 56 square metres and seven larger suites at a spacious 97 sqm. It is located in hip Nimmanhaemin Road, which is known as “coffee street” and is a growing centre of the city’s booming art scene.
“Chiang Mai has too many three-star hotels, so we went all the way to do an all-suite five-star hotel, with a courtyard-within-room concept, very generously sized suites and a minimal, contemporary and decidedly urban feel, as that is what the market here was lacking. There is an extreme shortage of high-end hotels there. Occupancy rates are 80-100 per cent at the best hotels,” Lim said.
He said the hotel’s official launch, originally scheduled for this month, had been pushed back to October because of unforeseen construction delays. Lim said Thailand had great potential in the logistics sector as both the overall population and gross domestic product per capita are moving upwards.
Known for its abundant natural resources and strong manufacturing sectors, Thailand has always been an export-strong country. However, as per capita GDP increases and as the country moves towards becoming a developed country, new trends are created and modernisation takes place, so its imports are also moving up quickly, he believes.
The growth of cities outside Bangkok and the connectivity linking them are also contributing to the growth of logistics demand. Cities such as Hua Hin and Chiang Mai are good examples of such cities. The high-speed rail links that will eventually be built will also provide more connectivity.
For hospitality, tourism, food and beverages, Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s major travel destinations. The core of any hospitality industry is the people involved in it, and Thailand never fails to reflect the inherent service mentality of its culture, Manor Group believes.
When looking at travel blogs and sites, the quality of service at a wide array of hotels and restaurants can vary. High-end hotels and restaurants are relatively consistent and well received by many, though it’s also a fact that quality of service at the middle to lower end has received mixed reviews, the group has noted.