Thailand’s fast-rising star on the international hospitality horizon, it all began in the Maldives.
Although fully inclusive accommodation was not a new concept, Centara decided to sprinkle some five-star-dust over their Centara Grand Island Resort&Spa Maldives by creating the Ultimate All-Inclusive package that offered just about every luxury available, all included under the initial payment.
Using the theme that guests could “leave their shoes and their cash behind”, Centara offers a range of goodies that would make anyone’s eyes widen: champagne breakfasts served until mid-morning, eat at any one of the resort’s three restaurants (Thai, Italian and international) for lunch and dinner, an open-bar service from 10 am until midnight serving cocktails, beers, spirits and with no less than 22 wines to choose from, a mini bar in the room replenished daily, a sundowner cocktail party every evening, live entertainment, a credit of USD100 per person per day to spend in the spa village, water sports equipment, windsurfing lessons, off-island excursions… and more.
All taken care of up front, so that guests can relax without worrying about the cost.
“We really went all out to give people what we thought they want,” says Chris Bailey, Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing at Centara Hotels&Resorts in Bangkok.
“A lot of thinking went into this, and we even created a social media campaign asking people to add their own ideas. We offered a great prize for the winner, with a free holiday on the island. A lot of good feedback came from that.”
Mr. Bailey says that the Ultimate All-Inclusive idea has taken off in a big way.
“Centara Grand Island was our first overseas resort, and the Maldives has become a very important destination for our strategic growth plan. We have now opened our second resort in the Maldives, and a third is under construction.”
Mr. Bailey says that the Ultimate All-Inclusive concept is suitable for Centara Grand Island, because it is a resort designed for couples and families and is self-contained in its South Ari Atoll setting. The second Maldives resort, Centara Ras Fushi Resort&Spa Maldives, has a different guest profile, and is only 15 minutes by speedboat from the capital, Male.
“Centara Ras Fushi is an adult-focused resort, and with the ease of travel to and from the island there is going to be a good deal more flexibility for our guests in what they choose to do,” he says.
“Consequently, we came up with the idea of a Half Board Plus concept, which again is a cashless one, and along with the accommodation includes breakfast and dinner, with an open bar during evening mealtimes.
“As the island will attract mostly couples, singles travelling together, and small groups, the concept allows people to enjoy a good evening out on their own or with friends, without worrying about the bill.
“Along with the Half Board Plus concept we offer an All-Inclusive package, which includes all meals and a full open bar served from 11 am to 11 pm daily. This is not the Ultimate All-Inclusive of Centara Grand Island, but we feel it is more in tune with the requirements of our Centara Ras Fushi guests.”
Centara sees the entire Indian Ocean region as being important to its growth plans, and has also newly opened a resort in Mauritius.
Centara Poste Lafayette Resort&Spa Mauritius has a beachfront location on the east side of the island, and is offering a Half Board Plus rate and an All-Inclusive rate, under the same program as Centara Ras Fushi.
“What we are finding with these concepts is that guests really like the idea of enjoying all the pleasures of the resort without having to worry about the credit card at the end of their trip,” says Mr. Bailey. “It really does have an air of exclusivity about it, and we shall certainly be using the concept at other of our properties in due course.”
Centara Hotels&Resorts is Thailand’s leading operator of hotels, with 40 deluxe and first-class properties covering all the major tourist destinations in the Kingdom. A further 17 resorts in the Maldives, Vietnam, Bali Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Mauritius Indian Ocean, brings the present total to 57 properties. Brands and properties within Centara ensure that specific categories such as couples, families, individuals, and meetings and incentives groups will all find a hotel or resort that is appropriate to their needs.
Centara operates 27 branches of Spa Cenvaree, one of Thailand’s most luxurious and innovative spa brands, together with its newly-launched value brand Cense by Spa Cenvaree, which provides core spa services for busy travelers. The company’s Kids’ Club is available at all the family-friendly resorts to ensure that the youngsters and teens are taken care of. Centara Hotels&Resorts also operates two state-of-the-art convention centers in Bangkok, and two in northeastern Thailand, one being located in Udon Thani and the other in Khon Kaen.
The latest Centara brand is named COSI Hotels, an economy brand designed for travelers who predominantly make their bookings via the Internet and who want comfort and convenience at the most friendly prices available, which is under development with the first property due to open in 2015.
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