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The beautiful Sheraton . . . making way for the Angsana

No Phuket Jobs Lost as Sheraton becomes Angsana

Monday, April 25, 2011
NO JOBS are to be shed as the Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket transforms into the flagship Angsana from mid-year to November.

Some senior managers may move to other roles at other resorts as Starwood relinquishes its long management contract at the Sheraton, one of seven resorts in the Laguna Phuket constellation.

But it's expected that no more than five percent of the present staff will move on as the Sheraton, like some creature undergoing a metamorphosis, closes its doors from July 1 to undergo its Angsana transformation.

Phuketwan has been told that the staff are already undergoing training - and the announcement today of special deals at the Sheraton indicates that there's life in the old gal yet.

With refurbishment becoming essential, the owners talked with the brand managers, and it would have obviously been unfair for Sheraton to have stayed on while the resort was revitalised and converted.

Plenty of talks are going on as the staff embraces the concept of making a fresh start. Many of the Sheraton's regular guests are expected to return to the Angsana.

Those who had already made bookings between July and November are being offered alternatives within Laguna.

Plans for the relaunch under the Angsana brand had been in the works at Laguna for ''quite some time,'' Phuketwan has been told.

The Sheraton has a much-envied dream location, stretching along an isthmus between lagoons to the beach, with a long, meandering pool enabling guests in some villas to plunge straight in and swim to a restaurant or two.

There are 409 units, with special attention likely to be paid to redesigning 45 family rooms to enhance their appeal. Changes in furnishings and the inclusion of more modern features should make a big difference.

The Sheraton opened in 1992 and this will be its first major upgrade, at a cost of 500 million baht. A beach club, changes to the existing kids club and to restaurants are expected to enhance the Angsana's appeal.

Conferences and the high-end market will be likely targets. Laguna is expected to pitch for more of the MICE market with Angsana.

Input on training and service standards is expected to come mostly from the neighboring Banyan Tree. The Angsana on Phuket will not be the first to open, but it will become the flagship for the expanding brand.

As of today the Sheraton is offering rooms from $85 a night.
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