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The pool at the Dusit at Laguna Phuket: rooftop pools dot surrounding villas

Phuket Sale Seen as a Win-Win for Dusit Laguna

Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Dusit Photo Album Above

THE SALE of the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Resort for 2.62 billion baht should be viewed as part of the continued diversification of Laguna Resort and Hotels Plc, informed observers said today.

Insiders at Laguna say the purchase by Dusit Thani Public Company Limited can be expected to bring changes, but that the daily operations of the destination resort complex, home to seven branded outlets, are unlikely to alter.

The cash is likely to go towards an as yet undisclosed project outside Thailand. Phuketwan understands that LRH is keen to diversify still further and that the principle of not having all resorts in one country was the driving factor rather than any fear that the political uncertainty in Thailand might go on without an eventual end.

A venture in Vietnam, involving replication of a destination resort with similar hallmarks to Phuket, is already fully-funded.

The Dusit is the oldest of the Laguna Phuket properties, created in 1987 on the site of a disused tin mine. It's reported to be the best-performing of the seven brands in the lagoon sanctuary.

Dusit Thani Public Company Limited has, in a sense, been a silent partner and is likely to remain a silent partner.

The 226-room property sits on the shores of Bang Tao beach and is now in the final stages of a complete renovation that will, one insider said, ''put it in great shape.''

A string of 28 stylish pool villas was recently added to the resort, mixing individual property ownership with use of the stock as the Dusit's prime upmarket accommodation.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sang the Dusit's praises after she stayed in one of the villas during an Asean Foreign Ministers summit at Laguna Phuket last year.

While the resort's central swimming pool is small by today's standards, the charm of the forest glade atmosphere has special appeal. In 2007, Phuketwan interviewed a European visitor who had made the journey back to the Dusit with his wife each year for 19 years. That's a fairly good indication of a couple of happy customers.

There was certainly a time when the resort brands at Laguna Phuket sometimes differed about future directions. That kind of muscle-flexing ended under the 10-year tenure of managing director James Batt and his successor, Michael Ayling.

The Dusit sale is not precedent-setting. Laguna Beach Resort already operates as a joint venture with the Pacific Islands Group. Outrigger and Best Western are relatively new brands at Laguna.

It's believed Laguna Phuket remains the largest private employer on Phuket, with staff numbers above 3000 and still growing. Occupancy rates were strong through the first quarter and then disturbed by the political unrest in Bangkok.

Group bookings especially fell away because of national travel alerts that, with the exceptions of Germany and Taiwan, did not take account of the lack of potential for violence on Phuket. Occcupancy figures, an insider says, remain ''better than last year,'' but not as good as 2008.
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Comments

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I'm confused, please clarify who owned the Dusit Thanai resort before this sale?

"... the purchase by Dusit Thani Public Company Limited.."

"THE SALE of the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Resort for 2.62 billion baht.."

Posted by Ripley on August 12, 2010 09:17

Editor Comment:

The resort was owned by Laguna Resorts and Hotels but branded and managed by Dusit. Now it's also owned by Dusit.


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