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THE management has let the sun shine in at the Centra Ashlee Hotel in Patong, where Thailand's largest hotel operator has just opened its first three-star venture.
An airy rooftop is the Centra's central attraction, with a stylish swimming pool at one end and a bar and lounge at the other.
Centra Ashlee Hotel Patong General Manager Jonas Sjostedt says the resort will soon take delivery of a cocktail van Volkswagen as the centrepoint for its downstairs outdoor terrace. Kebabs are likely to become the food of choice.
''As this is our first three-star, we will be trying some new ideas,'' Mr Sjostedt said. An outdoors pool table resistant to sun and water is another attraction.
Location, however, will doubtless help to drive bookings at the Ashlee. It's in central Patong, on Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi Road, opposite the Hard Rock Cafe and a one-block walk from the beach.
The 110 rooms in the eight-storey resort are all classed as superior, with 36 square metres indoors and a balcony. The top on the coffee table converts neatly to a tray to carry items outside.
The rooms seem spacious, with large-screen television and free wi-fi. A little surprisingly for three-star, every bathroom includes a bathtub.
Up on the sundeck, there are also His and Hers steam rooms and a Jacuzzi. The Air bar and lounge will offer snacks and drinks from 5pm to 11pm, overlooking the lights of downtown Patong.
A Cenfit workout strip overlooks the hills, too.
Rooms are generous enough in every way to accommodate extra guests on a fold-down sofa.
On the ground floor, the Mix bistro is the hotel's central restaurant, spilling out onto the terrace where guests can watch the passing parade of Patong.
The Ashlee is to be followed by the Centra Pattaya Resort, Centra Nova Hotel and Spa Pattaya, and Centra Sukhumvit 15 Hotel in Bangkok in 2012.
It's the sixth Centara establishment on Phuket, and with expectations that the group will have 10,000 rooms by 2013 in properties it owns, manages or operates in joint ventures, there may be more to come.
Centra Ashlee Hotel Patong, 237/18 Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi Road, Patong. Telephone: 076 349800-7 E: firstname.lastname@example.org