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Makeover plus takeover: the Sheraton, soon to become an Angsana

Phuket Sheraton in 500m Baht Angsana Remake

Friday, February 4, 2011
LAGUNA PHUKET is closing the Sheraton Grande from mid-year 2011 to the next high season for a 500 million baht transformation that will see it reopen as an Angsana.

The Sheraton has pride of place at Laguna on a peninsula that runs between two lagoons to the Bang Tao beachfront. It's an idyllic location but Managing Director Michael Ayling said today that it was time for a major renovation.

''It's going to cost us a lot of money,'' he told Phuketwan. ''But it was time for a facelift, and the management contract is close to expiry.''

The Sheraton, with 419 rooms, a 300-metre pool that curls past villa suites and several well-known restaurants, will close on July 1 and reopen on December 1 as the Angsana Laguna Phuket.

''It's a pivotal property,'' Mr Ayling said of the central resort among the seven brands that now constitute Laguna Phuket.

''We looked at a number of scenarios and decided in the end to close one of our resorts for a renovation for the first time.''

The resort will cease to be a Starwood and reopen as a property under Angsana Hotels & Resorts, a division of Singapore-based Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts.

''The makeover will require a lot of work, but it's good news,'' Mr Ayling said. ''The resort will have a different character and incorporate the Banyan Tree touch in regard to service.''

Laguna Phuket first opened in 1987 with the Dusit Laguna Resort, which was sold last year to long-time managers Dusit Thani. The Laguna Beach Resort opened in 1991, to be followed the following year by the Sheraton.

Allamanda Laguna Phuket came in 1993 and the following year saw the opening of the Banyan Tree Phuket, first resort for the now-ubiquitous international brand.

Laguna Holiday Club Phuket Resort opened in 2006, with Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort and Villas following two years later, and the Allamanda becoming the best Western Allamanda Laguna Phuket.

A version of the seven-resort sanctuary is under construction in Vietnam and there is still space within the Phuket compound for at least one more resort.

Angsana already has a presence at Laguna Phuket as the brand for several resort spas.
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