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Phuket's east coast Evason closes its doors in sad circumstances

Phuket Resort Sacks 394 Staff, Closes Doors Soon: Others May Follow

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
PHUKET: Perplexed staff wondered precisely what was happening today as a well-known Phuket resort, the Evason Phuket and Bon Island, sacked 394 workers and intimated it would close within a week or so.

The sharp farewell was accompanied by a payout of all legal entitlements, staff said today. But they added that instant dismissal was hardly the way for a resort previously noted for its quality and environmental excellence to say farewell to loyal workers.

The remaining 50 or so staff are expected to see the resort through until the doors formally close on June 8. Guests still at the resort today were transferred to alternate accommodation.

A number of ageing Phuket resorts remain likely candidates for purchase by investment firms with similar intent.

A broad hint that life was about to change came a couple of months ago with the transfer of the annual yachting fixture, Phuket Raceweek, from the Evason, its home for almost a decade, to the Cape Panwa Hotel and its sister, the Kantary Bay Hotel.

Sacked staff plan to go to Phuket's Department of Labor and Welfare on Wednesday to seek a doubling of payouts because they were not given three months notice.

Staff who had been at the resort for between one and three years were given three months' pay - tomorrow they will ask for six months; staff who had been at the resort for four to six years were given six months - tomorrow they will ask for 12 months.

Others with longer service aim to double their payouts accordingly.

The instant sackings are likely to alarm workers at all resorts of similar vintage to the Evason Phuket and Bon Island. First resort in the line of dominoes to fall was Laguna Beach Resort, where staff were given notice earlier this year before a six month remake.

Few of the old staff at Laguna Beach Resort expect to be rehired when the ''new'' resort opens before next high season, although the new owners, a Singapore investment firm with Thai connections, have offered that inducement.

Evason has been a pacesetter on some fronts, particularly regarding environmental concerns. The name was created by Sonu Shivdasani, chairman and CEO of the Soneva Group, who named both Evason and Soneva after his wife Eva and himself.

Some staff were retrenched in June 2009, when everything was done by the book. Six Senses Resorts and Spas acquired full ownership in 2010, when a 100 million baht remake was undertaken - without the resort closing.

A name change converted the Evason Phuket and Six Senses Spa into the Evason Phuket and Bon Island.

Like the staff, Phuketwan, which recently forecast this trend in a prescient article, has no idea what's planned next.

Online, the resort's site says: ''Evason Phuket is set amongst 64-acres of beautifully landscaped tropical parklands and gardens, and looks out to stunning views across the Andaman Sea. The resort follows the Six Senses philosophy of uncompromised responsibility to the environment whilst offering guests a vast array of personal services and facilities. Evason service standards ensure attention to detail and a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.

''The resort's long tail boat will take you to Evason Phuket's private island, Bon Island, just 15 minutes away. It's white sandy beaches and clear turquoise water make it a heavenly place for swimming and snorkeling.''

Comments

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I wonder if the resort has taken future bookings and if those bookings will be "transferred to other accommodations" or refunds issued.

Posted by Joe on May 22, 2012 20:37

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First the article says the resort met it's legal obligations. Then, refering to what happened in 2009, "everything was done by the book". Did the resort break any laws when they dismissed the staff? Did they not pay what they are obliged to do by law? If they did what the law says, then why the insinuating tone in this srticle? The workers seem to make up new rules that they think is fair, but the law is the law. Why should this resort be any different than any company or enterprise in Thailand? Because they are leaders when it comes to environmental awareness? Sorry, I don't see the connection. So if they were just another resort this kind of firing of staff wouldn't get you so worked up?

Posted by christian on May 22, 2012 20:56

Editor Comment:

The only ''insinuating tone'' is yours, christian. Please don't get ''worked up.'' The single outstanding issue is whether the resort's owner is obliged to give the workers notice of dismissal. We'll see what the authorities decide. And if ''just another resort'' lays off its staff, yes, we are going to report it as fully as we can. Jobs are important to most people. But you don't have to trouble yourself about it, though.

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If the resort followed the department of labour laws that should be the end of it, as far as I understand it you dont have to give three months notice when paying the redundancy ammounts. Why would the hotel pay double, I hope a precedence isnt set here by the dept of labour.

Posted by coxo on May 23, 2012 07:04

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Great to see an investment in more ambulances for Phuket but there needs to be suitable equipment to go with them. Ambulances lacking cardiac defibrillation equipment and EMT trained attendants are really just "call and haul" vehicles. International standards have for years operated on the "Chain of Survival" principle, that is, Early access to patient, Early CPR, Early Defib, Early advanced life support. Unfortunately the current law restricting use of defib or AED equipment to doctors only in Thailand means patients requiring resuscitation at the scene or enroute to hospital are seriously, perhaps fatally compromised. This is particularly evident with the many drowning and near drowning incidents on Phuket's beaches.

Posted by Anonymous on May 23, 2012 10:32

Editor Comment:

At least the days when patients could be seen lying in the open trays of pickups appear to have passed. The rain is kept off.

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Does anyone know what will happen to the place? Buildings, grounds etc. Will it reppen with new owners or what?

Posted by Anonymous on September 10, 2012 19:15

Editor Comment:

We believe it will.

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It's been bought by Singapore holding company. Rumors has it that it will reopen as a Holiday Inn, or at least that's the word on the hotelier's grapevine.

Posted by May on September 10, 2012 19:59

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So sad was a lovely hotel

Posted by Anonymous on November 20, 2012 06:00

Editor Comment:

And probably will be again, Anonymous.

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Was very sad to read this. I have stayed here 3 times in the last 2 years, including for our honeymoon. I just felt so relaxed there! Will look forward to reading what will happen to the property and whether they keep the private island/honeymoon suite.

Posted by Kellie on January 2, 2013 02:43

Editor Comment:

Bear in mind that ''they'' is now a new owner and a new management team who had nothing to do with the previous owners or the sackings.

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Hi. I'm wondering if the Evason Phuket hotel has reopened under another name? If so, what is it now called? We are keen to revisit our favourite Phuket hideaway and would appreciate any information you have on it.
Regards
Lindy

Posted by Lindy Fraser on August 29, 2014 11:07

Editor Comment:

The Evason will reopen next year as an Intercontinental. The reincarnation should be spectacular.


Tuesday July 17, 2018
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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