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Buffalo still roam near the lagoon at Mai Khao

Anantara Phuket Aims at New Levels of Luxury

Monday, June 23, 2008
DUE TO open at Mai Khao in October, alongside the JW Marriott Resort, is the Anantara Phuket. The 83 Anantara private pool villas will not introduce a brand that is new to Thailand, but certainly one that is new to the island.

Anantara Phuket will be trying some interesting ideas, including guest fishing and cooking trips. The business relationship between Marriott and Anantara is also neighborly.

Phuketwan fired some questions at Narelle McDougall, Director of Sales & Marketing.

What will be special about the Anantara?

The latest addition to the Anantara family takes the brand to a new dimension of luxury. Guests can escape to the privacy of their own exclusive pool villa on one of the most secluded beaches in Phuket.

Each pool villa will have the refinement of traditional Thai style, with colourful silks and teak furnishing and a deep outdoor terrazzo bath uniquely joined to the villa's private pool, set in lush Bill Bensley-designed tropical gardens.

Fine international cuisine, cookery classes, a premium wine cellar and a world-renowned spa make a stay at Anantara Phuket an even more unique and unforgettable experience.

Will there be many outstanding pools and restaurants?

At the end of the day, guests adjourn to one of the stylish, high concept dining areas. The beach restaurant features terraced seating and an ultra-chic ambience. The signature restaurant boasts fashionable lighting and contemporary indoor and al fresco seating.

For Thai and European tapas, the bar is the place to be. Guests can let the resident wine guru help select the perfect vintage from the private wine cellar - heaven on earth for the wine connoisseur.

The acclaimed spa at Anantara Phuket is the perfect sanctuary for a journey to inner harmony. Through age-old massage techniques, aromatic elixirs made with indigenous ingredients and in an environment of complete serenity, therapists can guide clients to a genuine sense of physical and spiritual renewal.

If guests want to leave the luxury of their own private pool, they can head to the lifestyle swimming pool, which features a series of water terraces of differing depths, stylish fountain effects and in-built loungers. Nearby, guests can relax in the chill out areas featuring oversized day beds, divine cocktails created by the resident 'Mixologist', and the latest lounge mood music.

For those who want to be more active, three tennis courts fitted with night-playing technology and a fully-equipped fitness centre and health club are also available.

How many staff will the resort have?

230

What is the connection with the Marriott?

Minor International is one of Thailand's leading hotel owners/operators with a portfolio of 20 hotels and over 2500 rooms under the Anantara, Marriott, Four Seasons, and Minor International brands in Thailand, the Maldives, Vietnam, Indonesia and the latest edition with a 50 percent stake in Elewana Afrika. J. W. Marriott is owned by Minor and operated by Marriott Hotels and Resorts.

Does the relationship with Marriott provide practical benefits for the Anantara?

The Anantara and Marriott are two very separate brands and operate as such. That said, we have a very good working relationship and we feel that Anantara and Marriott can only benefit from the ownership structure and indeed, proximity.

This could quite simply take the form of sharing information on market trends, working with the local government or on diverse projects that relate to the Mai Khao area etc.

Has the Anantara had a good response to advertisements for staff?

Yes, excellent.

What are the prime benefits of working with Anantara?

We want our employees to enjoy their time at work and to be themselves . . . . To let their natural character shine through and not be stifled by processes and procedures.

Our management style is open, caring and guiding in order to develop, nurture and support our employees to be the best they can.

We treat everyone openly, honestly and with respect. We value the ideas and thoughts of all and encourage everyone to be part of being Anantara. It is not only our guests we want to leave with an amazing story - we want our employees to do to.

Why was Phuket chosen as a site for the new resort?

Creating a destination experience is at the core of the Anantara philosophy and one that the brand takes seriously - and we feel that Phuket the destination has a lot to offer our guests.

All our resorts offer first-class, unobtrusive service, spa facilities and a range of adventure activities associated with their individual locations.

For example, the following will be a guest offering at Anantara Phuket - Catch an early morning boat and set of for a fishing trip in the quiet bays facing the Andaman Sea.

After catching some fish, its back to the resort where Chef will greet you and then its time to get cooking in the kitchen.

Learn how to prepare the freshly caught fish then enjoy a leisurely lunch and bottle of wine, carefully selected by Wine Guru June.

Were environmental criteria part of the building permission process? Has construction been adapted to take account of concerns about global warming and energy usage?

Anantara recognizes the importance of sustainable business practices that consider the environment and the use of energy and resources. We also understand the need to ensure that tourism is operated in a way that is sustainable for the people that live in the vicinity of our resorts and for future generations of residents and guests.

To this end, Anantara has a number of on-going environmental programmes and is drawing up new strategies to conserve energy, reduce waste, boost wildlife and enhance its participation in local communities.

All Anantara Resorts (including the future Anantara Phuket) have effective recycling, energy-conservation and waste management measures already in place.

It is very challenging for tourism to be completely sustainable as every industry has impacts, but it can work towards being more sustainable in many ways.

Hence, Anantara will this year complete an audit of all the valuable measures that are currently being undertaken at its resorts and spas and identify new ways of going forward.

In 2008, particular areas of focus will be to reduce waste and pollution as well as identifying effective ways of reusing grey water and dealing with solid waste.

Further investigations into the use of solar power, biodegradable products and energy-efficient light systems will also be undertaken.

On-going training programmes will be refined to make Anantara staff more aware of the difference ''green'' actions can make and to encourage them play their part.

What approximate total cost/investment is involved in the project?

On the whole we don't release individual property investment figures.


Who did the design work?

The design of the resort is the culmination of a number of talented architects and designers, notably, Bill Bensley, Poole Associates and others.


Does Anantara have plans for other resorts in Thailand and/or in the region?

Anantara Resorts, a leading hotel brand in Asia Pacific, is set to expand with approximately five new properties in the next two years which will further intensify our international status. Among the key locations being tapped for strategic development - which complement the brand's existing network - are the Maldives, the Middle East, Vietnam and, of course, Thailand.

Anantara is taken from an ancient Sanskrit word that means 'borderless water', a name chosen for this element's association in many Asian cultures with wealth and good fortune. Anantara Resorts are currently located in Hua Hin, on Samui and in the Golden Triangle. In the Maldives, Anantara Resort Dhigu (2006) and Anantara Resort Veli (2008) are a 30-minute boat ride from the capital, Male. The Anantara Resort Seminyak opened in March 2008 in Bali.

For more, telephone + 66 (0) 76 348 090 | Fax + 66 (0) 76 348 278 | Email: nmcdougall@anantara.com | www.anantara.com

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