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Smiling through: Doorman at the new Sofitel in Krabi

Andaman Resorts Predict Good Times: Survey

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
RESORTS along the Andaman coast are consistently saying that 2008 is a better year than 2007, according to a survey.

The six resorts questioned in the Phuketwan half-yearly survey were from Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi.

Surprisingly, even the new resorts, with no basis for comparison with previous years, were also exceeding expectations.

Size does not seem to matter. The smaller boutique-size resorts were every bit as content with figures as the resorts with 200-plus rooms.

Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket: Established more than 20 years ago as the first resort at Laguna Phuket, the Dusit is adding stylish new investment properties to its accommodation options. There are 226 rooms of various types.

This year was proving to be about five percent better than last year in terms of occupancy rates. Through January, February and March, the rate ran at 90 percent. In April, the level dipped to 89 percent and reached close to 60 percent in May and June.

Thai families seem to be attracted by the green season packages available until the end of October. Breakfast is included at 3200 baht. Normally, the prices begin at 4500 baht.

Dusit Thani describes its character as ''Thai modern.''

Khao Lak Laguna Resort: No relation to Laguna Phuket, the 150-room Khao Lak Laguna Resort opened in November 2007. The resort is located at the start of the Khao Lak strip on the main road.

Marketing was happy with the numbers of guests attracted through the high season. The rate was consistently in the 80 to 90 percent range until May.

Through May and June, figures were considerably lower at 40 percent.

Khao Lak typically suffers a dramatic decline from high season to low season.

Khao Lak Laguna does not offer lower prices in the green season. The rates start at 7650 baht and rise to 23,300 baht.

Next high season, the expectation is that Khao Lak, with its natural attractions, will be even more popular than in 2007-2008.

Sala Phuket: This striking resort of 79 private villas opened on December 15 at Mai Khao and quickly attracted praise for its design.

In its review Phuketwan said that Sala Phuket had done something quite remarkable: ''This resort makes flat fashionable.''

The accommodation occupancy rate ran at about 50 percent until June, when it fell to 30 percent. The villa rate is $US490 to $US1500.

While the resort had no basis for comparison with previous years, next high season looked promising because word-of-mouth on the resort had been extremely good.

Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas, Krabi: Open since November 2006, the Centara rates the 2007-2008 high season as very good. The resort has 192 rooms.

Occupancy ran at 84 percent in January, 80 percent in February and 76 percent in March, falling to 65 percent in April and 45 percent in May.
June was shaping as 40 percent.

Last green season, figured ran at 30-40 percent, so this year is rated as better than last year. Every room at Centara Grand has a sea view and honeymooners are being targetted.

Returning customers numbered quite highly among this year's guests, with Europeans and Koreans dominating. The room rate starts at 13,500 baht but is dynamic online.

The resort was working at increasing the entertainment and activities within the resort this low season.

Holiday Inn Resort, Phuket: A long-established resort in Patong, the Holiday Inn has 405 rooms. It faces beach road and was largely reconstructed after the 2004 tsunami.

In January and February, the occupancy rate reached 96 percent, with 94 percent in March and 85 percent in April. May saw the rate bounce back to 90 percent.

Last year was also a good one for the Holiday Inn. The room rate is 4500 baht to 4900 baht, and moves dynamically online.

Kata Beach Resort: Down the west coast of Phuket at Kata, this resort is part of a well-known Thai group. The Kata Beach Resort, which has 275 rooms, including new pool villa options, and a new spa, reports a ''more competitive'' 2008.

But the results for the first six months have been above average. Occupancy rates through January to April ran at 80 percent and slipped to 50 percent for May.

Rates run from 2500 baht to 3000 baht. The prediction for next high season is ''good, with good occupancy.'' Middle East customers were coming in greater numbers.

When asked what Phuket needed for the future, Glenn R. Ferrer, Director of Marketing of Kata Group, neatly listed safety and security, sidewalks and CCTV.

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Look for more of the latest about resorts in the region at Phuketwan

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