Anantara Hotels and Resorts, a brand launched with one resort in Thailand in 2001, now includes 13 hotels and resorts across the country, with a collection of 35 properties stretching cross Asia, the Middle East and Africa. While the brand may not be well known to Canadians, it is part of the Minor Hotel Group, one of the largest hospitality and leisure companies in the Asia Pacific region, and a member of the Global Hotel Alliance.
PAXnewsWest.com recently had the opportunity to visit two recent additions to the Anantara portfolio in Thailand to learn what this luxury hotel brand can offer the Canadian traveller.
Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel
This 354-room property in the Ratchaprasong district of Bangkok was rebranded from the Four Seasons Bangkok on March 1 of this year (Four Seasons is currently building a new hotel in Bangkok – the Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River – slated to open in 2018). The hotel is slated to undergo a $20 million USD renovation to “stay relevant,” Titiya Chooto, general manager of the Anantara Bangkok Siam, told PAXnewsWest.com. “With the rebranding, it will be nice to give a new look to the rooms,” Chooto said, adding that the hotel’s many Thai artworks will be maintained. The hotel’s three buildings will undergo renovations one at a time to minimize guest disturbance.
“Anantara is known for its service,” Chooto said. “We build on the warm Thai hospitality, which is going away a bit in five-star hotels.” Anantara has introduced a new tradition at the hotel – every Friday, staff dress in traditional Thai costumes. “It’s exciting for us,” Chooto said. “It’s something everyone who comes to Thailand wants to experience, and it’s a significant add-on for us since the rebranding.”
PAXnewsWest.com started one morning at the hotel with an alms giving ritual with a local monk, a unique Thai experience the hotel offers daily to its guests. The hotel’s spa also offers services inspired by Thai traditions, including the 90-minute Siam 2482 treatment, which uses healing traditions from Thailand and the surrounding area to send guests into a state of bliss.
The hotel is an easy walk from Lumphini Park, shopping and the Ratchadamri Skytrain Station.
Anantara Chiang Mai Resort and Spa
This 84-room property is another relatively recent addition to the Anantara portfolio, having rebranded from the Chedi Chiang Mai to become the 100th property in the Minor Hotel Group’s portfolio in November 2013. The resort, located on the Mae Pring river, is designed to be “very romantic,” according to general manager Syahreza Ishwara, with assistant sales manager Premhathai Boonchaliew adding the hotel is popular with couples and honeymooners – including Canadian visitors, who Boonchaliew said rank tenth among the hotel’s markets. She added that couples stay an average of two to three nights at the resort – located in Thailand’s second-largest city – as part of a trip through Thailand or the Southeast Asia region.
The resort is indeed a romantic retreat, with the lobby and grounds lit by candles. Each room has a balcony daybed and a partition that allows the room to be opened up so guests can soak in the couple-sized bathtub while enjoying the view. Those game to get up early on vacation can catch a stunning sunrise over the river.
The hotel complex includes the former British Consulate, built in 1921. It now houses the hotel’s The Service 1921 Restaurant and Bar, which opened in April of this year and embraces a 1920s British Intelligence theme. The colonial feel extends to the afternoon tea, offered on the terrace, but the restaurant’s main menu focuses on Szechuan, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. Executive chef Prabhash Prabhakaran incorporates influences from his native India, and is assisted by chefs from Thailand, China and Vietnam.
“Food is very subjective,” Ishwara said. “Our guests have very different palates, and we want to ensure there’s something for everyone.”
Guests looking for a unique Thai experience at the resort can sign up for Muay Thai boxing classes through the fitness centre, learn the art of Thai massage at the spa, or take a class in Thai cooking or fruit carving trough the Spice Spoons Anantara cooking school.
The hotel is located less than a five-minute walk from Chiang Mai’s famous night market.
Both hotels offer agents a 10 per cent commission on eligible bookings. Agents can find more information at the Anantara travel agent website: www.anantara.com/travel-agent.