Mainland Thailand is certainly on the radar of international conference and business event organisers, but the island of Phuket has the relaxing vibe and Andaman Sea views to entice incentives and corporate retreats. The hotel landscape is also changing as more properties seek a share of the business tourism market.
Angsana Laguna Phuket is offering free teambuilding when at least 20 rooms are booked for a stay in April. Angsana is one of six luxury resort hotels on the 1,000-acre Laguna Phuket with teambuilding and corporate training programmes available through the Quest Laguna Phuket Adventure, which is on-site.
Another of the Laguna properties set alongside Bangtao Bay is Outrigger, which offers packages for planners exploring the “b-leisure” or business-leisure trend for groups. Outrigger is divided into two properties: a resort hotel and villas. Function space can host 70 delegates for a conference or 100 for dinners. Excursions to Phi Phi Island, sunset cruises, snorkelling and other activities can also be organised for groups.
Among the latest openings on Phuket is the Manathai Surin, a boutique property, but also one of the options to consider for a smaller, high-end corporate retreat.
The islands off Phuket are seeing more venues seeking a slice of the business tourism market. Phi Phi Island Villas is considered ideal for “barefoot incentives” and the property recently added 45 high-end villas to build a stock of 200 rooms.
At the southernmost part of Phuket, the former Royal Phuket Yacht Club has become The Nai Harn (main picture), joining the Leading Hotels of the World Group. The heritage hotel offers groups a sense of exclusivity with sunset martinis on the rooftop a speciality.
To take teambuilding and executive retreats to a new level, Thanyapura, 15 minutes from Phuket International Airport, has coaching staff available for corporate groups. There is a 115-room hotel on the site that includes 11 suites with the Divine Restaurant and Booster Deli & Bar offering nutritious choices in keeping with the needs of the many world-class athletes using the resort. Facilities include a 50m Olympic pool and 25m training pool; tennis courts, beach courts for soccer and volleyball, bike rental and a 900 sqm fitness centre. There are also creative event venues, a conference hall, boardroom and wine cellar.
In the pipeline
Hospitality Consultancy C9 Hotelworks’ latest report finds that 90 per cent of hotels in the opening pipeline for Phuket will be managed by regional or international brands. Bill Barnett, C9’s managing director, says the trend shows that “Phuket’s legacy of independent properties is becoming a thing of the past”.
Planned openings by the bigger names in Phuket include:
• Marriott is set to open three properties. The 197-guest room Marriott Resort & Spa Nai Yang Beach is due to open in the second half of 2016, after being rebranded from the Adamas Beach Resort. In Chalong Bay, a JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa and a Courtyard by Marriott are both due to open in the second half of 2017.
• Centara Bangtao is due to open next year and a Centara Grand Moringa Resort & Spa is being developed just outside Patong.
• Sheraton Phuket Kalim Beach Resort is scheduled for early January 2018 followed by a Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay Resort a year later in Ao Po.
• Phuket will see the Rosewood brand debuting in Thailand with a beachfront resort at Emerald Bay featuring 71 villas and 32 residences.