Centara recently unveiled its five-year vision and strategy for growth, aimed at doubling revenue by 2022. Thailand’s largest domestic hotel operator currently has some 57 properties in operation or under development across 12 countries in Southeast Asia.
The company’s three-pronged growth plan includes expanding the current portfolio, identifying and pursuing new business opportunities, and strengthening its core infrastructure.
All of which is extremely impressive and ambitious...but what is the product actually like?
I had a brief, one-night stay at the Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok a couple of years ago. A recent three-day trip to the Thai capital afforded me the chance to really check out the hotel in more detail and meet the new General Manager charged with maintaining its five-star reputation.
“The key element in our name is ‘grand’. It is one of those hotels of note in that it has a huge footprint and hotels being built today don’t have that,” said James Wilson, the GM of Centara Grand. “We care about your stay and you are not a number, you’re a person. We want everybody’s stay to be enjoyable.
“I would really like to get more Australian business. We work closely with travel agents globally so if anyone wants to work with us, I would love them to contact me.”
Located to the north of the city, Centara Grand has 565 guest rooms and suites and was the first hotel opened by the company.
Fully renovated and re-opened in 2012, it offers quick and easy access into the centre of Bangkok thanks to adjacent stops for both the Mass Rapid Transit and BTS Skytrain rail networks.
I was fortunate enough to be given a Club Deluxe Suite, the central feature of which was a free standing bathtub, which dominated the room. The king bed was extremely comfortable and the room had ample space to work, rest and play.
More importantly, the room gave me access to the Club facilities, including private check-in and the Club Lounge, where complimentary snacks and drinks are served, along with an extensive continental breakfast.
While popular with the business community, thanks to extensive conference facilities and proximity to the Bangkok Convention Centre, the hotel is also a big hit with families. The adjacent Central Plaza shopping complex is one of the largest in Bangkok with 300 shops, restaurants and a multiplex cinema, while the hotel also has a large swimming pool, fitness centre and the award-winning Spa Cenvaree.
Centara Grand has nine restaurants and bars, including one of the main reasons you’ll want to stay here. The Blue Sky rooftop bar has been listed as one of the ‘15 Most Exciting Rooftop Bars in the World’ and gives a spectacular view of the city at night time, along with some superb cuisine and adult refreshments, all served with world famous Thai hospitality.
“We have a 21st century view of Thai hospitality, so coupled with the graciousness and elegance is the technology and that defines us both nationally and internationally,” added James.
“We have something for everyone and this is Bangkok so there’s plenty on the doorstep. Asia is really taking off and we have such a good hotel deal for what you get when you compare it to London or New York. I think Bangkok is one of the best travel options in the world.”