Asian fans of the Starwood group’s W Hotel brand won’t have to wander far to experience the chain’s lifestyle proposition during their holidays with W Retreat Koh Samui opening in April 2010.
This W, along Maeram Beach, is only the second holiday-oriented property in the chain, the first being W Retreat & Spa – Maldives.
Christian Humbert, director of sales and marketing, W Retreat Koh Samui, explained the policy of slow expansion: “The difference between our W city hotels and W retreats is the magic of the retreats’ locations. We are careful about picking the right locations so we can deliver the right ambiance that makes guests feel they are escaping into an entirely new world.
"But, of course, we always try to incorporate the character of the destination in the design elements."
W Retreats boast much of the non-traditional service points promoted by its city counterparts – cool music, stylish uniforms, engaging staffmembers and innovative labelling (for example, "Whatever, Whenever" personalised service) among others. The Koh Samui resort, however, will be offering 17 luxury residences for sale, which owners can choose to ask Starwood to rent out when not in use or keep solely for their use. Said Humbert: "We leave it up to them how they want it run."
After Koh Samui, Humber said, W Retreats will open in Bali, France (a ski resort) and Puerto Rico.
A fixture on the backpacker map, Koh Samui still features accommodation largely ranging from budget to mid-scale. Only the Four Seasons, Renaissance and Anantara still dominate the branded category.
For more details on W Hotels, visit www.whotels.comMargie T Logarta