Protracted civilian unrest in Bangkok that has paralysed its main commercial areas and held the country’s tourism industry hostage for weeks has claimed new victims.
Several internationally branded hotels – Grand Hyatt Erawan, InterContinental, Holiday Inn and Renaissance – located in the Ratchaprasong hub where upscale malls, banks and offices are found, have decided to shut down for their guests’ comfort and security.
“It was alright if the visitors were just staying in the hotel,” Sammy Carolus, executive assistant manager, Grand Hyatt Erawan, told Business Traveller. “But it kept getting harder for them to move around, as well as enter or leave the hotel.
“We are thankful that nothing violent has happened around here, and we hope nothing will.”
The Grand Hyatt management made the decision at 12pm (Thailand time) today to stop all guest services and bookings, relocating remaining visitors to hotels such as the JW Marriott. Operations are targeted to resume on April 24, 2010.
A spokesperson for nearby InterContinental and Holiday Inn said they would be shut until April 26, and “if the situation worsened, we will be closed indefinitely”.
Renaissance Hotel, the newest of the lot, had closed down earlier. At press time, sister hotel Courtyard by Marriott was waiting for its top executives to come to a decision about the situation. Neighbouring Four Seasons continues to operate.
A potentially violent encounter between the anti-government Red Shirts and Thai military fell through a short time ago, with the protesters deciding not to go ahead with their march to Silom Road. The leaders said they would camp out “indefinitely” in Ratchaprasong until the government met with their demands.
Margie T Logarta