Phuket Says Goodbye To Sheraton Grande Laguna
After 19 years one of the most successful resort hotels in the region, the 419 room Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket has closed its doors.
Opened in 1992 the property with what was then considered to be innovative internal lagoon-type swimming pools featuring direct access to many of the rooms and picture perfect postcard over-water villas.
In 1993 a new resort real estate concept was pioneered with 52 Island Villas sold to individual buyers in what would later grow into a full-fledged industry on the island – branded hotel units for sale.
Over the years leading global political figures from around the world have slept at the resort and big events were attracted to the expansive grounds and facilities. Brand Sheraton and Brand Laguna both prospered from the long term business relationship
With a reported USD15 million renovation now underway and a new operator set to re-open the doors later this year under the Banyan Tree affiliated Angsana moniker, eyes are turned to the future.
Hotels of this size in today's market are more the exception than the norm and it will take more than a coat of paint to regain market leadership in the upscale tier. Challengers look set to capitalize on the brand imperative of global chains versus regional players.
Mai Khao's growing inventory of properties including the JW Marriott, Anantara and a Holiday Inn set to open in September continue to work to erode Laguna's market share. And Nai Thon's impressive line-up with a new Pullman under construction and soon to start Hotel Indigo will tap into the competitive set.
For Starwood their presence remains strong in Phuket with flagged properties by Le Meridien, Westin and a new Four Points by Sheraton in the works. But certainly short term the loss of the high profile resort remains a sore subject.
As for the Sheraton Grande Laguna, thanks for the great memories.