Sofitel Chain Opening Phi Phi Resort
Krabi's Phi Phi island is set to see the opening of the 147 villa luxury 'A Gallery and Spa' which will be managed by French hotel chain ACCOR under its Sofitel portfolio. Set to open early 2010, the resort is located on 60 rai and reportedly has a project cost of THB 1.3 billion.
The Sofitel brand recently underwent a repositioning with Pullman being injected beneath the Sofitel tier. The stated ambition is to pursue a market luxury strategy for the premium brand that has seen the name come off many of the managed hotels which did not meet the criteria or rebranding's undertaken. In Bangkok as an example there were Sofitel branded properties which have now seen the name come off though still continue to be managed by the chain.
It's interesting to note that Phi Phi branding follows that of the soon to open Ritz Carlton in Krabi, where the name is 'Phulay Bay, A Ritz Carlton Reserve'. There are many in hotel marketing that feel in the case of ultra high end projects that a brand name in some cases may drag down rates to an institutional luxury level; while some Asian owners also have an agenda that management chains come and go and establishing their own identity is the best long term plan for a high value asset such as a hotel.