Centara aims for world's top 100
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Centara aims for world's top 100

Forty years after launching its first property, Centara Hotels & Resorts hopes to reach the world's top 100 within four years

An exterior view of Centara Grand at CentralWorld Hotel and Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld in Bangkok.
An exterior view of Centara Grand at CentralWorld Hotel and Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld in Bangkok.

Following the successful opening of Centara Grand Hotel Osaka in Japan this month, Centara Hotels & Resorts Plc is poised to mark another milestone in its business history.

With ambitions to secure a place among the world's top 100 hotel operators by 2027, the company has maintained its determination to reach that goal and establish itself as a global powerhouse in the realm of luxury accommodation.

Chief executive Thirayuth Chirathivat said the company's journey began in 1983 when it opened Centara Plaza Ladprao, its first hotel, which is now known as Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao.

"This was largely through the vision of both Samrit Chirathivat and also, of course, the chairman of our board, Suthikiati Chirathivat," said Mr Thirayuth, who is Mr Suthikiati's second son. "The hotel business was the first venture for Centara Group that pivoted from retail."

Within three years, the second property was launched after the company acquired and renovated the historic Railway Hotel Hua Hin, now known as the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin. The 251-room hotel is widely regarded as being among the leading heritage hotels in Asia, with the property having just celebrated its 100-year anniversary.

In 1989, it opened a hotel featuring 113 rooms in Mae Sot, Tak and made significant strides in 1990 by becoming a listed company on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, solidifying its position in the industry.

Between 1995 and 2006, the company expanded into the South of the country by adding seven hotels in four provinces, including three in Phuket, two on Koh Samui and one each in Krabi and Hat Yai, with a combined total of 1,296 rooms.

Of the 10 hotels just described, eight are 100% owned by the company. The company has a 64% stake in the Hua Hin property and holds a 25% stake in Centara Reserve Samui via a property fund.

In 2007, the company rebranded, switching from Central Hotels & Resorts to Centara Hotels & Resorts. During this year, it also opened the Bangkok Convention Centre at Centara Grand at CentralWorld.

In 2008, the Centara Grand at CentralWorld hotel, featuring 509 rooms, was launched in the heart of Bangkok's central business district.

"We achieved a remarkable milestone in 2009 by introducing our groundbreaking concept of a themed resort under the Mirage brand, providing family holiday experiences with the opening of Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya," said Mr Thirayuth.

The Pattaya resort was voted Thailand's best family resort, while Centara Mirage in Dubai received a similar level of recognition less than two years after opening its doors, he added.

Mr Thirayuth says Centara aims to be theleading global hospitality groupof Thai origin.

Centara made progress in terms of its international expansion plans in 2009, with the debut of Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives. the group went on to add properties in Sri Lanka, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and, most recently, Japan.

Centara currently either owns 100% or has a joint venture in 20 hotel properties with a total of 5,566 rooms in Thailand, along with three other countries, namely the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates and Japan.

Another 31 hotels come under the management of Centara, with a combined total of 5,461 rooms. These are located in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Oman, Qatar and Vietnam.

Centara's portfolio comprises six brands -- Centara Reserve, Centara Boutique Collection, Centara Grand Hotels & Resorts, Centara Hotels & Resorts, Centra by Centara and Cosi Hotels.

To cover every segment, these brands offer variety, ranging from luxury island retreats and upscale family resorts to affordable lifestyle properties that fully utilise innovative technology. It also has Cenvaree -- its own award-winning spa brand.

Looking ahead, the company plans to open 42 more hotels with a total of 9,054 rooms. These are scheduled to open between the third quarter of 2023 and 2026. Some of these properties will be opened in new markets, such as Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar and Turkey.

The company has already opened two new hotels this year in Thailand and Japan, starting in March with Centara Ubon, which has 160 rooms. This was followed by the launch of Centara Grand Osaka, featuring 515 rooms, earlier this month.

The company plans to open four more hotels in the second half of 2023, namely Centra by Centara Lamai Resort Samui, with 61 rooms; the 224-room Centara Ayutthaya; the 200-room Centara One Rayong; and Centra by Centara Hotel Surat Thani, which has 110 rooms.

"Our vision is clear -- to be the leading global hospitality group of Thai origin," said Mr Thirayuth. "By 2027, we expect to be included among the world's top 100 hotel companies."

To achieve this ambitious goal, the company will continue to expand its footprint across Thailand, the rest of Asia, the Middle East and beyond. It will remain at the forefront of hospitality, constantly evolving to meet the needs of guests, while preserving the rich tapestry of Thai heritage and warm family values.

The company also remains at the forefront of hospitality and sustainability, with goals to end the use of single-use plastic and to achieve Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) certification for every property by 2025. It aims to reduce energy, waste, water and greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2029, and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

"It is my great privilege to lead the company and take it forward with that continuing energy and passion," he said. "As the place to be for travellers, we are looking ahead to a more promising future."

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