An island in the sun is the holiday dream for everyone
Nowadays, we all have fantasies about staying on a tropical island, and Asia is the best and most accessible place to find them. They have become oases of carefully-graded luxury, where holidaymakers enjoy a get-away-from-it-all break, with civilization quickly re-entered via the nearest airport, ferry, or causeway.
Backpackers originally discovered what are now some of Asia’s best-known island playgrounds a generation or two ago, and subsequently Asian countries have been polishing up their island components or even marketing themselves as entire island destinations.
Centara Hotels&Resorts, Thailand’s leading operator of hotels, opened its first island property in 1995, in Samui. Recent fast expansion has seen Centara currently operating resorts on nine different islands, namely Samui, Phuket, Koh Chang, Phu Quoc, Bali, the Maldives (where it has two, with one more underway), Mauritius, and Sri Lanka.
Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, a colonial-style resort on the beachfront, is set right on the beach at the center of Chaweng, the island’s epicenter for leisure, shopping, and entertainment. There are two other Centara resorts on Samui, Centara Villas Samui, on the southern tip of the island, and Centra Coconut Beach Resort Samui, to the southwest, part of the group’s Centra value brand.
On Phuket, one of the world’s favorite tropical island playgrounds, Centara has seven properties, ranging from the five-star Grand brand, through the core four-star brand, to the Centra value brand residence and suites. All the resorts are located in Phuket’s prime west coast beach resorts of Karon, Kata, and Patong, except for Centara Grand West Sands Resort&Villas Phuket, which is set in 47 acres of land at Mai Khao Beach, further north on the west coast, and which boasts the most spectacular water park on the island.
Centara has great confidence in the future of Vietnam as a holiday destination, and two years ago opened a resort on Phu Quoc Island, Chen Sea Resort&Spa, which is part of its Boutique Collection of smaller, upmarket hotels. A feature here is the six Jacuzzi Villas that were originally traditional timber houses in the ancient port city of Hoi An, transported to Phu Quoc and converted into luxury seafront accommodation.
There are currently two Centara resorts on Bali, one being the five-star Centara Grand Nusa Dua Resort&Villas, and the other being the Centra Taum Seminyak Bali, thus representing two different budget ranges and two different but very popular destinations.
Centara opened its first overseas resort in 2009. Centara Grand Island Resort&Spa Maldives, set in the South Ari Atoll, is designed principally for couples and families and operates under an Ultimate All-Inclusive programme. Labeled “the island where cash is not required,” the resort offers real barefoot luxury including champagne breakfasts, a great range of cuisines for lunch, a choice of three restaurants for dinner, an open bar from 10:00 am to midnight serving more than 20 wines along with the beers, spirits, and cocktails, minibar replenished daily, a free sundowner cocktail party every night, US$100 per day to spend in the spa, nightly entertainment, watersports, and off-island excursions.
Centara Ras Fushi Resort&Spa Maldives is an adults-only resort, and is close to the capital island of Male, and the international airport. Given the guest profile and the opportunities to go off-island, the resort offers two different types of accommodation packages, one of which includes evening meals and drinks, and the other a full-board version with an all-day bar.
Centara sees the Indian Ocean region as offering enormous potential, and has further extended its number of island properties with the newly-opened Centara Poste Lafayette Resort&Spa Mauritius, with a second resort on the island due to open in the near future.
Sri Lanka is also of great promise, with the Centara Passikudah Resort&Spa Sri Lanka newly opened, and the Centara Ceysands Resort&Spa Sri Lanka due to open later in the year.
There are plenty more tropical islands in Asia, and it seems likely that Centara Hotels&Resorts will be represented on more of them in the future.
Centara Hotels&Resorts is Thailand's leading operator of hotels, with 40 deluxe and first-class properties covering all the major tourist destinations in the Kingdom. A further 17 resorts in the Maldives, Vietnam, Bali Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius Indian Ocean, brings the present total to 57 properties. Brands and properties within Centara ensure that specific categories such as couples, families, individuals, and meetings and incentives groups will all find a hotel or resort that is appropriate to their needs.
Centara operates 27 branches of Spa Cenvaree, one of Thailand's most luxurious and innovative spa brands, together with its newly-launched value brand Cense by Spa Cenvaree, which provides core spa services for busy travelers. The company's Kids' Club is available at all the family-friendly resorts to ensure that the youngsters and teens are taken care of.
Centara Hotels&Resorts also operates two state-of-the-art convention centers in Bangkok, and two in northeastern Thailand, one being located in Udon Thani and the other in Khon Kaen. The latest Centara brand is named COSI Hotels, an economy brand designed for travelers who predominantly make their bookings via the Internet and who want comfort and convenience at the most friendly prices available, which is under development with the first property due to open in 2015.
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