Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Uniquely boutique

Uniquely boutique

There are more brands (and more hotels) coming from the Unique Collection, and gone are the 'little-i' ike inns

Published on November 17, 2007

Uniquely boutique

Peter Kaelli, CEO of the Unique Collection of Hotels and Resorts, a hotel-management company specialising in small boutique properties, recently revealed the new brands under the Unique Collection's umbrella - the Unique Collection, the Charming Collection and the Classic Collection.

Prior to the change, the Unique Collection had two brands - the Unique Collection and ike hotels. Kaelli says that the rebranding was desirable because of the outcome of a survey of guests on what they want in terms of accommodation and services. The new brands therefore create a clearer pictures of what each hotel category includes.

"The Unique Collection is now both our company's name and a hotel brand. As such the name refers to luxurious hotels and resorts. We now manage two properties under this concept, one is Putahracsa Hua Hin and the other is Kamalaya Koh Samui," explains Kaelli.

The new Charming Collection, which was formerly called the ike brand, now refers to small hotels with fewer than 50 rooms with a relaxing ambience, but not necessarily five-star service. Hotels under this portfolio include Tusita Resorts in Chumphon, Ban Sabai in Chiang Mai and Ban Sabai Sunset Village in Samui.

The Classic Collection hotels refer to larger properties with a unique and timelessly cosy concept of their own. There are two up-and-coming hotels under in this group - the de Naga in Chiang Mai, which is to be opened in January and the Sukhothai Heritage Hotel, which will open this month.

"While we promote the concept of unique hotels, we prefer people to know the name of the hotels themselves without attaching themselves to the brand. We prefer to promote our brands for corporate accounts, not for the general public", Kaelli says, adding that hotel investors like staying up to date with the trend for boutique hotels. Today's guests tend to look for both privacy and quality in uniquely designed properties. Therefore the service needs to include facilities and activities for guests, and this is not easy for small stand-alone hotels to provide.

The Unique Collection was launched in November 2005 and is poised to manage its portfolio of small boutique properties in Thailand and abroad. Kaelli reveals that four more properties will join the Unique Collection's portfolio in 2008. The group will also start managing hotels abroad over the next few years, he adds.

Vipasai Niyamabha

Special to The Nation

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