Vol: 33 May - June 2015
Venue: Avani Riverside Bangkok
The Avani Bangkok Riverside hotel, which is due to be completed by December of 2015, is set to be the global flagship property for Minor’s new hotel brand.

The Avani Bangkok Riverside is set to open in December of 2015, with the hotel aiming to cater to both leisure and business travellers — mostly from abroad. Avani Hotels & Resorts, the new hotel chain operator of Bangkok-based Minor Hotel Group, has invested THB 2.2 billion to build the property, which will offer 249 rooms, and include one of the largest meeting and banqueting facilities located in the capital on the Chao Phraya River.

Nikolaus Priesnitz, cluster general manager at the Avani Bangkok Riverside and the adjoining Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa, said the new hotel would be the first purpose-built Avani — and the flagship for the brand globally. The newly branded chain plans to operate 30 hotels globally over the next five years.

“The Avani Bangkok Riverside is the blueprint for future Avani hotels and resorts around the world,” said Priesnitz. “Yes, we are different from a hotel like the Avani Seychelles or even the Avani Atrium here in Bangkok, but we will deliver on our core values of seamless guest stays, appreciation of details that matter and with a passion for design equally with all Avani hotels and resorts.”

The key and unique selling point that Minor Hotel Group is focusing on is the location and the development of a destination rather than just a hotel, he said.

With direct access to the newly developed Riverside Plaza shopping complex and directly opposite Asiatique — Bangkok's largest entertainment and dining area and night market — guests are offered many options.

The hotel is also an ideal base to explore the river and connects conveniently to the city centre by car or by boat, said the GM.

"We shall be the first international hotel to open on the river in recent years, and everybody likes something new and different."

International travellers are expected to account for close to 80 per cent of the hotel's guests. The key foreign markets are expected to be Europe, North and South America, Singapore and Hong Kong, with the property targeting what he described as “savvy travellers”.

Priesnitz said Minor Hotel Group had further strengthened its brands to international markets in Europe, South America and Africa, which would ensure brand recognition worldwide.

The Avani Bangkok Riverside also offers one of the most versatile conference facilities in Bangkok, with a capacity to hold close to 1,500 guests. With a ballroom that comes equipped with a first-of-its-kind show kitchen, and 11 other meeting and event spaces, the multi-purpose meeting facility offers a notable 4,500 sq.m exceptional MICE (meetings, incentives conventions and exhibitions) venue. An interesting factor in regard to competitors is the ability to compete with destinations abroad such as Singapore's Marina Bay, as well as some successful rivals in Bangkok.

Asked how the new hotel would differentiate from the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa, which is located on the same site and with him overseeing both properties, Priesnitz said the Anantara opened 22 years ago and had completed a THB 600-million enhancement earlier this year in anticipation of the sister property's opening.

“The Anantara offers ‘the only true resort getaway in Bangkok’, while the Avani offers a different type of getaway,” he said.

Both hotels actually complement each other in many ways and are advantageous for guests who have the option to enjoy a relaxing stay at the Anantara, while for evening entertainment with a difference, they can opt to dance under the stars on the 26th floor Attitude rooftop bar at the Avani, he said. Furthermore, the core values are different, as the Anantara focuses on delivering on the indigenous Thai experience in luxurious hospitality with guests having the freedom to discover and embrace Thai culture and service, while the Avani offers contemporary luxury complemented by details that matter, he explained.

In terms of employment, the Anantara property currently employs 650 people and, when both hotels are fully operational, the combined figure is expected to be around 1,100 staff. The new hotel's rates are expected to start from about THB 4,000 per night.

With a portfolio of 13 hotels and resorts across 10 countries in Asia and Africa, Avani aims to develop across Asia, India, the Indian Ocean and Mideast. The first Avani opened in Sri Lanka in late 2011, and Minor Hotel Group has added hotels in Vietnam, Malaysia, Mozambique, and Thailand.

By Suchat Sritama — The Nation