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Plaza Athenee Bangkok being managed by Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts

When Dr Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi bought Plaza Athenee New York and the right to use the brand name in Thailand, he initially had the newly built Plaza Athenee managed by The Imperial Group of Hotel, which he also happens to own. But with Conrad Hotels opening as his near neighbour at one end of the prestigious Wireless Road and the Nai Lert Park Bangkok changing management companies from Hilton to Raffles, there was a need for a stronger branding image to compete in highly competitive market in the business and diplomatic district. Likewise as Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts relinquished the management of their Bangkok property to Intercontinental Hotel as of 1st January 2004.

There had been rumours in Bangkok for many months that Dr Charoen was looking for an international management company to give his prestigious hotel a stronger global presence. And this is in line with the current thinking of Thai hotel owners who in the past have in the past been quiet happy to run their hotel as a family business. And on a day-to-day basis they did reasonably well, but today branding and partnership management is essential to sell a hotels service to a global market. When I discussed this idea with some leading hoteliers in Bangkok they said he would never make the move, as it would be admission that his own hotel management company couldn’t do the job. Obviously he thought otherwise and realised this when he said, “ We believe that our prestigious hotel together with Le Meridien’s unique global brand and expertise in managing world class hotels will ensure the success of our mutual endeavours.” Is this a sign that times are changing and Asian businesses are now focusing on global success rather than keeping it “in the family”?

Obviously Le Meridien are happy to be back in Bangkok, “ We are happy and proud to be managing Plaza Athenee Bangkok on behalf of TCC Property Management and adding one of Asia’s finest hotels to the Le Royal Meridien portfolio. The Le Meridien brand has enjoyed a strong presence in Thailand since 1986 and our re-entry into the Bangkok market with such a landmark hotel provides the ideal anchor for our further development plans in Thailand, said Robert Riley, CEO of Le Meridien.

The site where Hotel Plaza Athenee is built can trace its history and association with the royal family back to 1935, when it was were Her Royal Highness Princess Valaya Alongkor Kromluang Petchburi Rachasirindhorn had her residence. The hotel is a member of Leading Hotels of the World and a winner of Five Star Diamond Award by the American Academy of Hospitality Science. The elegant 382-room hotel is with a short walk to major embassies, business offices and famous shopping malls.

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