When staying at a hotel not many people put much thought into who owns the property as opposed to who is running it.
Many people assume that the hotel is owned by the company whose name is above the door, when in fact in many cases a property is owned by one party and the management of the hotel is contracted out to another company. The managing party may be the hotel chain itself or a third party hotel management company. These management companies could have management contracts with several hotels with a portfolio comprising various brands.
Why am I talking about this? Because a recent re-branding of an iconic property in Chiang Mai has brought some of this out into the open, along with a little acrimony.
The former Chedi Chiang Mai was re-branded last month as the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort and Spa. The property was operated from its opening in 2005 by General Hotel Management, Ltd (GHM), which operates Chedi hotels in Indonesia, Vietnam, Oman and one scheduled to open in Switzerland this month.
Minor Hotel Group (MHG) a division of Minor International, one of Thailand’s most successful companies, was brought in to manage the property in November. Minor International owns the Anantara brand of hotels.
A Google search of Chedi Chiang Mai still returns the GHM Hotels website with the original naming intact with no information about the hotel except for the following statement.
An attempt was made on the 4th November 2013 by the owning company of the The Chedi Chiang Mai to terminate GHM’s management of the hotel and bring in a new operator to manage the property. Given this unfortunate development, GHM has had no choice but to initiate legal actions against both the owning company as well as the new management company to address the many areas of violations. Should there be any queries relating to reservations at the hotel, kindly contact the hotel directly.
Both companies were tight-lipped when I asked for details, with the Minor side saying it was an issue between GHM and the owner of the property.
The Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa is the 100th property in Minor Hotel Group’s portfolio and 11th in Thailand. The resort is located on the grounds of the former British consulate with the 90 year old fully in-tact and beautifully restored colonial era consulate house forming the centerpiece. The picturesque Mae Ping River flows past the resort’s doorstep. Another Anantara property, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort is a four hour drive away.
All 84 guest-rooms face the river and range in size from 50 to 100 meters. Floor to ceiling windows allow plenty of sunlight to stream in and afford great views of the river. The views are even better from the double day bed on the balcony of every room. Guests wanting a little extra luxury should consider the Kasara Suites (105 sq m), which come equipped with Bose CD/DVD players, iPod dock, Swiss JURA coffee maker, free Wifi and free transfers to the airport, which is 15 minutes away. All rooms come with a deep Terrazzo bathtub and rain shower.
Guests can relax by the 34 meter pool while watching life float by on the river, which is steps away across the green grass behind the hotel.
There are four dining establishments at the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa, as well as a bar and cigar lounge.
The open and airy Lobby Lounge overlooks a beautiful pond in the tropical courtyard and offers refreshments throughout the day with live Khim (a 42 stringed traditional Khmer instrument) music in the evenings.
The imaginatively named “The Restaurant” serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as afternoon tea and tapas in the evenings. What they lack in the name department they make up for in the variety of food on offer, which also includes home made ice creams and sorbets.
The Colonial House and The Bar and Cigar Lounge (here we go again with the wildly imaginative names) are located inside the colonial era former British consul building with the restaurant serving fine Indian cuisine and the Cigar Lounge offering Cuban cigars.
The Kasara Lounge, exclusively for Kasara Suite guests serves all day temptations, from a champagne breakfast buffet to homemade snacks in the afternoon and cocktails with gourmet canapés in the evening.
Dillip Rajakarier, CEO Minor Hotel Group, commented on the re-branding,
“The announcement of our 100th property is an important milestone for Minor Hotel Group and one we are very proud to achieve. The fact that our 100th property is such a significant addition to the portfolio, both with it being such a stunning resort and the strategic addition of a Chiang Mai property to our Thailand collection of Anantara properties, makes it even more special. Chiang Mai is a key destination in Thailand and one we have been looking at for development opportunities for a long time, adding the perfect dot on the map as our eleventh property in Thailand.”