$25,000-per-night penthouses offered by Labua Serviced Apartment in Bangkok
Lebua at the State Tower, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, will invest 600 million baht to renovate six penthouses to be rented out at between US$20,000 and $25,000 per night.
The hotel also plans to invest another 800 million baht to create 20 rented villas in Chiang Rai. The first phase of the project will be situated on an 800-rai plot, according to Deepak Ohri, managing director of lebua Hotels and Resorts Co Ltd, formerly known as Challenge Hospitality Co Ltd.
The penthouses will be located on the 60th, 61st and 62nd floors of the State Tower on Silom Road. Each room will have 1,200 square metres, with a private swimming pool and dining room.
Mr Ohri said the renovation would be completed at the end of 2007 and the hotel would be the first in Thailand to offer penthouse at this rate.
“Before the renovation, we have already done the research asking potential customers if they will pay for $20,000 a night, and what they would expect. We are the most luxurious provider who tries to understand our quests,” he said.
Lebua, The Peninsula and the Oriental hotels are rated as five-star hotels in Bangkok by the independent agency Kiwi Collection.
Lebua took over management of the State Tower from Singapore’s Meritus chain in early 2006 and renamed in lebua.
Mr Ohri said the average daily rate rose from $65 under Meritus management to $150 currently. It will move up to $180 in 2008. The 198-suite hotel targets an average occupancy rate of 75% this year.
The hotel aims to be the best in Thailand in 2008, when its penthouses are available.
Mr Ohri said lebua targeted personal travel and tourism, particularly focusing on the 8.5 million dollar millionaires in the world who are looking to explore new destinations.
A report from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that the biggest demand in travel and tourism business in 2006 was personal travel, followed by business travel. The global travel and tourism industry in 2006 was expected to generate $6.477 billion of economic activity, 3.6% of total GDP, and 23.4 million jobs, or 8.7%of total employment.
The report said Thailand provided about 1.82 million tourism jobs, seventh highest in the world. The figure indicated that Thailand could potentially export tourism workers to other countries.
The council said rich people spend money on fine art, home improvement, yacht rentals, jewellery, luxury cars, villa and chalet rentals, hotels, resorts and spas.
Mr Ohri suggested an alliance between the government and private sector to attract more personal travel. The government may also build more museums to raise awareness on fine arts, or more harbours for yacht docking.
Referring to the investment in the North, Mr Ohri said each tented villa would have 1,100 sq m with a daily rate of $10,000, plus services and tax for the accommodation. Guests have to pay for meals at restaurants in the hotel or outside. The company has almost concluded talks on purchasing land.
He said lebua was committed only to Phase I of the project with construction to start in 2008. Chiang Rai was chosen because the province has sun and breezes, which matched the demands of many rich people around the globe. The company is also negotiating to buy a city hotel in London with about 150 rooms for at least US$80 million. The costs of refurbishment is separate. The hotel would also operate under the lebua brand.