TRAVELKoh Samui’s Coming Revival

Koh Samui’s Coming Revival

Adrian Pulido, the GM of the new Hyatt Regency Koh Samui, says the island is set to reemerge as one of Southeast Asia’s top destinations.

Adrian Pulido, the general manager of the recently opened Hyatt Regency Koh Samui, predicts a spectacular revival for Thailand’s legendary paradise island. Like other tourism destinations in Thailand, Koh Samui has been badly impacted by the global pandemic.

Things, though, are beginning to look up for the destination. Ongoing plans to reopen Samui to international visitors over the coming months are a positive indicator for the future. And the unveiling in early July of the Hyatt Regency Koh Samui — a design-forward luxury property on the north-eastern tip of the island — was a landmark debut.

Pulido is among those convinced that it’s merely a matter of time before Koh Samui reassumes its position as one of the star attractions for tourism in Southeast Asia.

Adrian Pulido, the general manager of the recently opened Hyatt Regency Koh Samui.

“Koh Samui is a very special destination,” he said. “It has been one of Asia’s most popular islands for decades now, yet it has never lost any of its charm. Visitors will find incredible beauty, fantastic food and outstanding hospitality. It’s all waiting here for them like it always has been.”

Pulido is equally bullish about the prospect of his resort being in the vanguard of this revival thanks to its broad appeal and myriad selling points. A collaboration between three of Thailand’s biggest hotel design names — Office of Bangkok Architecture, August Design and PLandscaping — the 140-room property occupies eight acres of private coastline in the far northeast corner of the paradise island.

As a Samui hotelier, how would you define the appeal of the island? Why Samui? Why now?

Samui’s appeal has not vanished overnight. Indeed, in some ways the pause has made the island better in that it has refreshed the environment and forced everyone to look at sustainable long-term solutions for tourism. It’s like it was in the 1970s. The sea is so clear, and the beaches are so clean. Samui has faced various challenges over the years, and now we have the pandemic. But the beauty of the island is a constant.

What sort of capacity are you expecting over the next few months?

Based on current trends leisure destinations will reactivate before cities. Therefore resorts that are able to provide a full spectrum experience may well be more successful as guests tend to stay on premises more than before. Families are our current main market and we envision the same for the upcoming months.

The main pool and children’s pool at Hyatt Regency Koh Samui.

Can your property offer the COVID testing that is required over the duration of a guest’s stay?

Yes, we are working on alternative options to assist our guests with this process in a way that they can still comply with the testing requirements through a seamless process.

The last 18 months have been incredibly tough for Thailand’s tourism industry. How has this affected Samui?

The global pandemic has impacted the hospitality industry badly and Samui as one of the major leisure destinations of Thailand has not been the exception. However, this has been an opportunity for resorts to re-imagine all of our product offerings and future guests will enjoy a re-invented destination with significant new players such as Hyatt Regency Koh Samui.

At the moment it looks like Thailand is pushing ahead with a full reopening in mid-October. How do you think this will affect the Samui Plus program? 

Any steps towards reopening can only be positive. Along with Phuket, Samui has been leading the way as Thailand gradually opens its doors to visitors again. We agree that there needs to be a degree of caution, but we welcome the willingness of the government to seek out ways of opening the country safely. People have been visiting Thailand year after year and they cannot wait any longer to return to their favourite destination. That’s great for us, because as a new resort there’s a lot of expectation from travellers who want to experience the newest Hyatt Regency in Thailand.

“Along with Phuket, Samui has been leading the way as Thailand gradually opens its doors to visitors again,” Pulido says.

Can you list some of the measures you’ve undertaken to ensure safety of your hotel guests while offering utmost comfort in line with the COVID restrictions?

The pandemic has been destructive, but it has also forced us to look at the bigger picture and get creative for the road ahead. Our housekeeping team has been retrained to meet enhanced standards of sanitization. We are making booking arrangements more flexible to mitigate the uncertainty of the travel situation.

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