The award-winning Thai-based 137 Pillars House brand is launching its second property in Bangkok, Thailand, with more properties in other parts of Thailand in the pipeline. Read an exclusive interview with the brand's COO.
137 Pillars House Chiang Mai opened in 2012. The award-winning boutique hotel has 30 suites.
It is housed in the former Northern Headquarters of the Borneo Trading Company. The imposing dark wood structure was built 125 years ago.
A boutique hotel is the most literal sense of the word, the property has three food and beverage outlets. Palette is a fine-dining restaurant serving gourmet cuisine. It is open for dinner.
The Dining Room serves Lanna and Thai cuisine. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Jack Bain’s Bar serves signature cocktails and bar bites in rustic surroundings. Afternoon tea is served inside the house and in the garden.
The hotel has a full service spa, a gym, and an outdoor swimming pool set in a beautifully landscaped garden.
The brand’s second property, 137 Pillars Suites and Residences Bangkok, opens on 15 February 2017 in the heart of the Thai capital.
The property has 179 private residences. A 34-suite hotel will open on 2 April.
The hotel has three food and beverage outlets. The Bangkok Trading Post is a deli-cum-bistro, offering Western and Asian dishes, including regional Thai cuisine. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Nimitr serves avant-garde Thai cuisine with a molecular touch. It is open for lunch and dinner. Located on a top floor, Jack Bain’s Bar and Cigar Divan offers breathtaking views of the Thai capital.
There is a full-service spa with excellent facilities and a full menu of spa treatments. There is also a well-equipped fitness centre with yoga and meditation studios. And would you believe, a cobalt blue London cab?
Phuket is Thailand's premier holiday island, so it was a logical choice for the brand's third property, and its first beach-front resort.
137 Pillars Estate Phuket is scheduled to open in Phuket in early 2019. It will be located on the Northern peninsula of Kata Beach. There will be 16 sunset-facing pool villas and 51 pool suites.
The brand is clearly on a roll. Could more properties be on the way?
Polo Puissance Cup
Three teams with five players each took part in the first ever 137 Pillars Hotels and Resorts Polo Puissance Cup at the Polo Escape Polo Club in Chonburi, Pattaya, Thailand, from 28 to 29 January 2017.
The exhilarating equestrian event was the first in what will be a series of events on the Polo Calendar, which runs from October through to April each year.
Polo Escape, Maple Leaf, and Kuppa-Constant Energy battled it out, with Maple Leaf taking away the trophy.
"137 Pillars Hotels and Resorts partnership with Polo Escape Polo Club shares a perfect synergy as our client focus is the same – luxury and lifestyle,” says Christopher Stafford, Chief Operating Officer of 137 Pillars Hotels and Resorts and a lifelong Polo player and enthusiast.
“By supporting the 137 Pillars Polo Puissance Cup, we intend to build a relationship with International Polo.”
Polo is played by both men and women around the world.
“The synergy of this ‘high society sport’ matches our ambition to collaborate with others in the luxury goods and services market which can mutually enhance our respective business growth and offer our clients unique and memorable experiences,” Christopher says.
Asian Food Festival
137 Pillars House will hold its third annual Asian Food Festival from 10 to 12 March 2017.
Talented Thai chefs will prepare mouth-watering dishes using locally grown organic ingredients during the three-day event.
Activities will include a Master Organic Chefs Challenge, elegant cocktail and dinner parties, farmer’s markets, and a visit to the Royal Project.
There will also be holistic wellness components and organic spa cuisine.
Interview with Christopher E. Stafford, Chief Operating Officer
Christopher E. Stafford (CS) is Chief Operating Officer of 137 Pillars Hotels and Resorts.
I interviewed Christopher by email. Excerpts of our interview follow.
Accidental Travel Writer (ATWHK): Please brief me on background of the 137 Pillars Hotels and Resorts brand.
CS: “We entered the market with our first property 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai on 23 December 2011 with 30 suites surrounding the historic 128 year old Baan Borneo in Chiang Mai. This project has attained # 1 standing in Chiang Mai after five years in operation.
ATHK: Very impressive! What happened next?
CS: “In 2008, the owners of the group decided to develop their second hotel, the luxury 137 Pillars Suites and Residences, located on Soi 39 Sukhumvit in Bangkok. It combines a luxury 34 suite hotel with 179 residences and full service facilities.”
ATWHK: Do you have any more projects in the pipeline?
CS: “At the moment, we are developing 15 luxury villas and 51 suites for the 137 Pillars Estate on the northern peninsula of Kata Beach Phuket. It will open in July 2019.
“Our plans for expansion include a further 120 key lifestyle and wellness resort in Phang Nga followed by a project in Hua Hin of approximately 100 keys in late 2020.”
ATWHK: Thailand’s revered monarch passed away in October. How was business for the first nine months of the year (before he passed away)?
CS: “The impact was felt appreciably in October and early November - high season bookings are returning and the peak season is selling well. We are hopeful that Thailand's great product will rebound well into the new year.”
ATWHK: What was the immediate impact on the tourism industry following the monarch’s death?
CS: “The impact was felt as mentioned in late October early November. Recovery is on track since then.”
ATWHK: How much of an impact will the king’s passing have on the tourism industry in general and hotels in particular in 2017?
CS: “Thailand is a very mature tourism market and the future is very bright. I am very optimistic that the resilience and strength of the Thai people will see tourism continue to grow beyond current levels.”
ATWHK: Will your property (or properties) do anything differently because of the king’s passing?
CS: “We will maintain a diversity to our marketing with strategic efforts in many markets. In the off season, we see regional markets doing well particularly China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Singapore.
“In the peak season, we are very focused on the expansion of our US and European markets. Australia/New Zealand have some limited potential as well. For Chiang Mai, we will introduce the Middle East as a new market due direct air links being established to Chiang Mai by Qatar Airways.”
ATWHK: Can you say something about demographics? What is your market breakdown (domestic and key foreign markets) and what markets do you think have the most potential for future development?
CS: “Key areas for Bangkok are Japan, the USA, and regional hubs with some European and Middle Eastern traffic.
“Our Bangkok hotel is located in the heart of the heavily Japanese populated area of Thonglor. For Chiang Mai, we are focused on key markets: the USA, Thailand, and China.
“However, that said, we are very focused on not letting any one market dominate our capacity so we are spreading it as evenly as we can and keeping clear that we are only after top tier markets of US$300+ per night average spends.
137 Pillars Suites and Residences Bangkok, 59/1 Sukhumvit Road, Soi 39, Bangkok, Thailand. Telephone: +66 (0) 079 7000. Check out current room rates here: 137 Pillars Bangkok/TripAdvisor
137 Pillars House Chiang Mai, 2 Soi 1, Nawatgate Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Telephone: +66 (0) 53 247788. Check out current room rates here: 137 Pillars Chiang Mai/TripAdvisor