A New Conrad in Phuket for 2004

Conrad Hotels announced today an agreement with one of its parent companies, Hilton International, and Panwaburi Company Limited (PCL) to open the new luxurious Conrad Phuket at Panwa Bay (currently operating as the Panwaburi Resort & Spa).

Speaking at a press conference held at the Conrad Bangkok, PCL Director Khun Methee Tanmanatragul said that his company was excited at the prospect of working closely with the well-known operator of the luxury Conrad Hotels brand. “With its strong global sales and marketing network, Conrad will bring to this partnership an ability to efficiently promote, sell and manage our Panwa Bay property. We believe our co-operation with Conrad will give us a very strong position within Thailand`s luxury resort segment,” he said.

Koos Klein, Hilton International President, Middle East/Asia Pacific, and board member of Conrad Hotels, said that this first hotel project with PCL is in line with the group`s strategy to establish luxury resorts and business hotels in all major destinations around the world. It is the second Asian Conrad Resort and Spa property announced to open in 2004, after Bali, he noted.

Clem Barter, President of Conrad Hotels, added: “Thailand is one of the most significant and fastest growing business and leisure destinations in Asia and a priority in our regional strategy to grow our city hotels and resorts portfolio. I have no doubt that the Panwaburi Resort, due to be re-branded in 2004 as the Conrad Phuket at Panwa Bay, will become a leading hotel in the luxury segment of the market.”

According to Barter, the opening of a second Conrad hotel in Thailand, after the successful opening of the Conrad Bangkok in January 2003, will create the opportunity of a dual destination that offers the buzz and excitement of Bangkok and a luxury beachside retreat at Panwa Bay.

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“Besides Asia, Conrad`s expansion continues in other continents. Today, we are also announcing further developments in the United States. After the successful re-branding of the Waldorf Towers in New York, the Conrad Miami is due to open in January 2004. Other projects in North America, Europe and the Middle East are currently under review,” he commented.

The Panwaburi Resort and Spa, located on the east side of Phuket, will undergo a 12-month enhancement program before being reflagged as the Conrad Phuket at Panwa Bay and positioned as an intimate beachside retreat.

“Over the next 12 months we will invest more than $7 million to upgrade the property to the renowned Conrad standards,” Methee said.

Enhancements include the construction of 31 luxury villas, each with a private plunge pool; upgrades to the existing 79 rooms; and the development of a large infinity-edge swimming pool three times the size of the existing pool and offering sweeping ocean views. Other changes will include the construction of five retail outlets and a 100-seat restaurant, offering island and ocean views.

Throughout the renovation process, the property will continue to operate as the Panwaburi Resort and Spa.

With 15 award-winning luxury hotels already strategically located in capital cities and exotic resorts in Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and the Middle East/Africa, Conrad offers outstanding service for both business and leisure travellers. The hotels provide the finest accommodation, excellent restaurants, fully equipped health clubs and sophisticated conference and meetings facilities. Conrad guests also benefit from Hilton`s worldwide reservation system and its highly acclaimed guest loyalty program, Hilton HHonors(R).

Conrad Hotels is a joint venture owned equally by Hilton International and Hilton Hotels Corporation. Hilton International (HI), an operating division of the U.K.-based Hilton Group plc, owns the rights to the Hilton brand name throughout the world, with the exception of North America. HI operates over 400 hotels, representing the Hilton, Scandic and Conrad brands. Hilton Hotels Corporation manages and develops 2,084 hotels, resorts and timeshare properties and represents a wide range of brands in North and Central America. These include: Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Conrad.

A marketing alliance between Hilton International and the North America-based Hilton Hotels Corporation extends the number of hotels of both companies worldwide to 2,484.

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