New Akyra Manor Brings Cool Change to Chiang Mai, Heralds Bold Partnership between Hospitality and Design Visionaries

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Award-winning AHMS Hotels is set to expand its hip akyra brand in the heart of Chiang Mai's most buzz-worthy boulevard, Nimmanhaemin, in the third quarter of next year with the launch of akyra Manor Chiang Mai.

Award-winning AHMS Hotels is set to expand its hip akyra brand in the heart of Chiang Mai's most buzz-worthy boulevard, Nimmanhaemin, in the third quarter of next year with the launch of akyra Manor Chiang Mai.

Boutique hotel pioneer AKARYN Hospitality Management Services (AHMS) has partnered with Singapore's renowned Manor Design Studio to bring an innovative and thoughtful approach to the first expansion of the akyra brand, successfully created almost two years ago at the akyra Chura Samui on the white sands of Chaweng Beach.

AHMS founder and owner Anchalika Kijkanakorn, also the Chairman of Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), said she was thrilled to be creating a hotel with Manor Design Studio and looks forward to developing the creative partnership AHMS had forged with the Singaporean design mavericks.

Chaw Chih Wen, Manor Studio's Design Director and creative driving force, is the acknowledged master of creating living spaces as blank canvases that invite interaction from their inhabitants, and has been widely awarded for his work.

The former protege of Cesar Pelli Architects in New York has had his work selected for exhibitions such as La Triennale di Milano (2007), the 6th International Conference in Tokyo, Japan (2006), and Tokyo Designers Week (2010). He is also the 2012 A'Design Award winner for Interior Space and Exhibition Design.

Ms Kijkanakorn said the resort will be 'modern, warm, welcoming and stylish', located in Soi 9 Nimmanhaemin Road, one of the most hip streets in Chiang Mai. "It's restaurant will be the place to be seen in downtown Chiangmai, with a state-of-the-art show kitchen and an amazing line-up of cuisine," she said.

"We'll have a small executive meeting room catering for high end meetings and more. The hotel will also have Thailand's first organic rooftop nursery (think NYC rooftop gardens) and a SLOW Food concept, which means we grow most of our own ingredients.

"It will also have a very cool bar by the pool which will become the place in Chiang Mai to meet for drinks."

The partnership between AHMS and Manor Design Studio follows last month's announcement that AHMS is to open the AKARYN Koh Krabeay Retreat & Spa on its own island in Cambodia in 2015, with sustainability and environmental preservation its watchwords and featuring 40 exquisite and very spacious pool villas and a destination holistic and medical spa.

Ms Kijkanakorn said akyra Manor Chiang Mai was a passion project from the heart, as the northern capital was one of her most loved getaways.

"Chiang Mai has been one of my personal favourites, a place where I go to getaway with friends and family. It's somewhere I've visited again and again," Ms Kijkanakorn said. "Nimmanhaemin is a hip and happening precinct that is quickly growing in fame beyond the gates of Chiang Mai. We want to tap into that, but also give the area another great point of interest in terms of wow architecture and hospitality and hopefully even raise the bar a bit in terms of what Chiang Mai offers in guest experiences."

akyra Manor Chiang Mai will feature 29 Suites and Residences over seven floors, less than a kilometre from the town's main tourist area, with a striking pool as an oasis in the centre of Chiang Mai.

"Soi 9 is known as 'coffee street' and is popular with locals and visitors and is a draw for Thai tourists at weekends," Ms Kijkanakorn said. "akyra will be a 300m walk from the junction of Huay Kaew Road and 500 metres from Suthep Road.

"In terms of target market, we are looking at savvy corporate travellers and friends and families from Thailand and around the world who appreciate a hotel with a difference. It's about bringing a bit of Bangkok 'wow' and cutting-edge Singaporean design flair to the 'Rose of the North' while respecting her traditions.

"In Chiang Mai, the rooms are big enough for families and even long-stay businesspeople, but the vibe is very warm. A true home-away-from-home experience is what we aim to deliver. At all AHMS properties, returning guests are what we are known for. At akyra Manor, there are adjoining rooms and suites set up, so there is plenty of space to stay longer or keep coming back. Each room is over 100sqm, with private balconies, outdoor gardens and a romantic outdoor tub."

Ms Kijkanakorn said the hotel would also be an active patron of the arts, building on the connections and creativity of Manor Studio and Chaw Chih Wen, with the lobby and guest rooms functioning as a 'living gallery,' with works also available for purchase by guests.

Founded in 2003, the award-winning hotel group currently operates four resorts in Thailand - two in Koh Samui (http://www.akaryn.com and http://www.theakyra.com), and one each in Phuket (http://www.aleenta.com/phuket) and Hua Hin (http://www.aleenta.com/huahin). All are boutique in size and located on secret beach locations, and offer more than resorts but authentic destination experiences.

Through its Pure Blue Foundation, each of the collection's resorts works in marine conservation and community action projects to benefit their destinations, from saving endangered marine turtles in Phang Nga to aiding regeneration of reefs and organic farming, and most importantly, educating the next generation on the fragility of ecosystems and how to help preserve them.

MMs Kijkanakorn said Manor Design Studio also valued giving back to the community, and in Chiang Mai, the efforts of the Pure Blue Foundation would focus on training of impoverished migrants in skills that would help them secure employment. "Manor Group and AHMS have plans to join forces to work together to expand our collection of design hotels with good causes in Thailand and neighbouring countries. akyra Manor Chiang Mai is the first in this series," she said.

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Walter Santos Navarro

Walter Santos Navarro
Aleenta Hua Hin - Pranburi
since: 01/2009
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