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PHUKET, THAILAND-Conrad Hotels and parent company Hilton International have come to terms with Panwaburi Company Limited for the renovation and re-branding of the Panwaburi Resort & Spa on the island of Phuket in Thailand.

The Panwaburi Resort and Spa, located on the east side of Phuket, will undergo a $7-million, 12-month enhancement program before being re-flagged as the Conrad Phuket at Panwa Bay and positioned as an intimate beachside retreat, according to PCL Director Khun Methee Tanmanatragul.

Hilton International President Koos Klein, a board member of Conrad Hotels, says 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.

Conrad Hotels President Clem Barter says Thailand is one of the most significant and fastest growing business and leisure destinations in Asia and a priority in the company’s regional strategy to grow our city hotels and resorts portfolio. Combined with the opening of the Conrad Bangkok in January 2003, Barter says the Conrad Phuket will create the opportunity of a dual destination that offers “the buzz and excitement of Bangkok and a luxury beachside retreat at Panwa Bay.”

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

Barker adds that in addition to its international expansion the company is also adding hotels in the United States. Conrad recently re-branded the Waldorf Towers in New York and the Conrad Miami is due to open in January 2004. “Other projects in North America, Europe and the Middle East are currently under review,” says Barker.

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