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Asoke-Ratchadaphisek in focus

Interest grows in developing area as new hub for properties, spot for budget tourists

Bangkok's Asoke-Ratchadaphisek corridor appears to be the new area of focus for commercial and residential property as well as emerging as a centre of tourism-related activities, especially geared for budget international travellers, said Risinee Sarikaputra, director and head of research and consultancy at Knight Frank Chartered (Thailand) Co.

According to Knight Frank research, the area currently boasts about 6,854 rooms in 36 hotels that fall into the three-star category. A record 637 rooms were added to the supply in 2007. This area started to be popular in 2004, with the opening of the MRT Dark Blue Line subway route, which greatly increased travel convenience.

In the near future, it is estimated that there will be around 324 rooms added to the three-star-hotel supply of Asoke-Ratchadaphisek and its vicinity.

Most three-star hotel rooms in the area have been concentrated on Ratchadaphisek Road, with about 3,900 rooms, representing about 57 per cent of the total supply. This is followed by the Phetchaburi and Rama IX areas, representing 19 and 17 per cent respectively.

In Asoke-Ratchadaphisek, the majority of three-star hotel offer an average daily rate (ADR) in the range of Bt1,500-Bt1,999, representing about 42 per cent of the total hotels. This is followed by properties in the ADR range of Bt2,000-Bt2,499 per night, representing about 29 per cent.

The demand for three-star hotels in Asoke-Ratchadaphisek is mainly from Asian and Russian tourists looking for good value for money. There appears to be substantial room to grow in this hotel segment, as the numbers of Asian travellers is on the rise and they increasingly demand this type of hotel. Asians typically prefer to save money on hotels in Bangkok so they have a lot of their budget left to spend on food and shopping.

The growth of low-cost airlines in Asia is also spurring the arrivals of Asian tourists.

Demand for three-star hotels also encompasses business travellers who come to Bangkok for work and stay for a short period of around three to four days.

Some have called Ratchada-Lat Phrao Road the emerging financial hub because of the development of the AIA Capital Centre, a 35-storey commercial office, and Stock Exchange of Thailand offices. Ratchadaphisek Road is also along the MRT line, which links to the inner roads of Phetchaburi and Sukhumvit.

Grand Rama 9 Square, consisting of eight office buildings, eight residential condominium towers, a convention hall, upscale shopping mall, retail plaza, serviced apartment and five-star hotel, is another mega-project in this area that will boost activity and create a number of local jobs.

The highest demand is for rooms with an ADR of Bt1,501-Bt1,999, with about 1,892 of the 2,882 rooms occupied, representing an occupancy rate of 69.3 per cent. This is followed by rooms with an ADR of Bt2,000-Bt2,499, with about 1,375 rooms occupied.

The researchers found that most hotels with an ADR range from Bt1,500 to Bt1,999 were located in Ratchadaphisek, followed by the Rama IX area.


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