The boutique Asia-based Akaryn hotel group offers a personalised hotel concept with tailor-made wellbeing programmes. We speak to the group’s founder and managing director Anchalika Kijkanakorn about the Akaryn philosophy and what its USP is in today’s crowded hospitality market
What first led to the creation of the Akaryn hotel group?
Akaryn was inspired by my own travels around the globe. Too often hotels make assumptions about what travellers are looking for or require. I’m passionate about meeting the individual needs and preferences of our guests, and this desire to change the hospitality industry’s approach to thinking about clients has been our motivation from the outset. It’s the ethos of each of our brands and hotels.
What would you say defines Akaryn and sets it apart from other hotel groups?
Akaryn was created with three different clearly identifiable brands that break away from the typical 5-star standard. Each was designed to answer the different personalities of travellers and really accommodate how they like to spend their time away from home.
Aleenta encapsulates the concept of barefoot luxury; offering comfort without pretention and evolving as our clients do. Akyra is dynamic and passionate, offering a contemporary and "out there" approach with an energy that permeates throughout a stay. Finally we created Akaryn a luxurious and discreet brand that offers discerning guests the perfect indulgent retreat.
Is there a common theme between the different brands and properties within the group, or do they all have their own identities?
The common theme is the concept of the boutique hotel, offering a recognisable level of luxury; we are proud members of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Each of the Aleenta properties offer spacious multi-bedroom villas with fantastic facilities and privacy for friends and family to spend time together. Our Akyra properties are always in great locations, slightly off the beaten tourist track, to offer a true understanding of a destination.
You opened three properties in 2016: The President by Akaryn, Akyra Beach Club Phuket and, most recently, Akyra Thonglor Bangkok. Could you tell us about this opening?
Akyra Thonglor Bangkok is our first Akyra in that city, located in the heart of Bangkok’s most vibrant and exciting neighbourhood. We are excited about this new addition to our portfolio.
How would you describe the philosophy behind Ayurah Wellness – the Akaryn group’s in-house wellbeing concept?
The concept is reflected in the four pillars of Ayurah Wellness: weight optimisation, anti-ageing, mind balance and detoxification. These crucial elements recognise that personal wellness is about nurturing body, mind and spirit, merging the best of Eastern and Western philosophies.
We have nutritionists, treatment specialists and personal trainers working under one roof and wellness retreats that are available for three, five or seven days. Each retreat is tailored to the guest’s preferences and goals, with the expertise of an onsite doctor.
To what extent are there differences in the Ayurah Wellness concept between the different properties?
The Ayurah Wellness Centre at Aleenta Phuket is very much focused on wellness that delivers visible results. We work with acclaimed facialist Linda Meredith and a series of high-tech and effective treatments, and retreats here are designed to leave guests feeling refreshed and invigorated.
At Aleenta Hua Hin, the focus is firmly on sustainable luxury, which also extends to the wellness offering. Using produce grown on the resort’s 25-acre farm, scrubs and lotions are ground freshly in front of guests and customised to their individual needs.
Our 360-degree approach to wellbeing includes a focus on sustainability and 87% of the food eaten during a stay here is grown at the resort. The farm has been designed to protect the natural world, running on solar energy and ground water to ensure there is no carbon footprint.
The soon-to-launch Ayurah Wellness Centre at The President by Akaryn (located in Laos capital Vientiane and scheduled to open in February) also offers extensive wellness programmes, further enhanced by carefully considered wellness cuisine prepared to meet individual dietary requirements and supported by fantastic Laos produce.
To what extent has the wellness offering at the different properties been tailored to their particular clientele?
It’s important to offer a different experience at each property, while keeping the core values and concept of Ayurah Wellness consistent, and the treatments and design of the spas are tailored to each guest profile.
For example, the Akyra Beach Club’s spa is minimalist in its approach, with a clean aesthetic that reflects the resort and its younger guests. Meanwhile, the spa at The President by Akaryn is refined and elegant, with a colonial design that reflects the design of the hotel itself.
Are there any particular Akaryn news for 2017 that you would like to share?
We’re excited to announce that in 2017 we’ll be launching a new contemporary wellness break at Aleenta Phuket and Akyra Beach Club Phuket with Patricia Thielemann, founder of the Spirit Yoga programme in Germany.
Patricia is a yoga master recognised globally for shaping an identity for modern yoga with Spirit Yoga.
Spirit Yoga transforms an ancient practice into a clear system through powerful and effective classes. It reflects the ethos of Ayurah Wellness, combining the best of traditional philosophies with cutting-edge new approaches.