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Laguna denies being “totally destroyed’

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Laguna denies being “totally destroyed’ | Thaiger

PHUKET: Laguna Phuket has issued a press statement denying reports broadcast globally on Cable News Network (CNN) that the resort was “totally destroyed” in the Boxing Day tsunami.

Laguna Phuket events and Press Relations Manager Michelle Payette told the Gazette, “Not only are we not gone, but we are operational. And we think we will be fully operational within four days.

“Anything right on the beach suffered damage, but as far as the rooms go we were so lucky compared with the havoc in other parts of the island. I can see the beach from here in my office, but we suffered no damage at all,” she said.

Sources told the Gazette that the damaging CNN report may have resulted from confusion by CNN journalists after hearing that the Khao Lak Laguna Resort in Phang Nga may have been badly damaged or even destroyed. This too, however, has not yet been confirmed.

The press statement, issued yesterday, reads:

“The five hotels of Laguna Phuket were spared the more serious damage reported from other areas of the island, as it was protected from a direct hit by the headland to its South. Nevertheless, a wave surge swept the beaches and inundated the ground floor rooms and some of the resort’s restaurants.

“Casualties were light and damage to property will be repaired as soon as possible. The beaches and lagoons will be cleared of debris and returned to full operation by tomorrow.

“The Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket now has only six rooms remaining out of order, and Laguna Beach Resort 14. The Dusit Laguna Resort suffered the worst and is working to repair 30 beachfront rooms that were flooded

Pamuke Achariyachai, Managing Director of Kata Group of Hotel and Resorts, told the Gazette that the chain’s three hotels suffered total damages of about 25 million baht.

The Karon Beach Resort, at the southern end of Karon Beach, was the worst hit. He estimated damage to its 24 first-floor guest rooms at 15 million baht. Damage to eight guest rooms at The Kata Beach Resort was estimated at 10 million baht. The chain’s third property, the 525-room Phuket Orchid Resort on Karon Beach, was largely unaffected.

“Right now we are rushing to clean up, restore electricity and return to normal.

We still have guests staying in all three hotels, but we no longer expect to get our normal 100% occupancy rate over the New Year holiday. I believe it will be about 70-80%. Most of the guests realize that the tsunami was a natural disaster [and are staying on],” he said.

“We have about 80% occupancy for all three hotels. The Orchid Resort is still full to capacity, with many Scandinavian guests moving to stay here from Khao Lak. Some of them will stay here over the New Year,” he added.

K, Pamuke added that this morning at Kata beach he started to see many tourists swimming, even as the clean-up operations began along the coast.

Sombat Atiset, Chief Executive Officer of the Katathani Thani Resort & Spa on Kata Noi Beach, said,70 first-floor rooms on the hotel’s total 400 rooms were damaged. He estimated the damages at 30 million baht and said repair work and clean-up work would take about a week to complete.

“We had 100% occupancy before the disaster, but now it is about 60%. We are trying to get the situation back to normal. None of the hotel guests have been reported as lost or missing, and many have already left for the airport to return home,” he said, adding that many customers had had difficulty leaving because flights of the island have been fully booked.

Other hotels and tourism-related business are invited to report damage they suffered for updates on this website to info@phuketgazette.net. Digital pictures are also welcome.

 

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