Man About Town: 27 Apr 2012

Man About Town: 27 Apr 2012

Alila and Sothea split

The troubled management history of Siem Reap’s Khmer-owned luxury boutique resort the Sothea Hotel, opened in February 2009, continues with its relatively recent management partnership with the Alila group biting the dust.

In February 2011 it was announced that Alila Hotels & Resorts, which manages boutique hotels and resorts in the Asia Pacific region, was to make its debut in Cambodia, taking over management of The Sothea in Siem Reap, which would be rebranded as Alila Sothea.

But now, little over a year later, the deal is off.

Alila, on its website, now announces, “It is with much regret that Alila Sothea Siem Reap Cambodia will cease to be an Alila-managed hotel as of Sunday, 01 April 2012. It will revert to a local management team and rebranded as The Sothea.”

Guy Heywood, chief operating officer of Alila commented, "The agreement to end the contract follows irreconcilable differences over management issues. Alila Sothea was beginning to be a true success story under Alila management and was gaining much support from the travel trade. We deeply appreciate & thank our travel partners and do apologise to guests booked to stay at The Sothea after 1st April.”

The ‘legend ‘of the hotel is that it’s a love story, given as a gift by the owner to his wife, Madam Sothea.

But according to local chit chat, management of the hotel is far from a love story with the family very much hands on, and at one stage apparently the owner’s daughter was nominally the manager.

More accolades for Soria Moria

Kristin Holdo Hansen, sustainability advisor of the Soria Moria Boutique Hotel social enterprise happily advises that the unusual hotel as won another accolade.

Earlier this month in Japan it was named as a Runner Up for the 2012 Tourism For Tomorrow Community Benefit Award.

The 2012 Awards ceremony took place at the opening session of the Global Summit in Tokyo, and the opening speech was made by the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

According to the spiel, “The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are one of the world's highest accolades in the Travel & Tourism industry. They are aimed at highlighting prime examples of best practice in sustainable tourism in front of a global audience of leading players from the industry, governments and media.”

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