Aonang Princeville Villa Resort and Spa Demonstrating Its Commitment to Health and Safety through GBAC STAR/GHA Accreditation

One of Thailand’s most luxurious and wellness-focused tourist sites, Aonang Princeville Villa Resort was recently accredited by the joint GBAC STAR/GHA Accreditation, demonstrating its readiness to meet the global wellness and medical travel demands of the new normal.

In this interview with Wellness Tourism, the official wellness tourism website for Global Healthcare Resources, Ms. Kusuma Kinglek, Chief Executive Officer of Aonang Princeville Villa Resort and Spa highlights the current consumer demands for wellness and medical travel and how the GBAC STAR/GHA accreditation sets it apart as a global leader in the industry.

Tell us a little about Aonang Princeville Villa Resort and Spa

Aonang Princeville Villa Resort & Spa is a 4-star elegant boutique resort perfectly positioned on the beachfront of vibrant Aonang. We offer individuals, couples, families, and even corporate organizations an exotic and comfortable getaway in a warm and friendly ambiance. We are driven by the desire to meet people’s wellness and relaxation needs all year round. 

What does well-being mean for your hotel and for your guests?

Well-being is a valuable experience for our esteemed guests and staff, which is one key reason our guests come here and our employees choose to work here. Well-being is strongly linked to happiness and overall satisfaction. Aonang Princeville Villa Resort & Spa aims to provide services that meet the wellness needs of our clients, and our services focus on five key wellness concepts: senses, smile, smart, sleep, and sustainability.

What makes your hotel a wellness hotel? What makes it special?

Wellness is an imperative part of the Aonang resort’s design process. The majority of our current hospitality projects embrace wellness as an important component of the overall guest experience. We do provide special products and packages for in-house guests, including wellness activities like cycling, yoga, and food wellness services such as molecular gastronomy and the promotion of Thai local organic food.

What makes your hotel a medical tourism hotel?

The resort has developed facilities designed with the health and well-being of our guests in mind. For instance, our Duplex Suite Medical Care room consists of three bedrooms with sensor lighting around the bed, and bathrooms that have intercoms in cases of emergency. Our services also include access to doctors on call 24 hours in JCI-accredited Hospitals as well as in-house Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) devices.

What wellness packages or wellness activities do you have available for guests?

We are dedicated to offering treatments and services that genuinely enhance your body, mind, and spirit and that allow you to leave inspired to continue the healthy living journey at home. Some of these wellness packages include a spa retreat program, a food therapy package, traditional Thai cooking classes, and a holistic wellness package.

What is the current COVID-19 situation in Thailand and specifically Krabi? Are you currently receiving tourists?

Yes, we are currently receiving tourists post-Covid-19. We do provide the special package Krabi Sandbox for fully vaccinated travelers and Test & Go option for travelers from anywhere in the world. Nonetheless, in response to the current COVID-19 situation in Thailand and Krabi, Aonang Princeville Villa Resort & Spa ensures strict compliance with COVID-19 laws and recommendations.

We are pleased to announce that 100% of our staff have already achieved full vaccination status against COVID-19 in line with Krabi's SHA EXTRA Plus Certification. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) recently certified that Thailand's SHA certification fully complies with the WTTC Safe Travels protocols.

The resort continues to maintain precautionary and sanitization standards across the entire property in line with the standards provided. We have set in place high hygiene measures, touchless payment and check-in systems, supervised play areas, increased housekeeping, and also prepared our staff adequately for post-COVID-19 customer expectations.

Have you seen guest expectations changing during the pandemic? If so, how?

Before the pandemic, guests had the usual expectations of quality and a great hotel experience. Now, they want to see that a hotel has gone the extra mile to safeguard their health and safety. We are GBAC Star-certified and SHA (Thailand Safety & Health Administration) Extra Plus-certified, showing our potential clients our commitment to their health and safety.

Why is GHA WellHotel important for your hotel?

GHA WellHotel is a standard that indicates international quality in regard to health, medical needs, safety, and overall experience. Aonang Princeville Villa Resort & Spa is now the only resort in Thailand to be certified by the GHA. Moreover, WellHotel Accreditation is a well-known metric and distinguishing tool in the highly competitive post-COVID tourism market.

As a GHA WellHotel-accredited facility, we also empower communities to ensure they grow with us through various activities, such as handicrafts and skill acquisition. For the environment, being GHA WellHotel-accredited also means that we prioritize environmental sustainability with initiatives such as our zero waste management program and projects to ensure that products used in the resort are eco-friendly.

Why did you decide to seek GBAC STAR/GHA WellHotel Accreditation? What value does it provide to your hotel and to your guests?

One of the key reasons for obtaining this accreditation was to scale up our operation to meet global standards not only for the wellness seeker but also for the medical traveler, who seeks a hotel that provides a guest experience and supports swift recovery.

GBAC STAR/GHA WellHotel® for Medical Travel offers our guests assurance and peace of mind that our organization complies with industry-wide cleaning and sanitation standards and meets the unique expectations and needs of a medical traveler and wellness seeker. 

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ (GBAC) helps organizations and businesses prepare for, respond to, and recover from biological threats, biohazard situations, and real-time crises, another key value to us as a well-being facility. They offer education, training, certification, response management, and crisis consulting for situations where the environment requires a much higher level of cleaning, disinfection, and restoration.

Would you recommend the GBAC STAR/GHA WellHotel Accreditation to other hotels? If so, why?

Certainly, we do recommend GBAC STAR/GHA WellHotel to other hotels because being accredited for compliance with global best practices will build confidence and trust among tourists and drive growth in the industry as it recovers from the ruins of the pandemic.

It is clear that Aonang Princeville Villa Resort and Spa prioritizes the health and well-being of its guests with this move, are there similar initiatives or programs that prioritize employee health and well-being?

Yes, for our employees, we offer healthy meetings, such as walking meetings, wellness tournaments, mindfulness exercises, food wellness through our healthy canteen and organic food varieties, and workshops and training that promote healthy living.

Has the GBAC STAR/GHA WellHotel Accreditation benefited the health and well-being of your employees? If so, how?

Very well, The GBAC STAR & WellHotel provide staff with education and training on infection prevention and emergency preparedness for biohazard situations like the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19). Our staff has also made personal health and behavioral changes in line with some of the components of the accreditation.

Do you offer health and wellness packages for corporate clients? If so, please provide any details and benefits they provide.

Yes, we provide a corporate wellness experience through CBT, wellness activities, including yoga and cooking classes, low carbon travel & tourism, and other wellness packages.

On your website, it says you offer an Office Syndrome program. Tell us a little about this and what the guest experience is like.

Office syndrome constitutes the symptoms and signs associated with work, including musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain and neck stiffness. Office syndrome programs at our resorts include Teleconsult services, Teg traditional retreat, and hot compress massage with a hot compress pad made from a wild herb harvested from the mangrove forest.

Should corporate travelers stay at hotels that have received WellHotel Accreditation versus non-accredited hotels and if so why?

Absolutely, the resort with WellHotel Certification is safe and meets the guest's unique needs regarding health and safety. GHA WellHotel Accreditation also provides an assurance to clients and external validation that the proper safety programs and protocols are in place to mitigate health risks and enhance the guest experience.

How important is building guest trust in your hotel?

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak and global restrictions, the ‘new normal’ has seen a big shift in guest behaviors and priorities. The resort will need to be able to reassure guests that they can feel safe and secure and trust any new Duty of Care policies.

The GHAC STAR WellHotel Accreditation has pushed our facilities to adhere to and publish new standards of cleanliness. It has also led us to designate a Public Safety team to manage new public health recommendations and Duty of Care guidelines. Further, the accreditation also offers a health and safety training program that helps staff demonstrate and reflect these standards.