Managing Director, Akaryn Hospitality Management Services
As the owner, operator and founding visionary behind The AHMS Collection of boutique beachfront resorts, Anchalika Kijkanakorn continues to set standards, raise bars and remain at the vanguard of this fiercely contested sector with new innovations in ‘barefoot luxury’ and sustainable hospitality. Ms Kijkanakorn, known as Thailand’s ‘queen of boutique resorts’ in some circles since pioneering the category with the opening of Aleenta Resort and Spa Hua Hin-Pranburi, takes pride in being a dreamer and a ‘doer’ as her award-winning group now encompasses four resorts, with others planned for Bhutan and possibly Cambodia in 2013 and beyond.
In 2012, Akaryn Hospitality Management Services (AHMS) effectively doubled its portfolio, adding AKARYN Samui Resort and Spa and akyra Chura Samui to The AHMS Collection, while bringing Anchalika’s unique outlook towards resort management in Asia to a wider audience. The AHMS Collection also added to its already impressive collection of prestigious international hospitality accolades with key awards for each of its five star resorts bestowed between October and November 2012.
AKARYN Samui picked up Best New Luxury Hotel at the 2012 World Luxury Hotel Awards, as well as making it onto DestinAsian magazine’s coveted Luxe List less than a year after welcoming its first guests. Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi received the Best Luxury Coastal Resort accolade from the World Luxury Hotel Awards, while Aleenta Resort and Spa Phuket-Phang Nga was named the world’s Best Small Hotel at the International Hotel Awards in London. This award-winning form in part can be traced back to Anchalika’s distinguished academic and business management careers in the United States and Europe, which instilled the financial expertise which accompanies her intuitive approach to hospitality.
Anchalika’s gift for launching and developing companies and dynamic business acumen stems from both her international education - she holds a BA in Marketing from University of Texas and an MBA in International Business from the University of South Carolina – and from her diverse career. Anchalaika’s passion for Asia and specifically Thailand saw her return home to Thailand in 2003 to transform a family beachfront holiday villa into the award-winning Aleenta Resort and Spa Hua Hin-Pranburi, opening in 2005. The resort was quickly recognised for its superb individualism and style and was voted one of the world’s best resorts by legendary Conde Nast Traveler US magazine during its first year of operations. Enthused by her success and encouraged by her peers to further expand the Aleenta concept, Anchalika launched the Aleenta Resort and Spa Phuket-Phang Nga on pristine Natai Beach in 2006, which was voted into the top 10 A List by Luxury Travel magazine.
This was followed by the launch of two sister brands under the AHMS umbrella – akyra and AKARYN. Both of these brands graced their first resorts on the idyllic island resort of Koh Samui – akyra Chura Samui opened in June 2011 and AKARYN Samui welcomed its first guest in 2012. The busy mother of two young children has however found time to launch the Pure Blue Foundation - a charity close to her heart - dedicated to rebuilding damaged reef ecosystems in Koh Samui’s Hanuman Bay while performing invaluable work with endangered marine turtles in Phuket’s Phang Nga area. These initiatives follow her proclamation that the natural environment will be safeguarded wherever AHMS resorts are built or operated. Anchalika speaks fluent Thai, English, conversational French and basic Cantonese. This linguistic knowledge has undoubtedly contributed to her election for her second term onto the board of directors of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, a prestigious international organisation with membership spanning over 400 privately owned luxury hotels across the world.