YOU are now in Thistle country, says the sign as you approach what is the first Asian hotel outside Britain for the Thistle group.
That alone is enough to pique the interest of curious travellers looking for a more luxurious brand of rest and relaxation just an hour’s drive south of Kuala Lumpur.
Located within a sprawling 36ha seafront site, Thistle Port Dickson was recently unveiled after a RM20mil facelift.
Formerly known as Guoman, the property, managed by Hong Leong Group subsidiary Thistle Hotels, is set to raise the bar among resort hotels in Port Dickson with its high standards of hospitality.
Poised to make a difference in the local hotel industry, the hotel offered something unique for all its guests, GuocoLand Malaysia managing director Paul Poh said.
“We are making a significant investment in the industry and will not waste this opportunity on a cookie-cutter approach to hotel management.
“Our resort provides the best of Asian hospitality coupled with the experience Thistle UK brings,” he said after the resort’s official launch by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen recently.
Describing the hotel as premium high-end, Poh said Thistle PD would also benefit from the many other tourism attractions in one of the oldest beach resorts in the country.
“The Thistle Group will also invest heavily in driving incoming tourists to the area through various promotional activities and partnerships with the European travel trade.
“We are also in talks with two airlines to bring more inbound tourists to Thistle PD. Since we are located so close to KL and the KLIA, we must grab the opportunity to attract more tourists, particularly those from the Middle East and Europe,” he said.
Poh revealed the company would rehabilitate certain rocky sections of Thistle PD’s beachfront. This, he said, would be carried out after Hari Raya.
“We will need to bring in sand for the purpose. The area is quite rocky and we wish to create more sandbacks where sailing, canoeing, snorkelling and wind-surfing activities could be carried out,” he said, stressing that this would be completed within four months.
Taking a look around the property, one cannot help but agree with Poh when he suggests that the resort hotel is not quite like others in the area.
“We are thrilled to offer one venue with so many options. Our beach location and lush green backdrop are an ideal spot for a wide range of activities, from water sports to other recreational activities such as SWAT camp training or the eco-park trail,” Poh said, adding that Thistle PD had been given a “soft” five-star rating by the authorities.
Thistle PD general manager Dean Rossilli said the resort was also an excellent MICE venue, with boardrooms and conference space available year-round.
“We are situated along one of the best stretches of beach and almost all our rooms offer a breathtaking view of the Straits of Malacca. It’s the perfect spot for business or leisure.
“Port Dickson’s geographical positioning, facilities and accessibility make it a perfect destination for just about anything you have in mind,” he said.
Rossilli brings with him a wealth of experience, having served in and managed hotels in his native Australia, England, Scotland and the United States.
The 251-room resort hotel has extensive facilities, including a spacious ballroom, nine function rooms, three restaurants, three outdoor swimming pools, a fitness centre and health spa, and a breathtaking view of the straits, making it an ideal retreat for jaded travellers in need of some pampering.
You know you are in for a treat the minute you walk into the hotel’s lobby, with its high ceilings, unimposing decor and the sea breeze that greets you – a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle.
Take a breather and step into the aptly named lobby lounge Steps, which lets visitors bask in the luxury of panoramic view of the ocean.
Positioned for the high-end market, the resort also sets itself apart by offering classy dining options.
Patrons have a variety of options at the hotel, which include Fresh, a contemporary-style restaurant offering a daily international buffet spread; Chinoise, an outlet showcasing Oriental cuisine, and Glass, which boasts a sophisticated dining experience and an impressive wine list.
For drinks and snacks with a view, head to Cumulus, the perfect chill spot with its infinity pool deck, ocean in the horizon and entertainment provided by a resident deejay and live bands.
Cumulus also offers three VIP rooms for private parties.
Visitors can choose from its deluxe and premium rooms and suites with rates between RM368++ and RM3,888++ per night.
The seaside “ocean lawn” is also a great venue for outdoor events like weddings as it can host up to 2,000 people.
Thistle PD marks the hotel chain’s debut into the Asian region. The hotel group, which has a portfolio of 34 hotels in Britain has since opened Thistle Johor Baru (formerly known as Hyatt JB).
For enquiries or reservations at Thistle PD, call 06-648 2828.