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Latest insight into the lavish celebrity world of Como

June 19, 2013 Headline News, Hotel News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Take Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards; add Barbra Streisand, Britney Spears, Paul McCartney, Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. Throw in a few luxury name brands, like Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Mulberry and Dolce & Gabbana.

This is the exotic and alluring world in which COMO Hotels and Resorts operate. All those names are linked in some way to the properties, brands or franchises the group runs.

Elliott Miller

Elliott Miller in Sydney

COMO Hotels and Resorts’ regional director of sales Australia, Elliott Miller, gave an overview of the group’s activities to Sydney media last week over lunch at stylish Sydney Chinese restaurant Mr Wong.

COMO Hotels and Resorts runs hotels in dreamily exotic and upscale locales. It’s about to add more. The group will open three new properties this year, including its first US hotel, Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach. There will be a second resort in the Maldives (and the first ever in the Thaa Atoll) called Maalifushi by COMO. And a new resort designed by Italian superstar Paola Navone on the Yamu Peninsula in Phuket.

COMO’s new Maldives property, Maalifushi by COMO, is an eight-hectare private island in the southerly Two Bedroom Beach House Pool DeckThaa Atoll and will be the company’s second resort in the Maldives. Its sister property, Cocoa Island by COMO, located further north in the South Malé atoll, opened in 2002.

Miller said the Yamu Peninsula property in Phuket would provide a wonderful new resort experience in an area that Australian travellers might be familiar with.

COMO’s first US hotel will open in December 2013. The 74-room beachside property occupies an original 1920s building in the historic Art Deco district. The hotel will have its own private jetty and direct access to Miami’s famed Miami Beach. Located just a 10-minute drive from Miami International Airport, the hotel is less than 60-minutes away by air from Parrot Cay, COMO’s island resort in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Parrot Cay is popular with celebrities such as Barbra Streisand, Britney Spears and Paul McCartney. It hosted the weddings of Bruce Willis and Emma Heming in 2009, and Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner in 2005. View_from_Valley_View_Room_Terrace

COMO Hotels allows people to buy or build villas in Parrot Cay, and several  celebrities have done so. American fashion designer Donna Karan owns a villa on the island, as does Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.

As for properties, COMO runs:

  • The Halkin by COMO, London
  • Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok
  • Metropolitan by COMO, London
  • Uma by COMO, Ubud, Indonesia
  • Uma by COMO, Paro, Bhutan
  • Uma by COMO, Punakha, Bhutan
  • Cocoa Island by COMO, Maldives
  • Parrot Cay by COMO, Turks & Caicos
  • COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali
  • COMO Shambhala

Bhutan is one of the most sought after destinations in the world and COMO has two properties there.

Phang_Nga_BayMiller says that tourism to Bhutan has been restricted by space on aircraft rather than by any visa quota. Flights there are quite expensive so it’s best to visit for six or seven nights. It costs about USD 7000 for a seven-night stay, per couple, land only.

New York City is on COMO’s wish list, so stand by.

The Bangkok and Bali properties are the most popular with Australians, Miller says, and in terms of spending, Australians are in top three in all properties, except the Caribbean.

WiFi internet (high-speed and complimentary) is supplied at all COMO properties.

The name COMO, as it happens, has nothing to do with Lake Como in Italy. The name derives from the initials of the group’s founder and owner Christina Ong (listed as one of Asia’s 50 Power Businesswomen by Forbes in 2012) and her daughter Melissa Ong. As well as being one of the world’s wealthiest women, Christina Ong (known just as “Mrs Ong” to associates) is the wife of noted Malaysian billionaire hotelier Ong Beng Seng. Melissa Ong is their daughter.

Before she created Singapore-based COMO Hotels and Resorts, Christina Ong founded Club 21, the  luxury retail boutique. Club 21 now oversees the COMO group’s interests in lifestyle luxury in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom and the USA.

Club 21 manages established fashion brands like Donna Karan and Giorgio Armani, Balenciaga, Marni, Mulberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Diesel, Paul Smith, Issey Miyake, Jil Sander and Dries Van Noten among others.

That’s enough famous names to relish in one story!

Written by : Peter Needham

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