Dusit International founder Chanut dies

Thanpuying Chanut Piyaoui, the Thai businesswoman who was best known as the founder of the Dusit International hospitality group, died aged 99 on Sunday.

Piyaoui established Dusit International in 1948 and opened her first property in Bangkok, Princess Hotel, in 1949. It was one of the first properties in the city to feature a swimming pool, an elevator, and air conditioning.

Determined to open a five-star hotel offering luxury hospitality with a distinctively Thai touch, in 1970 she achieved this aim with the opening of the flagship Dusit Thani Bangkok – then the city’s tallest, grandest building – which has been a true icon ever since.

Building on the success of this property, Piyaoui opened more five-star hotels in major tourism destinations in Thailand and overseas, and branched out into hotel and culinary education with the Dusit Thani College in 1993, and Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School, a joint venture with Le Cordon Bleu, in 2007.

For her efforts in hospitality and related education, on May 5, 2000, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand conferred upon Piyaoui the highest royal decoration for a civilian: Knight Grand Commander (Second Class, Higher Grade) of the Most Illustrious Order of Chula Chom Klao. And with this, the right to bear the title “Thanpuying,” the equivalent of “Dame.”

Piyaoui was also granted honorary degrees by Johnson and Wales University, Sripatum University, and Mahidol University. In 2018, she was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award in international hospitality by Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Dusit International currently operates 33 properties worldwide and has over 50 confirmed projects in the pipeline in key destinations such as Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, UAE, and Vietnam.

The company also operates the signature Devarana Spa and has a fast-growing Education Division. The latter, established in 1993, comprises Dusit Thani College, which offers vocational and postgraduate hospitality degrees at campuses in Bangkok and Pattaya; and Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School.

In Maldives, Dusit runs the Dusit Thani Maldives resort.

Located on Mudhdhoo Island in Baa atoll — the Maldives’ first ever UNESCO biosphere reserve — Dusit Thani Maldives blends gracious Thai hospitality with the unparalleled luxury setting of the Maldives. This luxury island resort comprises 94 villas encircled by white sandy beaches, a stunning 360 degree house reef and a turquoise lagoon. With a unique combination of beach and lagoon accommodation, Dusit Thani Maldives provides an unmatched luxurious escape for all travellers.

The resort offers a 360 degree vibrant house reef compliment with a turquoise lagoon, a 750-square metre infinity swimming pool with a lush Banyan tree in the centre, five restaurants and bars with breathtaking views and a Kids Club that is committed to making children’s dreams come true.

The award-winning Devarana Spa at Dusit Thani Maldives encompasses six deluxe treatment pods, which sit elevated amongst the island’s palm trees. For those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground, the spa has also developed two stunning ground level treatment rooms. Manicure and pedicure-dedicated area, private outdoor pool, steam and sauna are exclusively available for spa guests.

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