In 1983, the Central Group of companies – Thailand’s leading retail group – formed Central Hotels & Resorts and opened its first property, a five-star hotel together with the Bangkok Convention Centre, located in the expanding northern suburbs of Bangkok. Since renamed as the Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, this property is now seen as one of Bangkok’s premier hotels for MICE facilities. From this early start, the group expanded to major tourist destinations throughout Thailand, establishing a network of deluxe and first class properties nationwide. There are now 43 properties in Thailand, 32 in operation and 11 under development. In June 2007, in recognition of the need to establish a strong identity of its own, the hotel company was rebranded to Centara Hotels & Resorts. The brand portfolio includes Centara Grand Hotels & Resorts, Centara Hotels & Resorts, Centara Residences & Suites, Centara Boutique Collection, Centra by Centara Hotels & Resorts and COSI Hotels. Following the rapid growth within Thailand, Centara embarked on a journey of international expansion where it continues to grow and flourish. Late in 2009, Centara opened its first overseas hotel, the five-star Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives which proved to be an immediate success. Centara's portfolio currently comprises 63 properties spanning all major Thai destinations plus the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Oman and Qatar, and with development underway in Thailand, Laos, China, and the UAE.