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Condo market strong in Pattaya

January 27, 2012

Research by Knight Frank Thailand shows that the demand for condominium projects in Pattaya is showing strong growth as property firms from Bangkok expand their business in the seaside city.

Exquisite contemporary Thai styling combined with luxuriously tailored interiors. Set in an affluent, picturesque Thai Village in the Gulf of Thailand, Absolute Signature Villas at Palm Grove Jomtien represents a seamless blend of East meets West.

The research said that there were approximately 2,491 units sold in Pattaya during 2011, a 120-per-cent increase over 2010. Unfortunately, the sales decreased from 52.5 per cent in 2010 to 41 per cent in 2011 due to the tremendous volume of supply.

The dynamics of the market is changing remarkably fast in Pattaya as one-bedroom units and smaller ones make up 70 per cent of all new property in the market. This trend looks set to continue with the emergence of one-bedroom hybrid units below 40 square metres. Rising construction costs would normally be driving prices up, but prices remain stable and unit sizes and specifications are, instead, being toned down, such is the competitive nature of the market.

For almost two years, Thais have led the pack as the biggest buyers of new residential units in the eastern seaside resort. Pattaya has been experiencing unprecedented growth and the properties being developed are quickly finding buyers. The future supply of condominiums in Pattaya will be concentrated in the Jomtien area as there is more land available in Jomtien than elsewhere in Pattaya.

Regardless of what buyers are looking for, more choices are in the pipeline as many condominiums are being launched this year with construction to start early next year and slated for completion by the end of 2014.

According to a survey by The Nation, property firms, including LPN Development, SC Asset Corporation, Sansiri and Sena Development plan to launch new condominium projects in Pattaya worth a combined over than Bt10 billion.

Frank Khan, head of residential department, Knight Frank Thailand, said that Pattaya has jumped a lot in the past seven years from being a low-class city to one that offers many options – not just fun – to its visitors. The opening of big shopping malls like Central Festival Pattaya marked a big jump for Pattaya City. Moreover, the reverse coastal erosion has restored a stretch of beach from North to South Pattaya, about 35 metres wide. The beach width was earlier only 3.5 metres. The length of the beach will be approximately 2.7km. The cost of the investment is about Bt387 million. During 2011, a record number of new condominiums (sea view only) were launched in Pattaya with approximately 7,888 units in 13 condominium projects.

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Voting Now Open

January 13, 2012

Bryan Lunt, Absolute World Group

Nominated For: Best Industry Leader

Nominated For: Entrepreneur of the Year

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Bryan Lunt’s career in the resorts industry spans almost 27 years.  In 1998 Bryan founded the Absolute World Group, strategically growing the company to become one of Asia’s leading and multi award winning lifestyle property developer, resorts and hotels operator, destination club and shared ownership pioneers, with 1300 staff positioned across China, Europe, Hong Kong, Russia and Thailand.A destination club only up to 2007, Bryan’s vision led him to engage in the boutique real estate and resort development marketplace, taking the Absolute Resort & Hotels property portfolio to US$60+ million in only 2 years, whilst selling US$5 million of generic real estate concurrently.  Only 1 year later, Bryan led the Absolute World Group into boutique resort development and the uncharted territory of shared ownership in Asia, personally selecting seven projects exclusively for location and investment potential.Bryan is the ultimate visionary who has driven his team and company with an unrivalled passion to levels of exponential growth. Starting his career as an OPC Bryan has developed into one of the industry’s most influential and unstoppable entrepreneurs, with extensive senior management experience, a solid comprehension of the resorts industry, the intuition to naturally understand client needs and a gift for recognising potential in his employees.

Bryan’s vision to create a widely acclaimed offering to both prospective and long term Absolute clients has led to substantial growth in the Group’s portfolio which now encompasses Absolute Resorts & Hotels, Absolute Developments, Absolute Real Estate, Absolute Shared Ownership and Absolute Destinations as well as it’s own magazine – Absolute Thai Lifestyle. Attracting world-renowned names such as The Registry Collection and Interval International, plus leading designer brands and the latest technologies to enhance their resorts and vacation ownership products to unprecedented levels.

Now, as pioneers of shared ownership in Asia, the Absolute World Group is the founding sponsor of the Alternative Ownership Conference Asia Pacific (AOCAP.org). Now in its third successful year, this annual gathering of regional resort developers offers an abundance of shared ownership knowledge and understanding in order to educate the industry in Asia and beyond.

Bryan’s key achievements to date include:

–    responsible for the conception, development and implementation of Absolute’s innovative and award winning Fractional Products

–    securing and developing leading brand affiliations and endorsements

–    personally selecting a variety of strategic development opportunities

–    visionary new resorts such as The Beach Samui and Absolute Bangla Suites

–    developing mutually beneficial partnerships with affiliate resorts such as The Village Coconut Island to implement successful sales structures

–    growing the company into a multi-million dollar global organization with a turnover in excess of US $50million and a growth of 60% in two years

–    founding sponsor of the first highly acclaimed shared ownership conference for industry specialists in Asia

–    influential within the industry, setting the standards for Corporate Social Responsibility to support local charities and communities

–    leading a team of 1,300 and ensuring professional development and life enhancement of all staff is given priority

As testament to Bryan’s values and commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, when the tsunami struck in 2004, many Thai children were instantly orphaned. With a widespread presence in Thailand, Absolute were emotionally affected by the disaster and have since worked with charities such as “Phuket has been Good to Us” to help these children. Bryan Lunt, swam, cycled and ran with several of his management team in the Bintan Triathlon to raise money for this cause.  Bryan also supports the Christel House global foundation and charities in the wider Thailand communities such as http://www.banmueangphia.org with whom Absolute are working for the development of a new Cultural Centre and School in the North of Thailand.

Internally, he is also making his mark; with a strong personal belief in health and well-being, Bryan has worked hard to make a difference to the lives of his employees and has implemented many innovative company-wide well-being policies. That’s why staff in Asia are put through their paces on a regular basis by a personal trainer as part of Absolute Boot Camp . Staff also enjoy access to a company wellness programme and an in-house, alternative-therapy doctor.

Born in Liverpool, England in 1964 and now based in Hong Kong with his young family, Bryan Lunt is the ultimate visionary who has driven the company and its resorts to an unprecedented level. But certainly without doubt its Bryan personal touch and the desire to lead by example that continues to make the difference.



Phuket Governor predicts investment boom in 2012

January 5, 2012

The new year is shaping up to be a golden one for investment and tourism in Phuket, says Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha.

In an exclusive interview with the Phuket Gazette, Gov Tri said the island’s continued attractiveness to foreign investors could see growth figures for 2012 surpass those of 2011.

“Thai and foreign investors are continuously coming to invest in Phuket, especially foreign investors who want to put their money into hotels, resorts and the tourism industry in general,” he said.

“Foreign investors typically don’t buy land or start construction. They usually buy an existing property in order to avoid lengthy legal and documentation processes,” he said.

Chief among these is the thorny issue of land ownership.

“We have many cases in which land title deeds were issued illegally. Investors are aware of this issue. They have to check land ownership documents carefully before making the decision to invest,” said Governor Tri.

Department of Special Investigation (DSI) officers who came to Phuket last year to probe suspect land title deeds unearthed a number of irregularities, he said.

“I have heard that the DSI and Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) came to Phuket to inspect land title deeds on plots at Kamala Beach and Freedom Beach,” said Governor Tri.

“They found more than 10 plots for which title deeds had not been legally issued. Those deeds will all be revoked,” he said.

Developments like this should increase confidence among potential foreign investors, he said.

The typical foreign investor is from Russia, Scandinavia or the Middle East and invests from 150 million to 200mn baht to acquire a hotel property with 150 rooms or more. They often improve resort properties and sell them on to other foreigners, he said.

The current government sees the importance of Phuket as an economic growth area and intends to invest substantially in several big development projects planned for the island, he said.

“The government has sent advisers from the Prime Minister’s Office as well as an economic advisory team to collect information on development projects in Phuket. These include the Phuket International Convention and Exhibition Center, the light rail train project and the Patong Tunnel project,” he said.

“Since the government is showing a real interest in these projects, I think they will be approved without too much difficulty,” he added.

Absolute Private Residence Club at the Village Coconut Island Joins Interval International Global Vacation Exchange Network

December 20, 2011

Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group welcomes The Village Coconut Island, the latest Absolute World Group resort to join its global vacation exchange network. The private residence club is part of an exclusive mixed-use development on a private island off the east coast of the popular holiday island of Phuket, Thailand.

“The Village Coconut Island has been developed to create the ideal vacation residence for owners and Interval International members,” said Bryan Lunt, chairman of Absolute World Group. “With staggering views of Phang-Nga Bay, endless amenities, and a high level of service, it is the perfect paradise island escape. To find such a quality all-villa resort right on the beach is rare.”

In fact, the resort was recently named Best Shared Ownership Development in the inaugural South East Asia Property Awards created by Property Report South East Asia. The magazine received more than 1,500 nominations and recognised winners as “the creme de la creme of the industry.”

Absolute’s private residence club is part of the 192-unit Coconut Island resort community with 500 metres (1,640 feet) of unspoiled beachfront. Amenities include a spa and state-of-the-art fitness centre offering yoga classes and Thai boxing lessons, two lighted tennis courts, and a children’s club.

The stylish studio suites are housed in semi-detached buildings and each has ample living space, including a kitchenette and large bedroom with French windows that open to a landscaped terrace with Jacuzzi. Lavish Thai-style waterfront villas, inspired by the design of the local Thai long-tail boats, have private infinity pools and many also have uninterrupted sea views. These units have two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms in 96 square metres (1,033 square feet) of living space that includes a fully equipped Western-style kitchen, with grocery service on request. Air-conditioned suites and villas have flat-screen satellite TV and DVD player and electronic safe, as well as an in-villa dining and daily maid service on request.

The beachfront Tamarind Restaurant and Bar serves freshly cooked traditional Thai food, along with a selection of Western-style dishes. The Village Deli offers imported meats, cheeses and European tapas, freshly baked breads, and assorted produce. Barbecue sets are also available for guests who prefer to dine beside their pool or in their private tropical garden.

Members and guests are invited to use the resort’s collection of watercraft. The onsite Village Spa has an herbal Turkish hammam steam room, a state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool, Scandinavian sauna, and ice plunge. A wide range of holistic treatments, incorporating elements of traditional Thai healing rituals include massages, facials, body wraps and scrubs.

“The Village Coconut Island is one of the latest endeavours of Absolute World Group, an award-winning boutique leisure and resort developer,” said Joe Hickman, executive director Asia Pacific for Interval International. “True to form, the beauty of this unique resort is that it is both private, yet also easily accessible to Phuket. A five-minute water taxi ride is available 24 hours, when — or if — guests wish to do some sightseeing, go shopping, or sample the Phuket nightlife.”

Absolute Private Residence Club at The Village Coconut Island is 40 minutes from Phuket International Airport.


Absolute Twin Sands Resort & Spa – Construction Update : December 2011

December 19, 2011

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Phuket: Luxury Living

December 15, 2011

A select gathering of about 50 people were given a taste on Monday (December 12) at the Royal Phuket Marina of Phuket: Luxury Living, a short “insight” video about the island’s high-end lifestyle.

Phuket: Luxury Living from Red Sky Vision on Vimeo.

Produced by Robin Block and his London-based digital production company Red Sky, the video featured a dozen or so of Phuket’s movers and shakers.

They include hotel owners and developers Narong Pattamasaevi (Trisara), ML Tridosyuth Devakul (Baan Kata), Richard Pope (Kata Rocks), Allan Zeman (Andara) and Gulu Lalvani (Royal Phuket Marina), along with commentators such as Bill Barnett (C9 Hotelworks) and Jules Kaye of Property Report Asia magazine.

Many more, including the proprietor of The Phuket News, Simon Samaan, were consulted in the making of the video.

Mr Barnett sets the scene with his opening message; “You can walk into a restaurant and be sitting next to a multi-millionaire in flip-flops.” Footage of the participants talking about why they like the island are interspersed with shots of the high life in Phuket – beachfront villas, glossy motor yachts and spa treatments – and local culture.

The movie emphasises Phuket’s absolutely fabulous high-end lifestyle – particularly property – but also addresses some of the annoyances, such as land ownership, political instability, charges of overdevelopment and the 80-metre rule.

Tuk-tuk and taxi problems are not mentioned, though this is perhaps because the kind of people likely to be attracted to Phuket by the video will have their own car with driver.

The video was underwritten by Kata Rocks. Although tweaks were made to the video following suggestions from Monday’s audience, Kata Rocks MD Richard Pope declared himself delighted with the result.

The video will be spread through the internet and social media, the hope being that it will “go viral” and attract many more high-end visitors to the island, who may in turn buy into the lifestyle.

Investors Are Returning To Thailand

November 30, 2011

Foreign buyers are returning to the Thailand real estate market after the political scene had calmed. According to a recent statement from the Managing Director of property consultant Colliers International Thailand, Mr Patima Jeerapaet, foreign investors are interested in taking over hotels in Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya. This is due to the strong performance in hotel occupancy rates. 

Increasing tourist arrivals to Thailand have contributed to the rise in hotel occupancy levels in Thailand. Tourists from South Korea, China, India, Australia and the Middle East are behind the boom. Mr Patima had said that investors from the Middle East, India, Russia and China are looking at Thailand, while the Russians are particularly interested in property in Phuket and Pattaya.

Why are Russians Investing?
Russia is currently enjoying somewhat of a boom with growth expected to increase by 5 per cent by the end of 2011 and inflation dropping to 6 per cent. This contributes healthily towards many Russian companies enjoying big growths in capital paving the way for a buoyant business environment.

There is also currently low unemployment in Russia with many Russians experiencing a welcome increase in salary; this in turn is leading to increased sales in the retail markets, making for a very healthy economy and an increase in the middle classes.

Pattaya has always been popular amongst Russian visitors as a tourist destination and its popularity was not affected by the recent economic downturn with new developments continuing to emerge throughout the city. Pattaya has the added benefit of being only 160km from Bangkok which appeals to Russians who do much of their business in the capital city of Thailand and can then escape to Pattaya for a few days of rest and recuperation.

Russians are attracted to Phuket because it has such a relaxed and laid back lifestyle, many of them also buy a boat here as there are so many wonderful islands around Phuket to explore. The most popular time for them to visit is between October and April when the weather and climate is at its best in Phuket, a stark contrast to the climate in Russia.