Connect with us

Property

Taming Phuket’s savage condohotel beast

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET: Nearly two decades ago, in 1993, Laguna Phuket started residential sales for their Allamanda condominium. Asia was a rising star, the baht surged in appreciation and foreign investment into Thailand property was still in its early days.

Though residential-led hospitality, or condo-hotels, was hardly new on the scene, here the book was blank on how, why or what the future of the product would be. Over the years, the plunge into various realms of alternative ownership has proved to be a rocky road for the property market.

Initially Banyan Tree operated Allamanda as a low cost entry point into the destination resort of Laguna, positioning it below the Sheraton Grande (now Angsana), Dusit and Laguna Beach Resort. Blending the management culture of a luxury and mid-scale offering is never an easy task and this proved equally cumbersome.

Later two more Allamandas came on board over the years, known as 2 and 3. Legally these are each individual condominium juristic persons and the only binding entity was the namesake.

Timeshare, or what we now often refer to as gentrified vacation ownership, kicked off in 1998 with the then Allamanda Vacation Club (now Laguna Holiday Club) taking inventory in the condo blocks and selling time-based stays.

After the 1997 Asian contagion, selling one week timeshare units was deemed to be far easier than unit sales and looked to be the way forward to spur the pace of sales in the project. However, as Asia’s second property wave took off in the early part of the last decade, product demands, especially those seeking large town homes and villas, changed the marketplace in a dramatic fashion. Instead of one and two bedroom units, buyers wanted those scarce pool villas and more space.

As market sentiment flourished, Laguna took the opportunity to develop a purpose built vacation ownership complex, the Laguna Holiday Club. Tension between unit owners and management, and a better alignment of business interests dictated the move. Traditional hotels and on-the-spot-resort-sales make strange bedfellows, so going from a shared room into a separate space made sense.

Being an observer of the property market, it puzzled me during those boom years why waterfront duplex units and condos along the golf course failed to experience the same rise in capital appreciation as the larger marketplace. Here we had a prime location near the beach with complete infrastructure and life in an integrated resort. If it were boxing, Allamanda was fighting below its weight.

It’s known within the industry about the fracturing of relationships between the various Allamandas, the developer and owners. Eventually this came to a head with part of the complex becoming the Best Western Allamanda. One portion elected not to operate as a hotel.

Enter hospitality veteran and long time Phuket resident Robert de Graaf with an impressive resume, and whose Albatross Travel Agency and dining outlet have been mainstays in the community. Under his watch, things are clearly on the upswing. With a bit of care and navigation of murky waters needed by a technocrat, the rental operation has a new lease on life.

A recently staged upgrading of units is ongoing and improvements to the food and beverage operation have lifted up the entire atmosphere. Robert has worked tirelessly and with passion, which is exactly what has been needed.

As for the ugly beast of condo-hotels, communal resort living and the powder keg of political infighting is hardly specific to Phuket. Just visit a coop in any world class destination. Annual owner meetings often mimic Gadaffi’s last days of power in Libya. Ever since Cain and Abel, when you put one person in close proximity with another, there is bound to be trouble.

I had coffee recently with Robert, and it’s nice to see things moving forward in the right direction.

As I write this, the word on the grapevine is that perhaps interests may be aligning among the various components of the project and that a uniform property offering may be in the works. For property owners the timing could not be better, with the island gearing up for a terrific high season.

Allamanda continues to show great promise going forward and a united condo clearly remains the ultimate solution.

— Bill Barnett

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)13 mins ago

Bar girls in Pattaya arrested for allegedly violating Covid restrictions while live streaming

Protests41 mins ago

Gathering for 89th anniversary of constitutional monarchy

Crime1 hour ago

Police arrest suspect who allegedly killed Covid patient and 7-Eleven clerk

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Multiple Bangkok hospitals stop Covid testing, citing fear of insufficient beds

Pattaya2 hours ago

Chon Buri governor says Pattaya bars will stay closed for now, Covid cases remain high

Crime2 hours ago

15 year old stabbed at private school

Thailand2 hours ago

UPDATE: Police identify alleged gunman who opened fire at field hospital, killing a patient

Thailand4 hours ago

PM orders investigation into pricey street lamps

Best of4 hours ago

Top 5 Thai Restaurants in Bangkok

Phuket4 hours ago

Phuket governor outlines plans to track and trace foreign arrivals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Thursday Covid Update: Latest wave exceeds 200,000 cases

Thailand5 hours ago

Guitarist from “Playground” dies in road incident

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

First delivery of Sinopharm vaccines approved for distribution

Thailand5 hours ago

Good Morning Thailand | Thai Immigration – Are you legal? Latest Covid and Phuket sandbox

Phuket5 hours ago

Flight traffic to Phuket expected to increase by 6% next month

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending