Connect with us

Property

Walking the brand dogma: Hotel-branded residences

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET: One of my recurring nightmares is that of a tropical island sunset framed by a sinking orange ball, and the erotically charged image of a scantily-clad, swimsuit-model type gently grasping onto the edge of a mega-villa infinity swimming pool, staring aimlessly onto an empty horizon.

Please bear with me, I have not entirely lost my mind. Not yet anyway, but please, read on.

Meanwhile, back in paradise, the golden moment suddenly takes a dark twist when a giant reptilian tail appears out of nowhere and after the gushing sounds of water breaks the tranquility, the lovely girl disappears in a flurry of bubbles.

My imagination runs wild with an image straight out of the Black Lagoon – a half man, half reptile, who preys on those who dare go swimming solo in their waterfront cliff-hanging mansions.

I did sit next to a man on an airline a few years back who claimed to be deep into the study of “ichthyology” (study of certain types of fish), but that’s an entirely different story.

Welcome to my nightmare, and let me fill in the missing link between the disappearing pool girl and a real estate investor who once embraced the hotel-branded pool villa craze in Asia.

As I take the brand dogma out for a walk, we can look back to the golden age of the two icons of the movement – Aman’s Adrian Zecha and KP Ho of Banyan Tree. These two propelled the entire leisure experience of getting out of the box and into your own private space.

To sum up their approach – the concept of getting naked, swimming, and staying naked, was a far greater stimulant for the rich than Viagra could ever be.

During the lead up to the “Big Sleep” of 2007, hotel-branded resort villas were flying off the shelves across Asia’s leading resort destinations – Phuket, Bali, Koh Samui, Vietnam and even Cambodia. “Brand-ologist’s” and property-types quoted the hallowed doctrine like hyped up Jehovah’s Witnesses, pitching the value-add of brands to real estate offerings – premium pricing, amped-up sales pace, and that intangible yet valuable resource, prestige.

Truth be known, the house came crashing down around eager developers in that specific segment, and to this day it has yet to see clear air. While multimillion dollar hotel-branded leisure residence projects once garnered a few sales each month, today, the trading remains sluggish, with even leading markets like Phuket or Bali taking four to five months to sell just one villa.

In many ways, real estate is just like The Talented Mr Ripley and Asia’s developers took to a different tactic – going low and high and staying out of the meaty part entirely. While not exactly vegetarian, the extremes put pressure on size and price, so we ended up with smallish investment types that might be more suitable for a vegan, rather than a hungry carnivore. Domestic buyers replaced the elite international crowd and the rise of the Asian middle class created a new East – where the West once lived.

At the same time, large smart property developers spotted a money trail that still existed after the crash, and investors came off the beach, and into town. Suddenly hotel brands clamored to urban offerings.

In each Asian country, as investment became more of a domestic affair, the large listed institutions grasped the concept of capturing both rich locals, and an increasing aspirational class who loved upscale retail malls, hotels and city-center living. What better way to showcase a large mixed offering than with prestigious hotel brands, lending a rarefied air to an entire lifestyle complex?

Today, in every CDB across Asia, international hotel brands and celebrity designers have been caught up in a high stakes name-game in city locations, launching a massive number of new offerings.

Where and when the saturation point comes is anyone’s guess, but taking a look at the Philippines, where a Paris Hilton affiliated residential resort project has prospered, might signal that the air is getting pretty thin?

Illogically, the familiar resort destinations in the region are again seeing a new splash out of hotel-branded multimillion-dollar pool villas. Can they defy gravity at a time when big numbers of consumers remain at the aspirational level?

For now, branding has definitely gone to town, and while you might want to take the dogma for a walk, it’s hard to say if it’s going to be heading back to the beach for a holiday anytime soon.

Bill Barnett is Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks, he can be contacted through c9hotelworks.com

— Bill Barnett

 

Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Thaiger Talk Forums.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

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



Interested in more property news or buying property in Thailand - check out FazWaz today!

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)2 hours ago

Vietnam strikes deal to manufacture vaccines, but which brand?

Crime5 hours ago

Motorbike thieves arrested after a million baht of bikes stolen

Tourism8 hours ago

300 tourism businesses given SHA Plus certification in Phuket

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!

Sponsored by image

Chiang Rai8 hours ago

Police warn child pornography is a serious matter after teacher caught downloading clips

Weather8 hours ago

Tropical storm Koguma brings heavy rain to North, Northeast

Thailand8 hours ago

(Another) poll (also) shows Thais’ lack of confidence in vaccine campaign

Politics9 hours ago

Despite rumours, PM and goverment not planning early election

Thailand10 hours ago

Thai PM not happy with soccer gambling

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Doctors demand the government be more honest about Covid-19

Songkhla11 hours ago

Songkhla officials investigate pricey street lamps

Crime12 hours ago

Illegal casino operator accused of 4 charges including murder

Thailand12 hours ago

Survey shows lack of confidence in Government’s handling of vaccinations

Thailand13 hours ago

Goverment kind of discloses what the secret budget is spent on

Weather13 hours ago

Penis statue works as village sees rain after erection

Eastern Thailand13 hours ago

Man busted for allegedly possessing over 100 marijuana plants, selling marijuana online

Thailand3 months ago

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

Tourism3 months ago

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

Phuket3 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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Trending