The dream is becoming a reality for Royal Phuket Marina, emerging fast as Asia’s most sophisticated and prestigious yachting haven, and its most luxurious marina lifestyle community.
The ‘Fisherman’s Wharf’ of stylish restaurants, cafes and boutiques is fast becoming one of the island’s most fashionable destinations, with a string of new outlets creating a genuinely vibrant social scene.
Royal Phuket Marina is the brainchild of Hong Kong-based telecom tycoon, Gulu Lalvani, who made his fortune in the manufacturing of digital cordless phones, was one of the first residents of the groundbreaking Amanpuri luxury resort and is a long-time member of Phuket’s visiting multi-millionaire ‘jet set’.
A keen yachtsman himself, Lalvani identified Phuket’s potential as a world-class boating haven and decided to do something about it, to the tune of around US$150 million. His grand vision for an international resort-style community on the island’s eastern seaboard in Phang Nga Bay is already more than half completed and Royal Phuket Marina’s marina community concept is proving a sensational hit among both the yachting community and overseas investors.
In pure boating terms, RPM has quickly established itself at the forefront of Phuket’s yachting establishment. In its completion, RPM will have a capacity for 350 yachts, that is double the size of any other marina in Phuket and the only one in Thailand with a boat lock to an inner non-tidal deep water basin.
It is also the only marina in Southeast Asia offering private moorings on the doorsteps of its luxury residences. The state-of-the-art outer marina with its 86 berths and 24-hour security is now completely full occupied and has become the home to many of the island’s premier yachts.
Development of homes in the world-class luxury lifestyle community is meanwhile going full-steam ahead, following the sell-out success of the first phase.
The original 66 luxury condominiums and penthouses are already commanding high premiums, and a Luxury Waterfront Collection of villas and apartments with private moorings on their own doorsteps has been snapped up by investors as well as discerning lifestyle clients.
Of these, the pioneering ‘Aquaminium’ – the world’s first apartment complex on top of ‘drive-in’ boat berths, perched above the marina dock – has been acknowledged as one of the world’s most unique and chic marina lifestyle options, and proved such a success that it is being replicated.
As with every step of the RPM development before, it is anticipated to excite a worldwide market.
A princely collection of six palatial ‘Royal Villas’ in their own tropical garden grounds commanding exclusive views over the Mediterranean-style marina, with unique features including a private 23 metre mooring at the foot of the garden for direct access into the pristine cruising grounds of Phang Nga Bay, has similarly been welcomed by investors, and for good reason.
Interiors of the sublime 900 sq metre villas are breathtaking, and the ultimate in luxurious waterfront living – from glass-walled master bedrooms appearing to “float” on ponds to double “his and hers” ensuite bathrooms, Jacuzzis, steam rooms, rooftop cabanas and much, much more. In their own landscaped gardens, they also feature private infinity swimming pools.
The stunning ‘Grand Villa’ incorporating a central residence and four guest villas amid lush tropical gardens now meanwhile rank among the most prestigious residences in Phuket.
The 1,960 sq metre (21,097 sq ft) complex occupies its own expansive landscaped estate, including the world’s most admired fixtures and fittings, complete with a private driveway and five-car garage. Outdoor terraces connect through exotic gardens to a 25-metre infinity swimming pool, Jacuzzis and traditional outdoor salas and private 70-metre yacht berth.
Along ‘Fisherman’s Wharf’, meanwhile, a welcome new arrival is Mom Tri’s Boathouse Regatta, which will continue the unique French-Thai tradition of Mom Tri’s Boathouse on Kata Beach.
Mom Tri’s has become a bit of a legend in Phuket – combining the multi-talents of French Master Chef Jean-Noël Lumineau and Chef Somboon Laosuwan, who worked for several years at The Blue Elephant and Le Brasserie at the Hilton in Lyon, France before joining Mom Tri’s in 2006.
Expanding to Royal Phuket Marina promises to be an exciting new venture for the group’s founder, Mom Luang Tri Devakul, better known as Mom Tri. The brand is already renowned as the sole Thai recipient of Wine Spectator’s prestigious ‘Best of Award of Excellence’.
The Regatta continues the stylish formula with an open-air bar, restaurant and impressive wine cellar with over 200 labels.
On the menu, Chef Somboon is bringing all the most popular Boathouse favourites together with a range of original, new dishes.
As ever, he will be working closely with Jean-Noël Lumineau and Mom Tri’s management team of award-winning General Manager Louis Bronner and Wine Director Georges Ciret.
Phuket’s trendiest day spa, Pearl Beauty & Spa is also newly opened, introducing a new concept to Phuket, blending exquisite beauty and wellness treatments from both east and west, as well as the island’s finest hair salon.
Open daily from 10am-8pm for European and traditional Thai wellbeing therapies, beauty treatments and pampering, specialties include chocolate and bamboo wraps, lymphatic draining, anti-cellulite palper-rouler and anti-ageing facials.
More extensive treatments include reflexology, D-stress, Amma massage and beauty therapies such as lifting, facials and ylang-ylang treatments. Additional salon services include manicures and pedicures.
Complementing the health and beauty scene, Phuket’s premier health and wellness club opened in January 2008.
The “top end” RPM Health Club has been developed by Bangkok-based specialists Sports Engineering and Recreation Asia Ltd. (Seara), and is poised to “set a new standard in health centres on the island”, according to RPM developer Gulu Lalvani.
Amenities and programmes include group and private exercise, personal training, building core strength, balance and flexibility, Pilates and yoga.
The facility features three strength-training zones, luxurious changing rooms, juice bar and social areas, and underground parking. Members will also have full reciprocal privileges at the spectacular Cascade Club in Bangkok and the IMG Sports Club Network. Nearby, the new floodlit tennis courts complete the sports facilities.
On the luxury retail side, D Gallery and Intentio are exciting new concepts in stylish lifestyle.
Placing RPM well and truly in Phuket’s corporate mainstream, Royal Phuket Marina Exhibition & Conference Centre is also now open, paving the way for a new era of large-scale conferences and expos on the island.
The 2,500 square metre facility is three times larger than any existing exhibition centre in Phuket and will be hosting one or two high profile events every month – starting with “Asia’s leading boat show”, the annual Phuket International Marine Expo (PIMEX), in January.
This facility is also ideally suited for weddings and other functions with a capacity for over 1,000 people.
The initiative is a joint venture between Royal Phuket Marina and Informa (www.informa.com), the largest publicly-owned organiser of conferences and courses in the world, which stages over 10,000 events annually.
Informa Yacht Group CEO, Will Morris, says: “As one of the world’s premier tourist destinations, this island paradise has the potential to become a leading international venue for conventions and expos.”
Mr. Lalvani calls it “an important milestone for RPM as we continue to contribute to the social and economic fabric of the Phuket community”.
He adds, “Phuket’s economy is booming, tourism is at an all time high, and the island is a natural magnet for growing international demand for conventions and exhibitions. I’m confident that Phuket will be placed firmly on the international convention and exhibition map.”
Informa has, incidentally, acquired the rights to PIMEX, adding the show to its prestigious stable of international superyacht and other marine events including the Monaco Yacht Show, Abu Dhabi Yacht Show, The Superyacht Cup, Beijing Boat Show, World Yacht Racing Forum Monaco and Mediterranean Workboat Show.
Andaman Marine Consultants will continue to manage the event on the ground, although now with the back up of one of Europe’s foremost luxury marine and lifestyle event companies. Adds Mr. Morris: “We hope that our experience and considerable network will propel PIMEX to new heights.”
Andaman MD Andy Dowden says: “The involvement of Informa is a very important development for PIMEX that will really contribute to its future and ensure it is the marine show of choice in Southeast Asia.”
Whatever’s next at RPM? Well, after quickly establishing itself at the forefront of Phuket’s yachting establishment, sponsoring the prestigious international Phuket King’s Cup each December, keep a lookout for development of a 5-star boutique hotel. There may well be an announcement soon.
The Royal Phuket Marina story is just beginning.
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