Royal Phuket Yacht Club sold again

PHUKET: Phuket’s first luxury hotel, the Royal Phuket Yacht Club at Nai Harn Beach, has been sold to an overseas investor, property and hotels consultant Bill Barnett reports in his blog,

Friday 27 December 2013, 12:05PM

The Royal Phuket Yacht Club, from the hotel's website.

The Royal Phuket Yacht Club, from the hotel's website.

The transaction occurred in the private market and details have not been made public.

Opened in 1986, the property has changed hands a number of times and has been managed over the years by Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental group and Starwood’s Le Meridien, Mr Barnett reported.

The hotel was designed and built by MR Tridosyudh Devakula – who went on to build The Boathouse in Kata and Trisara. In its heyday, the 110-room hotel was by far the finest in the region, and attracted as regular guests members of royalty and glitterati such as actor Roger Moore and writer and comedian Peter Ustinov.

Before the current sale it belonged to the developers of Puravarna, a very upscale project in Rawai. The project, being inland, had no beachfront, so the hotel was bought as a “beach club”, but continued to operate as a hotel.

The Puravarna project subsequently collapsed. Nineteen buyers claimed they had paid a total of B217 million – an average of B11.4 million each – but that Phase 1 of the project had stalled and Phase 2 had never begun.

Puravarna Resort Co’s Chairman, Steven Granville spent 18 months in custody awaiting trial for deception, which he denied. He was acquitted and his accuser, Anand Kumar Sen, is currently on bail awaiting his appeal against a conviction for making false accusations.

Mr Granville was later involved in a horrific motorbike crash and is now under parmanent care in Britain.

In 2010 the hotel was offered for sale for B1.3 billion by Puravarna Holdings, a strange partnership between Mr Granville's company British India PLC and Spanish company Boscasolidos, which has links to Spanish football club Atletico Madrid.

The hotel – which continued to operate smoothly – was sold to the low-key Corbis Group, a private equity, corporate investment and development group headquartered in Spain, for an undiclosed price. Corbis has now cashed out.

Meanwhile, another high-end Phuket hotel with a much less fraught history also changed hands recently, Mr Barnett reported. The sale of the 55-room Manathai Resort at Surin Beach, one of the island’s most desirable locations for upscale tourism, was brokered by Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.

As is so often the case with hotel transactions, the price and the name of the buyer were not revealed.

Mr Barnett expects more sales of hotels in 2014 as new hotels open and owners of existing properties are faced with the choice of reinvesting with upgrades, or divesting.



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