Musings From the Sandbox
Category: Newspaper / Magazine Columns
Lately, I've been reading up on the ancient Mayans, and all sort of doomsday apocalyptic noodling going on out there in the media waves.
Is 2012 the year the earth will end? Done, over and out, and the big jig finally up,
If so, I couldn't have chosen a better place to live out my final days here on earth, than in the sandbox of Phuket.
Looked at the high lines and bylines of last year, there's a few likely feathers to pluck for my brand retro collection.
In the shark's cage of hotel development, architectural dj vu has surged with an overblown belly of remarkably unremarkable mid-scale hotels spewing out of the overloaded pipeline.
The only analogy would be product aimed at the junk food tourism market, where despite a supersize package, you pull away from the meal after seemingly gouging yourself and still feel the need for something more.
There remain though a small select group of renaissance developers looking to create, innovate and separate their DNA.
Indigo Peal is one example where a hotel actually shrunk versus grow larger. The owner Wichit Na-Ranong has chosen to reposition the property into an all suite and pool villa resort back of an ambitious redevelopment programme. Acclaimed designer Bill Bensley has been responsible for the artsy and most notable are the new pavilion pool villas and sensational spa CoQoon.
In Greater Phuket's Khao Lak, cutting edge boxed designs are tastefully brought into an upscale resort experience at the Casa de La Flora. Thai firm VasLAB provided the inspirational background for a very special oceanfront retreat.
Building castles in the sand is not the ideal past time for serial Hong Kong real estate developer Allan Zeman. Set to top the charts is a new development Andara Signature, located on Kamala's Millionaires Mile.
As ultra-luxury estate Malaiwana continued to pump up the numbers in Nai Thon, expectations are starting to mount over the expected launch of The Yamu's new hotel branded villas and mega residences later this year.
Singapore hospitality personality Christina Ong and her chic Como hotel brand is expected to add lustre to an already shining set of seaside mansions on the East Coast.
Certainly in the year of hula hooping political machinations and Cinderella losing her slipper in Bangkok's flooding, the island down south remained a bright spot on the economic horizon.
Phuket has seen its own wall of water - this time in domestic-based entry-level condominiums. Sansiri wins hands down for the most successful property launch - dCondo - in 2011. In the blink of an eye, units were snapped up faster than iPad 2 at the launch date.
Land banking by domestic property developers remains in vogue and is expected to continue well into the future.
Like any true life tale, it's not all love, peace and happiness in our own twisted version of Woodstock. A badly needed airport expansion is now expected to finish in 2015, the convention centre has gone on the missing persons list and upgrading Phuket's overloaded transport infrastructure remains a talking point when action is needed.
Mayan-fatigue is setting in and the word count has sent smoke signals to the god in the sky, but for 2012, I'm keeping my eyes wide open in the increasingly urbane sandbox.