Page 1

november 2009

contents special features

Cover Story


Living News


For the latest developer news, market reports and leisure updates.

Living News Extra


Wise investment advice for wine lovers from Premium Liquid Assets.

Event Calendar


Industry Insider


Market Watch


Living Charity


The Gallery


Business Directory


Thavatchai Sachdev introduces Ideal 24 condo with a penthouse on every floor.

Follow Tropical Living to the latest property and lifestyle events around the world.

Discover the creative passion at architecture and design firm Original Vision.

The charms of Chiang Mai are revealed in this month’s property report.

Treat your friends and family to a colourful Chiang Mai charity calendar.

Featuring stunning homes for sale throughout the kingdom.

Your guide for property and leisure related services.

november 2009

contents living departments

Living Homes

Leelavadee Villa, Phuket



50 64

Millionaire’s Lifestyle

Great Metropolis

Living Style Living Designer Living Interiors Living Essentials Living Places

80 86 94 102

“I am a maximalist – I refuse to be minimalist” Eggarat Wongcharit. Step inside the contemporary home of the Italian Consul in Chiang Mai. Brit chic, sassy prints and sleek silver, designer shopping inspirations. Get down to earth with Geo Decor at their flagship Thonglor store.

Living Leisure Living Art Living Travel Living Motors

108 113 118

Discover the latest exhibitions at Bangkok’s leading galleries. Pack your warm clothes and take a trip to the ICEHOTEL in Sweden. Introducing the breathtaking new super spyder from Lamborghini.

COVER STORY STORY: Jim Algie IMAGES: Courtesy of Ideal 24 Condominium PHOTOGRAPHY: Chavalit Kamolthammanon



On Top of

Bangkok For the upper echelons of society, who want to scale the peaks of luxury living, this new development on Sukhumvit Soi 24 is an ideal investment and residence. At first glance, what makes the property stand out is that each floor is self-contained. In architectural terms, that means every unit in Ideal 24 is a penthouse, replete with commanding vistas of the city.

All images are simulated by computer graphics





hese palatial suites have six balconies and four en-suite bathrooms. Thanks to the high ceilings, the design makes the maximum of each living space.

Even in this busy end of town, it’s like having your own home in the sky, without all the security worries and the thorny hassles of landscaping. The brainchild for the project, says Thavatchai Sachdev, the managing director of Ideal 24 Project, came from his father, Pradith Sachdev, a real estate mogul who has built his reputation from the ground up over the past three decades. “Fifteen years back my father started a premier condominium on Sukhumvit Soi 20, Arun Roj, which is one floor per unit. From that time, we’ve been doing serviced apartments, the hotel, and other projects. When we saw this property on Soi 24, we thought it was the ideal location to try this concept again. There’s no other condominium doing this kind of concept here,” he says.

Niche Concept Although there’s plenty of competition in the mid-range, Ideal 24 is in a lofty niche of its own. Priced at THB 120,000 per sq m, the units are 326 sq m grand, with an overall price tag of around THB 40 million per unit. It’s exorbitant, but still good value. Before setting the price, Thavatchai surveyed the competition in this part of Sukhumvit. Other high-end condos, he explains, are charging from 140,000 to 190,000 per sq m.

All images are simulated by computer graphics



All images are simulated by computer graphics



The proof of Ideal 24’s success is in the purchasing: Opened a little over a year ago, 22 of the 34 units have already been bought. The buyers constitute a multi-nationality segment of the elite. “It’s a small but very high-end market,” says the 35-year-old, who was born in Khon Kaen. “So we’ve been targeting the top business owners in Thailand, the expat market, and we’re going overseas as well.” What father and son envisioned for the residential development was a building with a compact body and an ultra-modern face. To get their plans on to the drawing board, they enlisted the help of the architectural firm, Area, a collaborator on two of their previous projects. For the interior design team, they chose Interlude, who had worked with them on the Majestic Grande hotel. Throughout the condo, Interlude’s use of marble, granite, and Thai woodworking, with elegant design touches, has resulted in a merger between the chic and the homey. It’s the kind of place where families can feel right at home yet friends and business associates will still be awed by the aura of elegance.

Chic Interiors The managing director explains the benefits of working with trusted, long-time partners. “We are very close to both of them [Area and Interlude]. So they understand our needs and they’re very, very easy to talk to,” says Thavatchai. “So we can explain our concept, they can do the designs, and it saves a lot of time.” Another distinguishing feature is that the building is not set back from the street. The intent is to make the structure blend into its environment in a more harmonious way. In crowded and cacophonous Bangkok, creating that sense of harmony is a noteworthy achievement. Lend your eyes to the photos and see what Area has done with the use of ultra-modern glass, and the almost feminine curves of the upper-level balconies, which elevate architectural symmetry to the level of visual poetry. When speaking about his idea for the interiors of these living spaces, the managing director felt pressed to deliver a sense of spaciousness, befitting such massive units. “The units have not one but two master bedrooms, and the living area and other bedrooms are also quite large, to make people feel like they’re living in a home. The ceilings are 2.9 metres in the main areas and 2.6 or 2.7 in the bedrooms. Interlude did a great job with the space allocation,” says Thavatchai.



With the remaining 12 units, however, buyers have the freedom to design some of their own floor plan, opting for two, three, or four bedrooms. Thavatchai and company can even provide a fully furnished unit, or leave it bare so the buyer can play interior decorator, or use their own team. This flexibility holds plenty of allure for the well-heeled buyer. “Many of our customers have exclusive taste, so they like to decide on the details of the kitchens and bathrooms, as well as the different kinds of colours and paints. Many of them have their own interior decorators they’ve been working with for years,” says the managing director.

Alluring Incentives For healthy forms of recreation, the condo has an array of attractions, like an outdoor swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, a small play area for kids, a multi-function room, a toddler’s room, a high-tech gym, in addition to steam and sauna rooms for men and women. For stress-defusing safeguards, there’s a state-of-the-art security system, and each unit comes equipped with a video phone. If potential buyers need any more incentives, Thavatchai explains their new promotion. “I am offering them a high-class brand of furniture products worth up to THB 3 million. So what I’m giving them is a semi-furnished unit without the loose furniture, and then I give them a budget so they can furnish the rest of the unit. That’s the on-going promotion.” With an incentive like that, all the condo’s multiple selling points, and the fact that the real estate market in Thailand has stabilised in recent months, those 12 remaining units will not be on the market for too long. Looking at the extravagant Ideal 24, both within and without, the expression “living the high life” seems very apropos.

All images are simulated by computer graphics



Investing in Wine In these turbulent times it is increasingly difficult to know where to invest, but Asia and Bordeaux based fine wine wholesaler Premium Liquid Assets have been leading the way in the wine investment market. They share some of their top tips with Tropical Living readers.

Tip 1 - It’s

not immediate.

Wine should be regarded as a medium to long-term investment, with a minimum three year holding period. You can expect the best returns over a five to eight year period.

Tip 2 - Buy


Wine futures, or ‘en primeur’, is a method of purchasing wine early. Essentially, the wines are offered for sale before they are bottled, still ageing in oak barrels. Once the wines are ready for delivery buyers have the choice of either paying duty and taxes or having the wines stored in a bonded warehouse until it is delivered or sold on. There are a number of rewards in purchasing wines this way, including securing highly sought-after wines which are difficult to obtain from great labels and vintages, as well as securing the wines at a lower price than otherwise anticipated when they are out in the consumer market.

Tip 3 – Select

your merchant / brokerage house carefully.

Buy and trade only with reputable merchants or brokerage house who have a proven track record. A reputable brokerage house should include management, storage and insurance in their portfolio and they should guide you through the exit strategy. Shop around for advice and prices and always ensure you are able to verify with third parties the valid documentations of wines they have purchased, especially so for ‘en primeur’ wines.

Tip 4 – Investment

grade wines.

Investment graded wines are primarily the most acknowledged and prestigious blue chip wines that generate a steady investment return for an investor. The wines have to be produced in finite quantity, be highly sought after world-wide, and improve in quality over time. Demand for these wines will always remain high as limitations on availability will result in a rise in price. Invest in wines that have received at least 90 pointers and above by Robert Parker, still undeniably being the most influential wine critic in the world. Buy only in unmixed sealed original wooden case (OWC), as these will be worth the most and can be traded internationally.


Tip 5 – Invest

in Bordeaux.

Trusted through the years for its premium quality, Bordeaux wine has an established resale history and is still the primary investment medium. Fine Bordeaux wines are produced in strict finite quantities, and while less than 1% of all the wines worldwide are investment grade, Bordeaux makes up 80% of these wines. Prices of fine Bordeaux wines can be tracked from their day of release ‘en primeur’ until their auction sale, offering investors transparency in prices. Refrain from investing into wines that do not have a strong global market presence and demand as they are definitely high-risk and purely speculative. Avoid allocating too much of your wine portfolio into new world wines as generally these wines have a much shorter ageing potential and their vineyards are not as strictly limited as in Bordeaux.

Tip 6 – Storage

and insurance.

The ‘provenance’, or travel history, greatly affects the price of the wines. Bordeaux wines stored in France usually give the highest resale value. Ensure that your wines are stored in a temperature and humidity controlled warehouse and that your investment can only be moved with your written approval. While many modes of commodity investments in the market involve the investor being charged taxes at one point or another (for duties and excises, etc.), wine investment is an exception. There are no costs incurred in taxes as wines bought for investment are usually stored in bonded warehouses. You should also ensure that your wines are insured at full replacement value.

INDUSTRY INSIDER STORY : Marie Moon IMAGES : Courtesy of Origital Vision PHOTOGRAPHY : Nakarin Banjerdjin

Creative Passion

Steve Gorton

Established in 1992 in Hong Kong, and Phuket in 2000, Original Vision is an award-winning architecture firm that provides master planning, architecture and interior design services to clients throughout Asia. Tropical Living readers may be familiar with Original Vision for their 2006 Thailand Property Award of Best Architect for the Samsara project. Rawai Villas, Alila Phuket Villas, Sava, Casuarina Shores, and Amalfi are among other outstanding Phuket based projects but the company has other unique ventures in Bali, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India and the emerging markets of Vietnam and Cambodia.




irector, Steve Gorton, describes the

and technically, and then we synthesise this into

company culture of observation,

a contemporary interpretation that is honest and

collective responsibility, flexibility, and

appropriate for today. We steer clear of pastiche and

passion, “We have two offices but we

copying. We also listen to clients, analyse what they

work as one practice and each project is a creation

really need, and give them something they didn’t

of the practice not by one or the other office. We

realise they could have.”

have 22 staff in Hong Kong, and eight in Phuket, all experienced professionals in different fields. We are

Q. How important are such awards? Does the award

proud that most of our staff have been with us for

winning ability benefit the client too?

several years. We learn from each other all the time and we share this collective experience with our

“We begin with the approach that every single

clients. We like to be involved in the whole process

project could win an award, we want every project

from start to finish – concepts, designs, production,

to be the best regardless of size. This motivates our

construction - so that the design intent can be clearly

staff to be creative, excited, and involved. Winning

and properly realised.”

awards is great for the client as it improves marketing potential immeasurably.”

Q. Original Vision projects are frequently nominated


for awards, are often ahead of the competition and

Q. What are the inspirations of the designers? How do

set trends throughout the region - how does the

they keep abreast of the latest trends in architecture

company achieve this?

and design?

“Essentially through perception and learning,

“Designers are inspired largely through observation

and responding to the environment. We study in

and experience. Technology, techniques and

detail the indigenous architecture of the area

materials change all the time, you have to keep up

which is inevitably a direct response to the local

with building technology, design technology and

environment. We analyse the elements that make it

systems within buildings. Travel is also an important

appropriate historically, culturally, environmentally,

element in seeing what is being, or can be done.”

Q. Do you find that trends from Hong Kong eventually make

the spaces; the transition between interior and

their way to Thailand and the rest of SE Asia?

exterior and inclusion of landscape for example. I would also say that better Thai resort design

“They do. Hong Kong is more frenetic: it moves very quickly

reflects calm, dignity, grace and subtlety.”

so designers there have this incredible rate of adaption and creativity. There are always new materials, techniques,

Q. Has there been a change in requirements from

forms, effects. They are more technically adventurous and

Thailand based clients over the past few years?

internationally competitive in design and execution. Also

If so what has changed and do you know

our client base is largely from Hong Kong and they are

the reasons?

familiar with this dynamism and what can be done.” “It is largely to do with the level of quality of the Q. Can we expect Phuket to set trends for other parts of

finished product and has been market driven.

the world any time soon?

Most of the resorts and residential projects we work on have a very international client base

“It already does though in a subtle way. We have clients

and we have to take their expectations into

from Hong Kong and India for example that have visited

account, melding those perspectives with

Phuket, seen what we do here, and want to transfer that

the Thai processes.”

ethos. Concepts of space and interrelationships, materials and juxtapositions, dynamism and repose, respect culturally

Q. If there was a “building approval committee”

and environmentally.”

in Phuket, what guidelines would you recommend?

Q. Describe what design elements fit Phuket and other

“Plan ahead; too much is reactionary. And be

Thai resort destinations best?

consistent. The one thing that most foreign clients have difficulty with is the lack of consistency. Grey

“Space, shelter, shade and roof are all essential tropical

areas, how you do this, how you get approval

elements, as well as openable walls, views, cooling air

for that: we can never be certain even if there

flows, and respect for the environment. In a lot of the better

is a precedent. These factors are affecting

Thai resorts, it’s the sequence of and relationships between

development and investment in Phuket.”


Q. How experienced do you find your clients?

Leelavadee, a stunning resale home from the

It seems that nearly all developers are first timers.

Samsara project in Phuket, is featured in the property profile section on page 50.

“We work with both. We have large professional clients, first time developers as well as individuals. Some

Q. What projects are you currently working on?

take a very professional approach and set things up very carefully and then there are those who are less

“Kata Rocks, Sava just over the bridge

structured or experienced. Both can be challenging but

at Natai, Alanna Yamu and a large

also architecturally rewarding. Its all about synergy.”

multi-use resort development in Phang Nga.”

Q. What has been the most challenging project

Q. What are Original Vision’s future plans?

to date? And why? “Not to stand still and to maintain the “They are all challenging, every single one and that’s

creative passion! Of course we’d like to

the excitement. New client, new expectations, new site,

create more award-winning designs. We are

new location, new dynamics. They are all challenging

also generating our own projects where we

and unique and that gives us the passion to create

become a joint venture in the development

and produce. Samsara was challenging because

team. The other things we have committed

when we started in 2000 the technology and skills just

to do as a practice is international

weren’t available in Phuket and we were pushing the

competitions to gain more exposure as

envelope in so many respects. But the teamwork and

this sharpens our creativity.”

vision with high expectations is what helped to make the development iconic, a threshold still aimed at by many.”



STORY : James Barnes

Chiang Mai

Your Top Ten Questions Answered We have assembled a panel of interested and interesting parties of property professionals and expert expats and probed them for ALL the inside information you need to be in the know. Away from the biggest tourist hotspots, the exotic northern city of Chiang Mai with its reputation for high Lanna culture and cooler climate is attracting more residents than ever before. Thailand’s second city is dominated by the magnificent mountain that is Doi Suthep, the foothills of the Himalayas and is dotted with more temples than it is possible to count.



The developer: Dirk Van Otanden is the general director of Paradise Development & Real Estate and originates from the Netherlands.

The realtors: Kay Mulcahy of Elite Property is from Bangkok and runs the business with her British born husband Patrick. They have been operating in Chiang Mai for nearly four years.

THE QUESTIONS: What are the property hot spots in Chiang Mai and why are these areas so popular? Narit: “The Nimmanhaeman Road area is packed with better off Thais and foreigners alike. Conveniently situated just outside the moat

Rachadaporn Chaiwut was born and bred in Chiang Mai and is at the helm of the Chiang Mai Living agency.

The businessman: Narit Coulson is a former accountant with Haliburton in Bangkok and Dubai and now runs his own successful business in Chiang Mai.

there are many fashionable bars and restaurants.” Rachadaporn says that Nimmanhaeman’s Kay agrees: “Nimmanhaeman has

luxury and serviced apartments are

luxury condominiums and an eclectic

attracting many young professional people

mix of boutique businesses and bars.

who adore the trendy lifestyle on offer as

In addition, the Chang Khian area at

well as investors, “What was selling for THB

the foot of Doi Suthep is very popular.

40k per sq m five years ago is now fetching

There are houses and two new luxury

up to THB 100k.”

condo developments- in fact my husband and I are building our own,

Dr Tom: “Retired expats like rural retreats

large, luxury house there.”

outside the city.”

Dirk says that outside the city, “the

How do foreigners and Thais differ in what

Sankampaeng area is a favourite

they want from a property in Chiang Mai?

because it is still very quiet.” Rachadaporn: “Aspiring middle class Thais

The expat: Dr Tom Smith is a retired professor of political science. Born in the USA, he has worked in the Middle East, Australia and Asia. He is now a full time resident of Chiang Mai.


What type of property is fashionable

opt for living in gated Moo Baans whereas

in these areas and what kind of buyers

foreign buyers prefer a more individual

are they attracting?

property with more land and a good panoramic view of the spectacular Chiang

Dr Tom: “Some foreigners are buying

Mai countryside.” This is echoed by Dirk

condo units and then renting them

who says that the Moo Baan offers a feeling

out to pay for a nice country residence

of security that Thais enjoy and that foreign

for themselves.”

residents like to feel more independent.

Kay says, “They don’t differ that much

What are the best respected

at the luxury end of the market. They

developments in Chiang Mai?

both require quality workmanship and materials, good space, privacy

Dirk: “Azaya Villas in Mae Rim,

and security.”

Kensington in Doi Saket and Paradise in San Kampaeng.”

In recent years, what are the most notable changes to Chiang Mai’s

Kay: “Punna and Twin Peaks luxury


condominium developments in the Nimmanhaeman and Chang Klan

The panel were in total agreement

areas, respectively.”

here. The new ring roads and in particular the new super highway

What problems are developers facing

have revolutionised the city and

right now?

getting around has never been easier. Traffic jams are restricted to the

Rachadaporn: “With so many banks

town centre and are normally only

inundated with NPL’s, finance is an

a problem during the morning and

obstacle but some developers are

afternoon school runs. The upgrading

lending buyers the cash from their

Kay: “Land in the best residential

of the international airport has also

own coffers.”

areas like Chang Khian will cost

been a great benefit.

between THB 5 and 7 million and Dirk: “The price of building materials

in the centre of town it can be

has gone up and of course, there is the

three times this. We have a tract

world economic crisis.”

of development land about 20 kms out that is selling for only THB

What is the price difference between

450,000 per rai.”

property/land in the popular areas of the city and more country locations

Dr Tom: “There is a glut of slightly

outside town?

older properties outside of town that are on the market at real

Rachadaporn: “There’s a big difference.

bargain prices because Thai

Anything outside the super highway ring

people are more likely to buy new

road is much less expensive.”

homes in a Moo Baan.”


What advice do you have for buyers in Chiang Mai? Narit: “Shop around carefully, bargain fiercely and if you cannot get exactly what you want at the price you want to pay, walk away and keep looking.” Rachadaporn: “Know what you want and make sure that you get a good solicitor.” Dr Tom: “Rent an apartment in the city for six months to look around and make an informed decision about the many options that are open to you.”

How would you describe the Chiang

heritage still intact – temples, festivals,

Mai lifestyle?

markets, artisans and more. It has all

What is the capital appreciation of property?

the contemporary features of a modern Kay: “In a word, wonderful!”

lifestyle – supermarkets, malls, health care, restaurants, etc. The city and

Dirk: “Between 4 and 5 % per year.”

Rachadaporn: “A thriving and youthful

province has so many things to do and

coffee shop culture with hip restaurants

see that it is impossible to do and see it

Rachadaporn: “Hard to say but it is

and bars and trips for all the family to

all. And, living in Chiang Mai is incredibly

increasing and it will never go down!”

the many malls at weekends.”

good value.

Kay: “The majority of sellers that we

Dirk: “Culturally the most significant city

“The people of Chiang Mai are friendly

deal with are happy to sit out the

in northern Thailand, 10 of the best golf

and accepting. Dealing with the

downturn and wait for the interest to

courses in the country, inexpensive and

government agencies – immigration,

come back, as it surely will. Indeed,

it enjoys the most beautiful scenery.”

driving license, electricity, telephone

there are signs that the bottom has

are hassle free.

been reached and now could be a

Dr Tom: “Chiang Mai is a great place

good time to buy.”

to live. It is a 700 year old city with its

“The surrounding area in all directions is stunning in its beauty and range. The seasonal variations add to Chiang Mai’s charm. A wet, cool and green monsoon, a colourful autumn and cool/cold winter in December/January. Hot in April, with rains again in May. The diversity also means that the local fruit is seasonal – strawberries in the winter, melons in the hot dry months, mangos at the start of monsoon, mangosteen, lychees, avocados, oranges, and longan during the monsoon into the winter.” Narit: “Chiang Mai has repeatedly been cited as one of the most liveable cities in the whole of Asia, shhhh... we don’t want people to know or they will all be dashing up here!”



To follow on from the Chiang Mai market report, Tropical Living would like to introduce a worth while cause to boost visitor arrivals and help rural children who otherwise receive no benefit from tourism in the area.

Fund Raising Calendar


he Chiang Mai Charity

affected sales, but

Calendar began in 2007, when

nonetheless raised THB 423,000, which

two foreign residents decided

was donated to four different organisations supporting

they wanted to pay something

disadvantaged children.

back to their host city. Between them, they began planning the non-for-profit

The 2010 calendar has the theme Nature and Culture of

desk calendar and invested not only time

Northern Thailand and is set to continue its successful tourism

but a sum of THB 500,000 to the project.

promotion, combined with helping needy children. It is thought to be the only one of its kind in the world.

The calendar printed 10,000 copies in 2008 and featured text, photography

Thai companies and organisations who wish to support

and 14 paintings highlighting Chiang

the initiative, thereby helping the tourism industry and rural

Mai’s attractions created voluntarily

children, can order high quality custom-made calendars

by students from Prem Tinsulanonda

carrying a personalised front cover, or a corporate message

International School.

printed on an extended calendar base. This is an excellent, worthwhile and highly effective promotional giveaway.

The calendars were sold for THB100 to companies, hotels, travel agents and tourists, finding a place in homes and offices all over the world, showcasing the city exactly as intended. Income from sales less production costs came to THB 604,000, which was donated in full to a local orphanage. The 2009 calendar sequel used the theme of Delightful Lanna showcasing the eight Lanna provinces. The economic downturn


More information and prices are available from the organisers of the Chiang Mai Charity Calendar: Basil McCall and Ramlah Jafri Tel: +66(0)86 189 6912 or +66(0)89 851 8059 Website: E-mail:

Tropical Living have purchased a number of calendars to give away to readers. Please drop by our offices located in Phuket and Bangkok to pick up your free calendar. Upon collection, you will also have the opportunity to make a personal donation to the Chiang Mai Charity Calendar fund.


Millionaire’s Lifestyle Leelavadee Villa is both an exquisite hideaway and an architectural gem. South-facing on prime headland at Nakaly Bay, this spectacular villa in the Samsara estate is blessed with panoramic seaviews and endowed with all the treats of an exotic tropical resort. 50




amsara is well-known as one of Phuket’s most

A staircase spirals down to a lounge furnished with

exclusive residential estates. The developers

modern tropical day beds and exquisite hardwood

invested heavily into architecture and design

tables. This whole part of the second floor is open plan

and the results are impressive. Environmental

and perfectly designed for tropical indoor/outdoor

harmony is a prime design feature throughout the

living. Full-length glass doors fold away to merge the

estate and fittingly the surrounding jungle remains

living spaces, incorporating a covered outdoor lounge

largely undisturbed. Natural materials have been

area, top of the line barbecue bar, outdoor dining area

recycled into decorative features and the architecture

and the swimming pool.

is distinctly Asian; striking yet understated and low key.

Make an Entrance Privately owned Leelavadee is an example of ingenious tropical architecture. Built concisely over three levels on

Adjoining the lounge, the dining room features striking modern Asian art, a unique square dining table that can seat up to 12 people and ever present is the view, which skirts over the infinity edge of the pool out to the sea beyond.

the outermost plot of the estate, all the air-conditioned living areas are spacious and adjoin equally roomy

Beside the dining room is a spacious office

outdoor living areas. Natural light has been well utilised

decorated with more contemporary Asian artworks

and ever present are the remarkable sea views. The owners of

and furnished with modern telecommunications

Leelavadee have invested further into establishing the

facilities. A sliding door opens or excludes the office

villa as a perfect little rendezvous place, fully equipped

from the other living areas.

to cater to the millionaires’ lifestyle. From the approach to the house, the view is already eye-catching and the entrance to the property is the

Designed for Life The kitchen is positioned just off the dining room and

first indication of something special. Striking polygonal

is well equipped with all the top brand appliances.

masonry partially encloses the entrance to form an

The kitchen is well designed for function, with good work

alcove. At the far end sits a Buddha statue suitably

spaces and storage. Utility areas and staff quarters are

surrounded by the dusky pink blossoms of a thriving

contained behind the kitchen where another internal

lotus pond. Large stepping stones lay a path through

staircase links to the downstairs laundry.

the pond to imposing double doors that signal your arrival. The doors are amazing, 10 feet tall, similar to

The lower level of the house includes all the

what one might find at a Thai temple, although these

bedrooms and a host of treats for the villa resident

are embossed with silver leaf.

including a pool table, bar, wine cellar, home theatre,

Heavenly Views Upon entering the villa, attention is immediately

outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna, and an air conditioned gym. Steps lead from the lounge down to an internal gallery which is another architectural highlight of this property. A large rectangular skylight looks up through the

drawn to the inspired use of a picture window. The high

bottom of the swimming pool and diffuses a wonderful

ceilings have quite a steep pitch and form a triangular

ambient glow throughout the space. By night the pool

portal to the Andaman Sea. It is a truly spectacular

light filters through to set a more intimate mood.

transition to the villa interior. This mezzanine level

This gallery contains the pool table, bar and the gym.

overlooks the lounge and dining areas and is bordered

Double doors lead out to the garden and all bedrooms

by seamless panels of tempered glass.

are accessed through this thoroughfare.











The master suite is wildly romantic and exhibits

On the other side of the gallery are two twin

yet another architectural feature. A striking and

guest rooms and a double suite. The spacious

distinctly Asian cupola forms the roof, and juts up

double suite features an exotic four poster bed

to the pool level. The cupola acts as a skylight for

positioned to capture the sea view and a lush

the master suite providing wonderful natural light.

outdoor garden shower adjoining an interior

The king-sized bed is positioned directly under the

bathroom/toilet. Another larger bathroom is

cupola and of course looks out to sea. The terrace

located opposite the twin rooms. This is equipped

fronting the suite is spacious but completely private

with an ornate standalone tub, separate shower

with built-in stereo system, sun lounges shaded by

and toilet cubicles and the custom-designed

big white umbrellas and the Jacuzzi takes prime

sauna which is large enough to seat four people.

position on the outermost point of the villa. Inside, a circular shower protrudes the bathroom wall; its

The location of the villa is secluded but not

transparency designed to stimulate the senses.

isolated, only 40 minutes from the Phuket

This ensuite bathroom is beautifully decorated with

International Airport, less than 20 minutes to golf,

dark slate, pebbles and orchids.

shopping, and most of Phuket’s best restaurants.

Entertainment Included Situated next to the master suite is a very large,

The owner of this extraordinary villa is currently looking for a suitable buyer that appreciates the millionaires’ lifestyle. With exotic Asian design and

very comfortable home theatre with a 3 x 1.5 metre

decor, hi-tech facilities, a host of leisure and

projection screen and digital surround sound.

entertainment options, a gorgeous swimming pool

A good collection of DVDs are available and the

and spectacular views, consider Leelavadee Villa

lounge suite is divinely comfy, stretching the entire

for your next family home.

length of the wall. The soundproof theatre even has a bathroom and can be transformed into an

For more information on this villa telephone

additional bedroom.

+66 (0) 81 892 9495.




Celebrating Nature The quirky designs of Geo Decor feature in this month’s Living Essentials section. The eye catching products that perk up our pages are the creation of a small group of local, young talented designers. Curious to find out more, Tropical Living went behind the scenes at Geo Decor to discover how the home grown company began.


Origins of Geo Decor

Earthly Inspirations The name Geo has obvious connotations of the Earth, and the three co-owners wanted it to be a place celebrating

Somewhere around the

nature, where beauty not only lies in the rare and exquisite,

beginning of the millennium,

but is also found in the common place, hidden in plain sight.

three friends - Metta

They all share a mutual admiration for the Deyrolle shop in

Tantisajjatham, Kanokwan

Paris. With its vast array of preserved animals in every corner,

Wongwatanasin, and Sakchai

it feels like more like a natural museum than a marketplace.

Guy - were enjoying a beautiful

They agreed that Geo Decor should have a similar ambiance.

day amidst the pastoral beauty In-house designers still use Sakchai’s photographs of flowers

of Pak Chong. Sakchai was avidly taking photos of the

as a source of inspiration along with the concepts given,

natural splendour around

and are responsible for creating two collections per year,

him; his great passion being

for Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, as well as special

photography and flower

collections which debut in between.

arranging. From these photos he created a pleasant surprise for Metta’s house warming: artistically

Gifted Designers

arranged framed prints of the flowers and plants found in the area. Later, guests would comment on these striking photos, many asking where they could purchase these images for themselves. The three friends started wondering; maybe they could start a business based on this? For a while, this idea was discussed but never seriously pursued. The turning point came when a company in Bangkok’s fashionable Thonglor area asked for help with their interior design, and Sakchai was asked to use these photographs as a reference. From this project Geo Decor the company was born, initially producing prints

Since the company began, it has always been the intention of Metta, Sakchai, and Kanokwan to have in-house designers working full time to carry out their vision, and the owners select from the best and brightest young designers Thailand has to offer to fulfil the mission of Geo Decor. Currently, there is a team of three designers working behind the scenes to design each new collection. Typically, the owners will meet with the design team, and present them a theme for the upcoming collection. The designers take the initial idea and materials and run with it, pushing their imaginations to its uninhibited limits.

and stationary from Sakchai’s photographs,

Store locator:

which are shot using predominantly natural

   

lighting and have never undergone any computer manipulation.

Main Showroom: 912/3 Sukhumvit 55 Road Siam Paragon: 3 rd Floor, @ Be Trend Gaysorn: 2nd Floor, @ The Myth Central World: 7th Floor @ ZEN



Exhibition: Photocubism Artist: M.L. Mingmongkol Sonakul Gallery: La Lanta Fine Art Location: 245/14 Sukhumvit Soi 31 Date: November 1 – December 1, 2009 Opening: Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 am – 7.00 pm


hotocubism is an exhibition that records the personal biographic history of the artist’s interaction with a particular space and its surroundings at that particular moment. The work discusses the artist’s unrelated experiences from one place to another.

Having studied photography prior to her extensive career in film, ML Mingmongkol returns to her creative roots. Spanning an array of travels from the last three years, her photo composites blur a diversity of localities that include Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Australia, Maldives, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, America, England, Spain, Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, and Africa. The artwork is put together in forms of oversized collages made up of several photographs, each of which has no meaning in and unto itself. The story only makes sense when the viewer takes in the whole construction of the compositions. Documenting her chosen subjects from a variety of angles and through distorted time frames, M.L. Mingmongkol’s approach to her disjointed jigsaw narratives is parallel to that of the great twentieth century Cubist artists.



STORY : Rachel Williams Photography: Big Ben Productions


Artists: Arne Bergh, Anders Eriksson

Getaway High season is here once again, the rain has stopped, the temperatures are up, the waters are calm and the streets are thriving with tourists. But what about when the heat gets too much and the crowds become annoying and you just want to get away from it all? Why not put your adventurous side to the test and swap warm tropical waters for the icy Arctic Circle!


For a trip of a lifetime that you will simply never forget, try the unique experience of staying in a hotel made of ice and snow. Feel cold already? Don’t worry ICEHOTEL in Sweden will take care of your needs and actually only recommend one cold night during your stay.

Breaking the Ice So where did the fairy tale idea for a hotel made of ice and snow begin? It was in a small village 200 km inside the Arctic Circle, called Jukkasjärvi. The village is home to the free flowing Torne River which serves as the origin and artery of ICEHOTEL. It is from this river, the ice is borrowed each year. The company Jukkas (present day ICEHOTEL) has been a tourist operator in the region since the 1970s. For many years the company focus was on the summer season and the magnificent outdoor experiences offered by the land of the midnight sun. During

unique elements of the Arctic were to be regarded an asset. Inspired by

the dark winter the river was frozen and the

the work of visiting Japanese ice artists, in 1990 the French artist Jannot

people of the small village of Jukkasjärvi

Derit was invited to have the opening of his exhibition in a specially built

went into hibernation.

igloo on the frozen Torne River. The 60 sq m building named Artic Hall attracted many curious visitors to the area.

Art Inspired

One night a group of foreign guests, equipped with reindeer hides and sleeping bags, decided it would be a good idea to use the cylindrical

By the end of the 1980s it was decided to


shaped igloo as accommodation. The following morning the brave

turn things around. Instead of viewing the

group raved about the unique sensation of sleeping in an igloo. Hence,

dark and cold winter as a disadvantage, the

the concept of ICEHOTEL was born. A lot has happened since. Today

ICEHOTEL is world famous for its unique concept, its fantastic

building process starts in mid-November when the snow guns

works of art and its extraordinary experiences. The fairy tale

start humming and large clouds of snow start to drift along

nature of the hotel brings out the child in guests of all ages.

the Torne River. The snow is sprayed on huge steel forms and allowed to freeze. After a couple of days, the forms are

Cold Creation

removed, leaving a maze of free-standing corridors of snow. In the corridors, dividing walls are built in order to create

As soon as winter begins, a team of snow builders, architects,

rooms and suites. Ice blocks, harvested at springtime from

designers and artists from all over the world gather in the little

Torne River, are now being transported into the hotel where

town under the direction of the ICEHOTEL Art & Design Group,

selected artists from all over the world start creating the art

and create each year’s version of the hotel made of ice. The

and design of the perishable material.


A Night to Remember The 2009/10 season will be the twentieth year for the ICEHOTEL, each year attracts modern adventurers looking for a new, unique experience. For guests there are several different types of accommodation to chose from. It is recommended to combine one night in the ICEHOTEL along with several nights in the warm hotel rooms or chalets, in order to fully enjoy the experience. The cold accommodation of the ICEHOTEL comes in several forms – the Art Suite, Ice Room and Snow Room.

In each room of varying size and design you will sleep cosy in a thermal sleeping bag on a special bed built of snow and ice on reindeer skins. In the morning you are woken with a hot drink at your bedside proceeded by a buffet breakfast and soothing sauna. In addition to the beautifully crafted suites, the artists create a stunning bar area and romantic chapel that welcomes a number of weddings parties each year. The Ice Church and ABSOLUT ICEBAR are popular attractions in themselves. For those tempted by the ice adventure, there is plenty of information to help you prepare for the trip at

Photography: Big Ben Productions - Arne Bergh, Anders Eriksson, Marjolein Vonk, Cindy Berg, Marinus Vroom, Jan Willem, Maarten Meijer, Margarita Kiselička, Simon Kalajdžiev, Natsuki Munakata, Shingo Saito, Lena Kristrōm, Mark Armstrong, Natalia Chistyakova, Karlis Ile, Marjolein Vonk, Cindy Berg, Jan Willem and Marinus Vroom


The Gallery If you have a property for sale or rent which you would like featured in our gallery then please contact the gallery manager, Ying at +66(0)76 271 111 or


For more information e-mail or call the gallery manager, Ying at +66 (0) 76 271 111


Deva Yama Phuket

Deva Yama is an exclusive development of truly luxurious villas located atop a hillside in Phuket’s millionaires mile. From your lofty perch you will enjoy billion dollar views of pristine Nakalay Bay. Meaning ‘divine sanctuary’ in sanskrit, Deva Yama offers a perfect retreat from the pressures of the world. Deceptively simple design soothes the soul, drawing the eye to fabulous sea views. Deva Yama comprises of six superlative villas. Set within 6,000 sq m. (almost two acres) of wooded hillside, the elevation of the site drops by 25 metres (approx. 82’), meaning that each exquisite property enjoys superior privacy and unique vistas. Find your own piece of paradise on the last prime cut of land on Phuket’s west coast. Phase A villas are ready to move in by December 2009. | +66 (0) 76 271 333 124


Stylishly Thai Phuket

With an elevated Surin beach hillside location, this substantial, modern Thai influenced pool villa affords picturesque west coast ocean views. This quality villa is presented over three stories and features five bedrooms with en suite bathrooms designed to a spacious professional standard, fully fitted kitchen that adjoins the formal dining room on the upper floor. The middle floor includes two well designed bedrooms. The upper floor houses features two master bedrooms overlooking the ocean with an oversized living room. All rooms here have vaulted ceilings and shiny wooden floors. On the same floor is also the 16 metre pool with two covered salas.

Tel: +66 (0) 81 892 9495 125


For more information e-mail or call the gallery manager, Ying at +66 (0) 76 271 111


Coastal Living Phuket

Style and Convenience in a Prestigious Location

As part of the Ayara Surin residential development, this villa for sale offers privacy, modern style and convenience in a prestigious location. Nestled against the steep slopes of Surin Hill featuring wonderful views of Surin beach, the Amanpuri headland and the Andaman Sea. This villa has been painstakingly maintained and is ready to move in for those buyers looking to buy a prestigious Thai style residence at an attractive price.

Tel: +66 (0) 81 892 9495 126


Thaibali Phuket

With only four exclusive pool villas, few places can match the true privacy guaranteed at this oasis just minutes from Bang Tao Beach. One pool villa is now available for sale. The villa combines the simple elegance of Thai and Balinese design. Natural elements like indoor gardens, moon roofs and water features imbue a sense of tranquility throughout the villa. Additionally the pool villa is fully furnished with a stylish Asian theme and a well equipped western kitchen. While you wait for dinner, enjoy a cocktail and a cool dip in the pool or Jacuzzi. Retreat to the privacy of the master suite and glorious en suite bathroom and emerge refreshed. With two guest bedrooms, the pool villa is spacious enough for up to three couples to enjoy the villa amenities. | +66 (0) 76 271 111


Modern Tropical Phuket

This stylish tropical home in Phuket was recently finished and is now on the market for sale or long term lease. With a land area of +400 sq m. it offers plenty of room for a family up to six persons. The property features three spacious bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, with a master suite that occupies the entire second floor with its own walk-in closet and oversized bathroom. The substantial living - dining room overlooks the pool and landscaped gardens and links to a fully equiped western kitchen, a guest WC, storage areas and a seperate maids room with bathroom. The tastefully landscaped gardens wrap around the pool, Jacuzzi and salas as well as the carpark for two large cars. The owners are well known architects and interior designers in Phuket, who build tropical homes for descerning clients in the best locations. | +66 (0) 81 514 8547 |



For more information e-mail or call the gallery manager, Ying at +66 (0) 76 271 111


Phuket Golf & Country Homes for Rent Phuket The Phuket Golf & Country Homes estate is a boutique development of semi-detached town homes situated at the 14th tee off at Phuket Country Club, in the heart of Phuket island. Each unit offers spectacular views over the fairways and greens as well as surrounding mountains. The estate offers a private car park, landscaped gardens and a private pool with BBQ area. Minimum rental period of three nights up to one week. Long term leases are negotiable. These homes feature three bedrooms with private balcony, four bathrooms, large living and dining room and western kitchen plus a roof terrace to chill out.

For more details contact Sam at +66 (0)81 892 9208 or visit


Land for sale Phuket

Everyone wants to sell you plans for “The House of Your Dreams” or “The Land Plot of your Fantasy”, well - put them together and you have this! That is…as long as you don’t want a sea view, which can become somewhat black and boring once night falls, or a 128

residence “close to where the action is”. If you want either of these, don’t read on. However, if you want a magnificent and unblemished view of nature at its very best and the occasional passing golfer to ridicule; or if you want tranquility both during the day and night and free life membership to one of the best golf clubs on the island so you too can be cheerfully ridiculed; oh… and if you’d like to have complete drawings of a splendid house ready to give to a builder to get on with the job

on this unique plot (it really is unique!), then this may be yours, but it isn’t a give away. So, put your hand in your pocket and come up with THB 12 million and we’ll seriously think about passing all the above bounty to you. We’re not really interested in offers, but if it makes you feel better we’ll let you have it for 11,999,999 ! We’ll reduce it by a further million if you can show us a better plot on any golf course on Phuket island! Contact Tel. 081 892 9495 (Eng/Thai)


The SEA Koh Samui

Thailand’s Premier Beachfront Residence…. “Completed without Compromise” THE SEA is a luxurious beachfront residence comprising of six boutique villas and 15 condominiums nestled along the enchanting beachfront of Bang Por, Koh Samui. All pool villas consist of three bedrooms surrounded by an exotic tropical garden offering natural scenery from every angle. Three choices of condominiums are available; one-bedroom, two-bedroom and two-bedroom duplex condominiums that comes with a private plunge pool. Each of the 15 condominiums features a spacious balcony and an outdoor Jacuzzi. THE SEA is designed and decorated under the tropical fusion concept where western style is aesthetically mixed with Asian culture. With five-star facilities, THE SEA offers an excellent opportunity for investment, as well as the perfect place to become your home away from home. New Owners taking advantage of our Rental Management Program through Astudo will benefit additionally from our 6% Guaranteed return for up to 3 years. | +66 (0) 77 961 982, +66 (0) 86 340 6625



Modern Lanna

Thai Royal Residence

Chiang Rai

Khanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat

This villa was designed by a national artist and award-winning Thai architect. The simple and modern Lanna Punya style home consists of 200 sq m of living space with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, two living areas, a dining zone and modern kitchen with an entrance opening to the car park. The pyramid roof is covered with traditional terra-cotta tiles and the house is painted in white with high contrast black aluminium frames for all doors and windows of tinted glass. All floors are covered with teak wood parquet.

An investment opportunity in a stunning ‘yet to be discovered’ beachfront paradise on the Gulf of Thailand. 34 villas - three, four and five bedrooms lie on 25 rai of land along a 200 metre stretch of Nai Phlao Beach. Living space ranges from 155-300 sq. m with prices from THB 15.5-25 million. All villas are sold turn-key, designed with superb quality, featuring five-star luxury furnishings for those seeking only the best. 50% of the villas are currently under construction with completion expected in December 2009.

The house is filled with art and photography collections. The design focus on simplicity and functionality. The interior is bright with lots of daylight and features upper and lower terraces for relaxation. The house commands a view of distant hills, overlooking the army golf course and is totally surrounded by lush greenery.

Additional amenities and services include a private reception area, daily housekeeping, a 300 sq. m infinity pool, full service restaurant, pool bar, beach service, fitness centre and five-star spa. Easily accessible from two airports and within close proximity to Koh Samui. | +66 (0)89 661 5840 | +66 (0) 2 126 8099


Tropical-Living November issue 2009  

Properties, interiors & lifestyle in Thailand