#unCOVERED – Meet Dr Chayanon Phucharoen who raised the standard of luxury resorts in Phuket.
Clandestine perched on the western edge of Phuket, The NAKA Phuket epitome of contemporary design, featuring 94 glass-built villas nestled amid an exclusive beach and magnificent mountain. Equipped with a private infinity pool and balcony, each iconic villa optimally integrates the basic elements of nature with a sweeping view of the Andaman Ocean.
The hotel’s design is the brainchild of veritable architect Duangrit Bunnag and academic Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen. Armed with a PhD in economics, Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen rode against the odds and ventured into the real estate and hospitality industry through the establishment of his first hotel design: The NAKA Phuket.
Coupling Business with Academics
COVERED ASIA: Coming from an academic background with a PhD in economics, how does that contribute to your success in the property development of The NAKA Phuket?
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: Economic tools are good for business decision making. However, investment decisions cannot solely rely on economics for the final decision. Initially, The NAKA Phuket was an investment project that I did not concur with, as the financial projections did not look good. Using a regression analysis, other quantitative tools were conducted to determine if the board of directors should invest in this plot of land. At that point of time, the financial indicators did not look good.
The Last Plot of Land of the West Coast
COVERED ASIA: Despite the unfavorable projected quantitative indicators, why did you go ahead with the real estate development project?
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: Our two founders are equipped with the animal spirit and strong business acumen. From their gut feelings and long-accumulated experience, they had proven investment paths. Both of our founders had explained to me the reasons behind this project’s decision, as Phuket can be divided into the East and West Coasts. When you take a satellite picture at night, you will find that the West Coast is the brightest region.
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: The bright lights indicate that most of the major developments occur in the West Coast. The NAKA Phuket was among the last freehold plots of land available for sale in Phuket. As it was among the last legitimate freehold plots of land available, they believed that this was a good investment opportunity.
Academics and Real Estate
COVERED ASIA: Would you concur that academics has no place in the realms of real estate and investments?
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: No. The study of economics is a good tool to improve business models. Academics can show the calculated risks involved in an investment project. For example, we ran a test to research the most important indicator that affects our customers’ satisfaction. Using a multiple regression analysis on one of our premises, the results show that the lack of pest control will cause great guest dissatisfaction. One pest found can result in a 0.6 minus. With the research, we have allocated more resources to deal with pest control.
The Naka Phuket
COVERED ASIA: Would you like to tell us more about The NAKA Phuket and the architectural inspirations behind the resort?
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: The Naka Phuket is a prime asset with the mountain at the back and the sea in the front. When there is a mountain behind you, it provides excellent protection and support for the inhabitants of the house. The water at the front of the house will bring tremendous wealth for years and years. Our shareholder purchased the last plot of land along the West Coast because of the mountain at the back and beach in the front. It could also be an excellent product for guests who either seek the beach or mountain experience. In addition, The Naka Phuket is a 10 – 15 minutes ride from Patong. It is a good balance between the mountain and sea, between hideaway and city.
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: For the architecture design, our directors at that time requested for our architect, Duangrit Bunnag to add in an equilibrium concept. The villa is built with a cantilever concept; it is a balance between the sky and sea. The idea behind it is for the guest to live between the sky and sea.
Equilibrium balance between sky and sea
COVERED ASIA:Who is your greatest inspiration?
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: Both of our company founders are men whom I deeply respect, and they have taught me priceless business lessons, which are not inherited from my education path. The most important lesson that I have learned from them is how they look after their subordinates. We have had employees working with us for about 20 to 30 years, and my father frequently reminds me that it is important to realize your employees’ roles and contributions. It is imperative to form a personal bond with your staff.
The Next Business Dimension
COVERED ASIA:Where do you envision yourself to be in the next 5 to 10 years?
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: Giving back to the local community is on my list. I hope to be able to do good and contribute back to the local community in Thailand. As for my academic career, I would aspire to be an Associate Professor in the next 5 to 10 years. In terms of businesses, I will be focusing on consistency, sustainability and solid expansion into a growing tourism industry in Thailand.
For more information on The NAKA Phuket, visit https://www.thenakaphuket.com/