Gordon Oldham’s journey from lawyer to hotelier has him jet setting across the globe, from Thailand to Nepal, Bali, and Europe. Discover his journey and a prime investment for Middle Eastern travellers in Phuket
Touchdown at Phuket’s international airport and you will notice travellers from all across the globe. Chinese, Koreans, British, Indians and Russians being the majority amongst the rest. Phuket’s visa-on-arrival rule for over 55 countries and accessible location – just six hours away from Dubai – makes it an exotic destination for those looking to escape. When we arrived at The Pavilions Phuket, we walked into a lavish five-star resort with lush vegetation, views of the city and the ocean in the distance. Perched atop one of the island’s highest points, The Pavilions focus on core themes featuring: art, culture, romance and adventure. The only difference here is that this isn’t just a resort, you can own a piece of property within this gated community.This has always been Gordon Oldham’s plan. “The Pavilions started by accident. There was no great business plan. It started when somebody asked me to look at a piece of land in Bali back in 1992.
I wasn’t a big fan of Bali at that time, but I went. Now, of course, I adore it,” says Oldham, CEO of The Pavilons Phuket. As history reveals, Oldham purchased one half of the property and that’s where the hotelier’s journey commenced. Coincidentally, he was acting as a young lawyer for Adrian Zecha who was just starting out the Aman resorts at the time. By trade, Oldham is a lawyer based out of Hong Kong – his business card still says so too.
“Initially, the idea was to build houses to sell off. We went ahead with the project, and that really got me going.” After a visit to Phuket in 2003, Oldham invested in an area on the top of the hill and opened 21 units in 2006, naming it The Pavilions Phuket. The villas sold like hot cakes to friends and family. A few years later, in 2012, phase two began. This comprises stunning spa and pool villas. In 2017, phase three launched with suites and penthouses. The Pavilions have expanded worldwide ever since, with investments in Europe (Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome and Lisbon), Asia (Niskeo) and the sustainable resort in the Himalayas (Pokhara). At The Pavilions Phuket, current buyers are usually Italian and Chinese. In terms of holidays, repeat customers are again from Italy, China, and Korea – who usually book top tier options such as the Ocean View suite, which isn’t for sale.
The Pavilions Residences Phuket showcase three-and four-bedroom villas, two-bedroom penthouses, and suites, with prices starting at US$1,645 per square metre. With panoramic views of the island’s west coast scenery, and at just three minutes’ drive from the golden sands of Layan Beach, these are just some of the few reasons to invest in The Pavilions Phuket.
Enter the Spa and Pool Villa and you are immediately greeted by stunning views, a private pool, and sun loungers to the right. The villa opens into a spacious living room with a plush day-bed/couch, tea, coffee and snack facilities, and a door that leads out to the Spa room complete with massage beds. The bedroom can be closed off with separation shutters and features a comfortable king-sized bed, closet space, work-desk and a bathroom right behind it boasting a tub in which you can soak in every night with the accompanying salts.
The two penthouses, 355 sq m. and 435 sq. m, are open-plan spaces that comprise a living room, dining area and expansive outdoor terraces with private infinity-edged pools. The lavish space boasts a fresh, contemporary vibe with grey, blue and neutral hues, compared to the traditional-styled villas that showcase darker tones. Those looking for an expansive space can opt for the larger villas (Mimosa, Rose and Lantana) boasting four to four and a half bedrooms, an entertainment room – ideal as a home cinema – on the upper floor, and an open-plan living room and kitchen downstairs which look out to the infinity pool and garden terrace – where you can arrange a barbecue evening, private dinner, or a yoga session. All accommodation options can be placed into the rental pool, and maintained by the hotel, for an additional cost. Perhaps the few elements that appeal to most buyers are the five-star services within a secure gated compound, and the tranquil Pavilions Spa where you can indulge in the most amazing Thai massage, swim laps at the adults-only pool, and participate in a selection of activities and lessons on the terrace.
You don’t even have to leave the hotel premises to dine. For tapas, cocktails and the best views in Phuket, visit 360 Bar & Grill. A relaxed authentic Thai meal or one that embraces international flavours, is best at the Plantation Club. If you’re craving steak or wood-fired grill specialties, served poolside, Firefly is not to be missed.
Need to know: The top-tier villas (Frangipani, Mimosa, Rose and Lantana) are priced at $1,200,000 to 1,4000,000 (Dhs4,407,000 to 5,142,480). Book a stay at the Four Bedroom villa for $823 or the Ocean View villa at $325 per night. Visit pavilionshotels.com