IndoChine enters JV with hotelier

NIGHTLIFE entrepreneur Michael Ma, who runs the IndoChine group in Singapore and elsewhere, is going into hotel management with the setting up of a joint venture to be known as the LaTour IndoChine Hotel Group. It will be headquartered in Singapore.

The hotel management company is designed to provide wide-ranging expertise to developers entering the realm of boutique hotels, six-star hotels as well as whole and partial ownership of exclusive villas, Mr Ma told Today.

“The vision is to contribute to the realisation of luxury boutique hotels, a one-of-a-kind six-star hotel experience and affordable full-service hotel chains for the affluent and business traveller of today in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East.”

His partner, the San Diego-based LaTour Signature Group, was created two years ago to invent and deliver highly-personalised vacation experiences at new and existing five-star golf, ski and oceanfront properties of 100 units or less.

On why he decided to go into the new sector, Mr Ma said: “Having built up our chain of nightspots and restaurants, we were looking for a new bandwidth, and some people came to us with proposals to manage their properties.”

Tom LaTour, a renowned hotelier in the United States, was introduced through some mutual friends, said Mr Ma.

Even before the formal registration of the joint venture, Mr Ma’s hotel arm was already up and running a villa and resort development in Bay, Phuket, where for now you can put up in a 1,000 square foot studio for less than US$150 ($218) a night. A six-bedroom villa with its own infinity-edge pool and jacuzzi will set you back less than US$1,000 a night.

The IndoChine Villas & Resort in Phuket, designed by Singapore’s Alfred Wong Partnership, comprises 64 properties – or “keys”, as they are known in the hotel industry – and includes 20 villas, 19 apartment suites, six residences, 11 studios and eight Sky Pavilions.

Facilities there include a restaurant with a bar and cantinetta, a spa, a 25m swimming pool with a bar, and squash and tennis courts. The place can also host parties and events for up to 1,000 people.

While the whole project is expected to be completed later in the year, 19 villas and 10 studios are already in operation and according to Mr Ma, occupancy is currently at 100 per cent. “We have a good general manager who, through his contacts, has been able to fill the place up,” Mr Ma explained.

The joint venture is also looking at potential new sites in Bali, Jakarta and other places in Thailand.

Properties can be sold as whole units, or investors can sign up for a fraction of a property and receive time-sharing ownership.

Source : Today – 26 Jun 2009

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