Building a Better Phuket, One Generation at a Time
The story of Thavorn Hospitality began in the 1950s with the conceptualization of the Thavorn Hotels, Phuket’s first full-service hotel, equipped with restaurants, room service, laundry, and professionally trained staff. Before the Thavorn Hotels, Phuket only had bed and breakfast-styled hotels, incapable of delivering professional international standard hotel service. Mr. Tilok Thavornwongwongse, the founder, wanted to upgrade the level of guest experience in Phuket hotels and, at the same time, find new income sources for the primitive island, which at the time earned most income from rubber plantations and Tin mining. The venture was very ambitious and daunting for local developers at the time. Little did Mr. Tilok know that the Thavorn Hotel would inspire other Phuket developers to take the first serious step into the service industry. Today, the Thavorn Hotel, which has become one of the island’s most significant heritage sites, still serves as a testament to the founder’s desire for better hotels guest experience in Phuket.
More than a decade later, Thavorn Hospitality led another significant transformation of Phuket once again in the phuket resorts space, this time by Mr. Charearn Thavornwongwongse. Resort development was a very innovative and unfamiliar concept in Phuket, and even Thailand at the time. Through his travels, Mr. Charearn became inspired by beautiful resort destinations across the globe, namely Bali and Hawaii, whose income are vastly derived from resorts. He believed the same developments could eventually happen in Phuket. This led him to handpick and acquire large amounts of seaside land to develop the first wave of world-class resorts. It was a painstaking and dangerous process as these lands were not accessible by roads at the time. One had to use long tail boats to access the different beaches.
Unlike many developers, Mr. Charearn’s business practice to resort development was way ahead of his time. He wanted to build “real” resort. In his definition, a “real” resort is one whose purpose is to connect people to the splendor of the nature, not intrude upon it. The construction of the group’s first two resorts, Thavorn Palm Beach and Thavorn Beach Village & Spa in 1984, is a clear manifestation of this belief. Both resorts feature unobtrusive low-rise architecture where most land is dedicated to natural green areas. This approach proved to be unpopular among modern developers who viewed Mr. Charearn’s excessive dedication to green areas as being sub-optimal for profit maximization. Nonetheless, Thavorn Hospitality remains ever committed to Mr. Charearn’s “real” resort development approach until this very day.
Fast forward to today, Phuket rose to become one of the most popular phuket resorts destinations in the world. However, with popularity came a variety of problems such as destructive development, environment degradation, crime, and corruption. Thavorn Hospitality-now led by Mr. Lert Thavornwongwongse believed it had to steer Phuket onto the path of non-destructive and fruitful development. For this to happen, he wanted to make Thavorn Hospitality a source of inspiration for a better Phuket. The goal is to become the source of inspiration for people and businesses to develop Phuket in positive, thoughtful, innovative, and sustainable ways. Mr. Lert believed that a business could represent much more than just “selling stuff”. He believed any businesses, well positioned, could become powerful tools for inspiring change; positive, thoughtful, innovative and sustainable change.