Pattanapong Aikwanich is Managing Director of the Diamond Cliff Resort & Spa, Baan Sukhothai Company and also the Patong Promenade project. Khun Pattanapong previously held the position of President of PTA, Phuket Tourism Association, and is currently an advisor to them. He recently took time out from his busy working schedule to answer some of our questions.
What is Patong Promenade?
Patong Promenade is Phuket’s latest entertainment and shopping complex, which our company (Baan Sukhothai) decided to bring to Patong. This complex will replace our previous project the Baan Sukhothai Hotel. We decided to change the hotel to this fantastic complex because it is such a prime location in Patong. The hotel had been there for 30 years. However, I could see there was something better to be doing with the land than keep running a hotel business. The area which surrounded the hotel has, over time, changed into an entertainment area and the hotel was no longer a suitable business to be running where it was. So after talking amongst the committee of the company we decided we should go for it and the idea of Patong Promenade was born.
How did the concept come about?
We want the area to be used for a combination of entertainment, shopping, drinking and dining. We want it to be a one-stop destination. When tourists come and visit Patong, we want them to visit us. They will get almost everything they need there. When they want to eat, they can eat. When they want to dance, they can dance. They can sing, they can drink, and they can shop. They can do everything they would usually do around the whole of Patong under one roof. I think our location is so convenient for them, it will be hard to beat, and that’s for sure.
How does Promenade differ from other shopping complexes in Phuket?
The main role of Patong Promenade is to serve as the entertainment hub of Patong, not purely a shopping complex. The shopping is only a small part of what we have to offer. Don’t get me wrong, there will be plenty of shopping, approximately one third of the area will be shopping, but we are mainly focused on entertainment. But getting back to the question, I would say we are different from other places for various reasons. First of all, we are in a prime location on the corner of Bangla Road and Rat-Uthit 200 Pee Road. Secondly, we are a walking street complex, with areas that are full walking streets and an extension of Bangla Road. Parts of these walkways will be covered by a unique canvas marquee allowing visitors to be protected to in all weather conditions. The architecture will also be very varied. There will be buildings with Phuket’s original Sino-Portuguese architecture, some that feature amazing modern architecture, one which is designed to look like a forest and features tiger sculptures, and our main building that uses a modern Sukhothai design with the use of multi-coloured stain glass windows.
Another thing is that we will be able to offer our visitors parking. We will be able to accommodate about 600-700 vehicles per day. This will be available in a dedicated secure underground parking area.
Another thing people must realise is this is not a one man show. We have business partners who have put a lot of time and effort into this project too, and they are bringing many different types of entertainment to this complex, international entertainment that cannot be found anywhere on the island.
When is Promenade due to open?
We are positive that we will be open by our target date in December. We will be running by Christmas for sure.
Do you already have tenants for the outlets?
Yes I would say we are now at around 70% occupancy. We still have some areas we are trying to find the right tenants for. We’ve had many bars and restaurants contact us for these spaces but we are still waiting for the right people to approach us. Because of our location we are lucky enough to be able to choose who we have. But we want to have a good variety of options for visitors, not too much of the same thing as has been done in other locations.
By the time we open, we should be at 90% occupancy, which will be great.
What is the future for Khun Pattanapong?
We still have some of the original buildings which are located at the front of the Patong Promenade site. Within the next two or three years, those buildings will be renovated. Once those are complete I am sure that Patong Promenade will be the most beautiful attraction for tourists who come to the island.
This area has been designed to suit each and every individual. This is not a place designed for only men. It has been designed for women, children, for families. From when I was President of PTA, it has been our purpose to try to get more families coming here. I think it is better for the island.
Who is Khun Pattanapong away from the business environment?
I like to play golf once in a while. I take care of my collection of Bonsai Trees, of which I have more than 120. Each and every morning I wake at 5.30am to care for them. I love to collect Thai antiques as well.
I also like to travel, maybe 2 or 3 times a year I go and visit a different country. I’m lucky to have travelled to different countries in Asia, to Europe and Africa. Some of my favourite places are Hawaii, Croatia and also China, places where you can see a different culture to our own.
Phuketindex wish Khun Pattanapong, his team and partners of Patong Promenade every success with their new entertainment hub.