His first intention was to stay in Phuket for just a few months, but life on the island for Saroch Tantipattanaseri, Managing Director of ‘Sea Sun Sand Resort’, a moderate size resort in Patong, is now reaching 30 years here. What made a successful architect leave his place of origin and lay his future on this island? Let’s find out the answer together, in how this architect–executive, designs and directs his life.
How was the beginning for Saroch Tantipattanaseri?
I’m a Bangkok native. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in architecture from Chulalongkorn University and spent many years after the graduation with Thailand’s major construction, trading and manufacturing group Italian-Thai Development PCL. One day when I was assigned a task in Phuket and had been working here for a period of time, I saw a business opportunity, as at that time Phuket was still short of a professional architecture company. After that my colleagues and I started up our own company named Project Management Consultants (PMC) which serves customers for architecture & interior design, landscape work, consulting and construction, with the aim to bring professionalism into all the work.
What makes PMC different?
It’s the professionalism. Our job does not stop at the design on paper but we go beyond. We provide feasibility advice for the customers on matters that include budget management, marketing, investment and risk assessment. The reason why we pay attention to every process and focus so much on the design is because, for me, designing is like laying the foundation which needs to be strong for the frame and the building to be set and rise securely when completed. Our past projects range from hotels to residential projects.
How did Sea Sun Sand Resort happen?
I can’t deny that the hotel business was very hot in Phuket. Anyone would want to invest in this market. At first, we were just an architectural company which could expect income only in the low season when the investors liked to construct or renovate to support the next high season. To cope with the vacuum situation, we then thought about opening up our own hotel. That is the origin of Sea Sun Sand Resort in the prime location of Patong.
At that time, Sea Sun Sand Resort’s concept was different from other hotels in Patong, which mostly focused on high buildings with luxurious design. We decided to go with a compact 78-room hotel that can be in harmony with the natural surroundings. We use plants to fill up what Patong always misses and we value good service the most, to keep occupancy high even in low season and to keep our guests returning again and gain.
Is it true that another Sea Sun Sand Resort project is coming up?
Yes, it is. As our existing Sea Sun San Resort at the present cannot sufficiently meet the consistently high demand for rooms anymore, we therefore ended up with a solution to expand the resort to another location on Prabaramee Road. Close to completion, the new phase of Sea Sun Sand comprises low-rise buildings that accommodate a number of guestrooms, hotel facilities and 54-unit apartments with rental management service and guaranteed rental returns for investors. All is coming with a more modern look but still sticking to easy access to the beach, privacy and comfort.
In the designer role, what do you achieve?
Ethics is what our company keeps following for a long time. We cannot only think about how ‘to gain’ but we have to think about how ‘to give’ as well. This is what I’m trying to cultivate in my subordinates and young generation. Because of that principle, our company can still stand in the industry for over a decade. In addition, in my opinion, to pass on knowledge and to train the new generation is very important. While they need both ‘knowledge’ and ‘opportunity’ and we have ability to give that, why not go for it?
In the role of executive, how do you take care of your staff?
For the hotel, service is the key. And I think, to deliver a good service, staff need to be treated well too. I take care of them like they are part of my family. We need to know their demands, satisfy & respect each other, plus allow them to think and be themselves. Everyone is their own boss. I strongly believe this is an effective way of human resource management for hotels. Working environments that are full of conflict or fault-finding will not lead to good service and cannot build loyalty in any organization.
What is your real identity?
I may have some aspects that people classify as an ‘oldie’. While I like to go to a temple, spend some time with myself in a quiet place, I’m still attracted to innovations or cutting-edge technology which is more likely to be a character of the new blood. Definitely, personal lifestyle can indicate identity of each person. But actually, what people think about you is not as important as how you perceive yourself. I don’t care what people think of me. Having a chance ‘to give’, being who I am now, is enough for me.
What do happiness and success mean to you?
I don’t think they mean so much. Expectation in life for me is what make us busy and suffer. Happiness depends on your way of thinking and doing. For success in working life, I just want to keep doing what I have been, to make it better as I think a good foundation makes life easier.
Finally, as a hotel business operator, I would like to ask investors and entrepreneurs in Phuket to be more environmentally conscious. The natural environment doesn’t deserve to be destroyed for personal gain. We’d better help together, to save it for the benefit of the whole world.