After covering a late-night event in Mai Khao, I dropped into Phuket Boat Lagoon for a little refreshment before heading home. Having recently returned to the island after a five-year absence in the West, I was surprisingly taken aback by the upgraded aesthetics and clear investment into the Lagoon Quay boardwalk since my last visit.
Phuket Boat Lagoon has always had an old-school charm, a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere than the more modern developments on the island. But the refurbishment of recent years appear to have delivered on a contemporary style whilst retaining the unique heritage of the island’s long-standing marina. And this, I was about to find out, is just the tip of the iceberg on Phuket Boat Lagoon’s future plans.
So I engineered a great excuse to return for an interview with the marina complex’s highly amiable Executive Director, Wicky Sundram. Wicky took up the position over two years ago, having previously spent 17 years overseeing one of Southeast Asia’s premium marine destinations, the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club.
Phuket Boat Lagoon is a family run business, the brainchild of its founder, Kanit Yongsakul, some 30 years ago, who continues to oversee his investment with three of his kin who entered the family trade. It was clear they wanted an experienced and forward-thinking director within the marine industry to help steer their precious ship.
“I had known about the marina’s success story and have been coming to this marine industry hub for many years,” says Wicky. “But there’s a hidden secret inside the gates of Phuket Boat Lagoon, which is the range of facilities and attractions on offer which we’re transforming into a world class destination.”
On a grand tour of the marina complex I was duly surprised by the size and diversity of the operation. All in all more than 263 rai which covers not only professional marine and boat-handling facilities, but residential homes, a holiday resort, business and conference facilities, an early learning centre, ice rink, a shopping arcade, retail outlets and a medley of restaurants, bars and cafes and… breathe…
The marina is continually broadening its facilities and space. A large area of land expansion is currently underway near the marina’s harbour entrance, which will facilitate the expanding tour boat operations.
Wicky adds, “The quality and services of the marine and boating business has always been well established here. The developing land gives us the opportunity to expand and move all the marine services to this new area over time, making it easier to launch and service the boats directly from our harbour channel. This will also free up premium space around the marina for the development of additional retail outlets and consumer-facing attractions.”
“With the hotel we are currently exploring massive redevelopment plans to provide a premium holiday experience. With a modernised resort, shopping and dining attractions, and the facility for island tours and day trips all within the complex, we will be creating the ‘next level’ in the experience of a marina destination. It will also be the ideal location for corporate groups who are also looking for a retreat.”
Wicky talks about this transformation into the ‘future-proofed’ ideal marina complex as a five-to-10-year plan. Whilst their marine service and facilities are already ahead of their industry associates, his focus is to create a more family-orientated destination.
With plans for development of further low- to mid-rise housing, the elegant and contemporary Sino-Portuguese architectural setting, a schedule of entertainment events and the range of on-site consumer outlets, it does indeed paint a rather idyllic picture of life around the picturesque harbour setting.
Wicky Sundram certainly has a pioneering vision for Phuket Boat Lagoon, which he fondly calls…
‘The Lifestyle Village’.
Phuket Boat Lagoon
22/1 Moo 2 Thepkasattri Rd. Kohkaew Muang Phuket 83000
Phone: 076 239 888