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Room for Twinpalms Two: Harry Usher looks over Baan Yamu

Twinpalms Two May Find a Home at Cape Yamu

Saturday, May 31, 2008
Contender for Business of the Year 2008
TWO OF Phuket's best-known names, Twinpalms and Cape Yamu, are likely to be united in a deal that will probably put a new version of the iconic resort on the island's most stylish headland fairly soon.

It's a betrothal between brands that is more than just talk. Land has been cleared at the cape for a new resort, based on the successful Twinpalms Phuket at Surin beach.

A little more candlelight canoodling is required first, even though the property owner and the resort's Scandanavian backers are said to share a desire to start another Twinpalms.

An insider told Phuketwan that the deal was ''more than 50 percent certain'' to go ahead within the next two years.

That's fascinating to hear, yet fresh surprises at Twinpalms are usually the stuff of local legend. The small resort (the word ''boutique'' tends to be overused) enters yet another new phase in its brief but impressive life from June 5.

On that day, the MV Olympia sails from Taiwan for Phuket waters. The sleek white power cruiser also has a second name, Twinpalms One.

At 76 feet it will be probably the longest, largest and most luxurious vessel on charter duty around the island. The yacht, operating under a fractional ownership arrangement, will offer impressive daily cruises out of Yacht Haven from July 9.

As the name implies, if the idea proves to be a winner, Twinpalms Two could be setting sail before too long.

The number three also has its place, though. Twinpalms car rentals are coming soon, with three small white vehicles, covered in large red kisses, set to take to the island's streets.

Add that to a list of clever ideas that stretch back four years to the resort's opening and before that, to a design phase that got everything just about right.

In a tough year after the 2004 tsunami, Twinpalms used the Oriental Spoon restaurant to pioneer the island Sunday brunch, which is now a Phuket-wide tradition, and a highly competitive one these days.

The brunch innovation and the Oriental Spoon worked superbly for spreading the word about the resort and the good value it sought to convey.

Twinpalms, which boasts 97 units and an 80 percent average occupancy rate, still relies on word of mouth, membership benefits, and an impressive Internet site for most of its marketing.

The biggest change since the opening, along with the establishment of the Catch Beach Club, has been the addition of 21 residential villas, each with a private pool and ranging up to 400 square metres in size.

Space is clearly the key as well at the cape on the east coast, where the Baan Yamu residential development has already made a mark: another example of the handiwork of the Twinpalms team in between resorts.

At the top of the headland lies a sprawling multistorey villa with a huge living space that says a lot about the choices on offer.

If the view out over Phang Nga Bay seems a little too cloud-free today, take a few of paces over to the other side, and there's Sapham Bay.

Baan Yamu offers a mix of quality and indulgence, with a range of styles and prices to suit just about everybody.

Not far away, at the very top of the cape, is the construction site that will become The Yamu resort, surrounded by Cape Yamu villas.

Another neighboring villa development by Campbell Kane, The Bay@Cape Yamu, cascades down a hillside nearby.

Just like Twinpalms, the Baan Yamu estate concentrates on Business and First Class rather than strictly on First Class alone, or a mix extending to Economy.

The advantage of Baan Yamu is that, while much of the rest of the cape is perhaps as long as two or three years from completion, the Courtyard Villa first phase of the project is already sold and occupied by satisfied residents or investors.

Importantly, resale prices have proved to be extremely strong.

Baan Yamu is a green-award-winning low-density residential community that will eventually comprise 62 units, with clubhouse, fitness centre, restaurant and a large communal swimming pool to complement the many private ones.

Up the hill, freeform Executive Villas spill across extremely large blocks. The owners are basically able to give life to their own ideas, outfitting the homes as they please, with prices from 55 million baht to 150 million baht.

Lower down, closer to the shorefront palms and tamarinds, the prices begin at 11.9 million baht and range up to 26.9 million for the largest Penthouse, with elevator.

When Phuketwan received a tour in the expert hands of project manager Harry Usher recently, it was quickly apparent that attention to detail is first rate, along with the finishes.

Now that the Garden Town Houses and Penthouses are nearing completion, the appeal of the angular Martin Palleros design is plain to see. So is the quality of the views.

Palleros, with a little input from some other interested parties, designed the original Twinpalms resort.

If everything goes according to plan, it may not be long before he has some more work to do on Twinpalms Two at Cape Yamu.

For inquiries about Baan Yamu properties, telephone +66 (0) 76318191 or +66 (0) 76310507. www.baanyamu.com

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