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The view to Patong from IndoChine soon after sunset

Phuket Nightlife Set to Boom with IndoChine

Monday, March 16, 2009
Phuketwan Album: Kalim's High Life

ENTERTAINMENT group IndoChine has formally announced its branding of the resort at Villa Santi, the landmark project on the northern outskirts of Patong-Kalim Bay.

Acquiring a stake in the property is Singapore-based IndoChine's first move into the hotel and hospitality sector. So far it has specialised in restaurants and events.

The Phuket-Singapore marriage provides further evidence of Kalim's future as the trendy young heart of island tourism, with the promise of more international standard nightlife.

Phuketwan previewed the project last year in a tour with the original developer, Bart Duykers, who weathered some difficult times, particularly after the project sparked a huge environmental controversy.

Like so many other large projects, Villa Santi looked its worst during the construction phase.

Because of its prominent location on a hillside not far from Patong (and highly visible from the beach road) Villa Santi became a target for local angst about all developments.

That did not stop Mr Duykers, who told Phuketwan: ''I am still waiting for the trees to grow above the buildings so the place looks green, the way it should.''

To come will be another highlight: the opening of the distinctive round IndoChine Waterfront restaurant, bar and entertainment centre, which sits close to the road but rises over four levels and can accommodated 400 diners and clubbers.

When it opens later this year, it is expected to be a beacon destination for the island's foodies and those looking for a good night out.

At present the plan is to offer IndoChine's traditional signature dishes based on Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian cuisine, with a Western style deli-bakery.

Clubbing and events? We shall see.

For Mr Duykers, the IndoChine deal, with the Singapore-based restaurant and entertainment group buying majority ownership, is the realisation of a dream.

He remains an energetic minority shareholder and director of the new company.He is also developing his own neigboring 11-villa site, Djinnah Santi.

The resort and the villa development have some of the finest outlooks on the island, high across Patong Bay.

IndoChine's arrival also signals the arrival of Kalim in a more general way.

Other trendy boutique brand resorts are set to open there and eateries of the class of Acqua, the White Box, Lim's and Hung Fat's give the rocky bay a distinctive ambience and a rising reputation.

Formally entitled the IndoChine Resort and Villas, general manager Tom Vicario has been quietly working away there during a soft-opening period extending back to October.

To have the Singapore brand confirm its involvement in the face of tightening economic circumstances on both islands is excellent news for the tourism industry.

Including the Phuket property, IndoChine owns and runs 26 restaurant and event properties in Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur; New Delhi and Hamburg.

Mr Duykers regards the the resort and villas as a potential retreat for young, active guests from the hectic nightlife and shopping of Patong.

''We are miles from the crowds, but just minutes from the buzz,'' he told Phuketwan.

''The fact that Patong is a bustling place, and so close, is a plus for our concept.

''It's not like being on the south end of Patong. From there, if you want to go somewhere, you have to go through Patong.

''I can be at Blue Canyon (beyond the airport) in 35 minutes, downtown to Patong in five minutes. So we feel we're in the perfect location.

''To me Patong is a maturing beach destination and it is improving over time, with better infrastructure and better attractions.

''Give it five or 10 years and you will see Patong being lifted up, with help from Kalim.''

Talking of lifting up . . . golf carts carry residents from the road to the slopes of what Mr Duykers terms a ''hillside village.'' It includes 35 Studios; eight Sky Pavilions, 19 Ocean Suites, 20 Ocean Spa Villas and six Residences.

There are also 35 rooms in the boutique hotel and a luxury spa with five suites, each in a private garden.

Villa Santi and Mr Duykers began construction way back in April, 2003. Tsunami, construction hold ups, airport blockades, environmental warfare . . .the site has seen it all.

None of that seems to matter now. From up here, the views are stunning.

''Landscaping should blend it all together soon,'' Mr Buykers says, hoping the palms will listen and get a hurry-on.

For those attracted by big celebrity names, the IndoChine group is noted for its entertainment events and has hosted such personalities as David and Victoria Beckham, Mariah Carey, INXS, Prince Albert of Monaco and Sting. It is owned by the Ma family.

Contact: IndoChine Resort and Villas +66 (0) 76 380 800 E:

Phuketwan's Kalim Dining

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Hung Fat's, Kalim Bay
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Kalim's Coming Soon

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Wednesday July 24, 2024
Phuketwan - Your sweet Phuket, every day


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