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ALFA Resorts Insight: Koh Samui

16 October 2015 - Tony Smyth, SquareFoot Magazine

Island living

There is everything to be said about stunning views, tranquil beaches, warm seas and magnificent sunsets that the Thai island of Koh Samui can offer the wistful investor. It’s natural beauty and charm is attracting a growing number of visitors to this little piece of paradise in the Gulf of Thailand.

The island is the Kingdom’s third largest with established and extensive infrastructure including an international airport that serves Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and routes to Mainland China. Medical tourism is on the increase and the island has several international standard hospitals. Leisure pursuits are almost infinite from eco-tourism and water sports, to shopping and dining. There are several golf courses within easy reach of all hotels.

With its palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves and dense, mountainous rainforest it has attracted some of the best luxury resort brands and upscale spas that cater to a more affluent, discerning visitor demographic.

According to Andrew Langdon, Executive Vice President of the Hotels and Hospitality Group at JLL, the group anticipates that Koh Samui will continue to position itself as Thailand’s high-end resort destination as more luxury brands establish their presence on the Island.

Investing in resort properties as part of a hotel apartment portfolio is developing into a lucrative niche segment provided that the developer has a good standing track record. As with all investments, independent due diligence is a must for each prospective owner to carry out by themselves.


A number of factors helped sustain the trading performance of hotels in Samui last year besides the fact that Samui was generally isolated from the political turbulence that affected the mainland. There were few hotel openings in Koh Samui in 2014, further limiting availability, and an upturn in flights to the island, especially charters from Greater China, also increased demand.

Expansion plans for Samui Airport in 2015 have been confirmed, but the details have not been made public. The undertaking is expected to be a strong driving fundamental for increased airlift and capacity.

“In the aftermath of Thailand’s political events which affected markets nationwide, the resort island of Samui has continued its success story of arrival growth which spurred hotel performance in the first half of the year,” says Bill Barnett, Managing Director, C9 Hotelworks. “Amidst all tiers, upscale hotels stand out as the best performer during H1 2015 with an increase in occupancy by 4 percent and RevPAR (revenue per available room) by 27 percent versus H1 2014, with the latter being driven by average room rates growth of 25 percent.”

Barnett adds that airlift was the instigator pushing numbers in the first half of the year, as international passengers arriving at Samui and Surat Thani airports lifted up year-on-year by 4% and 6% respectively.

Western Europe, highlighted by arrivals from Germany and U.K. remain the broad leading markets of the resort destination and a rising Asian market is posting strong numbers, despite a decidedly shorter average length of stay. The offset of European and regional demand mitigates seasonal fluctuations allowing for more room night occupancies compared to other regional destinations.

Koh Samui’s somewhat passive hotel pipeline and controlled airlift are the two largest benefactors to the tourism market. One such development in the pipeline, which is being closely watched by international investors, is The Beach Samui, a 21 key boutique resort property being developed by the Absolute World Group.

The Beach Samui will have its own Holistic Spa, infinity pool overlooking the Mu Koh Ang marine park, a Botanical Bar & Restaurant and will be part of the Design Hotels™ worldwide collection.

The developer, Thailand’s award winning Boutique Developer, Absolute World Group has commissioned the internationally renowned Archer Humphryes Architects to design The Beach Samui well known for their work on leading boutique hotel and restaurant projects such as London’s Chiltern Firehouse and Hakkassan.

ALFA Investors has an Exclusive Pop Up event in Hong Kong’s SOHO district on Saturday and Sunday, 19-20 September 2015 where we will launch The Beach, Koh Samui in conjunction with Absolute World, to the Hong Kong Market. We also represent their award-winning Absolute Twin Sands Resort and Spa development in Phuket which will also be on display.

You can ‘pop up’ to see us, share a glass of wine and find out more about this limited investment opportunity with one of Asia’s most respected resort developers and operators.

If you would like to arrange a one-on-one meeting to talk to us or the developer about investing in The Beach Samui or our other Thailand Resort and Villa properties please call +(852) 2110 8712 or email Tony Smyth, Head of Marketing at