Lausanne alumnus fulfills his dream: Sri panwa, Thailand

Sri panwa is the only five-star hotel in Phuket, a well-known beach destination.

PHUKET, Thailand — Located on a cape overlooking the Andaman Sea, Sri panwa is the only five-star hotel in Phuket, a well-known beach destination. It features villas, houses and one-bedroom suites on 40 acres of land.

The owners are the biggest and longest-running real estate company in Thailand. The son of the real estate family, Vorasit Issara, known less formally as Wan, graduated from The Lausanne Hotel School in Switzerland. He wanted to create a five-star property that was new and fun for his generation. He and his father, Songkram Issara, formed a hotel partnership. 

Wan Issara asked his colleagues from Lausanne to help him run the hotel. In 2006, they started operating as a hotel with 12 rooms and a residence. Today, Sri panwa offers 1 bedroom pool suites, one to two bedroom pool villas, and three to five bedroom residential villas. Each villa is has its own infinity swimming pool with a jet stream Jacuzzi system, large master bedrooms, an outdoor bathing area with a separate rain shower and a sunset pavilion of its own. In November, they will open more units for a total of 52 rooms.

The average price for a one-bedroom pool suite is 25,000 baht, or about $699 U.S. per night. The five-bedroom residence goes for 130,000 baht or $3,634 per night.

Surprisingly, most of the guests are from Asia. “I expected Europeans,” said Suleeporn Sritutti (Sulie), business development rep at Sri panwa. “The whole year through we have guests from China, Korea, Japan and Thailand. Our owner knows how to do PR!”

During high season (Nov.-April), international guests predominate, while Thai people tend to come in the low season when it is less expensive. The luxury resort has a staff of 300 people. “The owner remembers everyone’s name,” Sritutti  said. “We don’t hire foreigners — we hire young, local people who want to learn to speak English. Normally on the island, turnover is big. Here we have many employees who have been here for six years or from the beginning [in 2006].

“Our owner loves food, and he loves mixing everything up,” Sritutti said. Baba Soul Food offers Southern Thai food. Baba Poolclub, with its 5,000-plus-square-metre entertainment outlet, has a wide range of Japanese, Italian, barbecue, Thai and hotpot cuisine. And Baba Nest, perched high in the sky, is a great place for sunset cocktails with a spectacular view.