BANGKOK, THAILAND – After the successful launch of Vana Nava Water Jungle in Hua Hin, one of Thailand's top waterparks which has been in operation for three years, Proud Real Estate has invested a further THB 1.8 billion into building the Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hinwhile also adding Vana Nava Sky, a roof top observation deck, bar and restaurant; and introducing a new children's zone in the waterpark. The hotel is Phase Two of the almost THB 4 billion development, which sits on a 35-rai plot of land. The third and final phase will be premium residences expected to launch within 2018.
"With the tourist demographics to Hua Hin moving from more traditional European senior couples to younger Asian families, guests are looking for a more adventurous and playful experience while on vacation. On top of beaches and local culture, more and more customers are also in search of memorable, fun activities they can share with their loved ones, bringing a joyful travel experience to everyone. Vana Nava Hua Hin is the first 'Resort Destination' project in Thailand developed under a 'Playcation' concept, with facilities for all types of customers, including families, couples and corporate groups," said Proud Real Estate's Executive Director, Ms. Proudputh Liptapanlop.
The 300-room Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin is a 140m-high property, making it the tallest building in Hua Hin and offering guests uninterrupted panoramic views of the ocean. The hotel has three main target segments with families being the most natural clientele based on the popularity of the waterpark. The hotel will also feature one of the largest MICE facilities in Hua Hin with over 1,500 sqm of meeting spaces, along with a wide range of facilities that includes a 24-hour 300 sqm fitness centre, infinity pools on 26th floor, as well as a lobby bar, spa, well-equipped Kids Club and dedicated Kids Suites. All guests are entitled to unlimited access to the water park during their stay at the hotel and innovative technology will also be a feature with a special electronic entrance system to replace queuing and ticketing.
Another key component of the project, "Vana Nava Sky", an observation deck, restaurant and bar, which Proud has set up to be another landmark for Hua Hin, has been created by Bangkok-based consultant Ashley Sutton, who has created destinations across the world including Maggie Choo's and Iron Fairies in Bangkok and Ophelia in Hong Kong. The glass bottomed deck sits 110 metres above the ground and offers panoramic views of Hua Hin Bay, Khao Takiab, offshore islands and even the Sam Roi Yot National Park.
"The Playcation concept means more than just putting a hotel next to a waterpark. It is about delivering a seamless customer experience. All 300 rooms will be sold inclusive of unlimited waterpark access for all guests and customers will be given an RFID wristband upon arrival, which not only provides them entry into the waterpark, but also unlocks their hotel room and pays for all their food and other purchases. The wristband can either be post- or pre-paid so parents can top them up for their kids and control how much they can spend. There are also plans to extend the use of this technology to include other services such as in-room services and e-commerce in the future," said Ms. Liptapanlop.
To enhance the offerings for families even further, the waterpark will also include a new zone for small children. The 600-sqm 'Vana Wonderland' features a large splash pool area equipped with spray pads and toy guns, themed with colourful oversized faux fauna and flora. The waterpark will also offer upgraded bathroom facilities, extended seating capacity and shading and new and improved dining concepts, such as dining inside a cave at Vana Cave Café. In addition, the 'Vana Learning Center' will provide classroom and learning space for school students on field trips to Hua Hin.
The synergies between the hotel and the waterpark extend well beyond catering to family visitors. Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin will offer unique meeting packages where, for example, a corporate group can finish a long day of meetings with a private dinner and party in the Wave Pool lasting well into the night. A new programme for team building and school visits will also be introduced at the waterpark. These will include games that are uniquely integrated into the exciting rides and slides, problem sheets and challenges that can be completed around the park, and a host of other activities to teach the basics of physics, water management systems, and even to improve English language skills.
Leveraging on the Group's other properties in Hua Hin, which include BluPort Hua Hin Resort Mall, a 50-50 joint venture with the Mall Group that opened last year, as well as True Arena Hua Hin, which features a wide array of sports facilities, Ms. Liptapanlop is confident that the development will offer a truly unique experience.
"We expect ADR to be at least 20 percent higher than the competitive set and occupancy to run between 60 and 70 percent once stabilized. With this model, we should also be adding at least 100,000 in yearly attendance to the waterpark, bringing the visitation up to at least 350,000 a year," explained Ms. Liptapanlop.
Because the model is expected to be a success, Proud Real Estate already has plans to recreate the concept of 'Playcation' elsewhere in Thailand, and potentially other locations in Southeast Asia. The company has recently acquired a large piece of land in Phuket. It also launched a joint venture with Whitewater West Canada to form WhiteWater Southeast Asia last year, with the aim of providing turnkey solutions for developers looking to create waterparks around the region. The joint venture is already involved in 6 projects in 4 different countries within the first year of operations.
Photo caption: From Left: Mr. Veera Sirirosjarus, Director of Investment and Corporate Strategy, Proud Real Estate; Mr. Natha Jamasevi, General Manager, Vana Nava Water Jungle; Ms. Proudputh Liptapanlop, Executive Director, Proud Real Estate; Ms. Mona Lim, Regional Director Finance & Business Support, InterContinental Hotels Group; Mr. Rex Loh, Director of Commercial Asia Australasia Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group; and Mr. Charles Vilalta, Revenue Performance Director Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group