The Danish “old hand” Ib Ottesen and his lovely wife, Kannikar, on Sunday 13 October inaugurated their latest impressive achievement, Jomtien Boathouse, a high quality hotel and restaurant on Jomtien Beach Road directly overlooking the sea.
The opening day also marked the 50th year Birthday of the rock-solid Dane, whose integrity and good name in Thailand makes up for all knee-jerk remarks, that resident foreigners in Pattaya are all dubious characters.
While the restaurant is now open for business, the hotel is scheduled to open on 1st November.
Half the rooms on all floors will have a balcony facing the beach directly with a splendid view looking out over the Gulf of Thailand. Still, the pricing is a moderate 1,200 Baht per night for these rooms and 1,000 Baht for rooms on the opposite side of the building.
Apart from being a dream come true, Jomtien Boathouse represents also a serious investment of a total of 39 mill. Baht, Ib Ottesen explains.
The opening speech of the night was meant to be held by the Danish Ambassador to Thailand. But as the Bali bomb had just sent the Danish Ministry for Foreign Affairs into frenzy, this task was taken over by Peter Malhotra, the publisher of Pattaya Mail, and Poul Weber, both long time friends of Kannikar and Ib Ottesen.
Peter Malhotra recalled in colourful terms the adventurous life of Ib Ottesen, which some years ago was also published in Pattaya Mail. It tells the story of a young Danish sailor, who signed off when his ship was anchored outside Klongtoey harbour and instead went about playing his guitar in bars in Patpong for 200 Baht per night.
From these humble beginnings, Ib Ottesen moved forward. His first major business operation was the successful Mermaids Rest in Sukhumvit Soi 8, a small hotel and restaurant serving among others Danish food.
In the early 1990’s, Ib Ottesen – who had in the meantime found Kannikar, the woman of his life – decided, however, to sell the Mermaid Rest in Bangkok. This was before the bust of the Asian economies, and with the profit from the sale Ib and Kanikar moved to Jomtien Beach to open a new hotel, likewise called Mermaid. Next to the hotel, Kannikar opened a clothes and souvenir shop – and the hotel was at the same time located next to the Mermaid Dive shop, of which Ib and Kannikar holds a majority share. Diving still today remains Ib Ottesen’s favourite sports.
Happy, but still not quite having realised their ultimate dream, Ib Ottesen a few years later sold his shares in the hotel and instead established his own restaurant Captains Corner on the road connecting Pattaya and Jomtien and behind it build the Residence Suites with furnished apartments for long and short term lease.
Two years ago, Ib and Kanikar celebrated the expansion of this place with a new wing called the Residence Garden, an all suite hotel building with 40 units where proof of Kannikar’s undisputable talent as an interior decorator was fully demonstrated.
“We were many who thought that the Residence Garden was Ib and Kannikar’s ultimate achievement. Then we suddenly heard about this new project, Jomtien Boathouse,” Peter Malhotra said.
“When I asked him, what this news was all about, he simply said: “This is my dream – my own hotel directly on the Jomtien Beach front!””
The attempt to schedule the opening of Jomtien Boathouse with Ib Ottesen’s 50 year birthday had not been easy. The interior decoration in the favourite maritime style of Ib Ottesen had to be maintained with top quality materials both throughout the restaurant on the ground floor and the hotel rooms upstairs. Being both perfectionists, Kannikar and Ib Ottesen had been working day and night for the past several months getting all the details right.
“Even last night, Kannikar was still working on the light fixtures,” Peter Malhotra revealed.
Later, when Kannikar had delivered only a short welcome speech to all the friends of the couple, who had come to celebrate the opening and Ib’s birthday party, Ib took the microphone and teasingly suggested, that Kannikar had lost her voice screaming at him for the past several weeks about how impossible it was to open so soon.
Cutting the ribbon together with several of their friends, Ib and Kannikar were joined by four of their five children, Panida (18), who had just graduated from Nyborg boarding school in Denmark and come to Thailand to work at the hotel with plans later to study hotel management in Australia, Nantida (12), who performed a gracious Thai dance for her celebrated father, Svend (11) in a flashing white Elvis Presley-style jumpsuit and little Nong Ploy (5) the couple’s youngest offspring. Only Ib’s oldest son, Allan (20), back in Denmark, had not been able to make it for the party.