Arriving at this new getaway resort offering on Asia’s Riviera, Phuket, it is hard not to be impressed.
In southern Kamala beach this boutique resort with the intriguing name Cape Sienna Phuket Hotel & Villas is positioned on a remarkable location – a steep headland facing the Andaman Sea with 180-degree views of the bay. With its individualistic yet understated style this in the surroundings unique property climbs high up the hill, offering superb unobstructed sea views from each of the 96 rooms as well as several venues partly under the open sky.
The clever way in which the architecture, ultramodern structures and interior designs have been utilized for the curvaceous topography of the site is nothing short of a stunning achievement. Meticulously planned, a number of buildings are placed on different levels; enhanced by vivid tropical gardens.
A lift takes guests up to a wide lobby with panorama full length windows overlooking the bay, conveying the first of several wow discoveries. Reaching further for the sky, the pinnacle of the resort, the Martini Sky Bar, is situated on the top level and offering an amazing sea view and one of the island’s musts. Downstairs, a romantic fine dining restaurant with an extensive wine cellar also attracts discerning guests from the resort and elsewhere.
This embracement of style continues with the sleek rooms and the Thai marble-tiled pool with its adjacent bar and restaurant. All facilities offer a perfectly balanced mix of formal elegance and relaxed style. It increasingly becomes clear that this is an accomplishment by masters at work. And the masters behind it are Swedes.
Plenty of Swedish followers
Setting new standards in the area Cape Sienna is part of an extension of Phuket’s legendary ‘Millionare’s Mile’ (further north towards Surin beach), where a number of luxury residential properties have been built recently. With such surroundings and its own concept of being an escape to minimalist luxury, Cape Sienna is a sanctuary likely to appeal to both today’s affluent city-dwellers simply on vacation away from it all as well as those explicitly seeking a peace of mind.
And among its guests who can feel privileged and even spoiled – partly thanks to the elevated, personalized yet discreet service the resort aims to offer – are plenty of Swedes.
“This is thanks to the hotel having a contract with a Scandinavian tour operator,” Managing Director Magnus Bergekrans explains over coffee. Upon our visit in October 2008 he was seen around savouring the premises, and, as we learned, overseeing the finalisation of nine extraordinary oceanfront cliff villas situated below which will be managed as part of the resort. In addition there will be a beach club.
The co-investor who is a veteran on the island however does not run the daily operations; those are assigned to a skilled general manager. But he has been the project manager for this whole dream project that came true.
Previously he was the managing director and co-owner of kamala Bay Garden Resort (now sold and converted into a Courtyard by Marriott hotel).
“I like to plan and build things, says Magnus, but once something is finalized I’m usually done with my part, stay behind the scenes and continue to the next project.”
Clearly he is very pleased with what has been accomplished at Cape Sienna, which he believes will mainly be a relaxing getaway for cosmopolitan dwellers.
“Guests will mainly appreciate this as a retreat where they can relax.”
People from all walks of life sharing the same appetite for Phuket’s fantastic climate and the melting pot of people with different lifestyles and backgrounds the island increasingly is becoming, are among their core target groups.
Cape Sienna, he believes, will not be a nightlife venue but most likely attract an exciting and stylish crowd much thanks to its extraordinary sunset venues.
Successful Phuket investor
Cape Sienna was something of a coincidence for him it turns out, just as his move to Phuket was. At a very young age, thirty years ago he moved to Hong Kong and started an export business, after having been sent there on a business trip.
Magnus came to Phuket – like many others of course on vacation – for the first time already back in the late 1980’s and started investing in properties and small businesses such as guest houses and restaurants as he believed strongly in the island’s potential.
Eventually he decided to move here in the early nineties and now has a family in Thailand, raising his own children.
He has accomplished a string of successful property developments and investments during nearly 20 years on the island.
His early investments also paid off big time and he could continue with larger projects, for example co-owning the island’s most known Swedish restaurant brand. Then he invested into Kamala Bay Garden Resort which was eventually sold. So Magnus has invested on the island basically since the inception of tourism there and could see the value of his properties double several times.
Just as he could early on invest some in plots on the island which turned out to be very valuable the acquisition of the headland where Cape Sienna is now situated was a similar finding which now puzzles many people. Some are surprised they could at all purchase such a plot of land, and others are amazed by the result achieved.
“The steep plot where we built the resort was considered as impossible for any development of significance. It basically consisted in jungle and it’s very steep,” says Magnus.
Seeing Cape Sienna one can certainly start envisaging that there could be another resort of the same pedigree in the pipeline; launching it as a resort brand.
That will however not happen. Magnus explains why: “Sadly there is also a deep tragedy behind this proud project, because it was my business partner who conjured up this resort concept from the beginning and convinced me to join. And he was very convincing with ideas based on very well thought out thinking about branding and target groups to cater to. However he tragically passed away at very young age before the project could be accomplished. So I was left alone to fulfil it and overseeing the realization of Cape Sienna.”
Now he is not sure if there will be or what could become his next project but he intends to stay on the island but perhaps finally coming to a point where he can cut down on the work hours and instead enjoy more quality time with his family and many superb sunsets overlooking the Andaman Sea.