By turning a century-old former casino and theatre in Bangkok into a boutique hotel that offers old experiences from four different eras, could Kittisak Pattamasaevi be foretelling the future of the hotel industry in Thailand?
Bangkok is one of the world’s most visited cities in the world, with a fast-growing tourism sector that keeps hoteliers up on their feet. With such positive prospects and plenty of competition, entrepreneurs are encouraged to get innovative with their projects to stand out. Racing in the game is Kittisak Pattamasaevi, Chief Commercial Officer of Montara Hospitality Group, whose latest project is to bring a 100-year-old theatre back to life. Here, he tells us about moving his family business forward and the new approach that has fuelled his success.
Pattamasaevi graduated with an MBA in Marketing and Real Estate from Harvard Business School in 2013 before returning to family-run Montara Hospitality. the business owns and manages the boutique resort Trisara in Thalang that has been thriving in the luxury hospitality market since 1999. From early on, Pattamasaevi knew that he wanted to either work in the family business or set up his own company and that he definitely didn’t want to be an employee all his life. So when he saw a niche in the industry for affordable and boutique hotels that were steeped in traditions, local heritage and authenticity, Pattamasaevi decided to take the leap.
After about a year of renovation, the Prince Theatre Heritage Stay opened in February 2018. Chittipan Srikasikorn, the Project Designer and now Managing Director of the hotel, has estimated that the renovation project will cost a cool 60 million Baht. Given its location near the Chao Phraya River, BTS Skytrain station and what many consider street food paradise, the hotel is a great addition to the neighbourhood’s overwhelming positive atmosphere. Pattamasaevi has mentioned in other publications that his mission is to ensure that each and every detail is painstakingly restored so as to encourage public interest in Thai culture and history.
Via a mixture of old images and artefacts, visitors are led through the history of the property through all its incarnations. For over 100 years the theatre existed as a magnet encouraging community participation in both conventional and X-rated activities. First, in 1912, it was a royal casino, then in 1917, it became a movie house screening black and white films, before eventually turning to porn and nude flicks in 1985. For the past eight years, however, the spot has been neglected.
Today, the integration of its unique past alongside the needs of its current guests stands at the very core of Prince Theatre Heritage Stay. The 26 guest rooms include personal bunks, duplexes, private suites, premium lofts which have all been decorated under different themes. They incorporate Chinese opera, classic Hollywood movies and nude films that reflect the venue’s multifaceted eras in history. The minimum charge is 1000 THB per night for a shared room with a single bed, with prices rising up to 4,200 THB per night for a master suite. Pattamasaevit has high hopes for Prince Theatre Heritage Stay and is expecting to generate revenue of 25 million THB in 2018.
All this is part of a conscious decision to invest in businesses that preserve Thai heritage, something Pattamasaevi grew up with and is keen to keep on doing. As he acknowledges, “Boutique hotels that help travellers nurture genuine personal relationships with various destinations will be an important part of the future of hospitality”. By being invested in continuing to restore heritage buildings to serve modern-day guests who are primarily interested in history, culture and tradition, the quirky and unusual Prince Theatre Heritage Stay is sure to have a bright future. This is one hotel that is definitely well worth checking in to.
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