Koh Samui Investment in Condominiums, Condos and Choices For the Lifestyle Investor

Koh Samui Island Property Investment

Koh Samui, Thailand’s number one tropical Island destination with its own international airport creates an ideal platform for any would be property investor. Recognized for being an internationally known World class holiday destination not only brings an abundance of nationalities but also opportunities for lucrative property investment.

While the majority of interest has traditionally been from European countries such as the UK, Germany, Russia, the Netherlands, France and Scandinavian countries, a new market of investors is emerging from Asia and Middle Eastern countries including Singapore, Vietnam, Korea, China and the UAE. The recent surge of interest from Asian investors is due to an increase in the levels of disposable income, recent deregulation of foreign investment laws (Korea) as well as new direct air links to/from Koh Samui. Discounted flights within the region also offer tremendous value to tourists wishing to holiday on Koh Samui and its surrounding Islands.

Koh Samui’s real estate profile includes many large branded hotels and exclusive luxury villa developments.

The market here is firmly based due to the fact that nearly all purchases of property are made without finance. Local mortgages are indeed not readily available, making property prices much more resilient to the World financial meltdown. What had been seen over recent months are certain properties being discounted, where the owner has a need to sell quickly due to financial losses sustained elsewhere in the World. This has created several buying opportunities, although these are generally quickly moved on to investors with cash.

So recent activity in the property market in Koh Samui has mainly been driven by cash investors, looking to move funds into property where good discounts have been offered. There is activity both on resale properties with price reductions of 10% to 30% to move property quickly to release cash and also certain developers looking to manage their working capital and clear property stock. Developer’s in the early part of 2009 have been finishing off part complete properties, and selling them at a discount to realize cash. At this time there are still several opportunities to gain and purchase luxury property, before the local market shows complete signs of rebound and starting its predicted growth path.

After understanding these current local climate conditions, the Koh Samui market has undergone a change of emphasis with the arrival of a new breed of creative developers aware of the great potential from planned increases in numbers of luxury travelers and investors looking for Lifestyle investments.

Focusing on two innovative developers both anticipating this demand for Lifestyle investment properties, both focusing on the area surrounding Plai Laem and Cheong Mon. They reason that with the areas fantastic beaches, closeness to the airport and no signs of overcrowding this makes it an ideal location for a lifestyle investment. Indeed the area still exhibits a traditional Thai feel with small beach resorts combined with more luxurious properties, 5 star spa resorts and hotels.

Both have strong ideas about how to create lifestyle property, which act as both an exciting investment and life style vehicle for those seeking to experience Koh Samui tropical Island life in luxury packages.

The Mandalay Gardens apartment project is set not far from Cheong Mon on the hillside. It is only 800 metres from the beach, with many of the apartments having spectacular sea views. It is indeed a fully flexible vehicle and as a lifestyle investment gives its owners the best possible advantages, having the special feature of a branded hotel management by Astudo. The project was soft launched in May this year, with a show unit being ready for active investors already in place at the hillside site. There are 9 different types of 1 bedroom units ranging from 50 Sqm to 90 Sqm. Prices start from 3.49m Thai Baht. Investment returns are not guaranteed, but with a 35% occupancy level are anticipated to reach 6 to 8 % at a 3,600 Baht a night average rate. Most owners are anticipated to participate in the rental program, and by doing so are granted up to 60 days per year free use. There is the possibility before construction commences of combining 2 or more units to create 2 or 3 bedroom apartments. Following on from its successful first project, Mandalay Villas, Tibor Szedlak CEO of Mandalay Samui Developments stated that the company has been founded on private financing, with no loans or other outstanding commitments. The legal status of this current project gives its owners a leasehold ownership of 30 + 30 + 30 years. Land ownership is secured by the fact that each unit owner equal shareholder in the land owning company. Payment’s after the initial 35% deposit are based on monthly installments becoming due as work is completed. Sterling has been appointed as Project Managers with DFDL Crawshaws acting are legal advisors. The whole project is set on 5,600 Sqm of land and with construction commencing in September 2009 and completion of Phase 1 by the third quarter of 2010.

The Samui Emerald Condominium represents another attractive option as a lifestyle investment, with the construction already underway, now is the time to take advantage of the remaining units on offer. Completion of the whole facility is contractually scheduled for no later than December 2010. Situated along side Plai Laem beach it gives easy access to Cheong Mon and back along the coastline to the chic boutique resort, Fisherman’s village. This area is home to the high end resort, Six Senses-Hideaway and Giorgio Armani’s branded villa development is also close by. Among the other close by attractions are Big Buddha, Turtle Island and Koh Som. The Samui Emerald units give their owners access to classy facilities including a large swimming pool, restaurant, fitness suite and multi lingual reception. Units range from 1 to 3 bedrooms, including 4 Penthouse apartments with standard units from 44sqm to 109Sqm with prices starting from 3.05m Baht. Units come fully furnished with modern designs including all loose furniture and electrical items. Again, there is no guarantee on investment returns but expect 8% with average rental rates estimated at 2,700 Baht per day for a standard studio room with 30% occupancy. Samui Emerald will be run like a hotel. Guests will be met at the airport, transferred to the site, deposits will be taken, guests will be shown to their rooms to find welcome basket and shower amenities waiting.

Owners who enter the rental scheme can benefit from up to 167 days per year free usage, whilst obtaining income for the rest of the year. Given its legal status as a Condominium, also gives foreign investors the opportunity to obtain foreign title.

Bangrak, Koh Samui Island – A Tourist Guide to Bangrak Beach and Town, Thailand

Koh Samui Island lies in the Gulf of Thailand, off the eastern coast of the country’s southern provinces, about 4-500 km north of the Thailand-Malaysia border. A major SE Asian tourist destination, the island offers un-spoilt beaches, sparkling seas and luxury accommodation. The tourist center of Chaweng Beach offers all-night entertainment, an infinite choice of restaurants and bars and anything else that visiting tourists could possibly desire. If, however, you want to escape from the chaos and clutter of Chaweng, why not drive a few kilometers north to the peace and calm of Bangrak Beach?

Bangrak town is located just to the north of Chaweng Beach, ten minutes drive from the airport and 2.5km to the east of Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village. Bangrak Bay curves for a few kilometers from the rocky outcrops to the east of Fisherman’s Village in Bophut around to the Buddhist temple which is home to The Big Buddha, a huge golden Buddha statue and one of Koh Samui’s best known landmarks.

Bangrak beach is quiet and picturesque with white sands and great views of the islands of Koh Phan Ngan and Koh Som. The far western end of the beach is a little rocky for swimming, especially at low tide but as you head round towards the center and eastern end of the bay the beach becomes less rocky with good swimming spots.

Accommodation in Bangrak consists of low to medium budget beach bungalows, several high-end spa resorts, a few medium budget hotels and an abundance of holiday rental villas, homes and properties dotted around the hillsides of the bay and along the beach.

The town is a busy transport hub and there are several rickety piers built along the beach with a large concrete pier right at the west end of the beach, next to the Fresh Market and the Big Buddha statue. These piers are where you will find ferries and speedboats to the neighboring islands of Koh Phan Ngan and Koh Tao. Koh Phan Ngan is only a 15 minute speedboat ride from Samui and the larger, slower boats have a longer journey time of about 1 hour. Bangrak beach road becomes very busy each month at full-moon as revelers catch speedboats to Koh Phan Ngan’s Full Moon party. The busiest pier is the newly refurbished Petcharat Marina where you can enjoy a drink in the bar while waiting for your speedboat’s departure.

There are no nightclubs in Bangrak but there is a huge choice of Thai and foreign owned bars that line the road all the way to Big Buddha. Bars in Bangrak usually close at 1am but a few of the busier bars sometimes stay open longer as long as there are enough drinking customers. Some of the beach front bars have stunning views of the bay and hills beyond with sea views to Koh Phan Ngan and are fantastic locations to watch the Samui sunset. The most successful bars seem to be Cosmic Bar and M & M Bar with the relatively new Tuk-Tuk Bar becoming an increasingly popular option. For live sport fixtures, try the Premiere Bar. Check out the boards in front of the bars for information on live performances and special events. Bangrak has a reasonable selection of Thai restaurants and both Thai and international cuisine is served in beachfront and roadside bars and cafes. Recommended restaurants are the long established Antica Locanda (Italian) and Katcandoo (Thai, Mexican, European). If you’re looking for a good Full English, try CafĂ© Uno or the Lord Nelson’s.

At the far eastern end of the beach is Big Buddha Fresh Market where venders sell the freshly caught sea-food of the day including snapper, shark, grouper, prawns and squid. Behind the market is the Big Buddha temple and giant golden Buddha statue. Visitors can climb the stairs to the base of the statue, enjoy the beautiful views and walk around the statue ringing each bell in turn for good luck.

What is Worlds Better Than a Hotel Room?

They say that the hurricanes scared some folks away from Florida. Well, I just came up with a really good reason for you to revisit the state. Florida contains some of the finest Bed and Breakfast inns in the nation, and below I present some of the ones that stand out to me.

1. The Addison is a serene 14-room inn representing a unique blend of old-style elegance with modern amenities. Traditionally, the values may seem to clash but the builders and owners have merged them together in a beautiful blend. This Inn was selected as one of the ten Best Overall Inns of 2009-2010 by BedandBreakfast.com. It also consistently maintains a number one ranking on TripAdvisor.com. Located on Amelia Island in the historic district of Fernandina Beach, the rooms feature porches for relaxation and an enchanting fountain courtyard. The area is a nature-lover’s paradise with pristine beaches, four major State Parks and a National Park. One can bike, hike, play golf, horseback ride, shell, bird watch, or go backwater or deep sea fishing. Signature breakfast dishes include fresh fruit smoothies, breakfast in a boat (baked potato shell stuffed with scrambled eggs, cheese, and crumbled bacon), banana pancakes with pecan toffee syrup, spicy breakfast quesadillas, praline French toast, and perfect Peruvian coffee.

2. If you can look past the wild and funky website, the Cedar Key B & B is an inn well worth visiting! Located in the second oldest city in Florida, the historic inn was built in 1880. Originally, the town was known for its cedar, out of which Eagle and Eberhardt pencils were produced; today its claims to fame are clam farming and tourism. Besides boasting some of the cleanest and most comfortable lodgings imaginable, this inn’s draw is also the amazing array of activities in the area: boating, kayaking, air boats, fishing, bird watching, playing with dolphins, biking, hiking, scuba diving, plus a famous Arts festival and the October Seafood Festival. Or if you like football, attend a Florida Gators game in nearby Gainesville. A few nice added features of the inn is the pet friendly status, last minute specials, delicious breakfast, and an endless array of amenities such as teas, cookies, biscotti, hot chocolates, coffees, and a bottomless jar of the freshest homemade cookies you’ve ever placed in your mouth.

3. Casa Grandview is located in the vibrant, upscale city of West Palm Beach. This Bed & Breakfast combines some of the most desirable features of the secluded and quaint B & Bs with the services of a luxury resort. The Casa offers romantic cottages, quaint bungalows, art deco cabana suites, stylish tropical coastal villas, and classic city oasis retreats. What a fabulous array of choices, many with kitchens, elaborate baths, and spacious living areas. The owners stock each suite with only the best gourmet foods for your breakfast, and, if desired, for additional meals. Everything you need is available including complimentary Wi-Fi, HD TVs, premium satellite service, music and movie channels, iPod docking stations, and CD players. You can even check emails and surf the web while catching some rays poolside or dozing in a hammock. You will be waited on with 5-star service or left alone for some glorious privacy. Whatever you want is what you get at Casa Grandview.

4. Elizabeth Pointe Lodge is a Nantucket ‘shingle style’ inn that overlooks the rich blue Atlantic. What can I say? USA Today deemed this oceanfront inn as one of the 10 greatest places to sit on the porch. Travel and Leisure magazine recognized it as one of the fifty great beach resorts in our nation. The book, 1000 Places to See Before You Die, tagged this as a place where the emphasis is on pure relaxation. The Road Best Traveled distinguished the inn as one of the 12 Best Waterfront Inns in America. The honors go on and on. Besides offering full concierge service and 24 hour room service, there are also gourmet treats offered all day, a lavish wine and hors d’oeuvres reception each evening, and an oceanfront breakfast with scads of sumptuous offerings in the sunroom. In every way, Elizabeth Pointe is determined to go above and beyond your needs and expectations.

5. Florida Trend Magazine states that the Herlong Mansion of Micanopy, Florida is “easily Florida’s most elegant Bed & Breakfast.” In case you don’t know, this quiet little town is south of Gainesville, near Cross Creek, the village the author of The Yearling made famous. The ten fireplaces and high ceilings of the inn are perfectly accented with mission oak woodwork and mahogany inlaid floors. Photos can never do justice to the warm beauty of this place. Wide verandas between enormous pillars on the first and second floors contain cushioned swings that overlook an impeccably manicured lawn with ancient towering oaks. The breakfast isn’t wildly fancy but offers delicious traditional fare such as homemade biscuits and perfect omelettes, rich coffee, and apple bread. And, if you like, you can have a candlelit four-course dinner catered with roses, champagne, the works. Treat yourself to casual elegance for just one night, or more…

6. The Seven Sisters Inn is located in Ocala, Florida, region of rolling green hills and thoroughbred horse ranches. Built in 1888, the Queen Anne Victorian home was judged a “Best Restoration Project” and is listed prominently in the National Register of Historic Places. One startling uniqueness of this inn is the rooms, which feature decor from the four corners of the globe. One enters through elaborately carved Indonesian doors, then there is a Bengal Safari room, a Cape Cod Lighthouse room, an Egyptian Treasure room, an Oriental Zen-like room, and a room from Old Paris featuring imported French fabrics and decor. Visitors feel as if they are traveling the world as they lounge in front of their fireplaces or relax with spa showers, Jacuzzi, Victorian soaking tubs, and heated towel bars. And when you wake the next morning, get ready for an award winning breakfast on white china and crystal, including three-cheese French toast with Ginger Peaches, Eggs Pesto, Chicken Puffed Pastry, Raspberry-Oatmeal pancakes, or Tomato-Zucchini Quiche. The “Seven Sisters” will make you happy.

7. The Williams is a beautifully restored antebellum mansion located in the historic seaside village of Fernandina Beach. There are three separate buildings, each offering rooms for guests: the Williams House, the Hearthstone House, and the Carriage House. You will be captivated by intricate moldings, massive pocket doors, true wood floors, and hand-carved mantles created from heart pine, cherry, or mahogany. Sweeping verandas, original tiled fireplaces and crystal chandeliers make visitors feel as if they’ve slipped into a time warp. If you appreciate the days when great pride and craft were marks of the homes of the wealthy, you will love the William’s House. But it isn’t just a home to wander. The owners cater to your whims, including your desire to wake to a breakfast you’ll remember. Your first course will feature fresh fruit and muffins, scones, or pound cake. Your second course may include strawberry croissant French toast or blueberry strata. Enjoy this with fresh orange juice or rich Colombian coffee. No one will leave the William’s House either hungry or unhappy.

8. Can you keep a secret? There is a Bed & Breakfast inn in Key West called Atlantis House. This is one of those places you will not want to tell your friends about, lest the next time you want to book a night there, it will be booked two or three months ahead. It has only two exclusive rooms: that’s right, the Master suite and the Garden suite. The owners, Steve and Kayla Kessler designed, built, and maintain the property themselves. The inn is nestled in a lush tropical garden bordering the roiling Atlantic. Not long ago, this inn was awarded “The Best of the South” award from BedandBreakfast.com, and it was deserved. I just don’t know how they found the thing. If you want, you can kick back on your own sun deck or spend some romantic moments in the breezy, vine-covered gazebo. Or if you’re a little more adventurous, Steve happens to be a licensed Captain and with his boat, The Contender, he’ll be happy to take you fishing. Then Steve and Kayla will prepare you the perfect dinner with “the catch of the day,” or maybe a lobster Steve caught for your dining pleasure. Steve can also offer private, guided snorkeling tours of the most beautiful coral reef in the Continental United States. Then, after a hard day of sunning or fishing, Kayla, a massage therapist, can massage all your troubles away. Now remember, this is our little secret, cross your heart.

9. Palmer House is an inn nestled in a little town called Lithia, Florida. This is another B & B that was listed by BedandBreakfast.com as one of the “Best in the South” for 2009-2010. It’s a very tranquil place with grandfather oaks, butterfly gardens, hammocks, and bicycle trails. But, hang onto your hats, because nearby are almost all the tourist attractions Florida offers, including Orlando’s. In fact, Lithia is the perfect location from which you can go for day trips either to Busch Gardens or the Tampa Bay Bucs on the Gulf coast or Disney World and Universal Studios on the Atlantic coast. You’ll get home in time for some cookies and milk before bedtime and you’ll awaken the next morning to fresh coffee, quiche, a breakfast casserole, and their signature dish, almond-crusted French toast.

10. On charming Anna Maria Island, near Sarasota, Florida, you will find the Harrington House. It is actually comprised of the Main Inn, the Carriage House, the Huth House, and the Dodt House. You thus have the option of staying in a bungalow, a beach house, a villa or a condo. You can lounge on your balcony opening out onto the Gulf of Mexico, you can kayak with the dolphins, tour the island by bicycle, or swim in the Gulf or the heated pool. Nearby Sarasota and Bradenton offer the Ringling Museum of Art, Selby Botanical Gardens, the Bishop Planetarium, shopping at St. Armand’s Circle, or fine dining at Longboat Key. But, whatever you do, don’t miss the Harrington chef’s most popular breakfast dishes: Buttermilk Pancake Sundae or Jo’s Bacon and Crab Roll.

Yes, in a state chock full of Bed & Breakfast inns, these are a few of the ones I wanted to introduce you to. Maybe there are others to equal some of these. However, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with any of those described above. It’s time you discover the world of difference between a typical hotel and a Bed & Breakfast inn.