Having a European experience no longer requires an expensive long-haul flight to the continent. You can drive just a few hours to Khao Yai and appreciate a similar atmosphere, from a touch of Tuscany and Provence to British pride.
The management team visited famous gardens around the world before building the resort.
Tipaporn Chokwatana, the wife of Saha Group's Boonkiet, has developed Kensington English Garden Resort Khao Yai with British architectural design on 15 rai in Pak Chong, 30 kilometres from Khao Yai National Park.
The 200-million-baht resort, surrounded by beautiful gardens and landscape, has 40 different European-style rooms, as well as a clubhouse, coffee corner, gift shop, pub and dining hall with two function rooms for seminars or meditation. Room rates range from 4,500 to 7,500 baht a night.
"I got this land by accident," Ms Tipaporn said. "Originally, Khun Boonkiet and I had an idea to develop this plot into a place for dhamma discussions, but we changed our mind at the last minute because the English resort atmosphere popped into my mind."
Ms Tipaporn has a long bond with England because she studied there. She decided to make the resort a community for people who love British culture and leisure.
Tipaporn: Inspired by her time in England
Kensington English Garden combines a hotel, condominiums and resort homes. T-Way Co, a subsidiary of Saha Group, was set up to run the project.
"We dreamt of spending our retirement in England," she said. "But after building Kensington English Garden Resort, we will stay at this place instead."
To make customers feel the atmosphere of a Western-style garden at the resort, Ms Tipaporn and her team visited several international gardens, including Hyde Park and Kew Gardens in United Kingdom, Chateau de Bagatelle and Claude Monet's Giverny Garden in France, Butchart in Canada and the International Rose Test Garden in the US state of Oregon.
"After opening for months without promotion, we got very good feedback from customers. It's beyond our expectations," Ms Tipaporn said with a smile.
The resort is fully booked for weekends until next February.
Kensington English Garden is the third property under Saha Group, the country's biggest consumer goods conglomerate with annual revenue of more than 100 billion baht.
Saha Group runs its own industrial parks in Chon Buri, Lumphun and Ayutthaya provinces.
Last year it joined with Charn Issara Group to develop the 1.5-billion-baht condominium project called Baan Thew Talay in Cha-am, Phetchaburi province.
Until now, Ms Tipaporn and her husband were making a trip to England every year. She believes there are many people who appreciate English culture, and she wants some friends to visit or stay with her at the Khao Yai resort.
The 30-room condominium project, Kensington Court, will be built next January. It will be priced at 6-7 million baht each for rooms of 125-150 sq m.
Some 116 luxury houses (Kensington Place) will be developed in the second half of next year with prices from 12 million to 30 million baht. The homes will be completed in 2015.
About the author
- Writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Position: Business Reporter