Banyan returns to where it all began
text size

Banyan returns to where it all began

Property developer capitalises on soaring demand for Phuket’s real estate

Mr Reading, right, and Mr Ho. Mr Reading says global trends including migration have driven
real estate demand in the province to new heights.
Mr Reading, right, and Mr Ho. Mr Reading says global trends including migration have driven real estate demand in the province to new heights.

After expanding to 22 countries over the past 30 years, hospitality-led property developer Banyan Group has returned to Phuket, the destination where it began.

Stuart Reading, managing director of the group’s property development, said global trends including migration have driven real estate demand in the province to new heights.

“Phuket has emerged as a top destination for expats,” he said. “Key factors driving demand include geopolitical factors, lifestyle preferences, adequate schools for children, urban flight, retirement plans and investment prospects.”

For buyers from North America and Australia, the reasons are geopolitics, lifestyle and retirement, said Mr Reading.

Buyers from the Middle East, China and Singapore choose Phuket for lifestyle, urban flight and investment, according to C9 Hotelworks’ market research.

Residents of Hong Kong relocate to Phuket for urban flight, education and investment, while expats from Taiwan choose the island because of geopolitics, lifestyle and urban flight, noted the research.

People from Bangkok buy properties in Phuket for urban flight, lifestyle and education.

“Resort real estate sales in Phuket doubled from 1,500 units sold in 2022 to more than 3,000 units last year,” said Mr Reading. “This trend continues to grow, prompting us to develop our second integrated residential complex in Phuket.”


Banyan Group’s inaugural project in Phuket started in 1984 when it acquired more than 1,400 rai that included an abandoned tin mine at Bang Tao Bay on the central west coast.

Three years later, the company completed an extensive site rehabilitation, including planting more than 7,000 trees.

In 1987, Laguna Phuket, Asia’s first integrated destination resort and Thailand’s largest residential project, was launched.

That same year saw the opening of its first property, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Hotel, previously known as Dusit Laguna Resort.

Subsequent developments in 1991-92 included Laguna Beach Resort, Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket and the Laguna Phuket Golf Club, featuring an 18-hole golf course.

In 1993, Laguna Resorts & Hotels Plc, a subsidiary responsible for project development founded in 1983, was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, initiating property sales with the introduction of Allamanda condo in Laguna Phuket.

The group’s flagship luxury resort, Banyan Tree Phuket, debuted in Laguna Phuket in 1994.

Two year later, the group expanded to Indonesia, launching Laguna Bintan as an integrated destination resort.

More hotels followed overseas, including in the Maldives in 2004 and in China’s Yunnan province in 2005.

In Phuket, the group acquired additional land adjacent to Laguna Phuket in 2002 and 2008 for future development.

“Following the 2008 financial crisis, we decided to divest Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket in 2010 and Laguna Beach Resort in 2011 to minimise risks,” said the group’s founder and executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping.

Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket underwent a major renovation and rebranding in mid-2011, reopening as Angsana Laguna Phuket in December 2011. New hotel brands Cassia and Dhawa were also introduced within the complex.


Laguna Phuket occupies 2,500 rai with a three-kilometre beachfront, featuring an 18-hole golf course, lagoons, parks, spas, beach clubs, galleries, restaurants, a wellness centre, a wedding chapel, event venues, and convention and exhibition spaces.

By investing US$500 million (18.4 billion baht) for seven hotels and villas, the project hosts 1,500 rooms and can draw 1 million visitors from more than 70 countries annually, accounting for 10% of the total arrivals to Phuket.

In addition, the company developed 15 residential projects with a total of 3,000 branded and non-branded condo and villa units worth a combined $1.5 billion.

Of these projects, the total amount of built and sold units tallies $1 billion, with 400 units currently available for sale.

The roughly 2,600 residential owners come from 70 different nationalities and 80 countries. Half are from China, Thailand and Singapore, while 45% are from Russia, the UK and Germany.

The remainder are from the US and the Middle East.

Some 10% bought one property, while the remainder purchased and flipped them, said Mr Reading, who has been in Phuket for more than 20 years.

“Since the inception of residential property sales at Laguna Phuket 25 years ago, we’ve achieved cumulative sales of $1 billion,” said Mr Reading. “Last year, our new launches generated half of that amount in just four months.”


One of the new launches last year was phase one of the Laguna Lakelands project. This phase comprises 14 waterfront villas and 300 lakeview condos.

The villas are priced from 60 million baht per unit, with two of them sold to Chinese and Arab buyers, he said.

The size of condo units range from 52 to 119 square metres and are priced between 7 and 20 million baht.

Roughly 20% of the units have been sold, with 80% of buyers from Russia and the remainder from Europe and Australia.

To facilitate payment, the project offers deferred options, allowing buyers to pay half of the unit price during construction and the other half up to five years after completion, said Mr Reading.

Spanning more than 700 rai and located adjacent to Laguna Phuket, the township Laguna Lakelands will comprise five residential zones with different themes, totalling 6,000 residential units worth a combined $2 billion, he said.

A country club, a town centre with shops, services and restaurants, an adventure park and a residential beach club are also planned, said Mr Reading.

Connected by 15km of walkways, footbridges and cycling trails, the new community will also include parks, a rainforest, lakes and rolling hills, he said.

The nature trails and botanical gardens will be open to the Phuket community, said Mr Reading.

“This will be the largest international residential community with an eco-friendly lifestyle,” Mr Ho said. “This development comes as Phuket’s real estate market is booming, fuelled by an increasing desire for families from all over the world to not just enjoy a second home in Phuket, but to relocate there. Phuket is a great place to work, to meet people and have fun, and it is where I call home.”

Do you like the content of this article?