This week, Luxury Asia catches up with Gordon Oldham, the lawyer, entrepreneur, adventurer, philanthropist and founder of The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts .
(Q) Tell us a bit more about The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts and how you started it all.
It all started in Bali. I started it more like a hobby. I chanced upon a property in Sanur Bali and bought it. By then I have already fallen in love with Bali and I thought it will be a nice and fun thing to do, buy over the property and make it a resort. It was in a nice location , I completed the hotel and make it the way I would enjoy it. I used it as my base, where I could stay and do my work and conduct my business. Five years after Bali, I came to Phuket. It was a similar situation, In Phuket I have to think a bit more, about the type of hotel I wanted it to be. It was different compared to Bali. Bali was an existing building, I could visualize it. In Phuket I have to think what type of hotel it should be. In the end I settled on a romantic theme. Up till a few years ago, I just have these two hotels. It was just a hobby. I used these hotels as base where I would explore around the region. Two years ago, I sold off one of my companies, and with the money, I decided to build more hotels and resorts. I have a long time client and close friend of mine and we decided to build something in Nepal, where I was already doing some charity work. We built more hotels and now we have 8 hotels around the world. We were interested in owning the land and owning the hotels , rather than simply doing the management of it. We focused on four themes in our hotels and resorts; adventure, culture, art and romance. For example, in Nepal it’s more of adventure and culture. In Rome, it’s more of arts and culture. In Phuket it’s more of romance. That was how I started it.
(Q) Why do you name them “The Pavilions” ?
Well, my wife actually comes up with that name. It was from a book she read. Inspired by Far Pavilions, the epic tale of two lovers who traverse the world to unite in an exquisite place to find true peace.
(Q) I noticed you have built some residences in your property, and sold them. Is that something you always plan to do ?
It is a trend , we have guests asking about 2 bedroom to 5 bedrooms apartment, especially here in Phuket. We build some of these residences while we build the resort and then we start to sell these residences to raise more money for expansion. The last luxury item money can buy, is service. Many people can afford the property but they are short of time, and so they rely on us to take care of their residences. That is why hotel-related residences are so popular around the world.
(Q) What is your expansion plan for The Pavilions ?
I may setup the 9th hotel soon and I may start to offer management service contract to 4 or 5 hotels . I am already working with potential clients who had properties but does not want the hassle of managing them.
Next I want to offer something I call The Pavilions Prive. The Pavilions Prive allows you to connect with our network and rent beautiful homes in bespoke locations from all over the world. All The Pavilions Members will gain access to an exclusive selection of premium properties and locations handpicked to provide the very best of Art, Culture, Romance and Adventure and built upon the serving foundation of Privacy, intimacy and mindfulness.
I also have two boats coming into Asia from Europe, one will be based in Bali and one in Phuket. These boats will be available for chartering. We are like a start up, we are expanding at a fast pace.
(Q) What are your passions?
I am obsessed with adventure and endurance running. During these races, I cannot recollect any moments where I ever wanted to quit. There’s never a moment during every race where I don’t break down and cry because it’s so beautiful. What attracts me to these races is the adventure. So far, I have raced in Morocco, Atacama in Chile, Gobi, Namibia, Sahara from Egypt and the Australian Outback. I am at my happiest then. I like the environment, quiet and back-to-basic. I am drawn by the Himalaya.
(Q) How do you spend your time, to take care of so many things
I am a bit of a workaholic because I love what I do. I could work anywhere and I will focus one thing at a time. To achieve more, you need to find the best available person to work for you. I am glad I have a great team behind me.
For more information on The Pavilions Group, please visit the following websites.