Five years ago, Peter Ton completed almost two decades in IT with a determination to do something ‘more tangible’. But he had no way of knowing how substantial it would turn out to be.
‘I was initially looking for 10 rai to build a house for myself and some friends,’ he says.
In the event, he has found himself ‘building his own village’ as the developer of one of the most distinctive in the resort town of Hua Hin.
Hua Hin is something of a hidden jewel among Thai destinations. Outside Thailand few can even pronounce it (it sounds like waa-hin) but in Thai eyes Hua Hin reigns as the undisputed champ of holiday resorts.
Even since Thailand’s revered monarchy hit on a small fishing village as the ideal spot for a summer palace back in the 1920s, Bangkok’s beau monde have been jostling for beachfront real estate.
But Peter Ton, a softly spoken 48-year-old Dutchman, has picked an alternative view – a panorama of densely wooded hills, a tranquil lake, an exclusive golf course and the meditation grounds of a Buddhist monastery.
A series of clean-cut bungalows, each nestled in the luxuriant foliage of immaculately maintained gardens now also share Baan Ing Phu’s unusual surroundings.
Here an exceptionally multinational community of professionals and executives enjoy absolute tranquility – only ruffled by the temple’s gong at sunset – along with the almost obsessive perfectionism of Peter Ton’s approach to facilities.
To enhance its residents’ comfort, Baan Ing Phu even has its own fibre-optic network – a first for any Thai development. A battery of backup pumps guarantee the water supply, while the electricity supply’s hefty overcapacity ensures the lights will never flicker even if everyone decides to brew a cup of tea at the same instant.
‘It doesn’t stop where the house finishes,’ he says. ‘We provide drivers and maids and maintain the gardens and pools. Private chefs are also available to cater for your private parties.’
Largely through word of mouth, this luxurious lifestyle has drawn a community of executives and professionals.
‘I have avoided building any cheaper, less desirable units as I would like the residents to share the same outlook and lifestyle aspirations,’ he says.
In Peter Ton’s vision, the development should offer privacy along with the opportunity to interact with like-minding people.
‘I see it as the opportunity to build my own village,’ says Peter Ton.
‘I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else – and it’s also the strongest guarantee of my commitment to the residents. If you don’t want people ringing up in the middle of the night, you have to have a good team.’