They're Taking Care of Business, The Island Way
How times have changed from Gordon Gekko's capitalistic "lunch is for wimps" rant in the 1987 movie "Wall Street" to the luxury guilt emerging today. However, many still subscribe to Gekko's immortal line, "Greed is good," and continue to seek new and larger deals with an insatiable hunger.
How they feed this hunger often leads them to one or another of Phuket's deal-making destinations. As so many of these high-net-worth individuals are transient in Phuket, their search for fresh ink on a contract or a firm handshake often lands them at dinner or drinks with potential partners or adversaries.
One of the hot locations is The Supper Club, where owner Shaun Power dons his Clark Kent glasses and entertains, jests and engages his clients. According to many in the development community, the dining lounge and popular nightspot has seen more deal making then Soi Bangla at closing time. If you want to catch a glimpse of a multi-millionaire, a Hollywood star or some of the more influential local businessmen, then more often then not you can find them cosied up to the bar or in one of the many corners of the restaurant.
Next up is Baan Rim Pa, which has been a Phuket must-dineout-let for more years than I can remember. With stunning sunset views over Patong Bay, it is the spot where famed personality Tom McNamara once held court (Tom passed away last year), and it remains on the A list of places to entertain. Despite signs of ageing, the charm and simple luxury of the place have managed to stay intact.
In the midst of the tourist area is the 9th Floor, one of the busiest high-end eateries in Phuket. Attracting a strong local following and a regular tourist clientele, a spectacular revamp a few years ago has helped the venue to move up to an entirely new echelon. It's not uncommon to see groups of businesspeople behind some very high-end bottles of wine in this hotbed of casual elegance.
There remain a host of other notable places, including Ka Jok See in Phuket city, which attracts celebrities from the famed Amanpuri and the Trisara to come and let their hair down and after dinner clear out the tables and salsa into the night. Of course Mom Tri's Boathouse in Kata continues to maintain a loyal customer base with its great beachfront location.
Newcomer Acqua in Kalim is fast establishing itself, as is Baba in Sri Panwa, which is becoming a household name in Bangkok's hi-so circles. And how could we forget the fabulous Royale Namtok Kathu, where a three hour multi-course meal is the norm rather than an exception.
For those seeking to be neither seen nor heard, the boutique wine experience of Steven Roberto's Envision in Surin is often the choice. But for those longing to be noticed, the Twin Palms Catch Beach Club remains the envy of every upscale hotelier and restaurateur.
Good food and drinks seem to be a catalyst for brokering deals in Phuket, and whether you are looking for privacy or for show, there is something on the menu for every budding Gordon Gekko.