Saturday, 28 April 2012

Da Man

Have you ever wondered who the man is that is responsible for taking over half of Thong Nai Pan Noi beach front? The man who OKed a champagne bar, signed off on chopping down the palms overhanging the sands and even blew up granite rocks to squeeze dozens of supposedly boutique villas into the expansive Rasananda Resort and Spa? No need to wonder anymore. Da man is William E. Heinecke.

William E. Heinecke was born an American and is now a Thai – well he probably has both passports. He is one of the richest men in Thailand. Despite his incredible fortune he can’t afford a razor or get a decent haircut; but notice the bling on his right wrist.

He is the CEO of Minor International Plc. or MINT. It is one of the largest hospitality and leisure companies in the Asia-Pacific Region. MINT has over 70 hotels, 1,200 restaurants and 200 retail trading outlets in the region. MINT also owns several popular junk food brands that range from ice cream to pizza.

As for Da Man in Thong Nai Pan Noi, he owns the Baan Panburi that used to be the big wheel on the TNP Noi but is now a small player on Yai. Obviously the success of Baan Panburi Village convinced MINT of upgrading their operation. The result was Rasananda. I thought it was a one-off resort done with a modicum of flair and the color red. When it changed to Anantara Rasanada the truth became apparent. The place was one of many.

I wonder if big Bill H used to do the Monday parties at the Jungle Bar or play pool at the Flip Flop. Has he ever stopped in for a Handsome burger before hitting the sack? Or, since he is Thai, does he enjoy Sum Tum with extra chillies and perhaps fermented prawns on the side?