Now and Zen

Now and Zen


Pioneering developers Otium are building Thailand’s first luxury retirement village on the exotic island of Phuket. Jane Slade investigates

Otium Retirement Village, which covers 20 acres and is due for completion next year, is set to redefine retirement living. And the team charged with making that a reality are British architects Michaelis Boyd – best known for designing the Soho Farmhouse members club and Hotel in Oxfordshire.

“The main priority was we didn’t want to design a village that feels like a retirement village,” explains partner Tim Boyd.

“It all works in terms of accessibility for wheelchair access – with level access into buildings but the look does not reflect retirement. It’s a beautiful development.”

Whether you are a British expat who doesn’t want to come home or someone looking for a new start in later life – Otium will be a retiree’s paradise speckling Phuket’s lush mountain forest on the island’s West Coast.

The community of apartments and villas will be part of the five-star condo and hotel resort MontAzure which fringes the white sands of Kamala beach.

Michaelis Boyd is set to combine modern Thai design with a comfortable home-from-home feel to create a stylish country estate that blends with the natural surroundings.

“We have used a lot of brick, shingle and wood so it blends naturally into the landscape,” Tim explains.

“We have used different brick patterns such as basket weave and sourced materials locally. We are using shingle on the rooves which are seen all over Thailand. We are not copying the architectural vernacular but using it in a modern way and bring a contemporary feel.”

Etched into a landscape of sloping tropical jungle will be 26 hillside villas and down below where the land is flatter will be a community of 126 condos and the Otium Clubhouse, containing a cinema, deli, bar, restaurant, health spa, swimming pool and steam room.

“We wanted to create a central village hub that is health focussed and where you can get anything you want without leaving,” Tim adds.

Tranquillity is the theme here. Whether you are meeting a friend for a coffee at the café or dropping in for a treatment at the Naturopathic Centre you can expect a prevailing sense of calmness. It’s also the perfect spot for absorbing the landscape at an outdoor yoga class.

Otium Phuket is designed for the over 60s, offering a real sense of space.  Pavilion-style villas will have two kitchens and vaulted ceilings, and apartments will measure from 106 sq m for a one bed.

Properties are being sold on 30-year renewable leases, priced from £435,000 rising to £2million for a five-bedroom hilltop villa. But you can also rent a home.

There will be free daily shuttles to the local town and an Otium buggy service for access to Montazure’s hotels and restaurants.

“We are not property developers but lifestyle developers,” declares Daniel Holmes, Otium’s British chief executive. “This is the first retirement village of its kind in South East Asia, and we are planning to build two more in Bangkok and others further afield.” 

“Otium Phuket has to be a fun and uplifting place to live,” Daniel adds. “There will be no alarm buttons or pull cords – we don’t want people to feel old.’

There is going to be an open-air amphitheatre where talks, plays and concerts can be performed, a 24-metre lap pool, a 24-seater cinema like the iconic Electric Cinema in London’s Notting Hill, and an outdoor drive-in-style movie theatre.

 “We are catering to people who have led the ex-pat lifestyle and want the same standard of living they have enjoyed all their working lives,” adds Tim. 

Buyers are expected to come from Singapore, Hong Kong and the UK.

“We are building a village for people who are excited about the future and certainly don’t feel their lives are over. But they want to feel that they will be well looked after.”

There will be a first response medical centre on site with doctors available 24/7 and staff to assist with regular care and prescriptions.

“We have never designed a retirement village before so we bring a fresh eye and fresh ideas,” Tim adds.

Even though Otium will be breaking new ground in its quest to build a dream retirement enclave, they have been consulting with high-end UK retirement operators Audley Villages.

Audley has built 15 villages in the UK, and has four more in the offing including Nightingale Place, its first scheme in London. “We talked a lot with Audley and did a lot of market research to see what retirees would want,” adds Tim.

“We feel we are creating a space that is fun and where people will feel young and rejuvenated. If someone feels old then they won’t buy here. This is for people who have plenty of life left in them.”

A marketing suite, one villa and a condo are available to view.

For more information visit. www.otium-living.com or email

E: theteam@otium-living.com

Otium Phuket, 118|20 Moo 3 Kamala

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