Destination Capital

PROVEN RESULTS

Strategy & Mission Statement

Destination Capital is a private equity real estate investment company based in Bangkok which focuses on acquiring, renovating and repositioning hotel assets in order to unlock value for its capital partners. By using the resources of the Destination Group we not only source off-market opportunities and asset manage to yield higher values upon exit, we also utilize our team of experienced construction specialists to renovate and often re-brand and reposition hotels as value enhancement. We work closely with our capital partners to align interests and stay focused on deal execution and strategy and typically acquire four star city and resort hotel properties which in most cases are managed by international hotel operators.

Investment Philosophy

Track Record

Destination Group has a proven 24 year track record investing in the Thai hotel and hospitality sector. The management team has significant experience across Thailand and other Asian countries creating value by making disciplined investments and by creating value through renovation, repositioning and management to generate consistent investment returns. With over 100 years of combined hotel deal acquisition, management, and disposition experience among the Destination Capital partners, with a majority of those years spent in Asia, the leadership team is well placed to source assets and create added value.

Due Diligence

Thorough due diligence is conducted reviewing each asset under review by our in-house team of real estate, finance and legal professionals to assess land titles, permits and licenses, as well as hotel engineering and technical surveys, employment matters, hotel management contracts, mortgages, liens and charges. Licensed SEC approved appraisers provides asset appraisals as a condition of any transaction.

Founding Partners

The Destination Capital team has a wealth of regional experience over the past 25 years and has a proven track record of successful hotel acquisitions, construction projects, hotel repositioning, financing, and asset management supported by a team of experienced executives with broad range of skills from capital markets, legal, taxation, marketing and accounting. Collectively, the 3 principals of Destination Capital have over 100 years of extensive experience in the hospitality industry in Asia, North America and Europe with distressed hospitality workouts, hotel management agreements, hotel acquisitions, operations, renovations and disposal of hotel assets.

Partnerships with Global Brands & Hotel Management Expertise

Our partnerships with global brands has included Hilton Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Dusit Thani, and Accor Hotels. We asset manage our hotels working in conjunction with our global brand partners to ensure maximum profitability over the investment period. In some cases where a franchise relationship yields higher returns and greater flexibility we leverage our in-house expertise to manage hotels & resorts under a franchise arrangement with our brand partners.

Thailand Hotel Experience

The Destination Group executive team is a full service organization comprised of investment bankers, real estate professionals, asset managers, financial and legal support teams as well as operations, construction and marketing executives to ensure smooth and effective deal execution. Our hands on experience and proven track record with a focus on the hotel and hospitality sector gives us a broad base from which to source and execute hotel acquisitions by following our proven “Five R” approach: Renovate. Re-build. Re-brand. Re-position. Re-capitalize.

Risk Management

Our approach starts on day one when we acquire an asset with clean land titles and thorough legal due diligence. There is detailed due diligence on building code and zoning compliance as well as thorough engineering reviews of any new acquisitions. Once the asset is acquired we study the market and re-position the asset based on market demand to maximize profit. This can include hotel brand selection, restaurant and spa adjustments and renovation of guest rooms. We yield manage our assets with an aggressive hotel asset management philosophy supported by an experienced team of professionals. Administrative matters such as insurance coverage for public liability, business interruption, and fire/theft coverage are monitored and managed along with maintaining current licenses and compliance with local laws and regulations.

Value Creation

We approach our hotel investments with the idea to create value in the underlying hotel asset. This means room rate yield management, creating additional revenue streams in our hotels, operating efficiencies, and aggressive asset management of our hotel properties.

EDGE Compliant

EDGE is an innovation of IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. This unique program includes certifications of green buildings using EDGE standards and guidelines. By adopting EDGE, Destination Capital endorses the strategy of having a low carbon footprint by including sustainable and renewable energy systems and resource management in our hotels. All of our Hotels & Resorts are either in the process of becoming EDGE compliant or have been certified as edge compliant.

Leadership

JAMES KAPLAN, CEO

James has over 30 years of global hotel and resort development and acquisition experience with a primary focus in the Asia Pacific region. He established a hospitality consulting business in Hong Kong which he managed between 1991 and 1998 when he sold the business to an international real estate firm. 

Thereafter James held leadership positions at Marriott International in Hong Kong, Kerzner International in Hong Kong and London, IHG in London, Fairmont Raffles in both London and Singapore and recently completed his role as Senior Vice President for development at Minor Hotels where he led the business
 development team in Bangkok and oversaw offices in Dubai and Shanghai.

James is active in educational philanthropy and is a graduate of both the University of California Berkeley with a BA in Political Science/Asian Political Systems and Golden Gate School of Law in San Francisco with a Juris Doctor degree emphasizing real estate law. James is a member of the California Bar(currently inactive) and the Thai Institute of Directors (IOD). His extensive global development and transactional experience as well as legal and bankruptcy background is a solid foundation upon which Destination Capital can execute its strategy.

Supakit Eimsamank, Senior Vice President

Supakit holds a master’s degree in International Banking & Finance from Birmingham University, England. and has been a leader in the Thai real estate industry for over 20 years starting off his career with Jones Lang LaSalle. He later held positions at Central Pattana PCL, CP Land, Erawan Group PCL, and over the course of the last 15 years was actively involved in sourcing, acquiring and selling most of the hotels which make up a part of Destination Properties’ track record. Supakit has a deep and valuable knowledge in many aspects of the Thai real estate market and leads the deal acquisition team. His knowledge of development, investment, finance, legal, and management matters as they relate to the hotel and resort industry is invaluable as demonstrated by the successful track record of the Destination Group.

Ross Mcclellan, Senior Advisor

Ross has resided in Thailand since 2002 and has over 50 years of real estate investment and development experience in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Thailand. He has been involved in the real estate industry as principal, executive, legal advisor or business consultant with direct experience in all aspects of real estate investment, development, legal, finance, tax planning, corporate organization and asset restructuring across all asset classes with a significant focus on hospitality.

Ross was educated at the University of Chicago and the University of British Columbia and was called to the British Columbia bar from 1977 to 2002 when he moved to Thailand. He established a real estate investment business in Thailand (Vanguard Realty Co. Ltd.) and has been Senior Advisor to the Destination Group and various international real estate companies since 2002. He is a co-founder of Redux Wood (www.reduxwoood.com), a specialty furniture business in HCMC, Vietnam. Ross is a Canadian citizen and has permanent residency in Thailand.

Selected Investments and Track Record

Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa

Destination acquired in 2000 following the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, a 297 room full service four star property branded with Melia Hotel brand. Destination renovated and repositioned the hotel to become the 5 star Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa. Increased EBITDA, yield management, added new F&B outlets, new spa, and aggressive asset management. Sold in 2014 at a substantial profit.

Swissôtel Resort Phuket Patong Beach

Destination acquired this unbranded hotel in 2007 following the Phuket tsunami after it was damaged. The group renovated the entire hotel including rooms, public areas, and F&B and rebranded to Swissotel Patong, under the Accor Group Added 8000 sf meeting and ballrooms, added additional F&B outlets including Hard Rock Café, Hooters, On Top Beach Club, and Irish pub. Significantly improved the hotel value over its acquisition and renovation costs. Continue to hold this asset.

Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15

Destination acquired in 2014 following the red shirt/yellow shirt protests that riveted the Bangkok hotel sector. Streamlined hotel operations, aggressively asset managed the property, and added additional F&B outlets thus resulting in significantly increasing the EBITDA of the property. Sold in 2019 at a substantial profit.

Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Destination acquired in 2005 after the army coup. Originally known as the Felix Hotel with only 120 rooms, the group expanded the business by acquiring the adjacent unfinished condo project to increase the room count to 224 rooms. After completing a significant renovation and amalgamation of the two properties, increased the room count to 224 rooms, rebranded under the Novotel brand, added a large spa, additional F&B outlets, and luxury plunge pool suites. Significantly improved the value of the hotel over its acquisition and renovation costs. Continue to hold this asset.

Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort

Destination acquired this unbranded hotel in 2005 following the Phuket tsunami after it was substantially damaged. The group increased rooms from 121 rooms to 206 rooms, renovated public and private areas, added F&B outlets and a luxury spa. Sold in 2013 at a substantial profit.

Novotel Hua Hin Cha-Am Beach Resort & Spa

Destination acquired this property in 2007. Originally known as the Golden Sands Resort, rebranded as Novotel Hua Hin Resort after substantially renovating all rooms, public areas, additional F&B, additional spa, and upgrading the existing meeting facilities. Through aggressive local marketing and yield management this hotels financial performance has been significantly increased. Significantly imporved the value of the hotel over its acquisition and renovation costs. Continue to hold this asset

About Us

Destination Group is a leading owner and operator of prime 4-star hotels, hostels, and branded restaurants / food and beverage service businesses across Southeast Asia with extensive presence in Thailand. The Group has almost 25 years experience successfully investing in the Thai hotel industry. Destination Group has partnered with top global hotel operators such as Hilton Hotels, Marriott Hotels, and AccorHotels as well as leading branded restaurant chains such as Hard Rock Café, Big Boy Restaurants, and Hooters Restaurants. 

The Group owns its own F&B brands including Wow Cow Ice Cream, Drunken Leprechaun Irish Pubs, and Grind Coffee. The Group also owns a major interest in Slumber Party Hostels with 13 Properties in Thailand and Indonesia with over 1,000 beds as well as Socialtel brand which is our 4 star trendy hotel/hostel brand. Destination Group currently owns 5 Accor Managed hotels in Thailand with over 1,400 rooms and multiple restaurant operations across the country.