Ten minutes with…Etienne Chenevier
Etienne Chenevier has 20 years of experience as a Managing Director of multinational companies in Asia. As the CEO of investment company CityStar, which has eight years of operational experience in the region, he manages and develops its real estate assets, which include 500 hectares of outstanding land on the Cambodian Coast and the ownership and operation of a reputed boutique hotel in the capital Phnom Penh, representing in total around US$100 million of shareholder’s equity.
Etienne Chenevier speaks to LOFT about his newest project, Alila Villas Koh Russey.
You have spent a lot of time in Cambodia, what is it about the region that makes it so appealing?
Since its entry in to the World Trade Organization in 2004, Cambodia has embarked on a modernisation process that has strengthened its economy and opened many opportunities for investors. The country enjoys a legal framework that is truly favorable to investors, with no restrictions on capital investment or repatriation of profits.
For the tourist visitor, it is still a country of open nature, green lushes, superb landscapes and authenticity. A true “smile country” to which tourists return after their first trip. The Angkor Archaeological Park is a UNESCO’s World Heritage site of indisputable and unique reputation attracting around 3 million tourists per year, and the beaches of the Cambodian Riviera are for most of them untapped and of a virgin nature, with dozens of large islands that compose an unforgettable landscape.
What initially interested you about this project?
The creation of the International Airport in Sihanoukville and later on the connectivity with the tourist basin of Siem Reap / Angkor Archaeological Park. Today half of the tourists go to the beach after their trip to Angkor, and they want their beach destination to be on par with those that they use in Angkor.
With the ever-increasing number of luxury villas in Cambodia, what makes Alila Villas Koh Russey stand out?
This resort shall be the first internationally-branded resort, with a hotel operator – Alila Villas – that is one of the best performers on mature markets like Bali, and developments all around Asia including China and India. Alila Villas has a proven track record of quality and performance, both for their guests and the investors in their resorts.
What is your favourite feature of the villas?
The villas are integrating modern architectural concepts from the renown Singaporean architect Chioh-Hui Goh (studiogoto architectural studio), putting a special emphasis on land space allowing very large gardens, integration with the forest that covers the island while maintaining sea views for each villa, and large swimming pools. The very special 4-bedroom villas with their triple living room and double kitchen, and a 100m² swimming pool, on a land of 2,500 m², are unique pieces of property in all ASEAN.
Why should someone invest in these villas, as opposed to more traditional property investment opportunities?
We offer our investors sustainable revenues and 42 days of free stay in their villa, allowing them to enjoy their stay in a privileged environment while not being harassed by the management of their tropical villa
What makes the location of the villas so attractive for investors?
Koh Russey is only 6km from the coast of Cambodia (less than 10mn of speed boat) and 11km from downtown Sihanoukville (15mn of speed boat). Guests and investors shall enjoy the exclusivity of an island while keeping an easy connectivity with the neighboring town; this island is famous all over Cambodia, its name means “Bamboo Island” and is known by all Khmer people, with its unique 1,400m beach surrounded by tropical forest.
What’s next for you?
Opening the hotel at the end of 2015 – construction started in July 2014 – and expanding it to the most unique beach resort along the Gulf of Thailand.