In work, as in life, Putahracsa Hua Hin owner Velvadi Sritrairatana says she just keeps on doing what she does the best, the best she can — one step at a time!by Percy Roxas
Wearing a classic black top and a black and white printed skirt, Velvadi Sritrairatana is the epitome of elegant simplicity. Simplicity, in fact, is the operative word for her. “I lead a very simple life,” the 48-year-old businesswoman who doesn’t even like to wear make-up tells Look East.
Velvadi owns the Putharacsa Resort Hua Hin, and it is just one of the several real estate businesses that she owns and runs. The resort was built on a land originally owned by her grandmother, Khunying Supatra Singholaka who served under the royal court of King Rama VI; inherited by her mother, the actress Patravadi; and eventually passed on to her.
Despite being as scion of such an illustrious family – the eldest in a brood of four, all successful in their own right — Velvadi insists on keeping a low-profile, living her life as simply as she can. Her no-nonsense view of life revolves around the simple, the functional, the “less-is-more” kind of thing, and extends even in her concept of the true and the beautiful.
This is probably why she eschewed the flamboyant world of show business, although it runs in her blood.
“I have never liked the entertainment business,” she admits. “When I was young, I’d often follow my grandmother and watch her when she worked.” Velvadi is a graduate of business administration from Vancouver, Canada, and holds a master’s degree from Sasin.
But her Grandma and her Mom both had a strong influence on her. “When I came back from Vancouver, I would hang around my Grandma’s office and absorb information. I didn’t think then that I would be continuing some of her businesses today. She’s a true workaholic, as is my Mom, and they both taught me how to be a decent owner and leader.”
Putahracsa, named in memory of her grandmother, was one of Hua Hin’s first boutique hotels.
“As my business is to develop properties on hand, I thought this land is the best location for a hotel business,” she says.
But there was never a question of what she wanted her hotel to be. As a frequent traveler herself, the ideal hotel is one that feels like a second home. A place where people can relax, enjoy great service, and get some pampering as they would in their own homes. Every outlet has to be comfortable: the bed, the pillows, sitting area, etc. “And in the restaurant,” she adds, “I would like the ambiance to be homey as well as the food presentation. Basically, the concept of ‘home’ should carry throughout the resort. This is very important to me.”
From the beginning, a small scale boutique hotel was her perfect model as she has always been partial to small (boutique) hotels. In fact, she wanted to open an intimate hotel with 20 rooms.
Her interior decorator husband, Viboon Techakalayatum — who also owns an interior design firm – agreed. But after consulting with their management team, it turned out to be the extravaganza that it is today, which, however, still contains their concepts and personal touch.
Velvadi is happy with how Putharacsa is doing business today — the nine-year-old resort that is successful and happy with the number of return guests. She’s says there’s always room for improvement. Thus, she is always upgrading, always doing something new for, the resort.
“Our goal is to continue to lead Putharacsa to meet individual needs. As guests expectations for hotel/resort is higher, we have to improve and do our best to satisfy our guests all the time. But of course within the concept that we want it to remain,” she says.
Velvadi has another project coming up, the Theater Residence in Bangkok, “with the concept of my mother’s establishments and showing her work that she has done since she was young,” she says.
Besides that, she is running over 340-stalls fresh market in Talad Bangkok Noi, she renting out retail spaces in the Wang Lang Plaza and a few service apartments in Bangkok, and operating a kindergarten school — a legacy of her grandmother (Supatra Kindergarden School).
But she works very hard to keep things simple, and always strives to find balance in what she does.
“I never measure my success because I have limits,” she says. “Family and children are always on top of my priorities. I should be doing a lot more but I won’t if I have to sacrifice my time for them. That’s just not me.”
So Velvadi continues with her typical day as modestly as she can: Sending off her children to school every morning before going to her office. Picking up kids after work, then family dinner together. I spend quality time with my kids during dinner and at night.”
“I don’t have time for extravagance now; just work and family, that’s it,” she continues. “As I get older, I tend to be more choosy of what I do, who I am with, and how I spend my free time. I am grateful of what I have today and I want to give back to the community.”
The kindergarten that she runs for the Wang Lang community – with its philosophy of quality education at a lower cost — is solid proof of the last one.
“My philosophy is to appreciate what you have, do what you love, and put your heart and soul into it. I mean this for everything that I put my hands on whether it is work, family, employees, or friends,” she concludes.
“I believe that honesty and good morals arethe best guidance to a happy life.”