Colour for life: Katha Watcharapin, MD of Dara Hotel

Katha Watcharapin

A new colourful building located just south of Phuket’s busiest intersections near Darasamut School may direct the direction of your gaze from the traffic jams in front of you once you notice its existence. If its bright and cheerful colours are part of the effort to grab people’s attention, we think the mission has been accomplished.

Questions have popped up in my head after the first impression and we are quite sure it’s similar to yours. What’s the building for? Is it a new apartment?  Who is the owner? How dare he or she ignore the norm! Find out more with us.

The toy-like building is actually Dara Hotel which just opened in mid 2009. The owner of the hotel is Mr. Katha Watcharapinwho spent about half an hour with us to clarify all doubts regarding his hotel and his attitude.

The background

Mr. Katha Vachirapin, who previously worked for the auto industry in Bangkok, said that what brought him into the hotel business for the first time was a kind suggestion from his aunt and lovely cousins. “They have been in the business for over two decades already. When considering the fact that the land is originally my family’s, together with the advantages of the location and the high potential of Phuket Island as a tourist destination, we decided to begin Dara Hotel.”

The concept

When the helm set, the team was ready to move in. The big challenge was to make their imagination become tangible. Mr. Katha researched and worked closely with the architect for the hotel’s design. “It was a mixture of my own ideas and the architect’s development. “For the best of my knowledge yet based on many reliable researches, colours have a powerful influence on one’s cognitive performance. So we chose to play around this attitude.” He and his team tried to think outside the box. They swept aside the basic theory of colour-matching and did the experiments with real example themselves as part of the process to comprehend the actual feelings colours may inspire.”

“We are striving to be an element of visitors’ highly independent vacation. Dara Hotel is a hip hotel providing a comfortable stay and a convenient solution that may fulfill the requirements when people are looking for such experience in Phuket.”

The target

Dara Hotel is positioned as a high valued city hotel for both Thai and foreign travellers. Those from neighbouring countries in particular have become our areas of concern after low cost airlines in the region are achieving rapid growth. Direct flights to Phuket operated by AirAsia, Tiger Airways, Firefly Airlines, to name a few, bring more visitors from Singapore, Malaysia, Penang, Jakarta, Medan Hong Kong, Taipei, and even Australia.

“With a short flying time within 5 hours, they may visit Phuket more than once a year and that means our opportunity too.” The internet savvy client is also a main target. Those who are looking for a medical service as well are included since the location gives convenient nearby access to major hospitals.

The dominant feature

“Of course it’s our colour that is outstanding but more than that I think it’s because of what’s inside the package we offer that will bring our guests back.” Looking at the other side of the coin, though they are not pioneers of the industry, as newcomers they benefit from something a veteran won’t. “Fortunately, we are new enough to choose only the latest technology and the highest quality facilities to utilize in our hotel. That makes Dara Hotel value for money.”

What has been learned?

‘Word of mouth’ is the most powerful tool in marketing, not newspapers nor TV adverts. “My cousin and my role model as well told me this and I can see it’s true. People will tell others when you do well and vice versa so you have to do your best. I have learned to give, to not only think about the gain. I try to offer the most I can to our guests. I’ve learned to be focused and patient when I see a barrier blocking my way.”

Life is learning

When one is growing up, one’s perception on life is likely to change like Mr. Katha’s. “Previously my motto was like ‘just live your life’. But when I grew up and especially when I started my own business it became ‘dead fish don’t struggle’ that keeps pushing me forward every time I face hardships. Life is like travelling and the travelling is colour for life.”

Mr Katha for “Phuket Sa-ard”

“I just want to see Phuket clean, well organised and green. I think Phuket deserves good care from all of us. For Dara Hotel, we are trying to be environmentally friendly the most we can. We opted for a renewable energy system by using waste heat from air-conditioning to produce hot water. We reuse and recycle paper here. As an individual I think we can also help Phuket by properly sorting garbage.”


  1. Word of mouth’ So true, so true. This is where reputation and the branding of your product, in this case The Dara is established. Recommendations are what keeps every hotel and resorts ahead of their competitors. Good on you to the Dara staff and the family who has the foresight to venture into the business.


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