‘Art de Vivre’ – Meet the couple behind LGBT-owned hotel Le Passe-Temps
When Olivier and Kiet found their soon-to-be home in 2003 – a remote piece of land nestled at the heart of Ao Phang Nga Bay, Krabi – it was but a dense jungle: wild and untouched. It would take years of dedication and hard work to transform this hidden paradise into the exquisite private hotel known as Le Passe-Temps.
With nine uniquely designed wooden bungalows set just meters from a secluded beach, this LGBT-owned property is a paradise for all types of travellers seeking a peaceful and intimate stay, accented by comfort, sustainability, and first-class hospitality.
We spoke with hotel owners, Olivier and Kiet, to get the inside scoop on the story behind Le Passe-Temps, and to hear first-hand how this remarkable hotel goes above and beyond for its guests.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Le Passe-Temps and why you decided to create this boutique, LGBT-friendly hotel?
Olivier: We love art and ancient furniture, and have always enjoyed entertaining friends and guests at home. So the idea of creating a hotel with the same atmosphere was very appealing to us.
Kiet: The gay community has been instrumental to our early success. I suppose we could have become a gay-only sort of place, but ultimately it is not who we are, and we want Le Passe-Temps to be like us. Yes, we are gay, but we’d rather define our hotel as both family and straight-friendly also.
Why Thailand? What drew you to this beautiful country?
Kiet: I was an expatriate in Chiang Mai for 5 years. Back in France, we were missing the climate, the food, and the positivity of the Thai people. So I resigned and we started our new life in Bangkok. I found a job in 3 weeks, and Olivier began to look for opportunities.
Olivier: Fate brought us to Krabi. It took seven years and a lot of hardship before Le Passe-Temps could support both of us. It is still a challenge of course, but we are together and that is what matters the most.
How do you ensure that all guests feel welcome, comfortable, and accepted at Le Passe-Temps?
Olivier: First of all, we are here most of the time and we welcome our guests ourselves. Knowing we are a gay couple that has been together for 30 years, people don’t hesitate to be open with us about their needs. We always introduce newcomers to the other guests, and we make it clear that everybody is welcome. We have enough space for privacy, and plenty of books and games that people can take to their rooms. But we also host many special occasions to bring our guests together.
Kiet: Le Passe-Temps is a sanctuary of tolerance and respect. Religion, background, nationality, sexual orientation – they don’t matter here. It shows in the diversity of our staff members as well: men and women, LGBTQ+ and heterosexual, Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists; everyone is working together.
What unique experiences do you offer at Le Passe-Temps?
Kiet: Nature is wonderful in Krabi province, and Phang Nga Bay is an extraordinary site. The exclusive tours we have designed for our clients are certainly unforgettable. But what makes a stay at Le Passe-Temps unique is the blend of French and Thai cultures, a great service that doesn’t weigh on the friendly atmosphere, and convivial moments that don’t infringe on privacy.
Olivier: At sunset time, we invite everyone to join us for a drink: what we call ‘aperitif’ in French. In no time at all, perfect strangers are laughing together and sharing stories like old friends. That is really what Le Passe-Temps is about, the ‘Art de Vivre’ and making new connections.
What are your personal favourite experiences/attractions in Thailand that you would recommend to LGBTQ travellers?
Book one of our private tours in the bay! Our captain will show you his favourite spots, but you can also ask him to let you off at a desert beach to play ‘Friday and Robinson’ for as long as you want. With a cold bottle of Champagne and the warm sea surrounding you, where else in the world can you feel so free?
To learn more about Le Passe-Temps and to follow the journey of Olivier and Kiet, check out the hotel’s official Instagram here.