A HUA’S WHO OF HOLIDAY RESORTS
Thailand’s big four always hog the spotlight – Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai – but just two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Bangkok lies a land of familyfriendly resorts, golf courses, wellness retreats and water parks in the original Thai resort destination, Hua Hin.
As well as being the location of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)’s summer palace, Klai Kangwon, the best thing about Hua Hin is that it’s “not too touristy and not too commercialised”, says Maevadi Rosenfeldt from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. “Hua Hin has everything for everyone,” she says. “It’s a perfect beach destination for families with kids, couples, solo travellers and it’s the only place in Thailand where you can ride a horse along the beach.
“It’s also home to some of Thailand’s best French and German bakeries. The Baguette is famous for its Butterfly Puff Pastry while The German Bakery is famous for German breads, especially pretzel.”
The just-opened Baba Beach Club by Sri Panwa aims to lure a younger market with its beach club playing host to resident DJs. CELESTE MITCHELL Keep things simple with this lovely boutique hotel in downtown Hua Hin. Convenience is key at the 40-room Mana Thai, sitting at the epicentre of the beach, the architecturally striking train station and Hua Hin’s night markets. Check in to your balcony room with views of the city before plotting your itinerary from a rooftop poolside lounge with cold drink in hand. If you’re not one to laze on the beach, head to nearby East Square Hua Hin Mall to shop up a storm and relax with a Thai massage. The concierge can help you book golf, watersports, spas, snorkelling or the waterfront restaurants on offer in this seaside resort town, so you’ll never be short of things to do. Breakfast is available each morning in the dining room and complimentary Wi-Fi is on tap.
MANATHAI.COM/HUAHIN Celebrating its 10th birthday this year, Laksasubha Hua Hin has an unmistakeable personal touch, built within the grounds of owner M.L. Laksasubha’s grandfather’s home – HRH Prince Krisda Bhiniharn Krom Phra Naresra Varariddhi. It’s where she spent summers as a child before developing her ideal Thai retreat and you’re likely to bump into her at breakfast or share afternoon tea with her if you’re a returning guest. From the infinity pool overlooking Hua Hin’s long stretch of beach you’ll see why she loved it so much and why Thai royalty revered the town as a holiday hotspot since the ‘20s. After hitting the beach for some horse riding or water sports, and mingling in the markets, look into the lush grounds from your room before claiming a seat at L-Bar in time for Happy Hour.
LAKSASUBHAHUAHIN.COM The holiday-makers of the 1920s who came to Hua Hin may have had the king’s summer palace but they certainly didn’t know the luxuries on tap at V Villas Hua Hin. From your private pool villa with 24-hour butler service, you’ll feel like the head of your own monarchy, especially when slipping into your private 9m swimming pool. Inside, luxurious Hermès amenities, Bose entertainment system, a wine cellar and coffee machine provide all the comforts worthy of such royalty. For a peek into real royal life, visit the world’s largest golden teak palace, Mrigadayavan, 30 minutes’ drive away on the Cha-Am waterfront. After a round of golf or a few rounds of the Cicada Market, balance dining in Villazzo Restaurant with the sizzling satay, pad Thai and fresh grilled fish of the night markets.