A Great Rest in Hua Hin
In 1928, King Rama VII built Klai Kangwon Palace which is still an official royal residence. It is used frequently by members of the royal family and is open to the public for visits.
Hua Hin continued to develop in its own leisurely way, both as an aristocratic resort, and as a fishing port. About ten years ago, Elizabeth Taylor put the area on the map by staying at Chiva-Som Resort and Spa here. Today, the Thai Royal Family continue to holiday at the Summer Palace. Despite its expansive growth and development, Hua Hin has remained a peaceful and relaxed sanctuary. The beach stretches for over 4 km, is rarely overcrowded, and offers clean white sand and crystal blue waters.
Hua Hin is a popular place for shopping including contemporary art handicrafts, hand-woven printed cotton, silk weaving, embroidery, basket making, pottery, wood carving, gemstones, and jewelry (including sapphires and rubies). There is also a large shopping mall called Market Village.
Hua Hin has three important events; they are:
While Thai and Chinese seafood reign here, there are also many restaurants offering everything from pizza and pasta, to tandoori chicken, meat pies, and other popular international dishes, and several ex-pat-owned bars and restaurants also serve a full English breakfast and traditional Sunday lunch.
Enough details? ...I’ve left the best detail for last: the Rest Detail Hotel.
Yes, it’s a strange name, but if the details turn out to be right, I could really get a rest. So often, they aren’t, but we will see.
The new Mercedes picked me up at my home in Bangkok three minutes early. Now that is really rather amazing. You see, Thailand seems to operate on a different clock from most of us. When I ask my students to say what Thai trait irritates tourists more than any other, they always say, “Because we are always late.”
You won’t believe this but Bangkok’s traffic is worse than almost anywhere else in the world, and it affects everyone. The traffic is controlled by policemen who sit in glass booths at most major intersections and push the green, yellow, and red buttons that control the lights. After observing for many years, I can sense little evidence that any of them have ever driven in traffic themselves, and inevitably wait for three or more minutes before remembering that a button needs to be pushed. So traffic backs up for hours…and everyone has a perfect excuse (so they think) for being late. Some of us have learned how to adjust our travels and arrive on time, but it is a foreign concept.
So the early arrival of the Mercedes was a clear indication that this might very well turn out to be a really restful holiday on the beach at Hua Hin.
We arrived in less than two hours with nary a lurch or squeal of tires!
Four staff met our car: wais, bows, and smiles; lots of smiles.
Someone scooted off with our luggage, someone else asked me simply to sign my name, Khun Nok—the one with the widest smile—suggested lunch.
A pink Campari and soda, next to the long, greeny-blue, infinity pool whose tiles perfectly match the adjoining ocean, and we were in heaven. The rest is in the details: clean lines, sophisticated design, spots of color like a cobalt blue water glass juxtaposed with an emerald green one. Menus of carefully-paired dishes and drinks, instant service, and always 5-star smiles. We picked crab-claw salads; the basket of warm breads came with several dips—unusual, exciting. Lovely lunch.
Khun Nok gave us a tour of the property. There are 54 accommodations ranging from nice simple rooms called Rest Green to a very grand pavilion. I’ve included a couple of photos but you need to go to the website to appreciate how lovely this resort really is. You also should book through the website to take advantage of their Yield Management Pricing.
Back through the airy lobby, we were shown to one of the best rooms, at the top of the house with an uninterrupted panoramic view of the Gulf of Siam — a “Rest Horizon” room.
The Gulf is protected from the uncertain vagaries of the Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea (think tsunamis) by the landmass of Thailand as it makes its way down to Malaysia. Land values since Dec 26, 2004 have tripled in Koh Samui and on the other islands in the Gulf, and have made Hua Hin an even more discerning choice than it has always been.
I love the fanciful tiles in our bathroom.
I love even more the proper water pressure, the overhead “rain” shower, as well as the variable spray, handy shower. Don’t you hate it when the bath towel is on a rail on the opposite side of the room? Well, here they have big, shower-door handles that put the towels in arms reach. The rest is in the details!
Almost unnoticed, what with the view, a big, square Jacuzzi burbles on the terrace. Oh yes!
But many pluses:
We dined at the main pool our first evening. Kir Royales (we were in Hua Hin after all), tender fillets of beef, amazingly cheap prices!
We went to bed early; tomorrow was going to be a big day…we were moving to number 507 at the Pool Village, a truly beautiful spot at this fascinating place with all the details!
Breakfast is in Rest Gastro; sunny yellow décor; love the striped fabrics! The buffet is enormous, anything you want is available, and the smiles are ever present.
We moved to the Pool Village. The room was perfect—built-in furnishings of the highest quality, expensive construction, great care in the detailing.
The only thing I wasn’t sure about were the frosted glass walls between the bathroom and the bedroom—turning on the bathroom lights in the middle of the night might wake one’s partner.
Of course, out the sliding glass door is a shaded porch for reading Issy Sharp’s new book on the story of the Four Seasons, or for sipping sundowners; the lush planting ensures privacy.
Beyond the porch is a pool as big as a pond. Each bungalow has its own umbrella’d “dock” with sun beds.
The “pond” has two depths; one slides into water about a foot deep before pushing off to swim in about four feet of water.
Khun Nok had arranged a 90-minute spa treatment for each of us at “Restfully Yours,” the resort’s immaculate spa sanctuary, and we emerged totally rejuvenated.
The fantasy doesn’t stop here. Khun Nok said the team had planned something special for us tonight. They call it Dining by Design. We met on the beach at 8 p.m. Three pavilions had been erected, each festooned with white linen that floated on the sea breeze; two were for decoration, the middle one was for us.
A cook flourished over a stainless bar-b-que, a butler poured the wine, and we sat to a feast of the freshest seafood one can imagine.
The resort’s logo is the famous three monkeys: “hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.” There sure wasn’t any evil at Rest Detail Hotel, quite the opposite; so like “Monkey see, Monkey do,” do what we did—GO! You’ll love it!
All the best,