When it comes to indulging guests, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin knows its onions. To my mind, this is embodied in the superior welcome I received upon swooping into the resort – in my chauffeur-driven transfer from Bangkok. TD travels in style, natch.
As the elegant staff, outfitted in colonial-style uniforms – pith helmet included – opened the hotel gates and my town car eased itself onto the driveway, I couldn’t help but feel a frisson of delight for the opulent weekend ahead.
Uncurling out of my ride I found the colonial theme doesn’t stop with employees’ uniform. The refined lines and rich browns and creams favoured by imperial Europeans – flecked with green from thoughtfully placed house plants – runs from the lobby all the way through the resort and even into the gardens.
Greeted warmly by reception in the lobby, check-in was swift and easy and in just a few minutes I had downed the refreshing welcome beverage and was making my way to my room for a quick nap before dinner.
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin has 11 different accommodation types available, including the Deluxe Room, Premium Deluxe Room, Premium Deluxe Club, Junior Suite, Duplex Suite, Two Bedroom Duplex Suite, Crystal Suite, Deluxe Spa Villa, Deluxe Pool Villa and 22 Premium Deluxe Pool Villas – which come with more than 120 sqm of prime hotel real estate as well as “complimentary concierge services and Club benefits”.
I stayed in a Deluxe Suite (above). The 72sqm accommodation had ample space for a solo guest like myself and I was happy to recline in a quarters aimed at couples and families and can easily house up to three adults, or two adults and one child.
Artfully appointed, the suites feature a double bedroom and spacious sitting room in dark tones and textures as well as the eye-catching fittings and furnishings. On top of that, my room also boasted a balcony with a full garden and partial ocean view, as well as a bathroom with tub, and the obligatory complimentary Wi-Fi.
Food and drink
As you would expect from a resort of 249 rooms and 42 villas, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin has an excellent choice of F&B options, with six different restaurants on offer.
Coast Beach Club & Bistro is the resort’s latest eatery. Designed for outdoor relaxation, the 168-seat space servies up expertly mixed cocktails and a menu of light snacks, cheeses and cold cuts, grilled meats, seafood, and pizza. Take a seat at sunset and you can slip into sultry evening mode while a DJ spins decadent ambient tracks.
Suan Bua, found within the villa area of the hotel, is a poolside restaurant that’s all about Thai cuisine. Showcasing dishes from all over the country, the Suan Bua menu is comprised of the tangy flavours of north-eastern Thailand as well as more local regional choices, such as deep-fried shrimp with green mango salad, stir-fried chicken with bell peppers, cashew nuts and dry chilli, and roasted duck in Thai red curry.
Hagi is the place for those with a yen for Japanese food. Guests can sample the best of Japan’s iconic gastronomy including the ozone fresh tastes of the chef’s sushi and sashimi and the moreish crunch of tempura. Hagi caters for both indoor and outdoor munching, with vegetarians and vegans also catered for.
Railway Restaurant has a theme inspired by the 1920s architecture of Hua Hin train station and is the hotel’s international all-day dining option. The regal procession of dishes during dinner, with a French buffet and Thai a la carte offering, includes baked snow fish, Penang curry, prime ribs of beef and a healthy wine list to wash it all down.
The Museum offers light snacks and refreshments, with afternoon tea holding pride of place. Guests are able to satisfy any gaps in their appetite with the cornerstone of Imperial rule, also known as tiffin, by filling up on finger sandwiches, cakes, dainty biscuits and cream teas of scones and jam presented on silver stands and served under the veranda.
The Elephant Bar serves vintage and classic concoctions like the “Heritage Fizz”, innovative cocktails and a choice of prime whiskies from an extensive drink list.
The resort has an immense range of facilities including: four swimming pools, each with its own children’s pool; Spa Cenvaree (above); beauty salon; fitness centre; two putting greens, two tennis courts (lessons by request); Club lounge; Kids’ Club with Camp Safari and daily activities.
This doesn’t include the Muay Thai and Tai Chi classes, volleyball, badminton, football, petanque, giant chess, and bike rental, nor the babysitting service; library; cooking classes and easy access to eight 18-hole golf courses
Great for all manner of meetings and events, Centara Hua Hin offers a decent range of function rooms with a total capacity of 300 for indoor functions and 400 for garden events.
The Colonial Hall (above) is the largest space at 336sqm and can hold up to 300 persons seated theatre-style and serve 200 guests for a banquet. Hua Hin Hall can be divided into two meeting rooms of equal size.