Hua Hin, situated just two and a half hours away from Bangkok, is a favourite of Thai city-slickers looking to escape the capital. It rose in infamy after the late King declared that it was his favourite beachside retreat and it quickly became known as the ‘Hamptons of Thailand’ as the Thai elite flocked there to set up their holiday homes.
As one would imagine, Hua Hin isn’t short of luxury hotel options, but many of the resorts are somewhat dated. AVANI is a new kid on the block, a refreshed brand concept by the people behind the Anantara portfolio of hotels, offering much more relaxed, informal luxury.
While we aren’t big fans of Hua Hin city itself, we understand that the resort town offers a good location for an escapist holiday. If you’re inclined to go into the city, it’s just a short ride away by taxi or tuk-tuk and Mr. Ming – the head concierge – is ready to give you his favourite, unfettered tips on where to eat and shop. He took us out himself one day in fact, to show us his favourite spots, including a look-out point, a local monastery and the Monsoon Valley vineyard.
The country-club-style resort itself boasts a lush tropical garden and its villas overlook a vast, lagoon-style pool. Our enormous Hua Hin home had direct pool access and a wonderful terrace to chill out in. The only downside is that the villas look directly into each other, so privacy can be a problem. Some villas have decks that are perpetually in the shade, so sun-worshippers should make sure they request accordingly. The villas themselves are quite simple, perfectly adequate, clean and comfortable but don’t expect any high-style or design. Villa guests get complimentary access to the executive lounge, that serves high-tea, snacks and drinks throughout the day, but breakfast is served at the hotel’s busier main restaurant.