June 18, 2014 00:00
By Phoowadon Duangmee
Hua Hin's arty Green Gallery is a pleasant B&B with a quirky sense of humour
Sixty years ago, it was the seaside residence of MC Raohinavati Diskul, the daughter of Prince Damrong Rajanubhab. Today the elegantly refurbished colonial-style building on Hua Hin Soi 51 is known as the Green Gallery and pokes a little good-natured fun at its posh neighbours by offering rooms with a sense of humour.
Opened in 2008 by photographer and intrepid traveller Rangsan Panyapanich, the Green Gallery is an exuberant hotel, an unashamedly kitsch establishment that’s guaranteed to amuse. Boasting an art gallery on the first floor and a restaurant on the ground, the hotel boasts 15 one-of-a-kind rooms – some like the “Erotica Room” with a cheeky but loveable design, others with interiors covered in street art and graffiti.
“The bedrooms were decorated by my friends and classmates from Poh Chang School of Arts. I invited them down for a reunion party and gave them space (and brown bottles, perhaps), and they returned the compliment with hand-painted walls,” says Rangsan, who studied photography at the college some 20 years ago.
“All the rooms are artistically different – you will never feel the same when you return to the Green Gallery.”
The art works also appear on the walls and on the path from restaurant to pool and it’s hard not to linger, even when you’re in a hurry.
We check into the Mona Lisa room. Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s famous portrait, this blue-and- white room is mystic yet lovely. One side of the wall is dedicated to a portrait of La Giaconda though her mysterious smile is unfortunately blocked by a flat-screen television. Other creative touches include the hand-painted blue floor and a glass wall between bedroom and bathroom. Couples who feel they want transparency in their lives will be happy to lift the curtain. Shyer twosomes will prefer to roll it down for those private moments.
Free Wi-Fi and Internet jukebox radio are standard issue at the Green Gallery. Guests in the Beach Side Zone can access their private rooftop furnished with beanbags and a table for a private party or spot of cosy sun-downing.
“The resort is popular with gay couples,” Rangsan, who also serves as general manager, tells us.
And sure enough, as we wait for our key, two young ladies are checking out with their chihuahua.
Apart from being art-savvy, the Green Gallery is pet-friendly, a boon for the high number of gay couples who can’t leave home with their pooch.
The resort serves breakfast though it’s not what we’d call generous, offering only a small portion of egg and sausage and a jug of instant coffee. The restaurant throbs with life in the evening though, as revellers take advantage of the beachfront bistro atmosphere and a rare policy that allows you to bring your own wine for a modest corkage charge.
Green Gallery is also perfectly placed for street food and fine dining.
The famed Somtam Thanontok is right next door and Cool Breeze with its Spanish tapas and Mediterranean dishes is a mere five minutes on foot. Hua Hin’s night food market is a short drive away and guests wanting to spend time there have free use of the hotel’s bicycles.
A lovely bed-and-breakfast resort with more than a hint of the unusual, its little wonder that its affordable love shacks have been drawing return guests and their canines since it opened six years ago.
At a glance
High points: The friendly beachside B&B makes an excellent base camp from which to explore Hua Hun and the town’s many dining options.
Low points: It gets very hot during the day. Also the parking lot is very small.
Pay for it: Check the website for the best deals and promotions.