Rhythms of the sea
Designed to resemble beachside apartments and with a nod to Hua Hin's graceful past, the Amari's latest addition aims to please the Asian visitor
Open since last September, the Amari Hua Hin has been designed as the role model for Thailand's home-grown Amari Group, with well thought-out accommodation in very pleasant surroundings.
Tucked away in Hua Thanon to the south of the town, the hotel has the appearance of modern, beach-side apartments with more than a nod to Hua Hin's past in interior design.
"This hotel means to be a model for the rest of Amari chain, both in terms of ambient design and services," says Chanya Jarurat, who looks after Amari Hua Hin's publicity and communication, as we're waiting to be served at the Coral Lounge. "What we have here, from the high-ceiling lobby to the restaurant serving authentic Thai food, is the best answer to a survey conducted among Asian travellers."
Amari Hua Hin is made, in many ways, for Asian holiday-makers though it will also lure travellers who admire the Asian way.
Next to the Coral Lounge is a lobby, which has been traditionally designed to match Hua Hin's past. The high ceiling, gleaming white show cabinets, blue wood panels on the walls and old-fashioned-looking chairs and low tables makes it very inviting and give guests a hint of what Hua Hin was like in the 1930 when well-to-do families put up their Colonial-style mansions along the beachline.
Amari Hua Hin houses 207 Deluxe rooms, eight Family Suites and eight Suites. Each has a sizeable balcony, with chairs and table, for guests to enjoy the sea breezes.
My room, No 1717, is a Deluxe with an Ocean view.
The Deluxe is Amari Hua Hin's standard room. While it couldn't be called spacious, it's not cramped either. It's comfortable for two guests thanks to a wise use of light brown and white. The dcor, in light tones offset by vintage-looking details, is soothing. Black and white photos of Hua Hin hang on the walls.
A sizeable working table is on one side of the wall and a big flat TV screen hangs next to it. A mini bar - which hardly plays a big part in your holiday - is well hidden in the white cabinet. The living area, such as it is, is home to a comfy couch.
The king-sized bed occupies most of the room. Amari Hua Hin, we're told, chooses its bed sets carefully.
"We're very concerned about health issues," says Chanya. "The bed sets are antibacterial. And we choose allergy-free laundry powder.
"We also duck down pillows - the finest down feathers - to ensure you sleep well through the night."
The bathroom features a glass-enclosed rain shower and still leaves plenty of room to move around the large basin and toilet with ease. The hotel provides body lotion, shampoo and conditioner but has no toothbrush and toothpaste sets. There is no bathtub in the Deluxe room.
Amari Hua Hin serves international breakfast at Mosaic restaurant and you'll find a fine selection of cheese, fruit, bread, eggs and sausage are available here. I'm a big fan of the Asian breakfast - rice porridge and noodle soup - after a heavy night, but Amari Hua Hin makes me blame myself for being hard to please. Any disappointment is washed away by several cups of the excellent coffee - coffee nuts can count on Amari Hua Hin for using only the finest beans.
The hotel has also revolutionised its spa concept at Breeze Spa. It's moved away from the often boring holistic cliches and instead focuses on boosting energy in lively treatment rooms.
"Forget the old-school spa where therapists walk on their knees and clean your feet," says Chanya. "Here, at Breeze Spa, we make the treatment a little less luxurious but far more accessible and affordable. You walk in, choose your treatment, and walk out with energy."
Two days there and I am convinced: Amari Hua Hin is a family-oriented hotel, a place where everyone in the family has their needs met. When mum and dad want to have a romantic time together, they can leave their little ones happily playing with the competent babysitters at the kids' club.
At a glance
High Points: A nice, beach-side modern-looking hotel with a touch of Hua Hin's pride, making it a great choice for a couple who want to spend a weekend in Hua Hin.
Low Points: The standard room, a Deluxe, would be rather cramped if mum and dad are sharing even with a small child.
Find it: 117/74 Takiab Road, Nongkae, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand 77110
Pay for it: Check the website for promotions and best deals.
Phone it: (+66 (0) 32) 616 600
Browse it: www.Amari.com