Romancing the stone
Attractive, cosy and teeming with ceramic art, Cha-am's Cera Resort offers luxury at affordable prices
With Hua Hin so fashionable and inevitably over populated on weekends and long holidays, it's not easy to find a pleasant place to stay without paying a small fortune. Fortunately, a few kilometres up the road is the quieter beach resort of Cha-am, which offers better value for money, a friendly ambience and, as an added bonus, a lot less traffic.
Located on Suksamer Beach about 26 kilometres north of Hua Hin, Cera Resort is a cosy hotel boasting attractive rooms at prices that won't break the bank. Its delicious home-made Thai and western dishes are another bonus, tempting guests to linger over dinner. Small and airy, Cera Resort is made up of two buildings separated by an open-air lobby, a lawn, and the swimming pool. Just across a quiet alley is their dining facility, designed in such a friendly way that it resembles a kindergarten's canteen.
Teaming up with Thailand's leading ceramist and artist, Wasinburee Supanichvoraparch of Tao Hong Tai Ceramics in Ratchaburi, Cera Resort features a wealth of stoneware in every shape and size. From standard and deluxe rooms to suites, colourful stoneware replaces the usual cookie-cutter fixtures and furniture, with coffee table, reading lamps, the bathtub and even the trash bins all fashioned from ceramics. The lobby, lawns and gardens are also adorned with Tao Hong Tai's signature stoneware. Instead of perching on benches, guests can balance themselves in big colourful stoneware globes. Themed suites of 80 square metres are also available for those needing more space and each is decked out to offer a different vibe ranging from Chinese mansion to Mosaics and to Construction.
As a food enthusiast, I found the dishes at Cera Resort delicious, well prepared and wallet friendly. The small coffee shop may look quiet but it is a hive of activity from dawn till dusk. Recipes for both Thai and western dishes are passed down to the chefs from the family of the owner who is an expert in Thai traditional cuisine. Particularly recommended are the scrumptious kratong thong (crispy basket), thick green beef curry with roti, mee kati (vermicelli with curry sauce) and, in keeping with the summer season, khao chae, the traditional and elaborate meal of chilled rice and assorted savouries.
Cera Resort attracts young families and long-term vacationers seeking serenity and quiet. While the term "boutique" has become something of a trend in the hotel industry, this resort sticks to bread-and-butter hospitality - efficient and friendly service, good and clean rooms, delicious food all day, and an unpretentious ambience. Indeed, everything you need for a good vacation.
At a glance
High Points: Excellent value, especially when compared to other places in Cha-am and Hua Hin areas. Rooms are spacious and clean with attractive ceramic stoneware as the colourful focal point.
Low Points: Standard and deluxe rooms have no seaview and it's a short walk to the sea. Guests can compensate by going up to the rooftop sun decks on both buildings that overlook the sea. There are great spots for enjoying sunrise and sundown.
Pay for it: A standard runs at about Bt2,000 per night per room including breakfast for two. Great value packages for those wanting to try their delicious khao chae are available through May 31. Special discounts apply to long-term guests.
Find it: 856 Suksamer Beach (take the same entrance as Novotel Cha-am), Cha-am, Phetchaburi
Browse it: www.CeraResortChaam.com
Phone it: (032) 508 545-6