Just three hours by bus outside of Bangkok, you’ll find Hua Hin, vacation hotspot for both Bangkok residents and tourists alike.
Unfortunately we seemed to have chosen one of the busiest traffic days of the year out of the Thai capital, so our trip to Hua Hin took something like six and a half hours. Luckily the bus was almost empty and the seats comfortable.
When we finally arrived at the hotel, we were cordially greeted by the reception staff and served a cold drink. Since we had booked a Club Deluxe room, we were kindly allowed to sit down in the Club area for checkin, and a few minutes later we were showed to our room on the ground floor.
The room was big by non-resort standards, but not exactly modern or minimalistic, like the rest of the hotel grounds, This was, after all, built as the Railway hotel to accomodate the Thai elite all the way back in 1923.
Although I had booked a king bed, we received a double double. A small annoyance, but the beds were nonetheless both big enough and pretty comfortable. Up to par was also the aircon unit, thankfully, as rainy season is both scorching hot and very humid over here. The room felt like a refrigerator.
Other than the bedroom, the room consisted of a walk-in-closet with room for luggage and a marble-clad bathroom with both bathtub and shower.
The bathroom felt pretty dated and could use a refurbishment, and the shower was impossible to use without having water leaking out on the floor.
Toiletries were offered in abundance, with everything from shower gel to sunscreen and moisturizer. They even had things like shaver sets and toothbrushes in the room, stuff you normally have to ask for.
Unfortunately the toiletries were Centara’s own brand, and honestly not that great.
The door was pretty poorly sound proofed, so during the day you could hear everyone passing by talking outside. Nights were quiet, though, so I had absolutely no trouble sleeping soundly. Be aware that the greenery outside attracts quite a lot of mosquitoes, so it’s essential to keep doors and windows shut at all times.
As we had access to The Club, breakfast was served there. Here you can choose from a few dishes on an à la carte menu, in addition to a pretty decent buffet spread.
Coffee was served by the table by the always smiling Club staff, and you could choose any kind of espresso beverage as well – hot or iced.
Even after four nights, breakfast was still a joy, with small changes every day, and you could have everything customized to your liking.
That goes for the rest of the Club experience, too. Throughout the day snacks and beverages were served, and every afternoon there’s a happy hour with complimentary wines and cocktails for Club members.
A shoutout also to Club hostess Tiu, who always made us feel very welcome with a smile and that type of relaxed hospitality that makes you feel like you can ask for anything without being too much trouble.
We also tried a few of the hotel restaurants, namely the Beach Club and the Suan Bua. The Beach Club served a perfectly adequate pizza, while the Suan Bua had a good authentic Thai feel. Both were pretty expensive for what you got, however.
The Centara hotel grounds are possibly the highlight of the hotel, with amazing topiaries everywhere you look. The hotel is split between the villa area and the regular hotel, with a total of four pools, all clean and with plenty of sunbeds available.
As we were looking for peace and tranquility, we found the garden pool (top picture) the best fit: Always quiet and relaxing.
The hotel has direct access to the beach, but you have to be a little careful when swimming here, as there are quite a lot of sharp rock formations in the water. I’m not much of a beach person myself, so I stuck to the pool area.
If you want to stay a little more active, there’s a lot to choose from – everything from tennis to badminton, giant chess, petanque and table tennis. Even though the heat makes sporting a little extra difficult, it was nice to have something other to do than tan, swim and eat.
This is the kind of resort where you could just stay inside, have nothing to do with the outside world and have a great time at it. I would love to go back here again – maybe in a villa next time?
All kinds of travel rates the Centara Grand Beach Hua Hin: 4,5 out of 5
I liked: Fantastic hotel area, large room, good value at The Club, several pool options with different crowds and noise levels, true five-star service.
I disliked: Slightly dated interior of the room, hotel didn’t honor our bed request, rocky beach, average toiletries, leaky shower, lots of mosquitoes.