REENA KARIM heads to the summer capital of the Thai royal family to spend a weekend in the timeless elegance of the Dusit Thani Hua Hin Resort.
I take a moment from typing at my desk and glance at the small, white-throated Kingfisher sitting just outside of my bedroom window. It is chirping furiously at something or someone and just as I am about to take a photo of it, it fledges. I wait for it to return, but it never does. It’s just then that I realise I have been here at my desk all morning rushing to finish an assignment totally oblivious to my surroundings.
The floor-to-ceiling windows of my fifth floor suite flood the interiors of the bedroom with natural light. They provide sweeping views of the beachfront property and all the elements that beautify it from the terracotta tiled roofs to a Koi pond and an Olympic sized swimming pool and then the ocean. The calm, blue water of the pool glistens in the midday sun tempting me and inevitably assists in the procrastination of the story. So I shut down my laptop, grab a beach towel and head on downstairs, but not before taking a quick stop at the executive lounge. The club lounge located on the seventh floor pampers guests with complimentary fresh fruit juices and beverages and an appetising array of light refreshments throughout the day—one of the many privileges for guests who stay at the Dusit Club rooms and suites. I breeze in for an Americano, but end up staying for warm scones which I generously top with jam and crème fraiche.
A Timeless Heritage
After having found the courage to move away from the scones I head downstairs. My first stop had to be the Dusit boutique on the ground floor. The hand-painted, silk caftans in the display window were the draw here and luckily for me, they were on sale too. But I resisted the urge to splurge and instead treated my dry palms to products from Algotherm. The next stop on my walkabout was the lobby. Unlike many hotels these days that tend to lean towards modern, minimalist aesthetic, the lounge area here—just like the rest of the hotel— had timeless touches of Thai design and architecture. Influence from Morocco and India are prevalent in the chandeliers and fixtures, marble water fountains and the presence of Lord Ganesh. The architectural theme and décor at Dusit Thai Hua Hin has gone through renovations and refurbishing in the past years, but it still retains its distinct classic charm. It was just about three and my phone reminded me of my appointment with Niti Mokaphun, the public relations manager of the hotel. Our meeting point was the lobby and luckily I was at the right place, at the right time. After a refreshing herbal drink, Niti joined me in my excursion and offered to tour me through different wings of the property. An exit on the right side of the lobby led us out to a semi-open terrace that seemed like a great location for a sundowner—just like some eight different spots I had mentally bookmarked. We started the tour with one aspect of the Dusit that I would be getting to know well during my two day stay; the dining scene. Dusit Thani Hua Hin offers a choice of three bars and four eateries that serve a broad range of international cuisines ranging from Italian to Thai, and even an outdoor grill to enjoy all the fresh seafood.
Occasions and Celebrations
Our next stop was the Royal Dusit Grand ballroom. Why ballroom? Well, while strolling through the lobby I heard Indian music and it all seemed to be coming from one direction. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me, but its turns out that the hotel was gearing to host an Indian wedding that weekend. The lawn near the ballroom was being prepped for a sangeet night. I am told that weddings occur here so often that the staff are now accustomed to every event, especially those that entails an Indian wedding. Niti confesses he likes the mehendi ceremony more than the others. Niti takes me through the grand ballroom which is being set up for the wedding day. The high-ceilinged room is flanked by reception areas and styled with silk wall panelling combined with white woodcarvings that are distinctive features of Thai design. The ballroom is one of the largest in Hua Hin and can accommodate over 1,000 guests.
We leave the hustle and bustle of wedding planning behind and make our way towards the ocean to appreciate dusk. Eventually Niti heads back to finish up some work, but not before informing me that he has pencilled me in for a session at the Devarana spa tomorrow.
A View with a Room
Back at my room I helped myself to an ice cold beverage from the mini fridge and sat outside on the balcony soaking in the panoramic views of the gulf of Thailand. The 75sq. m room included a bedroom, separate living room and a walk in wardrobe that also connected to a large and luxurious bathroom which featured twin sinks, bathtub and a rain shower not to mention Dusit Thani’s signature bathroom toiletries. The room was elegantly furnished and peppered with all modern amenities.
The hotel includes 296 well-appointed rooms and suites each featuring a balcony with garden and pool or sea views. The ground floor Superior Lanai rooms comes with an extended private terrace that gives direct access to the swimming pool and garden. The 170 sq. m Presidential suite is ideal for those with children in tow. The two bedroom suite, comes with a living and dining room and has its own private outdoor terrace.
Thai-ing it all Together
By the time I was through with the beer, I had just about enough time to get dressed and make my way to the club lounge for pre-dinner drinks. I ordered in a glass of red wine, grabbed an assortment of sushi and Thai bites and sat outside on the balcony taking in the last views of the setting sun.
A little later I was joined by my partner who had just arrived from Bangkok and Niti, who at my insistence sat down to enjoy a beverage. Soon it was time for dinner and Niti accompanied us to Ban Benjarong, a semi-outdoor traditional Thai restaurant which overlooks an ornamental lake. We are encouraged to try the buffet which consists of an authentic royal spread made using recipes that have been passed down over generations. The buffet was wide and varied and we couldn’t possible eat everything, so we went on a sampling spree. We tried a bit of everything from salads, sun dried meat, curries, and vegetarian options. Our dining experience was brought to life with the melodies and rhythms of traditional Thai instruments. The whole evening came to a close at their generous dessert spread.
After dinner, we took a long walk around the property and then retreated into the luxurious comfort of our suite. As the heavy weight of the duvet descended on me I could feel the stress of my city life fade away.
We begun the next day with a sumptuous breakfast buffet at The Restaurant, an all-day dining venue that serves Asian and Western dishes and is well worth the upgrade to a room and breakfast package. We were seated by the calming Koi pond and kick started this feast with black coffee. The endless buffet featured a variety of American, continental and Asian dishes. Individual stations were dedicated to selections of premium cold cuts and cheese, variety of breads, fresh fruit juices, and sweet treats. I didn’t care that I had to make several rounds to the buffet and back because it was every bit worth the trips.
A Stellar Sanctuary
It was now time for me to head to my pampering session at the Devarana Spa. I met Niti at the lobby 10 minutes before my scheduled time and he drove me to the spa which is about two minutes away from the main hotel building.
The luxurious Thai-inspired spa is built around the concept of its name which is derived from Thai-Sanskrit and means ‘garden in heaven’. Aptly, the spa building is surrounded by lily ponds and organic herb gardens. I sip a refreshing herbal drink at the lobby while my therapist guides me through a sample tray of different body oils. After all the picking and choosing is done, I am shown to my very own temperature controlled, private villa which is all set to receive me. A shower later I am on my front and the therapist begins to work on my back with the signature massage. The 90-minute massage uses a mix of eastern massage therapies that focus on clearing and balancing the energy pathways of the body and western methods that treats and relaxes the muscles, tendons, and joints. I probably dozed somewhere between the gentle ear rub and woke up to the hacking technique on my back, which by the way is nothing like it sounds. After the massage, I was led back into the lounge area and given cold tea and dried longan to munch on. Not long after, my ride was here to take me back to the hotel. I left feeling deeply relaxed and with the faint fragrance of frangipani in my conscience.
Escaping the Grind
My partner and I skipped lunch that afternoon and instead ended up at the executive lounge with sandwiches and ice cold fruity beverages while sitting on balcony to a stellar view of the ocean. A little later during the day we finally were able to get down to the pool. We picked a sun chair and jumped right in to escape the heat. We spent the rest of the afternoon whiling away sipping cold cervezas brought over by the wait staff from the poolside bar and frolicking around in the cool waters while coconut trees shaded us from the merciless sun.
We spent our last evening at the Dusit doing—our now routinely—pre-dinner drinks and snacks at the executive lounge after which we ended up at The Restaurant to enjoy a barbecue and grill dinner buffet with our host Niti.
Throughout our two-day stay, we had the option of jumping on the complimentary shuttle service and heading into Hua Hin to enjoy the sights and sound of the town. But as a former resident of the charming coastal town I had seen and experienced it all. In any case, this weekend was a relaxing getaway and Dusit Thani with its secluded beachfront location and its range of entertainment and recreational options was really all that I needed.
Dusit Thani to-do List
- Pamper yourself at the Devarana Spa. Try their ‘Seven Wonder Retreat’ treatment
- Feast on the elaborate breakfast buffet at The Restaurant
- Take a dip at any one of their two swimming pools and treat yourself to a Mojito.
- Enjoy the sunset over a scrumptious meal at the Rim Talay Bar and Grill.
- If you are a sports enthusiast, play a round or two of tennis or squash at the recreation centre.