First an explanation………………..‘Claytons’ was the brand name of a non-alcoholic drink, coloured and packaged to resemble bottled whisky. It was the subject of a major marketing campaign in Australia and New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s, promoting it as “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”. The product has long since disappeared from the market but the slogan lives on in that vernacular. A ‘Claytons’ is now something that is not quite the real thing. For example, a common-law couple might be described as having a ‘Claytons marriage’. An unqualified handyman could be referred to as a ‘Claytons carpenter’. The point of this somewhat longwinded introduction is so our description of the Sanae Beach Club as ‘Hua Hin’s Claytons Getaway’ makes sense. What we’re really trying to say is- “the getaway you can have when you’re not really getting (too far) away”. Sanae Beach, which is just a 20 minute drivesouth from downtown Hua Hin, offers this sort of unique getaway.
The beach is very different from others within easy reach. It’s a cove with a large rocky headland at each end of a superb sandy beach which is probably less that one kilometre in length, with the Beach Club as the only development of note. The feeling is one of tranquility; ‘far from the maddening crowd’, something like an island retreat, but with no need to go to Phuket or Kho Samui! One feature of the beach is the relatively deep water just off shore; you’re swimming only a metreor two from shore. Although you’ll also find a salt water pool on site if that’s your preference. To add some mystic you’ll find statues of an amorous couple at the northern end of the beach, perhaps early discoverers of this romantic setting.
There’s also plenty to explore if you’re in the mood for the exercise(climb the headland) and a Thai beach restaurant or two are just a stroll away. As for staying for a night or two (or longer), choose between a sea view and a garden view single level bungalow. All have an outdoor terrace at the front and a king size bed. The sea view bungalows have an additional outdoor shower as yet another romantic touch. The bungalows are contemporary (the Club only opened in January this year)in a Thai style, spaciousalthough inconspicuous. They are only a few steps away from dining, poolside relaxation and our favourite; a sunken lounge area with very colourful cushions everywhere, perfect for an afternoon snooze!
We enjoyed a flavorsome casual lunch during our visit with the affable host Michael (pictured). His experience comes from the restaurant and hospitality scene of Vienna and he is passionate about fine cuisine. He’s taken a personal approach to ensurethe standards of the Club kitchencuisine, service and menu provide the best of European and Thai food with your gastronomic pleasure in mind. Try carpaccio with roasted pignolia, beef bouillon with pancakes, au gratin chicken on curry cream sauce with almond rice then finish with Vienna apple strudel with whipped cream wow!
He’s also on the Board of the Royal Hua Hin Rotary Club and when prompted will tell you all about their community involvement. Other specialties include authentic pizza (we checked out the pizza oven) and the Friday evening barbecue on the beach. Cook your own favourites including seafood if that’s your thing. By the way the beach is very clean, partly because of the regular use of a mechanical ‘sand screener’ just in case of any unwanted flotsam or jetsam. Whether you are a short term visitor to Hua Hin or a long term resident, if you are looking for a change of pace; just for the day or maybe a weekend’s retreat or more,this is the way to go. Perhaps consider a romantic second, first or‘Claytons’ honeymoon or a long awaited family holiday?
Sanae Beach Club Kao Tao, Sai Noi Beach
Tel. (0) 32 900 971
Shuttle: Available from Hua Hin Market Village, just call to arrange your pickup.