This is a first for Hua Hin & Cha-Am Today; the opportunity to be a ‘virtual guest’ at one of the Region’s premier resorts for an overnight experience. Our thanks to all the management and staff and especially to Willem Hagedoorn, Director of Rooms, for his generous approach to our visit.
Driving into the Dusit Thani the first thing you notice is the row of palm trees which are tall with distinctive pale trunks. The drive is past a grassy field and I recognised the white sight screens used for cricket matches. Then past tennis courts and you feel as if you are entering an aristocratic English estate.
Through the understated entrance to the Resort and then we were ushered to the Club Lounge where our welcome from the staff and management awaited. The Club Lounge offers the opportunity to relax and enjoy refreshments, very much appreciated especially if you are feeling a little jet lagged or suffering after a long journey. In our case this was only a drive from Cha-Am (15 minutes), hardly an arduous trip but it was pleasant to feel recognised as a valued guest before settling into the room.
Or should I say rooms? Our Club Suite was something akin to a one bedroom luxury condo with separated lounge, kitchenette, bedroom and bathroom and spacious balconies (2).
I have a particular dislike for rooms (including hotel rooms) which lack an ‘open feel’, that is the windows are very small or there is no opportunity to see the surrounds even if the view is not special; perhaps mini claustrophobia? We were on the 7th floor with double sliding glass doors from both the lounge and bedroom. No fear of feeling enclosed here, but what about the outlook? Panoramic views of the resort grounds across the huge swimming pool towards the beach and open ocean meant that taking time out to sit outside on the balcony offered as calming experience and a great opportunity to ‘settle in’ and to see at least a part of what is on offer.
The suite was decorated in a classic style of dark wood cushioned furniture and accessories too many to mention. As a fan of wooden flooring I noticed a central insert of timber in both the Club Lounge and suite.
As a matter of trivia I would say that in both cases these were Australian species. Don’t quote me, but I think the Club lounge was a timber known as Brushbox (Tristiana Conferta) and the insert in the suite was Western Australian Jarrah (Eucalyptus Marginata). Having said that, I know that some South East Asian timber is very similar in appearance to these species. In any case I always appreciate the warmth and individuality of timber flooring which adds real quality to any décor.
Guests from overseas would appreciate the Thailand guidebook to peruse and of course information about what is available, both within the suite, within the resort and how to explore the Region.
If you just want to relax ‘at home’ there are two televisions (lounge and bedroom) with numerous stations as well as a vast selection of movies if that’s your mood. To make that experience even more pleasant there is every type of room service available as well as a very extensive range of drinks and snacks from the mini bar. On arrival fresh flowers and fruit added that special touch that is always appreciated.
The bathroom (a suite in itself) was a personal favourite, especially the very large free-standing tub, but that was saved for later! If a quick shower to refresh is what you need, the shower recess has a handmade layered glass recess and dual shower heads with ample pressured hot water. Bathroom accessories included many large (fluffy) towels, a variety of soaps, shampoos and body lotions and afterwards there were towelling gowns and ‘slippers’ for personal comfort.
To summarise, the suite lacked nothing in either ambience, comfort, amenities, accessories or visual appeal. You can easily feel ‘at home’ with a feeling of warmth and casual atmosphere being my response to what was on offer.
It was hard to ‘escape’ this somewhat seductive suite, however time to explore! The Resort grounds offer many varied experiences, some about the pool and beach but others about dry land. Here’s a sample of what we found:
Stables and the resident horses and ponies offer a chance to pursue your equestrian skills. Apparently the Resort was originally called the Dusit Thani Polo Resort. It’s easy to imagine polo as a sport of the aristocracy being played on the grounds. We met a number of friendly residents including ‘Vanilla’, ‘Maytree’ and ‘Season’.
The sports field with football goals but also awaiting the annual cricket match held around Songkran (April). We understand this is a six a side international competition which attracts players from a variety of countries where this sport is close to a religion.
The Fitness Centre offers all the training equipment that you need if staying fit and ‘buffed’ is important. Squash Courts reminded me of my own (limited) sporting background, complete with all the equipment you may need to ‘borrow’ if you are not prepared.
The Royal Dusit Ballroom is a huge multi-functional facility. During our visit the TATA Dealers were holding a conference there. We had a sneak preview for the evening’s performance. Looked like a good night to come!
Lots of grassed areas including tracks for joggers but also gardens and trees for those just wanting to stretch their legs and enjoy nature.
Of course this only just a sample. You will also find kids’ play areas (inside and on the beach), salons, boutique shops, the spa and even the Swedish Consulate on site. Perhaps he is the chaperone for the Swedes to celebrate ‘St Lucia Day’ at the Resort on 14th December. That’s not to mention swimming pools, natural ponds and pavilions. Each of these deserves an individual description.
Wining and dining is another experience to be savoured by guest and visitors alike. This is not the time for descriptions of all these dining possibilities but safe to say the variety is staggering with many international and Thai culinary experiences awaiting. We met the relatively recently arrived Food and Beverage manager Andreas Herzig. He’s in the process of reviewing what is on offer and promising some surprises.
After an hour or so wandering around the grounds it was time to return to the suite to relax before dining. As the evening approached the sounds of birds returning to their home in the trees as well as traditional Thai music from an ensemble located in a pavilion alongside the Thai restaurant below was a very pleasant background as the Resort lighting took over. Once again sitting out on the balcony with a cold pre dinner drink was my choice for relaxation and contemplation.
Dinner was at the Resort main restaurant known simply as ‘The Restaurant’. The restaurant offers a different ‘format’ for dining each evening and in the next month’s edition you will find out more about this experience. Monday night is carvery night, our dining experience complete with a fine bottle of imported Chardonnay. This was a perfect conclusion to the evening before returning to our ‘new home’. Our thanks to Khun Chan for providing her personal service in a friendly, efficient and unobtrusive way.
However before retiring, I couldn’t resist the temptation to try out the bathtub together with a nightcap. Reclining up to my neck in warm water ensured a good night’s sleep was to come. My only complaint ……….. no bubble bath!
Rising early for another full day, breakfast in the Restaurant was the perfect start with continued genuinely friendly service. It doesn’t matter what your preferred style of breakfast may be, it’s on offer and delicious. If you are in a hurry, it’s efficient and convenient or if you have the time to relax, the surroundings will only help. Check out is also efficient, organised and without that sometimes painful wait that I have experienced elsewhere in the past, especially if time is an issue.
I have to admit that typically I’m not a five star sort of person. I really don’t like the sort of intrusion and protocol that seems to be demanded in that environment. However at the Dusit I found myself settling in and really relaxing. After only one night I was feeling at home (a theme of this report), de-stressed and ready for more.
The Resort is often the choice for visiting VIPs, including Members of the Thai Royal family (the Crown Prince is coming soon) and recent guest have included the King and Queen of Malaysia. As a non-aristocratic mere commoner, I wouldn’t expect to feel comfortable in that sort of company, but it was easy. Once again thanks for the welcoming genuine service and friendly approach to our visit, it was a pleasure to experience luxury in such a stately and relaxing atmosphere.
Footnote: After returning to my humble abode a polite request was received by email for some feedback. I guess this is a standard way for many Resorts to gauge how they are travelling and to review any areas that may be deficient. It was my pleasure to offer full marks in every category. However nowhere for me to suggest bubble bath for that very minor request!