Gardens By The Sea
The recent refurbishment and rebranding of Asara Villa & Suite Hua Hin by global hospitality company Mövenpick has significantly upped the stakes in the five-star resort market in Thailand’s oldest and most recognized seaside town. The upscale resort overlooks the Gulf of Thailand with an expansive oceanfront footprint that has surely been the focal point of numerous Instagram posts such is the breathtaking beauty of the view.
Nestled in a tropical garden setting with enormous banyan and Thai monkeypod –Kampu – trees that provide shade for people and a home to countless amphibians, animals, birds and insects, Mövenpick Asara Resort and Spa Hua Hin graciously blends traditional Thai architecture – as typified by the elegant lobby and Kampu Tree, the all-day-dining restaurant – with 21st century, state-of-the-art in-room facilities.
We arrived at the resort after a leisurely three-hour drive from Bangkok and received a warm and charming welcome from the front desk crew. Refreshing cold hand towels and cool healthy drinks were appreciated offerings and after the usual paperwork, we were escorted through a canopy of greenery to our private pool villa. High walls and stylish wooden gates protect the privacy of the occupants while thick green grass and a profusion of plants and shrubs allows guests to slip off their shoes and partake in some natural grounding.
The resort features 96 private suites and pool villas in a variety of formats from the comfortable 120-square-metre option to the palatial 400-square-metre beachfront residence. The living area of the private pool villas boast floor to ceiling windows on three sides allowing plentiful natural light to flood in, while the spacious bedroom with a king-size bed and tasteful decor looks out over the plunge pool and garden beyond. Large screen TVs with multiple local and international channels are positioned in the living area and bedroom, so even when you’re detached from the outside world you can still keep abreast of what’s happening.
Out on the terrace, a pair of day beds are strategically lined up next to each other to catch the most of the days sunshine and are just inches away from the plunge pool and its mesmerizing twin-water fountain. At the end of garden in our villa were two huge sliding doors, which when opened expanded our view to include the freshwater lagoon. Constantly walking on concrete in Bangkok, it was refreshing to slip off our shoes and feel nature beneath our feet while listening to birdcalls and the faintest crashing of waves against the shoreline.
Set off from the bedroom through a beautifully decorated sliding door is an enormous bathroom with hangers and drawers for clothes, a safe for valuables and a beach bag for trips to the pool on one side and a huge sink with large mirror and a full set of bathroom amenities on the other. At the end of the bathroom is the standalone bathtub for those who wish to soak away their aches and pains. Completing this bright and airy bathroom are indoor and outdoor rain showers and a private toilet.
Giving ourselves ample time to shake off the city vibes and embrace the chilled atmosphere, we emerged from our fabulous accommodation and walked along the tree-lined pathway towards the shoreline and the beachfront swimming pool. The gigantic, free-form pool is divided into three zones; deep, medium and child-friendly and also includes several Jacuzzi areas. Sun loungers and umbrellas line the poolside, while down at the beach area more day beds are positioned to look out over the Gulf of Thailand with protection from the sun provided by large, mature trees.
Mövenpick Asara Resort & Spa offers guests two marvellous restaurants that serve a wide variety of Thai dishes, fresh seafood and international gourmet cuisine. Kampu Tree is the location for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as the unmissable chocolate hour, while the beachside Baan Dam presents diners with the freshest seafood catches of the day in an alfresco setting or in the vintage Thai house built during the reign of King Rama VI almost a century ago.
Having spent a relaxing two-hours in the shade staring out over the blue yonder, we pealed ourselves off our day beds and strolled back around the pool area and on to the wooden walkway that lines the central lagoon. From here it is easy to imagine being in a different era altogether surrounded by nature. At the far end of the resort, well away from the oceanfront is another swimming pool for guests who want to relax close to their villa and away from the sea.
Completing our circuit of the resort, we passed reception, stopped by at the fitness centre with its modern exercise equipment and gazed through the doorway to the Asara Spa. Another one hundred metres or so and we were back to the tranquility and privacy of our pool villa. Putting our feet up, we both agreed that Mövenpick Asara Resort & Spa was shaping up to be the perfect place to get away from it all while embracing nature.
Just before sunset, we made our way down to the main pool area and joined other guests for an informal cocktail hour at the Ocean Bar. Chatting over a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails and tasty finger food, we made friends with people from as far afield as Australia, South Korea, Taiwan and France. As we watched daylight slowly give way to nightfall, the colours in the evening sky ranged from pink, red, dark blue and black. Far off on the horizon, fishing boats powered up their bright lights to encourage squid into their nets, while the remaining guests slowly disappeared into the night to find their heaven here on earth.
Waking up to the sound of birds tweeting the following morning was a sheer delight. Thinking it was just after dawn, when we opened our curtains we were surprise to note that it was after 8am and the sun was high over the horizon. Breakfast at the resort is a study in the marriage of Thai and international cuisine. The customary bacon, eggs, sausages and grilled tomatoes are sure to make Europeans feel at home, while fresh beef noodles, fried rice, boiled rice with condiments and a selection of local dishes appeal to Asian guests. At the coffee corner, freshly prepared fruit booster juices are served in shot glasses and gourmet coffee is prepared by the cup and not by the pot.
Unlike at some other hotels, guests at Mövenpick Asara Resort & Spa did not appear to be in any kind of rush to finish breakfast and claim a lounger by the pool. It seemed everyone wanted to absorb as much as the positive energy that flows through the resort as they could. We, too, were happy to sit and gaze out over the blue water and ponder what the day might hold for us. Deep down we instinctively knew that our day would be filled with doing just about absolutely nothing; the perfect tonic when you need to give a little time back to yourself.
For more information and reservations, call +66 (0) 3252-0777.