Sitting here on the balcony of our hotel room. Just ordered a latte to get me through typing this again. Maybe it was God’s intervention for denigrating this hotel so much…. ha…I bet that was what it was.
oh wait…here we go again……
How many times I have started this blog piece, probably about 5/6 times??
Well the first one was almost finished when my hand touched something on the key board while checking for mistakes and off it all went. Vanished into thin air….. oh how infuriating. While OH saying I told you… always save to draft. It will be in the bowels of this computer somewhere. So this time I am typing in word, while sitting at the side of this glorious pool. Well away from the water of course.
After lots of deliberation and humming and haring. We had decided to take a holiday. A real holiday. Not just a visit back home to our family and friends but some real R&R time. Away from the madding crowd in Hua Hin. Somewhere I have nagged and nagged my husband to take me.
So all was planned and thank goodness a hotel not booked when the news came through that his post was to be nationalized. For those that don’t know what I mean. It’s when a Thai person is given your job. You are to be found an alternative post or in our case “Please can we just go home”??? That’s another story.
So all plans were off. This was going to be our first holiday since Cyprus 2008. OK I can hear my friends saying, hey you come home every year but its not a holiday…its a great time but no way is it a rest and recharge time for husband.
We usually have an itinerary of lunches and dinners and pop in visits for the whole 2 or 3 weeks. So months ago we decided we would have a real holiday but in Thailand. I have so wanted to visit Hua Hin since we arrived. Susan’s fault as they holiday here twice a year and always tell me how much they have enjoyed their time here. Each year we have promised that will join them on their visit.
For a short period excitement had prevailed until the sad news of not being allowed to go home just yet sank in. To hell with the world let’s have the holiday anyway. We both felt it may do us good. Take away some stress and worry if only for a week.
So back onto the internet – The font of all knowledge indeed. Ah the Centara Grand Resort and Spa had gone up a lot and it was going to be the start of the European School Holidays. Did we really want to be in a huge hotel surrounded by screaming children?? I think not. So back to the trawling through Trip Advisor to see what people said about different hotels. Finally settling on The Intercontinental Resort & Spa. Further South in Hua Hin but said to be peaceful and quiet.
Luckily Patrick (K9 Training and Boarding Kennels and our dog obedience trainer) still had room to take Tess and Buddy. Alas Stella our cat is still missing. Off they went on Friday, Buddy none to happy to be going in a car and Tess trying to jump in by herself as she just so loves traveling. The house seemed so quiet without them. No Buddy talking to me on Saturday morning.
The journey started off well for us, first mulling over when to set off for our expected 2 and half hour journey. The trouble being almost 5 hours later and we were still stuck in holiday traffic. Oh goodness the traffic was terrible. Bumper to bumper we went. Saw some great statues on the way. Must remember to get some shots on the way back to update this piece. ( Alas we went a different way home, never knowing that was possible and getting in a right panic).
I did manage to get a couple of shots of a great bridge we had to cross. Wooohoo my daughter would say. How un-interesting is that….ha..
We stopped off for a toilet break at a garage/service station. Ladies please. I could have been sick. My first encounter was with wading through dirty water. New shoes too. Oh God. What met my eyes…..
As some people may know in Thailand in a lot of places you have to put your toilet tissue in the bins in the toilets as the sewage systems is unable to cope. A bin full of toilet paper some covered in blood. Well we all know where from……It’s just so awful. Why oh why wouldn’t you try and cover it over or put it in a bag…..
Arriving at the Intercontinental Resort & Spa
So glad to arrive at our destination finally. It was just as well that I had seen on the internet the frontage of the hotel and the way it was set just back off the road as we would have missed it. In fact we almost did.
You would never know from the outside what a fantastic hotel lay beyond. Our bags were whisked away and we were greeted my the lovely reception ladies. A totally informal reception area of small desks. No huge chandeliers or imposing reception frontage. Straightaway after giving my name she knew I was part of the Ambassador Club (something I had paid for as part of a surprise for my husband). I was ushered through to the Club lounge to a separate check in, while waiting for OH to park the car. Btw, they also offer a valet service for parking too. Given a lovely refreshing drink of Rosella and pineapple juice. Quench the thirst after our long journey. I was even offered bubbles…slurp slurp but I was being good and declined. Keep my wits about me for now.
Only here was it apparent that there was a problem and understanding a little Thai it was obvious that our booking had not been upgraded. The Ambassador status “Guarantees an upgrade” well, not today it didn’t. So it spoiled my surprise for my husband. As I had to tell him why there was a problem and what it was. I had so wanted it to be a great surprise. Walking into a huge room, more than he had expected. The hotel was fully booked. The Queen’s Birthday, Mothers Day, a holiday weekend. This was obviously why there had been so much traffic traveling down.
No point in making a fuss. If there was no room upgrade available, there was no room. With the promise of an upgrade by Tuesday off we went to see our room. I have to say although it wasn’t large, the Club Rooms are spacious and extremely tastefully decorated. Ah and including a beloved coffee machine. A powerful shower and separate toilet. Don’t know how I ended up taking photos of only the balcony and the bath!!!! ah yes I remember coz Hubby popped himself right on the bed..
Sometimes I feel I go too far, packing extra coffee, milk, my herbal tea. David’s UK tea bags, fruit and nuts etc., but it was all worth it in the end. It means we have a much more relaxed stay having the things we would otherwise miss.
If Liz is reading this post here is your day bed…will this do???? Its on the balcony.
The first thing you see when entering the restaurant area of the resort is the vast amount of beautiful Frangipani trees, lawns and a huge huge pool, ending right down at the beach.
Flanked all the way around by sun beds and umbrella’s. All matching and all good quality rattan furniture. Nothing tacky about this resort. Not a plastic chair in sight. Plenty of space. All facing the sea. Beautiful and yes, tranquil. Just what we are looking for.
We ordered room service the first evening and I have to say the food was excellent. We opted for Italian the Feta Cheese Salad and the other salad we chose were lovely. The pizza looked like a standard home made UK edition. The taste was good though and I thoroughly enjoyed what I had. Of course we had ordered too much food….off to the gym for us then
The next morning after a wonderful nights sleep, the soft pillows and black out curtains did their job and we did not for once wake early.
Sunrise over the resort
Off to breakfast. There are only approximately 4 tables inside the two restaurants serving breakfast where air conditioning would be, however with doors open there isn’t much reprieve from any heat. Outside seating in all 3 restaurants. I certainly would not have booked this hotel if I had realized there was no inside cool space to eat. Hot flushes not included I find it most uncomfortable to eat outside in 80+ degrees. This being disappointment number 2.
Why didn’t they even have breakfast at the restaurant nearest the beach. At least there may be a bit of a breeze.
one of the more shaded areas to have breakfast.
If you love cakes, pastries and Thai food for breakfast you are in heaven. There is an “Egg Station”. I ordered poached eggs. I had intended to have some crispy (rather over crispy) bacon with some tomatoes. What I got was two poached eggs lying on a piece of ham on soggy bread, smothered in an oily sauce…..oh disappointment number 3.
Suggestion– take your own tea bags. The tea is p… water and there is no way you could call it tea.
Breakfast was crowded. People pushing past, walking into you. Oh this would never do for a 5* hotel.Disappointment number 4
Disappointment number 5. The Thai restaurant – Pirom. The food is OK but not that wonderful. I have an allergy to chilies. Some people would think this would be mighty hard in Thailand to get around. I have learned however the sentence for:-
“Never put chilies in my food”. My standard choice is chicken n cashew nuts or pad Thai. No one said anything about deep frying the chicken in batter before it was put in the dish of chicken and cashew nuts. YUK. Not impressed with the food at all.
We did try an evening of Thai buffet and the restaurant redeemed itself a bit. OH had a great evening. Of course these tables are nice and each one has a fan above the table and blinds that can be drawn down if you are having lunch to shield you from the sun.
The biggest thing that strikes you about this lovely hotel is the staff. The staff are so nice it so hard to be awful about anything.
Service seems to be extremely slow for certain things. I just don’t they can cope with being full.
Room service not being one of them.
The next morning we (well I actually) that was the Royal “we” had decided we would have breakfast in the Club Room. Should we have wondered why there was no one else having breakfast in the lovely air conditioned room…?? some 30 minutes later when I was asking where my breakfast was I realized why…the girl takes your order and then has to wait in the queue like everyone else…… and although I had stated just eggs no oily sauce or anything, just with bacon. It still came on soggy bb…..bread.
I could have made full English breakfast for a host of squaddies in the time it took to make for a member of staff to queue up for those eggs. So so slow. Saving grace, good coffee.
We have enjoyed the resort. The leisurely walk along the beach. Pony rides for the children. Tiny fishing boats lined the beach. Amazing. Like stepping back in time.
The Monks walk the full length of the beach very early each morning and you can partake in giving alms if you would like.
Each day I am sure we walked for miles along the beach back and forth. Well, you have to work the cakes off….
We decided on Monday evening to try Azure. This is the hotel restaurant situated right at the very beach side of the resort. Faith restored. Delicious. Thai Seafood Buffet of a very high standard. Nice wine, wonderful selection of food as it wasn’t all spicy. Oh and the desserts. Well, as you will see from the photos. Just delicious.
We sat at a pool side table looking out to sea. With a beautiful breeze.
As the sun goes down, a full moon. How every strange. The cloud underneath looks like a spaceship I am sure. Look closely at the picture and you can see a space ship. There was a lovely breeze and I didn’t feel hot once. This has to be my favorite spot.
A wander into Hua Hin.
Asking how far the nearest shopping centre is…15 minutes walk!!!! Yeh right. Well Ok it was around 20 minutes and it all would depend on how fast you walked I guess. We just presumed that Hua Hin would be like Pattaya. A beach front promenade to walk along. A Big Shopping Mall, a Central Department store. DU……how wrong we were. A small shopping center of shops. Certainly nothing to splash out on. Just as well we didn’t need anything. Plenty of places to eat I am sure.
Be aware as usual of the tuk tuk drivers wanting to take you somewhere. One stopped us and told us another kilometer to the shops. When in fact we were less than 5 minutes walk away. Would have been taken for a ride – literally. Better to get your hotel or apartment block porters to get you one.
Again not impressed. You could certainly have a cheap holiday here. Nothing to spend your money on but food and drink. Unspoiled some would say.
We did however get a tuk tuk back. A fair price of 100 bhat to the hotel. We didn’t mind that we could normally go a very long way in Bangkok for this fare. It still saved my blistered heel from getting any worse.
A visit to the Gym.
If you are that way inclined on your holiday a visit to the hotel gym is a must. Great machines. Each one displaying information on what to do. I think hubby is going to take some photos of what its like. No one ever in there either. Plenty of towels and water if required.
The assistant in the gym was well informed, although a little shy with the Farangs I think, but he seemed quite knowledgeable. We ended up going only twice and am pleased to say he forgot his camera the next time. We did so intend to go everyday…..ah well…cake beckons…..
I am going to start another post to continue my story of our holiday and hope to get some more photos loaded.