Published on December 1, 2007
Although the seaside city of Sri Racha in Chon Buri province is little-visited as a holiday getaway for urban weekenders, the Cape Hotel Group has opened a hotel and complex of serviced apartments with the hope of bringing more tourists to this city.
Located in the central business district, the 12-storey Cape Racha has 192 rooms, an in-house spa, fitness centre, Mediterranean restaurant and conference rooms and offers clients services similar to those in a five-star hotel. The group has previously run three luxury serviced apartments in Sri Racha, namely Kanary Bay, Karavel House and Kameo House, but the newly opened Cape Racha is expected to draw more local weekenders in addition to expats and executives working in the Eastern Seaboard areas.
The hotel offers three types of rooms: studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom. The one- and two-bedroom types have separate living rooms. All rooms are decorated in a typical contemporary style with oak-shaded furniture. Every room provides a 42-inch LCD TV, a stereo with DVD player and, importantly, a pantry equipped with all standard utensils, tableware, fridge, microwave, oven and toaster.
"Many people overlook this city, preferring to stop at either Bang Saen beach or Pattaya despite the fact that Sri Racha has lots of points of interest. We have beautiful Koh Sichang, a tiger zoo and the night safari at Khao Kheow Open Zoo," says Cape Racha's resident manager Ruk Chaikulsereewath.
Not many visitors know that there are good sites for both snorkelling and scuba diving at Koh Khang Khao and Koh Taitamun, two small islands south of Koh Si Chang. Although not as colourful as those in the Andaman Sea, these coral reefs are in fairly good condition.
The hotel offers tours of Koh Sichang, Koh Pai and Koh Lan by private yacht or speedboat. The yacht can seat 20 passengers and rates run from Bt30,000 to Bt38,000. The speedboat will take up to 30 passengers for a cost of between Bt25,000 and Bt38,000.
I spent my stay in a studio room, which was spacious and had a queen-sized bed and generous living area. The wardrobe is big so there's plenty of room for luggage and clothes. The bathroom provides a bathtub, so the shower/bath area is separate from the toilet. The hotel provides a full set of toiletries.
"So far, about half of our clients are long-term Japanese residents. We're also serving more and more French and German expatriates working in the deep-sea ports of Laem Chabang. Local tourists make up around 20 per cent of our clients and we expect this target group will increase," says Ruk.
Tucked away on the 12th floor is a fitness club with outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, plus a sauna and steamroom, aerobics dance floor and snooker room. If you're feeling stressed out, the Cape Spa on the 11th floor offers a range of treatments from simple traditional Thai massage, skin detoxification and body scrubs to aromatic steaming and facial treatments.
What I liked most about the place was the the second-floor executive lounge open to all guests, with complimentary tea, coffee, snacks, magazines and newspapers offered. Free Wi-Fi Internet connection is also offered but you need to bring your own notebook. A number of DVDs left by past guests can be borrowed. Feel free to add to the DVD library.
Breakfast is served in the Mediterranean-style restaurant Le Marin, which has a standard if somewhat limited international buffet. If you prefer to go a la carte, the salmon pizza and mixed grilled vegetables at affordable prices are recommended.
Close to Robinson Department Store and opposite the huge night market, the hotel is also a perfect base for shopaholics.
Cape Racha Hotel and Serviced Apartment
High points: Prime location, close to shopping centres, hospitals and the night market.
Low point: Far from the sea. Boring views for nature lovers.
Pay for it: The introductory rates are available until the end of the year. The daily rates are Bt1,800 for studio room, Bt2,200 for one bedroom and Bt4,000 for two bedroom. The monthly rates are Bt34,000, Bt42,000 and Bt58,000 respectively.
Find it: 35/1 Jerm Jompon Road, Sri Racha, Chon Buri.
Phone it: (038) 314 288 or (02) 233 3433 (Bangkok office)
Browse it: CapeRacha.com