Published on December 15, 2007
Waking to a view of the sun struggling to rise up through the mist, it feels like I'm greeting the new day in the North rather than bustling Hua Hin.
Well away from the shopping malls, restaurants, Chatchai Night Market, and the chic shops springing up downtown, AKA Resort & Spa's isn't a typical location for a hotel catering to the Hua Hin crowd. Instead, there's seclusion, tranquillity and the lure of the hills close by. The location is a quiet residential area favoured by retired expats and local families. And if you want to see the sea, you'll need to take a short journey by car first.
Privacy, serenity and space are what's offered, making it a perfect destination for honeymooners or those who want to get away from the holiday crowds in Hua Hin. But it's still just a short drive for an evening stroll at Chatchai Market. (Those returning at night should drive with care - the road to the hotel is dark and bumpy in places.)
Set among trees and dotted with some dozens of fenced villas, a restaurant and a spa, the resort resembles a small village. Each villa comes with a private pool meaning you can spend whole days and nights in a self-contained paradise. It's cool to be able to swim in your own pool or sunbathe next to it, all the time secure from prying eyes. The only minor intrusion comes when you open the door to take delivery of the food and services you order.
There are three types of villas. The 160-square-metre one-bedroom villa comes with a five-metre pool and a sundeck; the 350-sqm one-bedroom deluxe villa with a 10-metre pool, rooftop deck, outdoor bathtub and shower; and the 350-sqm two-bedroom deluxe pool villa with a 10-metre pool, living room and sundeck terrace.
The one-bedroom deluxe pool villa has been laid out well. The main building features living area, bedroom and outdoor shower area. The other building is designed for in-room massage but could also be turned into another bedroom as it has a shower and bathtub en suite.
The rooftop deck is perfect for a few drinks with friends at night or some fresh air first thing in the morning. And although mosquitoes are as familiar outdoors here as they are anywhere else, the hotel is nice enough to offer an electric mosquito killer. The resort's efforts to combine nature and style are most evident in the outdoor bathtub and shower area - no indoor shower is provided. Westerners, particularly honeymooners, will certainly appreciate the romance of showering in the moonlight then sinking themselves into the huge four-person bathtub, but Thais not so used to such exposure might not be comfortable with the design.
Compared to other hotels in central Hua Hin or Khao Takiab, prices here aren't cheap. But the pay-off comes with the space, service and privacy you get, along with an always-friendly staff. Corporate packages for companies are offered, though the number in each party is limited to 30 so as to prevent disturbance to other guests.
The resort also boasts cuisine cooked by a French chef from Provence. Honeymooners probably won't want to spend much time at a computer, but there's Internet access free of charge in the lobby area for those who want to keep in touch.
AKA Hotel Resort & Spa at a glance
High Points: Privacy, serenity and space.
Low Point: The sea is not in walking distance. You won't feel a sea breeze unless you drive to the beach for it.
Pay for it: US$220 (Bt6,680)++ to $330++ per night; packages starts from $960 for a four-day, three-night stay.
Find it: 152 Moo 7, Baan Nhong Hiang, Hin Lek Fai, Hua Hin, Prachuab Khiri Khan
Phone it: (032) 618 900
Browse it: www.akaresorts.com