Travel Anecdotes – 3 Thai Beach Resorts

1.) ALEENTA HUA HIN

 

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Aleenta Hua Hin – Palm Pool Villas

This was located in Pranburi and not Hua Hin as named. Aleenta is approximately 3 hours drive away from central Bangkok and if you leave at about 8 or 9 am on Saturday, you will be there by 11am/12pm to enjoy the property without being too tired. Well starting with the pros – the Palm Pool Villas was private enough and also close to the beach (Room 105) and very well appointed. Loved the jacuzzi pool facing the beach and the way the room was designed so as to allow so much light to come in, and to wake up to a soothing, dreamy vision of the beach and fishermen boats. The food was also very tasty – yummy everything really from the zangy papaya salad, spicy tom yam and crab cakes to the cheesy creamy mushroom quiche and spinach pizza. One can really taste how fresh the home grown ingredients are, such as the basil, kaffir leaves etc.  It is a romantic and private hideaway conveniently located. The resort offers various types of activities but the important part is it is not forced upon you. If you want to do little but vegetate in the room to just read books, enjoy the pool and listen to the waves while food is served to your room, you can. If you want to visit their farm, have loads of spa treatments done and go out to Hua Hin town, they offer it all, you just need to tell them in advance. I also tried the spa and had a decent back massage though on the expensive side (more than 1000baht which for Thailand is pricey, especially as I have had the exact same massages quality wise in Bangkok for 200baht). Grounds of property as a whole was also lovely – its what you hope from a boutique resort: cute, cozy and private. Extras they did was also to send little treats to the room around 5 pm every day, finger food and fruit juice, which is a really nice touch.

Cons had more to do with the service – though it certainly wasn’t bad, it wasn’t in line with the whole cute, privileged boutique package which you’d expect from a resort that pitches itself as such. When we first arrived, there was not much of a welcome (no welcome juice/hot towels/proper warm reception as per other types of resorts of this ranking) and what ticked me off a little was the receptionist asking my husband to email her our booking confirmation there and then via his ipad, when we already showed her our ID’s, and a snapshot of our booking details. I was not clear why it was necessary to email her there and then again (never happened to us in any other place). Secondly, the bathroom smelt of sewage, especially after we bathed. Thankfully the open-air concept minimized the stench. Thirdly, not all the buttons in the jacuzzi were working. Important to state however that we didn’t raise any of these issues to have it rectified so it’s not really their fault per say but just something we noted and which would stop us from giving it a full five. Overall, it is a great quality resort, especially after 11 years, and I would recommend it for a weekend break.

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Aleenta Hua Hin – watching fishermen boats from the room

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Aleenta Pranburi – anticipating a delicious meal sourced from their organic farm

 

 

2.) SHERATON PRANBURI

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Sheraton Pranburi – the tree-lined path to take us to our villa

This is a 5 star outfit. The property was very beautiful – we had a duplex pool villa with a massive bedroom and balcony upstairs and a living area downstairs which had a kitchenette, another tv area, another bathroom and of course opened out to a lap pool and extended garden. The entire property was gorgeous, sunken seats in a lotus pond, lots of green and giant trees taking you down the avenue of villas. I also had a wonderful back and shoulder massage inside the villa. As with what other guests said, the missing touch is the fact that the food was not quite up to scratch, breakfast buffet was ok but not superb, and some in room dining was a touch and go. There was also heavy rain on the whole of the second day  and when asked if we could have a buggy to take us to the dining room given the walk from the room to the dining area were filled with puddles, we were told that the buggy is only for guests who cannot walk. I didn’t think this was particularly five star treatment as expected from the Sheraton. The hotel also does not overlook the beach. Overall, a four star because it does not fully reflect Sheraton’s aspired standard but still a good resort of course. We preferred the Aleenta because it was right on the beach and had alot of extra, special touches, but in terms of the property itself, the Sheraton was more grand while Aleenta was a chic boutique.

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Sheraton Pranburi – photograph of the bedroom in the second level, sourced from the Sheraton website
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Sheraton Pranburi – photograph of the private pool in the lower level, sourced from the Sheraton website
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Sheraton Pranburi – Beautiful sunken restaurant where we had our breakfast

 

3.) THE SHORE KATATHANI – PHUKET

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The Shore Kathathani – View from the private pool

I was looking for – luxury boutique, private pool, overlooking the sea and private beach. Vital to have a specific list for Phuket as the variety of choices are overwhelming. The Shore answered every single one of these criterias. The view is truly worth it, and wonderful to hear the ocean so close. No better feeling than to soak in the pool as you watch the delectable Andaman Sea live its potent force onto the shores. The negatives are not quite negatives and may seem picky but beautiful as everything is it doesnt somehow make the mark on total ‘luxe’ for the price tag. So the food isn’t super high quality, room service food cover had slight tearing and spa was great (especially massage) but facility and layout wasn’t incredible. It is relative of course- if I compare this to Banjaran in Perak or Villa Samadi in KL then The Shore no doubt puts these boutiques to absolute shame. But if I compare this to Puri Sebali in Ubud or even Angsana in Lang Co (all cheaper but with the luxury boutique, private pool and amazing nature view concept) then The Shore does have to up its game in terms of that extra oomph (massage, complimentary afternoon tea and snacks in room, spa beautifully furnished facing nature view). I would no doubt still strongly recommend it as the place to go for some romantic excursion in Phuket with an unforgettable view.

 

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The Shore Katathani – decent enough fried rice presented well
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The Shore Katathani – more gorgeous views
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The Shore Katathani – waking up to this – unfortunately it was raining season.  
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The Shore Katathani – how the room is set up – photograph sourced from the hotel website
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The Shore Katathani – the amazing seating spot by the private pool where you can sunbathe or have your meals

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