I should have been forewarned when the receptionist asked for my credit card and charged the first 3 nights right away – hostage taking basically.
I found out the reason later from both Thai and European friends, see below.
OK, the very exclusive resort is nice, quiet, almost too quiet and we wanted to stay a few nights anyway. We had a very speedy and comfortable drive down from Bangkok and had taken a look into this “life style” resort – not much that we liked, the standard rooms were too dark and away from the sea, the pool villas were like monk cells, enclosed by walls and claustrophobic but the large suite by the sea had a beautiful deck terrace and was basically over the sea.
We had taken a short trip through Hua Hin, a quiet seaside resort town and fishing village I had discovered almost 30 years ago but it has developed into a cancerous growth of an ugly touristy concrete jungle and makes even Bangkok feel like an oasis. Couldn’t drive out of that hole fast enough and on to Pak Nam Prak and the resort.
On the way we found a small boutique hotel, the Villa Maroc, lovely placed on the beach, but it was fully booked. So we decided to go back to the Evason/Six Senses and take the seaview suite.
We took a stroll down the promenade and immediately discovered a tiny nice bar for sundowners, aptly called Windy Bar with a very nice and friendly lady owner. Sipping a Mekhong and smoking a cigar we soon found out that the massage parlor, the laundry and the restaurant next door were run by her family as was the taxi/van service opposite. Nice place and not many choices here anyway, as it is quite a sleepy place – just what we wanted.
Dinner was a local food affair with grandmothers and children around and a young and attentive cook playing local Thai music for us and tasteful enough to repeat, we loved the deep fried prawns Tempura-like and the garlic shrimps were delicious and spicy enough – by 9 pm we were back for a nightcup and a cigar at the Bar, all the places closing early.
It was then we realized the resort had no proper beach, just the sea slapping the promenade – I was still waiting for low tide, I guess, but there was none and absolutely no beach to be had, but a nice beach is just a walk away from here..
Next morning the next surprise : No smoking. Anywhere on the resort. Not at the open air restaurant, not at the open air bar and not at the open air garden and large pool area.
OK, so I can smoke on my deck terrace and I can go out into one of the small roadside cafes, one of them run by a young Swiss drop-out from Zürich and serving great iced Lattes and smoke at my pleasure, but I don’t need a resort lifestyle nanny to change my style of life.
We rested the first day, relaxed, swam, had a good Thai massage, visited the local market in the sleepy village, I had my weekly shave, scouted for information and the next day we searched the area.
Just down the road a few minutes walking, 150 meters away, we found the Pattawai, a nice large local hotel & Spa that is literally, and physically empty, and I mean a large 150 plus rooms hotel ( exactly 174 in all ) with just one couple staying there ( locals come on the week-end ) and fantastic rooms, a large suite with 3 terraces and an open air Jacuzzi for half the price our resort charges and a superior sea-view room for less than a third the daily rate.
Next day we checked another beach place, Dolphin Bay, 20 km’s from here, it had been recommended, but, while being nice and having a few islands and a nice stretch of beach it was more “westernized” than the area we are staying, so we decided not to move there.
So today we moved into the new place and absurdly as it sounds, we have an entire hotel for us and a local couple to share. Incredible but true. I love the idea. At breakfast there were just 2 tables occupied and more cats strolling around than guests ….
This is taking quiet vacation to the extremes, we have free wi-fi and even a complimentary shuttle bus service to the beach at 10 am and pick up whenever we’ve had enough … guess they are happy to have some guests to keep the staff busy.
Having been pampered at The Chatrium in Bangkok where smoking a cigar was allowed in the open air restaurant and bar and even in the pool, I was not prepared to pay good money to have green and chic “life style” pushed down my throat by the big nanny.
BTW : The reason for the credit card caper at the luxury resort might be the fact that the place is broke and the bank owns it – something we learned about yesterday.
Well, they won’t be making any business with us …