In August 2018, I checked into InterContinental Hua Hin Resort, which is slightly less than three hours away from Bangkok by car. The resort comprises two distinct accommodation wings, the main Beach Wing and the BluPort Wing, which offer different on-site resort experiences (although BluPort Wing guests can make their way to the Beach Wing for the hotel’s primary facilities). Whilst resort relaxation, dining experiences and water activities are the resort’s main offerings, what is interesting about this property is that guests have access to various Hua Hin attractions, such as a water-based theme park, to complement their overall resort experience.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Resort relaxation and launchpad to Hua Hin attractions.
The must-dos (if any): Have a swim, go for the Club InterContinental experience, take advantage of the various guest privileges such as complimentary visit to Vana Nava Water Jungle.
INTERCONTINENTAL HUA HIN RESORT
The 119-room Beach Wing is the main area of the resort where most of the rooms, suites and facilities such as the fitness centre and spa are situated, alongside three dining concepts as well as the Club InterContinental lounge. Across the road and accessible via a traffic crossing or an overhead bridge is the newer 40-room BluPort Wing, which features its own swimming pool and three dining concepts and is connected to the BluPort Hua Hin shopping mall. While there is a resort and contemporary Thai flavour to the rooms at the Beach Wing, the rooms at the BluPort Wing are decidedly more colonial-inspired in design.
At the Beach Wing, once you pass the entrance area where most of the dining concepts are situated, you are greeted by an expansive stretch of cabanas, sun-beds and swimming pools – ranging from kid-friendly shallow to adult-friendly soakable – which extends all the way to the sandy beach area. Being a beach resort, the crowd mix ranges from families with young and teenage children to Chinese ladies in dangerously-slit swimsuits with their fair-skinned and decidedly bearish partners. Interestingly, I observed very few guests venturing beyond the pool area to the beach, which may partially be attributed to the multiple men on horseback on the sand insistently offering riding sessions.
At night, a fire is lit near the beach area. Assisted by illumination from various naked bulbs suspended between trees, a cosy, campfire-esque feel is created, which provides an ideal setting for held-hand strolls, meaningful heart-to-heart talks and fireside romantic whispers.
The hotel’s Spa InterContinental offers various facials, massages and treatments, including their signature Touch of Siam Massage, which sees guests being contorted, stretched and positioned in unusual yoga-esque positions while the therapist applies both static and rhythmic pressures. A gym is available for the body-careful and restless, although if one possesses these qualities he should definitely take advantage of the complimentary True Arena Hua Hin access instead.
Ahh, the guest privileges. All guests at the resort are entitled to complimentary access to True Arena Hua Hin, a massive sports complex which comprises a tennis stadium and courts previously used for various world-class tennis tournaments, soccer pitches, a multi-floor fitness centre as well as a rooftop infinity pool (which I actually swam in to take advantage of the serenity and calm involved). Unlimited access is also offered to Vana Nava Water Jungle, a water theme park with various rides, slides and other attractions including the famous Abyss, a 28m-high water slide which can carry up to six people on a shared plummet down a huge funnel at speeds exceeding 45km/h.
In addition, there is a daily shuttle service which ferries guests to the above destinations as well as other locations in Hua Hin such as the Clock Tower (a helpful navigational landmark in town) as well as sister IHG hotel Holiday Inn Resort Vana Nava, which is said to boast stellar views from their 27-floor Vana Nava Sky Bar.
KING PREMIER POOL TERRACE
Located in the Beach Wing, the King Premier Pool Terrace has a terrace with sun lounges which provide direct access to a private lagoon pool, shared only with five or six other guest rooms. A hedge separates the pool from the main resort area, which heightens the sense of cosiness and intimacy, especially during pool soaks after dark. However, even when you gambol and gallivant in the water at night (somebody’s been reading J.K. Rowling – Vocabulary Enthusiast), ample lighting from the tree structures within the width of the pool ensures that, save from when the room next door is pitch black and may be housing either a pontianak or serial killer, you feel comfortable and safe during your underwater activities.
The room comes with a bathtub and separate rainfall shower. Bathroom amenities are from L’Occitane.
THE KING RESORT CLASSIC SUITE
On my second night, we decided to upgrade to the significantly more spacious 100sqm King Resort Classic Suite, which is also located in the Beach Wing and offers access to the Club InterContinental Lounge. Aside from having the same shower facilities and amenities as my previous room, the King Resort Classic Suite has a private balcony overlooking the entire resort which is equipped with a jacuzzi tub. Yes, that means the suite has two bathtubs.
Sipping champagne while naked in a jacuzzi with fairly comfortable massage power as you hear guests pass the area below you – they sound so nearby – is frankly all sorts of ridiculously brilliant.
My InterContinental Ambassador gift for the stay was a Lavender & Lime massage oil.
Breakfast is served at Pirom, the Beach Wing’s all-day dining concept, and I note that the spread is fairly extensive. Aside from the usual continental buffet breakfast suspects – think Western breakfast elements and Chinese dim-sum – the breakfast menu also comprises various Thai options such as different regional vegetables, meat curries as well as their scrumptious Thai-style Omelette. Pirom’s seating is generally outdoors, with most of them being able to accommodate families and large groups. I opted for a private sunken cabana, which was quite the rad and cosy choice as long as you always have a dining companion to safeguard your table from watchful, curious birds (a rule I learnt from when I dined next to the river at Town Restaurant, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore).
Next to Pirom is Lee La Bar, the resort’s lounge which offers afternoon tea in the day and premium cocktails accompanied by live jazz music in the evenings.
Azure is the Beach Wing’s seafood-centric restaurant, which offers sustainable seafood options such as local island oysters and jumbo prawns in a relaxed beachfront setting. Azure’s wines, champagnes and cocktails are best enjoyed on the second-floor roof deck, which boasts quite the poetic view of the Gulf of Thailand.
The BluPort Wing has its own restaurant which serves breakfast (Le Colonial Restaurant, which delivers its namesake promise through its classic, black-and-white decor), lounge (Tea Salon, which pairs its pastries and desserts with TWG Tea either indoors or outside at Larn-Rom Courtyard, the scenic courtyard garden with its own koi pond) and bar (Saraan Lounge, a classic jazz piano bar).
Located next to the beachfront, the Club InterContinental lounge offers buffet breakfast, all-day snacks and juices, afternoon tea as well as evening cocktails and canapes.
For breakfast at Club InterContinental, aside from a modest buffet spread, dishes from the menu are served a la minute, with the menu comprising both Western as well as Thai options such as Pad Thai. The afternoon tea was fairly elaborate – whilst Club InterContinental lounges generally serve classic tier-style afternoon tea, this club lounge actually offers guests three options: Classic (traditional afternoon tea favourites), East Meets West (a mix of Western and Thai delicacies) and A Taste of Romance (it speaks for itself). For an afternoon tea set served at a club lounge, the last option – a combination of sweet and savoury treats in various shades of pink and purple with traces of heart imagery – was pretty impressive. The evening cocktails and canapes was the food presentation most forward in its Thai culinary showcase agenda, from the familiar spices and citric acidity across the different canapes to the surprisingly refreshing Tom Yum Mojito.
The service was warm and commendable. The staff offered to help me reserve a window-side table which faces the beach for when I would return for the evening cocktails and canapes, and I observed that the reaction to weather change (which would affect the outdoor seating) was very swift.
While the property does not exactly offer thrills and excitement in its activity offerings, it is a good enough resort experience with strong service standards, and I may just stay here again when I am back in Hua Hin (such as when I check out the new SO Sofitel Hua Hin).
InterContinental Hua Hin Resort
33/33 Petchkasem Road, Hua Hin