Review: Hyatt Regency Hua Hin

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After spending much of the week in a comparatively rugged environment, we felt it would be nice to take some time to do something more relaxing, so set about looking for a beach area to finish out our vacation.

Given the crazy award ticket situation, it seemed prudent to make sure we were within easy distance of a major international airport on January 1st. That gave us a bit more wiggle room for our return flights, which then enabled us to have better flights and connections.

Award travel is all about flexibility and tradeoffs.

So with those considerations, going to a more remote area didn’t seem as practical (though I really wanted to stay in Krabi). We looked at resorts and vacation rentals in Phuket, and were even considering Koh Samui, but they were all insanely expensive, or fully booked.

Hua Hin is within driving distance of Bangkok, and in asking around it seemed like a decent area (clean, safe, not Pattaya, etc.), and there were several points-friendly hotels.

The Hyatt Regency Hua Hin is a Category 4 property, so free night awards cost 15,000 Gold Passport points per night. Paid rates were over $400 a night for the period over New Years, so this was a great time to use points.

I booked two rooms as award stays so I could apply the Diamond Guest of Honor benefit on those rooms, and the third room (for me) was booked as Points+Cash so I’d receive elite credit for the stay.

All in, we spent 112,500 Hyatt Gold Passport points and $300 for the three rooms for three nights.

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And the beach was lovely

Making Hyatt Diamond Guest of Honor bookings

When Hyatt announced new Diamond benefits last year, the perk I was most excited about was the Guest of Honor option. In my opinion, this is one of the most unsung strengths of the Gold Passport program, and shows Hyatt is listening to their customers.

Hyatt Diamonds have the option to “nominate” someone else to receive their in-hotel benefits on a stay. So your nominees get essentially the same perks you would as a Diamond, like club access, breakfast, late checkout, and so forth.

love this! I hate negotiating or asking for things (even if I’m ostensibly “entitled” to them), and loathe dealing with general shenanigans, especially if I’m traveling with others. Being able to get everyone on the same page at the time of booking is A+++ as far as I’m concerned.

The caveat is that Guest of Honor perks are only valid on award stays, and you have to book them over the phone.

The hotel did a decent job of handling the benefit as well. None of the rooms were upgraded (I didn’t expect them to be), but they all had Regency Club access, breakfast, and premium internet included. Those are the perks I care about on a big family trip like this, so it was perfect.

I have heard that some properties don’t really know how to handle the Guest of Honor situation still (which makes some sense, as it’s pretty new, and not as common), so it’s probably worth emailing or calling ahead of time to make sure the front desk “gets it” if you’re not going to be on-property as well.

But overall, great benefit.

Hyatt Regency Hua Hin

The drive from Kanchanaburi to Hua Hin was okay — there were spots of traffic, but nothing too horrible. After spending so much time outside it was really tough to sit in the van for 4+ hours, but we had WiFi, and our driver had some… interesting video entertainment (does “Hot Girls, Wet Party 2” seem like a good family film? What about the karaoke version?), so the drive wasn’t too bad.

As a side note, gas station bathrooms in this part of Thailand are really unexpectedly great. A solid 8 on my travel restroom scale, which was a nice surprise.

We arrived at the Hyatt Regency just after 4PM, and pulled up to the beautiful indoor/outdoor lobby.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin lobby

The space was decorated for Christmas, and in a very tasteful way.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin lobby

Cold towels were offered before we even stepped over the threshold, and a friendly associate quickly gathered all our passports. Her colleague escorted us to a seating area and offered cold drinks, while someone else took charge of our luggage.

As we had three rooms, a few minutes were spent looking at the resort map and clarifying who would be in which room. The agent apologized that she couldn’t place us in the “regency club” section of the hotel, but assured us we’d have access to the lounge, and confirmed the other Diamond benefits.

Shortly thereafter, we were on our way to our rooms, which were on the edge of the property.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin

The Hyatt Regency Hua Hin is a low-rise hotel, with three floors of rooms in a sprawling series of buildings.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin

The nice thing about this is that all rooms face inwards, so everyone should have a decent view of the resort grounds. The rooms are also staggered in such a way that the balconies are relatively private-feeling.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin

We had booked “standard” rooms (given we were using points), and as the resort was quite full, that’s what we received. Certainly no complaints there, though it’s worth noting all the other room categories at this hotel have been renovated, so these are a bit “worst case.”

Our room was decently sized, and very clean, though everything was a bit past prime. The room opened to a closet on the left, and a bathroom on the right, with the main room and balcony beyond.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin standard room

Heather’s room had an actual king-sized bed, while ours was two twins pushed together with a topper. I’m fine with this in general, but the furniture in the room wasn’t really selected for this type of arrangement, so it was a bit lopsided.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin standard room

The beds were also universally extremely uncomfortable. I’m not sure if these weren’t to Hyatt-standard, or if they’re just ready to be replaced as part of the room renovations, but none of us slept well the entire three nights.

Across from the bed was a desk and chair, along with a TV and cabinet.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin standard room

The highlight of the room was the balcony, which had a super comfortable seating area, a ceiling fan, and a view of a quiet corner of the pool.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin standard room

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin standard room

The bathroom also had great views through the room, though fortunately the “window” was easy to close. I much prefer sliding dividers to the glass panes you see in many hotels nowadays.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin standard room

The bathroom itself was clean, but definitely dated.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin standard room

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin standard room

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin standard room

The toiletries were Portico, in a fresh Verbena scent.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin bath amenities

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin standard room

Overall, the room was a good size, and it was a perfectly functional space, especially as we weren’t really intending on spending any time in the room.

We arrived in Hua Hin on my husband’s birthday, and while I hadn’t told the hotel (he hates that stuff), the agent must have noticed when they looked at his passport. A few hours later, housekeeping arrived with what might be the most adorable birthday bouquet ever.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin birthday arrangement

The post-its on the balloons were priceless, and made him smile the entire trip:

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin birthday arrangement

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin birthday arrangement

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin birthday arrangement

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin birthday arrangement

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin birthday arrangement

Not the most glamorous of birthday arrangements, but completely authentic, and he absolutely loved it.

While we spent most of our time at the beach, the pool complex was lovely, with lots of tropical plants, winding rivers, and a fun waterslide.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin pool

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin pool

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin pool

The highlight for us though, was the beach.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin beach

While the Hyatt Regency is beach-front, the hotel is set just a bit higher than the sea, with a retaining wall and a few steps leading down to the ocean. This was helpful, as when the tide was up you could walk right down the stairs into the water.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin beach

And at lower tides you could walk along the beach.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin beach

The water was also clean, and the whole area was well-maintained. The waves were big enough to play in, but not so strong you really had to worry about the current.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin beach

The one thing that could be improved with the beach and pool setup was the lack of any real service. This is something many hotels seem to fail at, but if they had someone offering menus and taking drink orders, it seems they could increase their food and beverage sales significantly.

But, we didn’t have great experiences at the hotel restaurants in general. We went to the “signature” McFarland House restaurant on the first evening for a light meal, and the service was just incredibly discombobulated. We had lunch at the “You & Mee” pool restaurant the following day, and the service was comically bad there as well (like forgotten items, wrong drinks, meals delivered 20+ minutes apart, and the waiter asking my niece for her number bad), so maybe that explains it.

While we typically had breakfast in the Regency Club, we did have the option of breakfast in the restaurant as well. I’m not a huge breakfast person, but we did visit one day so I could take pictures for y’all to see what was there.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

The restaurant had an open-concept kitchen, and a good selection of items. I didn’t find anything to be particularly outstanding (but we’d just spent time in Kanchanaburi eating amazing Thai home-cooking), but the quality of everything was good.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin buffet breakfast

We didn’t really patronize the other restaurants much after two mediocre experiences, and between the Regency Club and the prevalence of nearby local options, we didn’t really need to.

Hyatt Regency Club

The Regency Club was towards the center of the resort, and was an indoor-outdoor space with plentiful seating, and even a separate pool.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge

Something that took us a day to realize is that the Regency Club functions as a “hotel within a hotel” concept in Hua Hin, not just as an executive-lounge type set up.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge

So in addition to the complementary food offerings, the Regency Club had a “private” beach section, which did have food and beverage service, along with a specific menu:

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge

This made a huge difference to the beach experience, and the hotel could really do a better job of marketing the Regency Club. The experience was distinct enough that it’s probably worth paying for a Club room (or redeeming the additional points) if you don’t have access as a Diamond.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge

The breakfast options were quite varied, including a station with omelettes or other egg dishes prepared to order.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge breakfast

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge breakfast

I’m an early riser, and can happily sit and work for three hours while sipping a single cup of coffee (to the great chagrin of anyone who has traveled with me, ever), so this was a perfect setup for me.

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Hua Hin club lounge

With as full as the hotel was, taking pictures during the evening happy hour was just not an option. But the staff did a great job of offering beer and wine, and there was a nice selection of appetizers and sweets. The selections rotated, but there were always a couple of hot items, including satay one night, along with veggies, fruit, canapés, cheese, and a few desserts. A nice spread, overall.

Beyond the hotel

Hua Hin is an interesting city in it’s own right, with great night markets, a royal palace, and some beautiful temples. We didn’t do as much sightseeing here (we were feeling sorta lazy), but still felt the location was convenient to the things we did want to do.

Just outside the hotel entrance was a great Thai massage place, with an assortment of treatments. An hour oil massage was 300 baht (~$8), so obviously we went several times. It certainly wasn’t a fancy setup, but the massages were good.

We also had laundry done in Hua Hin, as we’d all gone through clothes faster than anticipated in Kanchanaburi. The two laundry shops closest to the hotel wanted to charge per item (which, no), but Smile Laundry charged by the pound. We had two suitcases of stuff done for about $10, which I thought was fair enough.

There were also plenty of little restaurants and food vendors within walking distance, which we appreciated.

Hyatt Regency Hua Hin bottom line

Okay, so our rooms were a little dated, and the service in the restaurants wasn’t great. Fair points.

Service was otherwise very good though, and clearly well-intentioned. The F&B manager might just need to spend some time on the fundamentals with their team or revisit how they staff during peak times, but it certainly seemed everyone was trying hard.

The beach was lovely, and clean, and we enjoyed Hua Hin. I can see why the area is a popular escape for Bangkok residents, as it was relatively easy to get to compared to the Southern resort areas. The area around the hotel was nice as well, so we never felt like we were stuck on the resort.

Overall, I think the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin is a very decent option. It’s not a super-luxury property, and I don’t think they’re really trying to go after that market. It was a much-better-than-average family property though, and the Regency Club is a game-changer.

So if you’re wanting to tag some easy beach time on to a Bangkok stay, the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin is a great option. It’s not a destination property in and of itself though, I don’t think.

Has anyone stayed in Hua Hin? What were your experiences?

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Comments

  1. Hi Tiffany,another great review! Mr Silver Springer and I stayed there a few years ago in a club executive room, that comes with one massage a day, and really enjoyed it. We loved the facility, pools and the club service including the afternoon ice cream served to club lounge section. We are going back in September as part of a “Do” and staying in the Bari suites that come with butler service-should be fun!

  2. Was there a few years ago, looks the same. Only thing different was I took the train from BKK, was fun.
    But we did have beach service back then, along with security along the beach.

  3. Fantastic review, Tiffany! Thanks for all the details and commentary. I really enjoy reading all your posts!

  4. Tiffany,

    I love that property. I’m amazed that it’s almost always easy to book p&c rooms there and use DSUs.

    Yanisa and I go there and we usually get a room on the regency side and spend our time at the regency club pool. And the rooms on the RC side are much nicer than the rooms on the other side and the property treats diamond members very well.

    Anyway I’m glad you figured out the hotel with a hotel thing they do there. The Barai Spa rooms are even nicer and are yet another hotel within a hotel apparently another level up from the RC rooms and area.

    We love the RC pool and the “quiet area” signs around it.

    -David (LIH Prem)

  5. @ Silverspringer — Thanks! Glad to hear there are other great experiences, and the ice cream was definitely popular with our group!

  6. @ W — Well, possibly nothing, but I was told it’s really gone downhill as of late, and is really a sex tourism spot nowadays. Didn’t seem like the best choice with teenage girls, given that.

  7. Can’t wait for you to try Hyatt COD! It is an amazing deal for 8,000 GP Points a night.. Especially when rates are 8,000PHP

  8. Next time visit Khao Lak, an hour north of Phuket, if you haven’t yet. Beautiful, quiet, and not as busy as Phuket!

  9. Not Pattaya, well I can see that might a deciding factor when traveling with teenage girls.

    I was under the impression that Pattaya has always been a sex tourism spot, or were you thinking about the Sheraton there Tiffany? The reviews I have read of it seem to indicate it’s removed for all the filth in the rest of the town.

    Have read that the local government is try to pitch Pattaya as a family beach destination to the Russians, or at least before the recent plunge of the rubbel.

    Sounds like false marketing to me, Pattaya is definitely not high on the list of places I would go with somebody for a couple or family holiday.

  10. Was there during thanksgiving and booked 2 paid rooms, barely over $100, under my name. Both received diamond benifit without asking. Suite upgrade was nice and large. No problem with bed. Regency pool section was nice with free non alcoholic drinks and ice cream, which we weren’t told but figured it out later, which was disappointing. Really enjoyed our stay and definitely recommend.

  11. Interesting trip report. I was trying to go there a few years ago when there was an airport in Hua HIn (which I now believe is closed) as I didn’t want to do a 4 hour Thailand drive from Bangkok. How was the travel to and from Bangkok? You said you used a Van service?

    Didn’t this hotel used to be a category 1 or 2?? I remember when I was looking years ago, I think the average rate was about $75 a night. It sure has gone up some.

    Still thinking about putting this on my to visit list one day.

  12. Pattaya is best avoided at all costs! It is all about sex sex sex and some of it illegal, I wish I had known about this resort before your review, thank you!

  13. @ Greg — We drove here from Kanchanaburi, which took about 4 hours. The drive back to the Bangkok airport took about the same, as there was heavy traffic that day. Apparently there is a train, which might be a good option as well!

  14. @ mk — No, though mosquitos were an issue in the evenings. We had plenty of insect repellant with us, but they also had spray in the rooms.

  15. great trip report. The Hyatt grounds and breakfast buffet look nice and I like the location right on the beach.
    The room looks very sad – I stayed at the nearby Amari – it’s new, service is great and the rooms are much, much nicer at a much lower price (half during my stay)! Breakfast is good and they (now) have a beach club near the Hyatt, short buggy ride or walk from the rooms. Check out my review: http://dreamtravelonpoints.com/2015/12/upscale-beach-hotel-at-bargain-price-amari-hua-hin/
    @Paul: Pattaya has a sleazy side, but you can stay at a family-oriented resort and never see any of it. Pattaya is easier to reach from Bangkok, easier to get around and cheaper, too!

  16. There is a great difference between the regular rooms and the club rooms: the club rooms and the suites were renovated to a much higher standard, and the service and maintence is much better on the club side.

    Service in the restaurants can be wildly inconsistent, and I don’t think they handle being busy very well. In the off season the service is usually excellent, and the food has always been good.

    Bookimg a club room here, rather than depending on an upgrade, might be worth it: it comes with a spa credit that makes up the difference in cost. The spa is excellent.

    Transportation to Hua Hin is a problem. Last I checked the airport had service to Chiang Mai, but not Bangkok. There is a shuttle from GH Bangkok (500 Baht?), but you can hire a car for about 2500 and stop along the way. The train is fun, but probably the slowest way to get to Hua Hin.

    There is an Elephant rescue center outside Hua Hin (www.wfft.org) that is worth the time and money.

  17. Two years back we had our wedding there (traditional Thai with all our non Thai friends and relatives in Thai dress) and we couldn’t fault the service; the rooms; the food or the friendly staff even with some 42 room nights for our guests booked and paid for without points over a Friday and Saturday nights.
    The Barai Spa is a must and we found the Premier View Suite to be most comfortable.
    Love reading your reports Tiffany.

  18. On our last trip to Bangkok we did 4 nights in Pattaya and it was a nice, relaxing stay. You can easily avoid the sex tourism area by avoiding Walking Street, but it’s nice to see and quite tame during the day.

    I think I’d rather visit other areas of Thailand that we haven’t been to yet before returning to Pattaya.

  19. Just so you know, there’s a transit option for the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin to/from the Grand Hyatt Erawan in Bangkok. You can arrange an easy shuttle between the two properties. I don’t know how the rate compares, but it is really convenient. I didn’t even have to stay at the GHE (stayed across the street at the HI on point breaks). The GHE is right next to the train stop which is an easy ride from the airport.

  20. @ Garrett — Yep, we considered that, and for small groups I think the price of 600 Baht per person is reasonable. For our group it would have been 3900 Baht, and they wouldn’t have been able to accommodate us all in the same vehicle, so a private car that took us all the way to the airport was better. Great reminder though!

  21. Hi Tiffany.

    I have read a few of your articles and was wondering if you had any travel tips and/ or recommendations for Koh Samui, Khao Lak, or any other destination. I am going for a hotel and travel conference soon to Thailand but wanted to check out a few sites especially if you had anything in mind!

  22. Love Thailand but never traveled to Hua Hin, my wife is from Thailand and we haven’t been there since the Kings passing and sure my wife would like to pay respects. Great insight into the Hyatt Regency with dynamic photos and detailed information, feel like I’ve already visited. Great article and love the cards forgot to mention. Thanks!

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