Hotel Highlights

  • Tactile, clean-lined contemporary design by acclaimed architect Duangrit Bunnag
  • Even entry-level Horizon rooms are much larger than standard hotel digs
  • Tranquil seaside location just an easy two-hour drive from Bangkok

Overview

A sultry stay in the sleepy fishing village of Cha-Am, Hôtel de la Paix Cha-Am Beach is an enticing stay near historic Hua Hin. This minimalist temple was designed by Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag, who tempered materials like concrete and marble with aged wood, gleaming reflection pools and soft lighting. Beyond the design, travellers venture here for the rooftop bar, serene spa, private pool villas and the pristine beach.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Hôtel de la Paix Cha-Am Beach with us:

Welcome drink and fruit upon arrival, private trip to local fishing village, and scheduled shuttle service to Hua Hin,

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

79, including seven pool villas.

Check–out

Noon, but flexible subject to availability. Check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $163.96 (THB5,300), excluding tax at 17.7 per cent.

More details

Rates include à la carte breakfast.

Also

Built like a Roman bath complex, the spa provides a cool respite from the tropical heat. The limestone treatment rooms encase you in total silence and pretty psychedelic ‘colouramas’ are projected on to the walls. Not that you’ll have your eyes open for long when the therapist gets to work using pressure point techniques and oils from Bali and Phuket to soothe tired muscles. The rejuvenating signature massage blends Thai, Balinese and Swedish styles or opt for a soothing Coconut Bath.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout, library with books, DVDs and board games, internet-linked computers, spa, gym, gardens. In rooms: flatscreen TV, Apple TV with music and films, DVD player and preloaded iPod (on request), minibar.

Our favourite rooms

For a fine romance, book one of the secluded Pool Villas by the beach. They share the uncluttered but serene design of all the rooms (care of Thai talent Duangrit Bunnag), but are more spacious and ensure total privacy. Dornbracht rain showers with soothing mood music make for seductive bathing.

Poolside

Little ones in tow? Splash around in the black-tiled beachfront Active Pool, overlooking the ocean. The walled sanctuary of the Chill Pool near the spa is a child-free zone, and a sun trap in the heat of the day.

Packing tips

Leave your tropical-print kaftans at home lest you clash with the minimal interiors. Most of the day you’ll be decked out in swimmers; architecturally influenced Japanese designers such as Yohji Yamamoto or Comme des Garçons are ideal for evenings.

Also

Take your pick from activities including private early-morning yoga classes, a champagne picnic for two, culinary tours of the local market, a mountain bike ride to the nearby fishermen’s village or watersports.

Children

At first this place may seem a tad trendy for smudgy fingers, but children are welcome. Baby cots and high chairs are provided free of charge, and extra beds for older kids (THB1,925) and babysitting (THB300 an hour) can be arranged.

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Eco‐friendly

For a spiritual twist on eco, the hotel delivers daily food offerings to the local monks by bike.

Weddings

This property is suitable for weddings

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Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

Motion is a relaxed, poolside retreat, with tables both on the deck and inside where concrete, glass and bamboo add to the air-conditioned comfort. Chef Joel Wilkinson has devised the menu, blending the best of local dishes with cuisine from around the world. For something more atmospheric, saunter upstairs to rooftop retreat Clouds Loft where you can sip a tropical cocktail alfresco as you gaze out to the ocean or up at the blanket of stars. The seasonal menu features fresh, Italian-style seafood, pizza and pasta.

Hotel Bar

The Red emulates fashionable city bars with its moody lighting, red Perspex bar, ambient soundtrack and heady cocktail list. Chilled out by day, when it offers wellness-boosting elixirs, it comes to life on weekend evenings when the resort is popular with Bangkokians.

Last orders

The hotel might well attract its fair share of urbanites, but this is sleepy Cha-Am. The restaurant closes at 10pm, although the chef might be persuaded to stay a little later at weekends.

Room service

There’s an edited version of Motion's café menus served until 11pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

While you’re transferring through Bangkok, stock up on the sharp lines and simple palette of Thai design label Greyhound to fit in with the sleek surrounds.

Top table

Enjoy an intimate dinner, designed specifically for you by Joel Wilkinson, in one of the candlelit beach cabanas.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Fishing village Cha-Am is a good bet for fresh seafood, but head south to Hua Hin, its more cosmopolitan neighbour, for wider dining options. Set in an atmospheric two-storey colonial-style building, Monsoon (+66 (0)32 531 062), 62 Naresdamri Road, serves Thai and Vietnamese dishes and classy cocktails – we fell for the caprioskas. Take an upstairs table for breezy street views. For a low-key local with authentic Thai cuisine, clued-up travellers head to Moon Smile & Platoo (+66 (0)32 511 664) on Poolsuk Road, for stir-fried and curried seafood.

Local cafés

Alright, so it’s hardly a café, but for an elegant afternoon tea make for the Sofitel Hua Hin (1 Damnernkasem Road, Hua Hin; +66 (0)32 512 021; www.sofitel.com), where you can sip from fine china and indulge in tiny sandwiches, scones with jam and all manner of sweet delicacies in a colonial atmosphere.

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Seaside serenity

Hôtel de la Paix Cha-Am Beach

115 Moo 7, Tambol Bangkao, Amphur Cha-Am, Petchaburi, Cha Am, Phetchaburi, Thailand 76120

Hôtel de la Paix Cha-Am Beach is situated shoreside in the small town of Cha-Am, 163 kilometres south of Bangkok, just north of larger neighbour Hua Hin on the north-west coast of the Gulf of Thailand.

Planes

The nearest airport to Hôtel de la Paix Cha-Am Beach is Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi (www.bangkokairportonline.com). You can no longer fly direct to Hua Hin.

Trains

Thailand’s State Railway (www.railway.co.th) is slow and creaky, but also remarkably comfortable. If you have time it’s a scenic way to travel south from Bangkok to Cha-Am, but allow four to five hours to do so. Pick up a train from Bangkok's Hualamphong station, which offers direct services to Cha-Am or more frequent options to Hua Hin nearby. Cha-Am station is seven kilometres from the resort, which can arrange a driver to collect you free of charge.

Reviews

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Anonymous review

by Ellie Brannan , Artistic all-rounder

Minimalism and babies, I fear, are two concepts certain to collide. Speeding out of a chaotic Bangkok, in a taxi crammed with enough infant paraphernalia to keep Mini Smith going for a fortnight, we three were headed – just for the weekend – towards tranquillity, designer architecture and all things stylish at the Hôtel de la Paix Cha-Am Beach, near Hua Hin. Two hours lat...

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Hôtel de la Paix Cha-Am Beach

Anonymous review by Ellie Brannan, Artistic all-rounder

Minimalism and babies, I fear, are two concepts certain to collide. Speeding out of a chaotic Bangkok, in a taxi crammed with enough infant paraphernalia to keep Mini Smith going for a fortnight, we three were headed – just for the weekend – towards tranquillity, designer architecture and all things stylish at the Hôtel de la Paix Cha-Am Beach, near Hua Hin. Two hours later we arrive, gasping in awe of the colossal marble stairway leading up to the resort, but also in nervousness at the thought of tackling it with a pushchair. Within seconds, however, our mountain of luggage (and pushchair) has disappeared and we are being led up to check-in heaven: an expansive reflection pool and ocean views welcome us in.

‘There’s music coming from the walls,’ whispers Mr Smith as we’re led past futuristic structures of mesh and stone towards our room. Sure enough, gentle vibes are seeping from somewhere. A couple of staircases later we enter our Horizon Room, and are again met by mellow music. This time it’s emanating from the Apple TV system. Mini Smith immediately flails her arms around, signalling approval.

The thing about designer minimalism, I begin to realise after surveying our spacious room, is that aside from looking fabulous, it’s actually rather baby-friendly – there’s simply less to grab, poke, pull and destroy. As Mini Smith scoots across the beautifully bare floor and high-fives the sleek concrete walls I wonder why we’ve bothered to childproof our once fashionable home with an unsightly explosion of rainbow-coloured play mats. In the meantime, Mr Smith is eyeing the ‘study area’ subtly hidden behind the bed. In a matter of minutes he’s fitted the travel cot rather snugly under the lengthy slab of wood. Out of sight, out of mind…

I heard a rumour there’s an adults-only Chill Pool here. ‘I suppose I better try it out, darling,’ I sigh, rather unconvincingly, as I usher my significant others in the direction of the ‘other’ pool. Flanked by the cocktail-shaking Red Bar and sunloungers, it is the perfect spot to swim in solitude. After a time, however, I wonder how the other Smiths are getting on and pack up my magazines.

Thankfully, it turns out the Active Pool is not going to disappoint us. Ocean views and the neatest of lawns provide a soft backdrop and pretty, pruned hibiscus hedges still grant me lots of privacy. ‘Ahh, look, Mummy couldn’t bear to be without us,’ Mr Smith quips as he catches me sneaking behind a hedge and onto a sunlounger.

After a dose of sun-kissed snoozing, Mr Smith informs me there’s a Thai couple having their wedding photographs taken on the beach. I bolt upright and move in closer for a prime spectator perch. Three photographers, two stylists-cum-petal throwers and a handful of assistants: this is better viewing than any Thai soap opera. I take a sneaky snap of my own, mainly because I’m loving the stylist’s electric blue drainpipe jeans and fluttering hand fan (for himself not the bride, might I add). Any plans of joining the hotel’s afternoon excursion to the nearby Khao Luang cave sanctuary are quickly forgotten. Why leave when there’s live entertainment right here?

Eventually, I pry myself away to join Mr Smith for an early evening apéritif at the rooftop bar, Clouds Loft. As Mini Smith sets about making friends with the affable bar staff we lounge on day-beds, sipping on Sundowners, a delectable mix of vodka, ginger, passionfruit, watermelon, basil, martini and ginger ale.

An hour later we return to Clouds Loft for dinner and try our luck getting Mini Smith to fall asleep under the stars. We’re not sure if it is the soothing sounds hailing from unidentified hotel orifices, the pushchair-friendly paths or simply all that fresh sea air that does it, but she drifts off in record time. Now we can get on with enjoying a cosy dinner for two. Highlights include the prime Australian beef tenderloin and a trio of juicy scallops sitting in cracker bread boats on purple waves of herb sauce.

It might not be the most obvious of settings, but we settle into our bathroom for a nightcap. Mr Smith flicks on the intimate lighting, music and quite possibly the most impressive rain shower known to man as I marvel from the bath tub at the heavenly vision of water and light falling in front of my eyes. This is, unarguably, the best bathroom we’ve ever been in.

Another day, another wedding shoot. This time it’s an antipodean beefcake and his glamorous Asian beauty. Again, there’s an entourage of stylists and photographers. And more costume changes than a John Galliano collection parade. After tucking into a hearty breakfast we return to our room suitably stuffed and Mr Smith sprawls across the bed. ‘It’s not time for a nap yet,’ I gently chide. ‘I’m not napping,’ purrs Mr Smith, ‘I’m relaxing.’ It’s hard to argue with him and we’re soon snuggling.

When naptime finally does roll around I tiptoe from the room and head to the spa for 90 minutes of uninterrupted ‘me’ time. Carrying around a small child for the past nine months – make that 18 if you factor in pregnancy – has left my limbs screaming for refuge. Thankfully, they find it here. The signature massage – a fusion of long Balinese strokes, deep-tissue Swedish techniques, acupressure and traditional Thai movements – proves the perfect tonic for a weary mama.

Ah, Hôtel de la Paix, thank you; not just for allowing us an unexpected romantic respite but for proving that minimalism, high-end design and babies can live happily together after all. I can’t wait to ditch the multicoloured mats as soon as we get home.
 

 

 

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