Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin

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In 1923 an enterprising Siamese prince built the ornate Railway Hotel on a virgin beach at the barely-known village of Hua Hin. Fast-forward almost a century and today the prince’s hotel is still there, easily recognizable (if much expanded) and now known as the Centara Grand Hua Hin Beach Resort & Villas.

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Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin

Swimming pool, Centara Grand Resort.
Relax around the pool at Centara Grand Hua Hin

Where is Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin?

Right on the beachfront at Hua Hin, 200 km southwest of Bangkok on the “sunrise side” of the Gulf of Thailand.

The resort stands just a few blocks from Hua Hin’s historic railway station that gave the hotel its original name.

If you’re planning a trip around souther Thailand, here is a Thailand itinerary for 10 days

First Impressions of Centara Grand Beach Resort

Centara Grand Hua Hin
Centara Grand Hua Hin is bright and airy.

Space and grace.

With 13 vast hectares of grounds surrounding this long-limbed, colonial-style structure, you know you’re in for something truly different.

The elegant sea-facing resort, complete with white louvres, fans and armies of gardeners, features a real scene-stealer in its grounds — a grand topiary garden populated by a motionless stampede of arboreal elephants, giant rabbits and green giraffes.

What are the rooms like?

Hua Hin Centara Resort, Railway Wing.
The Railway Wing at Centara Grand Hua Hin

There is a range of rooms and suites in various layouts, spanning from the original (and impeccably upgraded) colonial-style accommodation of the Railway Wing to the contemporary configurations of the later wings.

centara hua hin
Colonial chic at Centara Grand Hua Hin.

If you love heritage, go for a Railway Wing suite with its French windows, teak floors, shaded balcony, walk-in dressing room and a marble-floored bathroom with classic, clawfoot tub.

The food at Centara Grand Beach Resort

The Centara is serious about quality dining in its five outlets.

At the Suan Bua Thai restaurant, go for the crabmeat with glass noodles, plus steamed prawns with lemongrass.

The Palm Seafood Pavilion does a very good char-grilled salmon and tartlet of grilled vegetables.

Meanwhile, the venerable Museum lounge, all wicker whatnots, palms and tessellated marble, dishes a daily afternoon High Tea of sandwiches and killer scones. Kick on to the seafront Palm Terrace for sundowners.

By night the themed Railway Restaurant features both Thai and Western mains, with especially good pasta.

Come morning, its breakfast is one of the most elaborate in the Kingdom.

For a last supper (so to speak) sample an eclectic combo of sashimi and flash teppanyaki at the Hagi Japanese restaurant.

Centara Grand Beach Resort – The Lowdown

centara grand hua hin
Centara Grand Hua Hin is a sprawling complex by the sea.

If you have a taste for history, this place delights and intrigues. (Don’t miss the hotel’s excellent history tour, an informed, easy amble around the grounds and the railway precinct.)

If you’re simply after a very superior beachfront retreat that’s beautifully insulated from the world outside, again, you’re on a winner.

The beach at your doorstep is kept free of the rental chairs, touts and jet-skis that plague other popular beaches.

Golfing, too, is very big at the resort and in the surrounding province.

How to get to Centara Grand Beach Resort

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin is located at 1 Damnernkasem Road, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan, 77110, Thailand. Tel: +66 (0) 3251 2021-38

The drive from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport takes three hours, while trains run to Hua Hin from Bangkok’s Hualamphong station.

There is no regular air service, but a good, daily ferry across the Gulf from Pattaya is now available.

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin 2

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin
First Impression
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A travel writer is a home body who’s almost never home. I’ve been writing and photographing distant places for three decades and then bolting back to Sydney to render them down to magazine and newspaper articles, and occasional books. The latter include the travel collections, Summer In Siam, Chasing Gauguin's Ghost and The Circumference of the Knowable World. It all started with a hitch-hiking trip to Coolangatta in my teens and hasn’t ended yet. In between I’ve managed to fit in, among other diversions, a PhD in travel literature and a swim at the North Pole. Awards I've won include a PATA Gold Award for best destination journalism and a Friend of Thailand gong, plus many Australian Society of Travel Writers’ awards for writing and photography. My feature stories appear regularly in The Weekend Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, The West Australian and colour magazines.