First-class produce with old-world seasoning at the Centara Grand
Hua Hin reminds me of an old black-and-white photograph. A little frayed around the edges, it depicts an idyllic seaside resort, grandiose architecture, and Thailand’s nobility arriving by train.
Of course, Hua Hin nowadays is far removed from its aristocratic roots, but upon arriving at the elegant Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, it felt as if I had taken a ride into another era. The resort originally opened in the early 1920s as the Railway Hotel, when the new train line to Malaysia transformed Hua Hin into Thailand’s first beach resort destination. Since then, it has been extended and renovated, but its old world feel has been retained—highlighted by colonial-style architecture, landscaped gardens, and plenty of teakwood furnishings. Complemented by state-of-the-art facilities, and prime location, its popularity is not surprising.
For those not staying at the resort, visiting its various dining outlets—open to everyone—offers a similar experience. Beach lovers will feel right at home at Centara Grand’s beachfront bistro, Coast. This Mediterranean-inspired eatery is divided into several zones, including a daybed area, an al fresco deck, and an air-conditioned indoor dining area. As the sun goes down, all three make the smooth transition from relaxed daytime chill spot to chic bistro hangout. The artisanal menu here features a vast and colourful selection of handcrafted pizzas, salads, pastas, and meat. Lovers of seafood will be glad to hear that the resort has recently teamed up with Thammachart Seafood, one of Thailand’s largest operators (importing from more than 18 countries). Diners are tempted with an incredible selection of fresh, high-quality seafood, including oysters, salmon, and lobster. In addition, Coast’s tapas and raw bar offers cold cuts, cheeses, and pickles, whilst the bar area focuses on seasonal cocktails and fine wines, all in a laid-back setting.
On a different note, the hotel’s Museum Coffee & Tea Corner—originally the reception room of the Railway Hotel—provides afternoon tea, featuring a selection of finger sandwiches, cakes, homemade biscuits, and scones with cream and jam. Don’t miss their signature ‘Banilla’ coffee, a sweet, but perfectly balanced brew that was local barista’s Onuma Laohakittikarn’s winning creation at The Centara Barista of the Year 2014 awards.
The café’s name is no coincidence, as inside it’s filled with artefacts and antiques that showcase its illustrious past, including chinaware, old clocks, vintage cutlery, and even a telephone switchboard. From the café, guests can either enjoy the view of the beach, or overlook the vast landscaped gardens, while listening to the soothing sounds of Italian harpist Chiara Capobianco, who performs there from 3pm to 5pm (Thursday to Monday). It’s backdrops like this that make dining here all the more atmospheric, whether you prefer this era, of the bygone days of yore.
Centara Grand Beach Resort
1 Damnernkasem Rd. | Tel: 03 251 2021