Published on August 9, 2019
HERITAGE HOTEL BY THE BEACH: Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin
Among the ever increasing number of new luxury hotels and resorts in Southeast Asia, one can still see a few historical gems that have weathered through decades — some surviving more than a century —remaining polished, sparkling, and appealing to today’s most discerning travelers. Among them, there is one rare beachside heritage property in Hua Hin, Thailand – CentaraGrand Beach Resort & Villas (formerly The Railway Hotel).
Other gems include the riverside property Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok (formerly The Oriental Bangkok), The Strand, Yangon, Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh (formerly Le Royal), Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, Siem Reap (formerly Grand Hotel d’Angkor), Sofitel Legend Metropole, Hanoi (formerly The Metropole), the Rex, Continental, Majestic and Caravelle, Ho Chi Minh City, and several more.
As the Grande Dame of beach resorts in Southeast Asia, the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin is a place where modern functionality has been interwoven with timeless colonial style. Starting life as the 14-bedroom Railway Hotel in 1922, it was built by the Hotel Division of The State Railway of Thailand on land leased from Prince Narai. It was designed by Italian court architect A. Riggazi, and constructed for the grand total of THB 128, 366.75. The first guests checked in on 26th October 1922, and in those days it was the region’s most luxurious accommodation spot. This historic hotel has also had a starring role in the movie The Quest (1996), and more famously in The Killing Fields (1984).
The property was acquired in 1985 by Central Group, who spent two years updating and extending the hotel with love and respect for it’s heritage. It is home to one of the largest topiary gardens in Thailand, and one of the earliest pieces was a giant elephant that spanned the original driveway. The ultimate welcome for guests would include walking through the legs of the elephant, which would also bring good luck. For a period the property was jointly managed by Sofitel, but that partnership came to an end on 1st January 2012 when it was re-branded as the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin. Most recently, 100 rooms and suites in the Colonial Wing have been renovated, and a fully equipped Health Club and Kid’s Club has been added to the portfolio of guest facilities. The Railway Restaurant has also been renovated, but retains its 1920’s charm while offering guests a fresh new menu.
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin
1 Damnernkasem Road, Hua Hin 77110, Thailand
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