Friday, 3 September 2010

Cha-am -- Courtyard by Marriott: a playground paradise

Thinking of a great beachside holiday spot for the family in Thailand? This is it. A futsal set and snooker table in the Havana lobby lounge set the tone for family fun. Then there’s the massive pool right by the beach with its serpentine slides and Kid’s Club. It’s all here: arts and craft studio, science lab, a ‘dress up’ area, mini-ball pit, video games, and a movie theatre. This is the most comprehensive and impressive set up for kids I’ve ever seen. Anywhere.

In most hotels, this sort of thing is a token gesture bolt-on. But not at the Courtyard: it's purpose built. Hey, hold on, I wish I was a kid again!

It’s imposing all right. You can see the Courtyard miles away poking way above everything else (which is admittedly not much, apart from low-rise blue-roofed houses and seafood restaurants) in the area.

The hotel is large and airy, and even when fully booked, it seems fun, active, but never crowded because it sits on a large long block, with the pool and Kids Club and Momo Café separated from the main block by an elaborately landscaped and ponded, well, courtyard.

From rooms in the main wing, you get stunning views out the front and the back: so take your pick according to your mood … gaze out over the silver mirror of the ocean, the breakwaters and the fishing boats, or let your eyes take in the verdant panorama of the 180-degree mountain range behind towards Burma (Thailand is very skinny at this point). Lovely! Plus you get sunrise and sunset all in one place. Jing jing!

A couple of interesting things about this hotel: I was surprised that our junior suite – a very large room indeed, with separate lounge, tv, bar counter, etc didn’t have a bathtub – only a shower. And while there’s a fridge in the room, there’s nothing in the mini bar. But this I saw as a positive. They openly state that ‘rather than fill your fridge with items you don’t want …’, head down to Momo 2 Go in the lobby and buy your own supplies ‘at prices much less than the usual mini bar price’. Bravo! Bravo!!!

If you want to get out and about the Adventure Club can arrange excursions for you to take in nearby ATV tracks, karting, waterfalls, Thai boxing,etc.

So there’s lots to rave about with the Courtyard Hua Hin at Cha-Am Beach. C’mon kids, once more down the big slide. Last one in is a rotten egg! Woohoooooooooooooooooo!!!

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