That was a quote describing Paul Theroux's book, The Mosquito Coast, which I was reading at the time I stayed at the Royal Garden Village in Hua Hin and I really think that's the best way to describe a trip to this wonderful resort. It's built like a Thai village, set on fourteen acres of tropical gardens with its own white sandy private beach and its located just five km north of Hua Hin.
Bensley is a genius. We've mentioned before that landscaping is what sets the
Royal Garden Resorts apart from its competitors and that has never been more
apparent than with this wonderful refuge. And its all Bensley's doing - his
distinctive style is omnipresent.
Bensley himself says, "Clearly, the Village is a work in progress with forty-two more luxury rooms coming on-line this year; but we have tried to create layers and layers of interest in these gardens. We are constantly searching for interesting plants, lights and sculpture to add to the collections. We have planted the garden to be biologically interesting by making five distinct sub-gardens; the white garden, the heliconia garden, the red garden, the palm garden (which boasts some sixty plus species) and the yellow garden.
"Inspiration for the lobby design was drawn from the many colors of monks robes. We used old Burmese furniture and wood to create the oversized couches. Our artists spent many hours adding the layers of red saffron and orange paints to give the furniture the kiss of decades."
To be honest, I was a little bit reticent to stay at the resort because I thought it would be full of snooty rich Thais and farangs. But I guessed wrong - it really is like a village community, and the guests that tend to go there are very family oriented. I met one Finnish couple who had just spent two-and-a-half years trying to adopt a Thai child. The adoption had just become official and they were celebrating by staying for a week at the Royal Garden Village.
resort's pool is four-leaf clover in form and a wonderful place to hang around
in and relax. There's also a poolside bar, the Loy Nam, where you can grab your
favorite drink, juice or tonic.
Sala Siam provides nightly entertainment and is a great place to soak up the
atmosphere of the resort. Other fine eateries include the Orchid Cafe, which
serves up international fare; the beachside Sai Thong, which has a daily BBQ;
and the Suan Luang serving your favorite Thai dish.
The Rim Nam is the resort's Italian restaurant. From the lemon-grass facecloths to the terrific service and fabulous Italian cuisine, it offers a superb dining experience. Overlooking the pool and fabulous gardens, its strategically situated to give you the effect that you are in an open-air boat just cruising on by.
resort currently has 160 rooms but with its ongoing expansion, it will have over
200 by year's end. Outgoing Resident Manager, Pius Hugo Luechinger (who will
soon become the GM at the Royal Garden Harbor View Hotel in Haiphong in
Vietnam), says his guests primarily tend to be European: 30% from Scandinavia,
30% from Germany and 30% from the UK. Many are return customers who have been
known to stay for weeks at a time. Even though the hotel has only been open
since 1990, one European guest has flown in twenty-two times to stay at the
says his guests prefer a Thai-style hotel: lots of open-air with many low-rise
Thai-style buildings, which are close to the beach, and with plenty of great
food outlets. The Royal Garden Resort Hua Hin, on the other side of town, going
towards Prachuap, is also a fine hotel, but much more Western-oriented.
resort also has an outlet for the wondrous Mandara Spa. Talk about rubbing your
troubles away - specially trained masseuses will soothe and revitalize those
aching muscles and joints with aromatherapy facial and body massages.
Body of Mandara offers a body scrub, stress-free neck and shoulder
massages plus foot and leg care while the Face of Mandara includes deep cleaning
facials, anti-stress facials and Thai herbal facials.
can have your luxurious massage on the beach while you listen to the lapping of
the waves, or you can have it in the massage room, while listening to the
soothing sounds of traditional Thai music.
In many ways, the resort is like a museum or even a tribute to the Angkor civilization as there are little carvings everywhere reminiscent of that great kingdom. Bensley is a master at the added little things, whether it be his stone figurines of an elderly man and woman marking the rest rooms, a vase of lotus flowers in the washrooms themselves, the antique birdhouses on the property or a sandstone fish spouting water poolside. It's almost as if you are in a resort set deep in the jungle, but a happy and peaceful one at that.
The Village is truly something out of one of those wondrous TAT or Thai Airways ads that cause so many people to want to travel to this country. So do yourself a favor, visit the Royal Garden Village for an otherwordly experience.
Tel: (662) 476-0021-2
Fax: (662) 476-6165