One of the great things about my job is that I get the chance to visit some really amazing hotels. Last week, I spent several days in Cha-Am, which is about two and half hours from Bangkok or 30 minutes from Hua Hin, art directing a photo shoot at a stunning new property. The Alila Cha-Am (soft) opens 1 February 2008. It’s been designed by one of Thailand’s hottest architects, Duangrit Bunnag. Architecturally, it’s brilliant. The lobby is accessible via a manicured lawn and a sweeping marble staircase. The raised marble reception area offers panoramic views of the property. Two rows of residences run down from lobby towards the main (active) pool and the beach. The centre of the resort is a low 1-story strip, covered by water, that houses the spa, another pool area (called the Chill pool), a bar, and the resort’s casual dining restaurant, Motion. Directly opposite the lobby, above Motion, sits Cloud Loft, a chic dining and drinking spot.
The hotel has 72 rooms and 7 pool villas. The very chic room interiors mix industrial elements and warm wood furnishings smartly and comfortably. The floors are polished concrete; the walls are raw concrete. Each room has a 37 inch Samsung flatscreen TV and an Apple TV. Upon booking a room, I’m told that guests will be given a movie menu. By the time they arrive, all their pre-selected films will already be downloaded into their Apple TV units. The property — as you would expect of any new and 5-star property — offers free WIFI access in the rooms and all around the property.
Every bathroom has a rain shower, which is something also pretty standard these days. But these rain showers are amazing. The whole bathroom area is the shower area, i.e. there’s no shower cubicle, just a flat steel square panel built into the bathroom’s very high ceiling. I have to admit that I’m not usually a fan of rain showers, but these were both effective and really beautiful.
Sadly, during my visit, the spa was still being finished. What I saw though was really exciting and I can’t wait to return soon and book a few treatments.
As mentioned, Alila Cha-Am opens 1st February. If you ckick over to the resort’s website, you’ll find a couple of attractive pre-opening offers worth considering. I’m already making plans to head back to check out the resort when it is fully operational. So is the rest of the team that worked on the photo shoot with me. It really is that cool.