Only a 3 hour drive from Bangkok, Hua Hin beach is home to the renowned escape for families to dodge the gritty city for the weekend and soak up some sunshine at Dolphin Bay Resort!! The bay is a tranquil emerald pool lapping on white sand where local fishing boats can be seen offshore and palm trees dance in the wind. The epitome of paradise!
Shallow waters are optimal for small children and expansive beaches let them roam or let you get in a blissful jog! Dolphin Bay is named for the proximity to breeding grounds just offshore where you can witness – if you’re lucky – these playful sea creatures frolicking in the waves.
Another area attraction is Monkey Island that you can hire a boat to take you out to. By far the coolest thing we’ve done in Thailand. Your guide will transport you to Monkey Island from which you can deboard your boat and feed wild monkeys bananas from your hand!
Tho far from “rustic” the resort embraces a conservationist mentality and advocates for environmental preservation. There are no room phones to dial for more pillows or a wake up call, but you’ll find a courteous and helpful staff at your service if you stop at the front desk! The resort operates as a well oiled machine with a “guesthouse” feel and a family friendliness. We’d recommend your stock up and bring extra drinking water as distribution through housekeeping is rationed. You can always buy more from the restaurant, but bottles are small and this can get pricy if you plan to stay for a long weekend.
The resort boasts two swimming pools and a crowd-pleaser-waterslide guaranteeing the kids physical exertion and peaceful worn-out-sleep at night.
There are gardens to explore, a playground to enjoy, a mini soccer field, and a kids room to check them into for rainy-day fun while mom and dad enjoy an oceanside Thai massage! The Hut Spa lets you take in the seaside vista under a tiki hut while you enjoy your massage! In addition to massage therapists, you can book mani’s and pedi’s with your daughter. For only 100 baht, she can get her beach-ready pink polish on at the onsite spa/salon.
For families, we recommend the 3 bedroom suites or 6 bedroom villas which give you access to your own private swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Poolside hammocks to lounge in and massive deck picnic tables are perfectly accommodating to family groups! There are even grills available for BBQing. These guesthouses include your own full kitchen and ensuite bathrooms for each bedroom and ample walk-in closet space to unpack and settle in! A perfect option for those who have visiting guests wanting to get away together or vacations planned with another family.
Smaller unit bungalows painted in beachy pastel colors with ocean views are situated along the path with direct access to the swimming pool and lawn areas.
If you’ve lived in Bangkok any amount of time, chances are you’ve visited Cafe Tartine or heard its praises sung by friends! Its with great pleasure we present Cafe Loma, this sister restaurant which is also owned by the lovely Agathe Verge. She and her husband opened Dolphin Bay and the connecting restaurant Cafe Loma to cater exquisite French food to the resort visitors. While the menu boasts a wide variety of local favorites, Asian fusion and western classics, the French flavors are some of their best! Check out their delicious and diverse menu here! If you dine for dinner, the Flemish Pizza is a must-try!! Fantastic!! The restaurant also puts out a lovely morning brunch spread which has a very reasonable price tag on it – 200THB for adults and 100 THB for children! Includes the freshest tropical fruit, pancakes, made-to-order egg dishes, homemade breads and homemade jams, and traditional breakfast fare. Enjoy dining with a stunning view of the bay!
Older children will enjoy access to foosball and pingpong tables, beach volleyball court, canoes, kayaks and bicycles rentals. Something for all ages to entertain and provide outlets for energy for the kiddos and seaside sunbeds for tired parents to relax in!
Consider Dolphin Bay for your next long-weekend getaway or family vacation. Close enough to hire a taxi to transport you from Bangkok! A great family excursion that doesn’t require expensive and time consuming travel. The perfect escape from Bangkok to relax and be refreshed with a kiss of sun, nourishing food, spectacular views, vitamin sea and fantastic memories!!
First Published in Wanderlust Expat Life & Style Magazine by Mandy Smith
Optimal health requires a delicate balance of exertion and relaxation — one without the other can leave you feeling physically exhausted or mentally sluggish. Stay fit and give your body a chance to rejuvenate, too, with these BKK recommendations.
The Racquet Club $$
This family-friendly facility caters to athletes of all ages. From the diehard gym-rat pumping iron before work, to the postpartum mama striving to get back in shape, to the teenager burning off steam at the end of the school day, The Racquet Club is an outlet for anyone wanting room to run in this concrete jungle.
The Racquet Club combines the familiarity of a community recreation center with the excellence of a cutting-edge gym. Choose from a variety of group classes— spinning, aerobics, power pump, yoga —if camaraderie compels you. If you prefer to work through your set solo, stick to individual machines and private studio space, Are you a gym-goer looking for a challenge? Try the Thai boxing classes; or beat your personal best swim time in the club’s massive outdoor pool.
Got a competitive streak? Meet the guys after work for a little squash tournament, or dust off those racquets and take to the tennis court with your sweetheart. If you have fitness goals you’d like to reach, experienced personal trainers can help hold you accountable to achieve them. The Racquet Club made a name for themselves recently with their newly-revealed Urban Playground: a massive, one-of-a-kind rock climbing and bouldering facility. Here you can really put your strength training to work. Automated belay systems allow even the novice climber to shimmy up to the summit without previous experience or a support person with you. Simply grab your rented gear (all of which is available through The Racquet Club) and make an afternoon of it for an upper body workout and adrenaline rush. Shuttle service from Phrom Phong BTS makes The Racquet Club easily accessible. Membership fees are similar to other gyms in the city, but the facilities are expansive.
The Mandarin Oriental Spa $$$$$
“The best spa in the world” is a lofty claim. Nevertheless, leisure and travel magazines bestow this title on The Mandarin Oriental Spa, time and time again. Between their elite status and the boasting rights of having catered to Pierce Brosnan, David Beckham and Elizabeth Taylor, they have certainly made a name for themselves.
This sumptuous refuge for relaxation is located opposite the Mandarin Oriental hotel — just a short boat ride across the Chao Phraya River. Recognized as the first spa to open within a hotel property in Bangkok, the history here is rich and the design dramatic: Traditional monochromatic Thai architecture contrasts with lush tropical gardens that greet you the moment you disembark your private ferry. Once you’ve arrived, prepare to be pampered with no expense spared, and observe the decor, aroma and personalized service unmatched by any other. (But beware: The Mandarin Oriental Spa may just forever spoil the fun of a budget foot massage among the plethora of parlors along the main drags of Bangkok.)
Privacy and pampering are preeminent at the Mandarin’s massage suites. Before your treatment starts, you’ll find dual steam rooms and showers that set the tone for tranquility. Choose from over 40 therapies or treatments designed to invigorate or unwind, stimulate or de-stress. For special occasions, splurge on a package program that will allow you to relax and rejuvenate over the course of the day.
Whether you select a massage, facial, beauty treatment —or some combination of these luxuries — the experienced therapists will personalize your care to ensure satisfaction, complete with the Mandarin’s signature cucumber eucalyptus eye mask and a refreshing pomelo salad sampler at the close of your visit. Savor the silence for a few blessed minutes with tea or a juice in the Re-laxation Lounge following your massage and soak up the serenity. Real life can wait a few more minutes while you kick back in an automatic massage chair and thumb through a magazine.
Bookings available Monday – Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
48 Oriental Avenue
+66 (2) 659 9000 ext 7440
My girls know me well – I was born in the wrong century. With a taste for the finer things in life, Id be very content to live the “Downton” existence with afternoon tea time and garden parties and evening wear and dance cards. And with that in mind, they treated me for my birthday to an indulgent afternoon with all the pomp & circumstance you’d imagine royalty enjoyed on a daily basis in the Victorian era. Teatime at The Chocolate Buffet Sukhothai Hotel!!
Here my girls and I (and our dapper little escort) partook of afternoon high tea in style. Two adjacent rooms with parallel buffets, one sweet and one savory, are laden with the the choicest of culinary delights. Delicate tea sandwiches, crispy spring rolls, salmon croissants, seared tuna bites, fresh sushi, giant prawns, seasonal fruits, exotic olives and nuts are amongst the savory selections and kept our palate balanced so we could frequent the other table; an extensive selection of all things seductively sweet! The name says it all, “The Chocolate Buffet” does not disappoint with every conceivable truffle and trifle. Eclairs, cakes, pastries, fondue, macaroons, creme brûlée, fruit tarts and even an assortment or sherbets and ice creams tantalize the insatiable craving for just a bite more of something sweet. And it just wouldn’t be high tea without scones and clotted cream, of which we partook more than our share!
But the real highlight of the whole experience is the trolly manned by Swiss pastry chef Laurent who hand crafts custom hot chocolates for guests from a wide assortment of cocoas from around the world. He will educate you in the varying flavors of chocolate from the robust to mild, acidic to earthy, bitter to sweet and then concoct according to your preferred taste, a demitasse cup of the richest hot chocolate you’ve ever experienced. Top with cream or a dollop of hazelnut or swirl of caramel or sprinkle of chili or dusting of sea salt for a blend unique specifically to you. (Swiss Miss will forever be ruined in your list of guilty pleasures!)
And as our afternoon drew to a close and we felt that we could not bear to look at one more chocolate chip (for our lack of self control,) the courteous staff, knowing it was my birthday, presented me with a lovely chocolate cake in celebration of the occasion. We blew out the candles and boxed it up to take home to the littles who were feeling very left out that we’d spend the entire afternoon in the likes of “Willy Wonkas Chocolate Factory” without them.
I do feel I should have been born in a century where afternoon high tea was a daily pleasure, but how in the world did those ladies live in corsets? We were grateful for the “breathing room” of our loose fitting dresses as we made our departure after 3 hours of chocolate indulgence! Ill be coming back for special occasions, but my figure would suffer greatly if I had this little luxury every day! Recommending this at the top of my list of “things to do in Bangkok”!