Just returned from the Holiday Inn after a really enjoyable holiday. The hotel is fine and spacious and the staff are friendly. The hotel was only around half full so it was easy enough to get a sunbed, although all the prime locations are taken each day by the regulars who bung the poolside staff to save them. The hotel is very popular with retired people, many of whom are there for extended stays of around 2 months or more. A lot of them come back time after time.
The downside to the hotel is their pricing policy for food and drink, which turns the hotel into a ghost town in the evening. On our first night we didn't know the ropes, and after a pricey meal went into the 'Fun Pub'. The place was absolutely dead and we were the only people in there for the hour and a half that we stayed. It was quite embarrassing, as we felt guilty about walking out and leaving the band to play to nobody. I expect hotels to be pricier, but the difference compared to outside of the hotel is phenomenal.
We soon found out that everybody seems to dine out at 'the village' which is a 4 minute walk from the hotel (turn left at the front of the hotel, down the ramp and walk alongside the car park and you are almost there). There is a good selection of restaurants and bars there, we ate in quite a few and they were all pretty good. The prices in the village are massively cheaper than the hotel. The drinks are much much cheaper as well eg 65-70 baht for a large bottle of beer, as opposed to about 130 baht for a small bottle in the hotel !
The hotel has a crazy golf course in the grounds and we made the mistake of having a game. It is poorly maintained and you putt on concrete, so the ball goes anywhere and seldom stops. A complete waste of time, so if you are tempted to play - don't bother, you have to pay as well.
Another word of warning. In the village there is a guy who sells DVD's of the latest films for about 100 baht. Our party bought a total of 19 but on testing them back home only 10 of them worked and one of those was a different film to that shown on the cover.
If you want a quiet relaxing holiday, this is a very good choice. The beach is massive, although the sea is generally quite choppy and most people swim in the hotel pool. One of the plus sides for us was that there are no noisy distractions (no head banging music around the pool, or anywhere else) and all the locals were exceptionally friendly.
We went on one trip out which we booked at the 'Lucky Bar' in the village. The guy who takes you has a top of the range people carrier, which is really comfortable and his prices are the same as the taxi drivers. The people who run that bar are very friendly and went out of their way to help one of our party who had arrived with some really bad bites on her leg, which she got in Bangkok.
There is one English type restaurant in the village which is run by an old guy called John and his Thai wife. John could easily double for Victor Meldew and tends to go on a bit with his comments and moans, but the food is very good and the kitchens are spotlessly clean, so if you want a change from Thai food its worth a visit (although he does Thai food as well).
I can easily see why people go back to this hotel year after year, as the hotel is peaceful and the resort is a welcome change from the over commercialised places that you find almost everywhere nowadays. There aren't too many people under 30 around, so it probably wouldn't suit those who want a livelier time. The hotel runs a shuttle bus to and from Hua Hin, which is a bigger and more lively place, a few kilometers down the road..
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Regent Cha Am Beach Resort embraces an enchanting stretch of unspoiled beach along the sunrise side of the Gulf of Thailand. The resort naturally blends with its lush tropical garden surroundings. The rooms are accessed by airy, open corridors with soothing views of the vast park's greenery or the twinkling blue sea. We are delighted to announce on our newly expanded and nourished beach, new coat of paint for the entire 559 room resort, a newly renovated main wing swimming pool together with a new contemporary landscaping, an enchanting Peppina on The Beach Italian restaurant and all newly renovated sea facing deluxe rooms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Resort Regent Beach Cha-Am Hotel Cha-Am
- Cha Am Holiday Inn
- Holiday Inn Cha-Am
- Regent Cha-Am
- Cha-Am Regent