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(Pranburi Beach, near Hua Hin, Thailand)

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Sherazade joined the hotel industry, and transferred her 1001 Nights universe to the Kingdom of Thailand: along the immaculate white sand beach of Pranburi, 35 kilometres away from the entertaining and chic city of Hua Hin. Much more than the overly touristy Samui and Phuket, this region of Thailand is praised by the Royal Family since more than a couple of centuries. King Bhumidol Adulyadej has got his palace in Hua Hin, and the lovely mansion next door to Villa Maroc is a the private property of one of his closest relatives. We are indeed in one of the most sought after environment in South East Asia, with visitors coming  from around the world to enjoy a distinguished, though amazingly casual atmosphere.

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One of our favourite leisure destinations in Thailand, Pranburi is still unspoiled by mass tourism, with mainly local visitors (Thai and Westerners based in Bangkok), it has so many resources that sunbathing comes on the fifth or tenth position compared with what the region has got to offer. The Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, for instance: a mere 30 minutes drive, backed by the Burma border and its wild jungle home to one of the richest fauna and flora on Earth. Or, spreading the mouth of the river to the gulf of Thailand, Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park: with idyllic beaches and mangrove forest, it is carefully protected and managed by the Pranburi Forest Park. Fishing, swimming, riding bicycle (provided free of charge by the hotel) ) on quiet and winding roads are the suggested occupations before an authentic and cheap seafood barbecue in the straw huts restaurants along the beach. We gladly experienced a capturing individual tour of this area, lovingly organized by the hotel, featuring a visit to Khao Chong Krajok temple, accessible by 396 stairs, and occupied by a colony of peaceful monkeys. The cascading view over the virgin beaches and islands all around is well worth the journey. We couldn't miss another tour to the famous Phraya Nakhon Cave, famous for its large hole in the ceiling allowing fascinating, almost mystical sunlight over the sacred Kuha Karuhas pavilion, dedicated to King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). That kind of half day excursion, including drinks and a lunch box, costs approximatively THB 2,000 only.  You simply can't miss it if you want to see what the real, amazing Thailand looks like, indeed.

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Further exciting excursions by cheap, local taxi -which you can book from the hotel- are possible. You can't miss the Kaeng Krachan National Park: featuring a fantastic 11-tiered waterfall surrounded by dark, pristine forest, it is home to an interesting variety of birds and butterflies. Wild animals and rare birds spotting is amazing. It is located a 45 minutes drive from the Villa Maroc. It will take you the same time to go and play golf in Hua Hin, or feed the funny Kao Thakiap monkeys.

villa maroc best luxury hotels hua hin pranburi thailand

Planted in the middle of this tropical Paradise, Villa Maroc, with its curious, anachronistic and audacious concept, brings plenty of Arabia to South East Asia. When the hotel limousine-van stopped in front of the majestic entrance gate, with a myriad of staff wearing elegant galabiyas escorting us to the tiny reception with its interior garden and fountain, just like in a Marrakech “ryad”, we felt like transported by a cyclone far, so far!, from Bangkok and the rest of Thailand. The only modern noise which we could hear during our stay was the shutter of the cameras: Villa Maroc is reputed the most photogenic hotel in the Kingdom... which we can confirm, and we shall explain you why.

villa maroc best luxury hotels hua hin pranburi thailand

The first resort in Thailand to bring a five star, 100% authentic introduction to North Africa architecture, way of life and gastronomy, Villa Maroc has been generously designed under the supervision of the owner: CEO for Ichitan beverage company. The investment and concept was so audacious that he could have played roulette instead, and lose lots of money; on the contrary, it the business works so well that this small boutique hotel is known all around the Kingdom, and even overseas

Magazines and TVs visit it for shooting so often that this is now one of the most famous sets in Thailand. During our stay, we saw models and photographers working discreetly in the public areas. A cheap and fast trip to Morocco, and a bargain for the media and tourists alike. Most of them are Asian. “Farangs” don't know Pranburi that much, and are certainly looking for a typical Siamese hotel rather than a transposition of Maghreb in Thailand. This is quite a pity, as Villa Maroc is much more than that.

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First, the beach is amazing, indeed. We like Hua Hin, but must honestly recognize that the water gets more and more polluted by the booming hotel industry. Pranburi, and more precisely the long beach stretching along Villa Maroc, with no high rise building and cozy small private villas occupied only during the week end, gave us the impression of staying in a small island. Which pleased even more than the supreme luxury of the hotel, combining Thai beach side living and warm hospitality with luxurious furnishings from North Africa.

villa maroc best luxury hotels hua hin pranburi thailand

The buildings have all been created in the dramatic Moroccan style with dazzling colours and attention to detail. The two-storey “Ryads” display an unmatched comfort. Each building is different, participating to the picturesque image of the hotel. We have inspected each building: unique in design, size and display of the rooms, they all feature five star accommodation. Some villas have got a private pool: which is nice for families or honeymooner. We have been most particularly attracted by two categories of accommodation. First of all the most affordable, thus actually lavish Pool Court, built around a lushly landscaped open courtyard, in which we usually book each time we stay at Villa maroc, occupying the first floor (appartment #02) of the Grunful (Clove) “ryad”. Not that large but so well designed, the design of this room givesthe impression that you stay in a private villa. What we noticed first was the sea-view from our kind-size bed: we never closed our windows, getting waked up by the rising sun over the ocean. Well worth the trip! We had a direct access upstairs to a panoramic terrace with sofas and a large tub for a sensual relaxation al fresco.

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Downstairs was a small pool surrounded by coconut trees, which was like private: as in three days we shared it with nobody... though the hotel was full, like always (advanced booking is imperative if you wish to experience this little Paradise). One step away from the pool was the beach, looking like also privatized just for ourselves! Our bathroom was equipped with a large and deep Jacuzzi decorated with deep blue mosaic, carved copper sinks, and a really pleasant open-air shower. The Plasma TV with DVD player has been integrated into a Berber box carved in precious wood: pushing a button extracts or dissimulates the TV in seconds, so that this modern item could not interfere with the authentic design of the room. We also like very much the iPod Touch (available on request from the reception desk), filled with music, which we could use during our stay: it is available on request, free of charge, like high-speed Internet connection and the minibar refilled each morning with soda, water and juice. There is also a Cube, latest generation coffee machine. The ryads and the public areas are equipped with Bose high fidelity speakers. The whole concept is indeed tailored made for jet-setters.

villa maroc best luxury hotels hua hin pranburi thailand

The second category of ryads which made us much impression, and in which we shall straightly book when we come back on a family trip, are the four lavish Pool Villas. Accommodating up to 3 persons, each individually furnished villa has its own infinity pool and direct access to the beach via a private tropical garden. The villa features its own, private SPA! The panorama from the bedroom, on the second storey, and from the roof-top, is worth the trip! Private BBQs can be organized on this terrace, transformed into a private "sala"- dinning room...


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We stayed six times already at Villa Maroc since 2013 (our last visit inspiring this review dates back from November 2019), and never felt bored. The resort has a well-equipped fitness room with up-to-date equipment, a well-stocked library, and a ritzy, amazingly authentic Sherazade Moorish Bath and SPA. Definitely unique in South East Asia, this large hammam operates from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm, and for a massage (by appointment). Do like us: experience the one-and-a-half hour "Moroccan Dreaming" aromatic oil massage and scrub in the soothing steam of the hammam, in the sweet hands of a delicate and efficient masseuse (book with Pam: she is as charming as professional...

villa maroc unique hamman spa steambath arabic morocco pranburi hua hin thailand

After Pam had delicately washed and scrubbed our feet, we spend ten minutes relaxing in the aromatic steam of the hamman, regularly pouring cool water over our revitalized body. Feeling liked transported in a dreamed sultanate, with a splendidly skilled Sherazade-Pam massaging us deeply and carefully.

Villa Maroc doesn't like to promote what would make it the leading luxury SPA in the region, jealously operating for the happy few hotels guests only. What an experience... for less than USD 100 per couple!

The gates to the SPA, like some other doors in the ryads and public areas, is an original antique imported from Morocco.


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With the appointment in 2015 of a friendly and hyper-efficient general manager, imported from the top-class Peninsula Hotel Bangkok, gastronomy, winner of the prestigious "Thailand Boutique Awards", gastronomy is now part of the programme at Casablanca Restaurant! Khun Wamin considers each guest as a VIP, and liked to share his epicurianism with us during our visit.

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He hired a great chef, Khun Noppadol, who spoiled us with mouth watering, lovingly served Thai specialties: we won't forget Noppadol's Pad Thai Noodles, in a crispy net... The best we ever ate. Indeed! We warmly recommend the set menu featuring, during our visit, Red curry with crispy duck, Thai coconut milk soup with prawns and lemon grass (served in a coconut... and supremely delicious), Linguine Tom Yum Goong (just unique!), Stir fried mixed mushrooms which would bring one Michelin Star to any restaurant in Paris or New York, Steamed rice berry, and a yummy set of traditional Thai sweets: Steamed egg custard in baby pumpkin, Sticky rice with candied coconut and Crème Brulée. Such a banquet costs approximately THB 1,500 - 2,000, depending if you drink one glass of Singha beer "on the rocks" (recommended with spicy food), or white wine (overtaxed in Thailand, as always...; though Villa Maroc has decent and  affordable house wines by the glass). Adventurous gourmets could alternatively try North African cuisine: with Moroccan set with Mezze plate, Harira soup, Chicken Tagine and Mulharabia (approximately THB 1,500 for 2 persons).

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The cool open-air Shisha Bar and lounge had been tailored made for those who liked to smoke water-pipe... until a recent law suddenly prohibited this inoffensive activity in the Kingdom... Prestigious Cuban "puros" available at a reasonable price.  A heavy Cohiba Siglo VI enjoyed by the terrace, with a "Thaijito" as good as in The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok acclaimed Bamboo Bar, came like a bonus in one of the best top-class hotels which we gladly experienced recently.

Note that Villa Maroc has  got special wedding packages, and that the is much involved in this activity. It has it all for a very unique, jet-setter ceremony. The hotel is totally privatised in this occasion. Systematically: not to disturb the guests, and to allow more intimacy to the bride, family, and friends. The beach at sunset is a dreamed place for partying. It is considered as a prime wedding place for the high-society, together with the Old Wing at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. We find Villa Maroc actually more attractive and romantic for a successful wedding party and honeymoon: cool, chic, and offering attractive rate compared with larger chain hotels.

VILLA MAROC: 165/3 Moo 3 Paknampran
Pranburi, Prachuap Khirikhan, 77220, Thailand
PHONE: +66 32 630 771     FACSIMILE: +66 32 630 791



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