(Pranburi Beach, near Hua Hin, Thailand)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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,
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
“ryad”. Not that large but so well designed, the design of this room
impression that you stay in a private villa. What we noticed first was
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.
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.
MOORISH SPA AT VILLA MAROC
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...
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.
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).
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.
165/3 Moo 3 Paknampran
Pranburi, Prachuap Khirikhan, 77220, Thailand
PHONE: +66 32 630 771 FACSIMILE: +66 32 630 791
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