Monthly Archives: January 2015

Hilton Hua Hin, Thailand

Hilton Hua Hin Hotel Review

Hotel Review of the Hilton Hua Hin in Thailand

We stayed at the Hilton Hua Hin in Thailand in April 2014 for 6 nights.  To be honest we weren’t too sure what to expect from this hotel. It had been getting mixed reviews on trip advisor because it had recently made quite a few changes that guests weren’t happy with. We needn’t have worried though as this hotel turned out to be fantastic for us. This is a huge resort situated right on the beach, but is starting to show its age.

We had booked two interconnecting standard rooms but due to our Hilton HHonors Diamond status, were upgraded to a wonderful suite on the executive floor with an interconnecting executive room for our boys. The suite was very spacious with a huge balcony with spectacular beach and ocean views. It also had a huge bathroom and we loved our bed that came complete with mosquito net and looked very romantic when they left flowers on it.

Both our rooms had a fruit platter on arrival. Much to our delight, on the first night when we came back to the rooms, they had also left us plates of sweet treats. Not only that, on our last night we received another platter of goodies. We could not fault house keeping staff, our rooms were serviced twice a day – replenishing water bottles, fruit and the Peter Thomas Roth amenities (note: the amenities in the suite are huge).

If you have kids, they will love the pool here. It has a waterslide to keep them entertained as well as a pool bar to keep the adults entertained! There were plenty of sun lounges available while we were there but people do complain on trip advisor regularly that others will grab them in the morning and not actually use them until later in the afternoon, causing frustration for some guests. The pool snack bar comes in handy for feeding hungry kids throughout the day and having a few cocktails by the pool is always relaxing for us adults.

As we are Diamond members we were given access the buffet breakfast which was a nice mix of Thai, Japanese, Indian and Western foods. We also had access to the newly relocated executive lounge. This was one of the changes that the hotel had made, moving the lounge from the roof top to the mezzanine level. While it would have been spectacular up on the roof top with the view, but we still found it quite adequate for a resort.  Refreshments were available all day and evening canapés and alcoholic drinks were provided from 5-7pm. They had two hot canapés per night and we never had the same thing twice. The staff here were fantastic, making sure we never had empty glasses. The resort also has a Sky Bar up on the rooftop and would recommend having at least one drink up there at night time as the views are amazing.

The resort also had a kids club, although we did not use as it seemed more geared towards younger toddlers. We did however use the tennis courts, which could do with resurfacing though. They also have a good sized gym, squash courts, billiards tables and ping pong tables. They have a really nice day spa, where we had a very relaxing massage and facial. They are resort prices though and there are much cheaper options available just outside the hotel.

Now for the location – the Hilton Hua Hin has to be the best situated hotel in Hua Hin. It is walking distance to many shops, restaurants, bars, spas, fish spas, tailors and the night market. As well as this, it is right on the beach. There are also heaps of tuk tuks available right outside and all the ones we had were very reliable.

You can see our other review of family things to do in Hua Hin here – Things to do

We would happily come back to the Hilton Hua Hin, and definitely hope to do so in the future. For more information go to HiltonHuaHin

Hua Hin, Thailand

Family fun activities Hua Hin, Thailand

Exploring Hua Hin in Thailand With Kids

When we were looking for somewhere a little different to explore over Easter last year we had never heard of Hua Hin in Thailand. We had decided to travel to Bangkok and then wanted to find somewhere in Thailand that the kids would love. After a little research we settled on Hua Hin and we definitely made the right call.

Getting There

Hua Hin is in the district of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, about a three hour drive from Bangkok. It is a very popular beach weekend getaway for Thai residents so not as touristy as somewhere like Phuket. There are other options to get there from Bangkok if you are not keen on travelling on the Thai roads. If time is on your side, the five hour train trip is an option. Hua Hin Railway Station is also worth a look around as it has a beautiful wooden building that used to be a royal pavilion in Sanamcham Palace. There is also a bus that leaves from the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok.

Things to do for families in Hua Hin

Night Markets  – There is a Night Market right in the middle of town open daily that is walking distance from a lot of the hotels. There are a few others that are a short tuk tuk ride away. Our favourite of these was Cicada Market. It is more of an arts and craft market but still has some great food options too. It is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays though. cicadamarket.com

Elephants – Everyone loves to ride elephants while in Thailand and Hua Hin has a couple of options. The one that we chose is called the Hutsadin Elephant Foundation. We chose Hutsadin as we felt it was the best one that looked after and really cared for these beautiful animals. It is a little out of town, about a 10 minute tuk tuk ride for us. We did a half hour trek, which is not the most scenic trek to do in Thailand but kept the kids happy. If trekking  is not for you, there is the option of just going out and feeding or bathing the elephants. For adults they have a mahout experience for a day where you get to look after an elephant for the entire day. Just a note on the trek, the mahouts will stop and try to sell little trinkets but do not feel compelled to but any, this money does not go towards the care of elephants so we politely declined.  Another tip is if you are taking a taxi or tuk tuk, you will  need to tell them to take you to the elephant hospital otherwise they will take you to the elephant village which is a totally different place. For more information on Hutsadin go to hutsadin.com

Day Spas and Fish Spas – There are so many options available, just walk around the streets and you can find many day spas a lot cheaper than what the hotels have to offer. Our favourite though are the fish spas! You can find heaps of them here and they are great family fun, our boys loved them and the adults can even have a beer while you sit there and let the fish nibble away at your feet. We ended having one almost every night.

Water Parks – There are 3 main water parks you can visit in Hua Hin. The most recently opened is Vana Nava Water Jungle and another is Santorini Water Fantasty. The one we chose though was Black Mountain Water Park (see full review of Black Mountain Water Park), whichever park you choose is going to keep kids entertained for a whole day.

This is a great little town and there are other features such as the beach which is great for kiteboarding and you can always find plenty of horses to ride available. Wherever you go around town there are plenty of restaurants and bars – if you love seafood then you are in luck this place thrives on it. If you need a suit made there are a lot of tailor shops there (we were very happy with Hollywood tailors that we used), quite a few temples to visit and although we don’t play golf apparently the nearby golf courses are pretty amazing. We will be returning back to Hua Hin as there is still so much to explore.

Beach horse riding

Beach horse riding

We stayed at the Hilton Hua Hin – you can read my review here – HiltonHuaHin

 

Black Mountain Water Park

Review of Black Mountain Water Park in Hua Hin, Thailand

Black Mountain Water Park

Black Mountain Water Park

One of the day trips that we took while staying in Hua Hin, Thailand was to the Black Mountain Water Park and we had a very enjoyable family day out. We found it to be a good size for our boys who were aged 7 & 8 at the time we took them there, but the park is not huge. This park is perfect for their age group, but probably wouldn’t recommend it as much for teenagers as there may not be enough variety to keep them happy.  There is a Wakeboarding Park next door though that may be of more interest for teenagers.

Black Mountain has 9 waters slides (for a couple of them you have to wear a helmet though, which was a bit strange). Other features are a kids adventure area suitable for toddlers as well as a Beach/Infinity pool and a wave pool. You can also grab a tube and relax around the lazy river, even stopping for a drink at the pool bar which they have.

We went here in April 2014, on a weekday so the park was pretty quiet which meant no queuing up for any of the slides which was great. There was plenty of shaded areas and heaps of sun loungers available. Beware though, the concrete ground gets very hot by the end of the day so best not to walk around barefoot! The park was nice and clean and we found the staff helpful and friendly.

There are storage lockers available (100 THB deposit) to keep valuables safe and you can keep going back to them as many times as you like. The lockers work by a magnetic card that you can take into the water. Towel rental is available for 100THB and they have a gift shop there that sells bathers, sunscreen, pool accessories etc.  There are food and beverage outlets which have a good variety to choose from (you are not allowed to take any food or beverages into the park though). The park works on a pre-paid system so when you get to the park you deposit money onto a card to buy your food and drinks on that and then at the end of the day you get refunded whatever the amount is left on the card.

During high season the park provides a free shuttle bus service which leaves from the clock tower in Hua Hin . The pick-up times are 9.30am, 11.00am and 12.30pm. We took the 9.30am bus which got us there just before 10.00am which is opening time. The return times back to the clock tower are 2.00pm, 3.30pm and 5.00pm (closing time).

Pricing is adults: 600BHT and children (5-12) 300 BHT – free for children (0-4)                                   For more information contact  blackmountainwaterpark.com

Parmelia Hilton, Perth

Parmelia Hilton Hotel Perth Review

Hotel Review of the Parmelia Hilton in Perth, Western Australia

Just after Christmas 2014 we stayed at the Parmelia Hilton Hotel in Perth for one night en-route to Bali. We had booked 2 connecting standard rooms but due to our Hilton HHonor Diamond status were upgraded to a King Suite and an inter-connecting Queen room. We were checked in very promptly and found staff helpful and friendly. We arrived at our rooms and found welcome treats waiting for us which is always nice.

The King Suite is a really great size. It has a good size living area and the bedroom has a huge bed. Bathroom was perfect size and loved the shower.  The décor may not be to everyone’s taste but we found it suited the old charm of this building. They have a good sized pool which our kids would not leave due to the hot weather in Perth! So the adults got to kick back and have a few drinks poolside which was nice and relaxing. While we did not use the gym, we had to walk through it to get to the pool and it looked fairly adequate.

After the kids had finished in the pool, we headed to the Adelphi Grill (the hotel restaurant) for dinner and we were very  impressed. As it was a very quiet time of year, it was not very busy so the service was fantastic and the meals were delicious. We also tried some cocktails and can personally recommend the Espresso Martini and Toblerones  (they were divine!!).  We also had breakfast there which was adequate and staff helpful. We did note however that at the start of January they were having renovations so it may be even better now!

The location is very central in Perth and we walked around to explore the city of Perth. For families we would recommend the walk up to Kings Park. It takes about 15 minutes but the views are to die for. The concierge is very helpful so don’t hesitate to check with them if you need any information.

Just a quick note for other Diamond members is that there is no executive lounge at this hotel. But there is a Doubletree currently being built which does have an executive lounge and due to open late 2015.

We did however have a problem after checkout where we did not receive any Hilton HHonor points for our 2 rooms. This does seem to be a problem at all Hilton Hotels when we book adjoining rooms. As usual a long call to the Hilton HHonor helpdesk got the problem resolved.

All in all we would happily return to the Parmelia Hilton as the positives definitely outweighed the negative.

The Parmelia Hilton is situated at 14 Mill St, Perth, Western Australia

For more information go to www.hilton.com