Top: Water aerobics session at Novotel Hua Hin
Next to the pool at Novotel Hua Hin there’s a telephone attached to a counter. The line is dedicated to a very specific request: ice pops.
Appropriately called the “Popsicles Hotline”, staff hand out free ice pops in different flavors to children calling from any point in the hotel. It’s one of the big and small touches built in to bolster Novotel Hua Hin’s claim as Thailand’s first large-scale “family friendly” resort.
Hotel management even features a dedicated Fun Director, Wesley Devlin, whose job is to come up with new ideas that will entertain all ages.
“Many hotels have a ‘kid zone’ in the corner and that’s it,” Wesley Devlin, a Liverpool native whose past experience includes Disney Cruise and theater productions. “But our hotel is the first to have fully functioning facilities oriented to families.”
For the young, there’s an ice cream bar, a minigolf area, a game arcade, a large ball pit, a trampoline, and two indoor cinemas showing children’s favorites like Frozen and Shrek. There’s also an outdoor cinema on a seaward lawn that screens movies after dark.
On offer are a suite of family-friendly activities called the Siam Adventure Club – ranging from art tutorials to cycling, water aerobics, zumba and yoga.
“In the past, going on vacation meant just relaxing by the pool with nothing much to do,” General Manager Bernardo de la Garza said. “But at Siam Adventure Club, whole families can spend time doing a lot of activities together.”
During a reporter’s visit to an art class, groups of girls and their parents were crowding around tables strewn with colorful beads and strings for a DIY bracelet session, while in the adjacent room two boys were duking it out on a PlayStation football game. Activities are held in both outdoor and indoor settings – suitable for the approaching monsoon season.
But a vacation here doesn’t have to be high-energy. The resort features a nursery where parents can drop their little ones before finding some peace in an adult-only spot by the sea that is quietly tucked away from the kid-friendly pandemonium. There are also game tables stocked with friendship-ruining classics like Uno, Scrabbles and chess.
A spa in the hotel’s eastern wing offers everything from massages to treatment packages. During a reporter’s visit, a 90-minute spa cost 999 baht. “Family-friendly” options are also available once again – mothers and daughters can opt for a nail painting session together.
New offerings will be regularly added to the hotel’s “Adventure Club” so that repeated visits to the hotel will yield different experiences, Fun Director Devlin said. Currently, the resort is making way for a rock-climbing arena.
“We are coming up with new ideas all the time,” Devlin said.
Rooms, Food and Drinks
Most of the guests staying here are Thais and Europeans. The manager confirmed as much in a conversation. The hotel is popular with Bangkokians seeking a short weekend stay, while Danish visitors make up a large portion of European guests, he said. Chinese tours are rare.
Novotel Hua Hin offers two-bedroom family suites featuring bunk beds and toys. Children up to 15 years of age stay free, with up to two kids per room.
All rooms at Novotel Hua Hin face the sea. Room prices vary depending on the season, and the hotel’s Facebook page occasionally launches promotion campaigns.
Food options are diverse. Guests can choose from pizza delivered directly to rooms, a Thai buffet, a beachside Italian restaurant, a candy store, and a rooftop bar with 360-degree views of the gulf and mountains bordering Myanmar to the west. There’s also a sports bar on the ground floor.
The hotel has direct access to the beach, though during a reporter’s visit in early May construction was ongoing to repair a sea barrier destroyed by the powerful Pabuk storm that devastated much of Thailand’s coastline in January 2019.