Aleenta Hua Hin

Pranburi, Hua Hin & East Coast, Thailand
Book from GBP Book from £81 per night

Aleenta Hua Hin

Pranburi, Hua Hin & East Coast, Thailand

A barefoot-chic spa hotel on a secret golden beach, 3 hours south of Bangkok

A barefoot-chic spa hotel on a secret golden beach, 3 hours south of Bangkok

After a few days in Bangkok, chances are you’ll want to head to the coast for some S&S on the beach (R&R is so last year, don’t you know). But the question is, where’s the best place? Well, it depends what you think S&S stands for. If it’s sleaze and sex shows, then jump on a bus to Pattaya and begone with you. But if it’s sand and sea, swimming and sunbathing or spa and style, then you should head south, past the resorty sprawl and golf courses of Cha-Am, to the little market town of Pranburi - a gloriously uncommercialised stretch, with a long empty beach, where Baht billionaires’ villas brush shoulders with palm trees and towers of lobster pots. At one end is Aleenta: it’s Sanskrit for ‘a rewarding life’ and it’s the original - and best - boutique resort here, its 2 stylish beachfront wings separated by a short tuk-tuk ride.

The hotel - one of the most relaxing places we’ve stayed in Thailand - comes beautifully together through a mixture of brilliant environmental policies and inspired management. Happy staff tend the cool residences (every one unique), while guests - long-haul travellers, ex-pats and well-heeled Thais - congregate in the ‘collision cuisine’ restaurant, by one of the swimming pools, or at the Ayurah Spa. Outside the grounds, this part of Pranburi is still Old Thailand. It’s a place where local fish cafés, golden wats, grazing oxen and street food sellers reassure you that you’re a long way, at least spiritually, from the soulless corporates further north.


  • The lovely residences have wraparound windows and open-air bathrooms; some have plunge pools, while other feature quirks like trees growing through the ceiling
  • The endless sandy beach, the 2 raised infinity pools and a little-known national park on your doorstep
  • Food is fun: from the canapés brought round at sunset to breakfast served on a tiered cake stand
  • Rooms in the Main Wing can only accommodate over 12s, but the Frangipani Wing welcomes all ages and there's a Children's Concierge plus children are welcome in the restaurants and spa
  • Pranburi has been overlooked by the developers: when we last visited, the tallest thing on the horizon was still the hill


  • It’s a 3-hour drive or 4-hour train ride from Bangkok
  • The beach isn’t Bounty-ad beautiful, but it’s clean, wide and peaceful
  • The sea shelves very gently and jellyfish occasionally make an appearance (kite-surfers may need leggings and rashies), but the staff are well prepared
  • Annoyingly, mozzies at dusk and dawn stop you sleeping with your windows open
  • Only a handful of the private sundecks are truly private: in the Frangipani Wing, you can see into some ground-floor residences from the pool when doors are open

Best time to go

The temperature is a fairly stable 30-35C all year round, making this a feasible destination at any time of year. There's a light northeast monsoon from October to January, bringing winds, cloud and some rain. It also gets some spillover from the southwest monsoon between July and September. But you'll rarely get more than a couple of hours of rain in one day. February to May are the driest months, and September to November are the prime months for migratory shore birds.

Our top tips

  • Consider coming over Thai New Year, Songkran, when the garden is filled with torches and spirit lanterns light the sky
  • Instead of driving down from Bangkok, you can take the train, which arrives at Hua Hin station, with its stunningly pretty Royal Waiting Room built for King Rama VI. If you can work out the rather complex train schedule (look at Seat 61), the hotel will pick you up
  • Great for...

    • Boutique Hotel
    • 26 rooms and villas
    • Restaurants and bars (open daily)
    • Some rooms welcome all ages
    • Open all year
    • Outdoor Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • Beach Nearby
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Car recommended
    • Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • WiFi
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Daily Maid Service
    • Towels & Bedlinen
    • Bicycles Available
    • Laundry Service


    Set among beachfront lawns, the residences and villas are housed in whitewashed buildings looking out to sea. Against this white, blue and green backdrop, the lovely design includes clean lines, thatch canopies, glistening plunge pools, swinging hammocks and sliding windows. It's thoroughly cool and calming, compromised only by a slight lack of privacy.

    Beds are sumptuous, with mountainous pillows and Egyptian cotton bedlinen. Indoor-outdoor wet rooms (some with double tubs) are huge and have zingy, eco toiletries; 21st-century touches include a ferocious shower-spray, WiFi and a pre-loaded iPod and dock (but no television). There's a proper selection of teas and coffees, too. Though wardrobe space is limited, you'll probably live in the fishermen's pyjamas provided. Most rooms bring the indoors out, with living space spilling onto shady verandas, sundecks or roof terraces. We found our air-conditioning sluggish, but units have since been upgraded.

    The thatched Beachfront Pool Residences are the lightest and brightest rooms, with outdoor plunge pools and private lawns leading down to the beach. Ocean View Residences are large and airy, some with split-level sitting areas, set in the pretty flower-filled courtyard. The lofty Penthouse, rumoured to be a favourite of the Beckhams, has wraparound views and a double bathtub on its large terrace.

    A short walk along the beach (or 2 minutes by shuttle) is Aleenta's Frangipani Wing. The Residences have private decks leading onto a shared infinity pool and look onto the ocean. Families should opt for the 2 Bedroom Frangipani Suite; two bedrooms (a double and a twin) are split over two floors, so you still get direct access to the pool but with even better views.

    Next door, in a blossomy garden, is the curvy 2 Bedroom Chaba Villa for guests seeking extra privacy (Hollywood A-Listers were in residence when we visited). All ages are welcome, and there are 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a pantry, plenty of living space and a screened garden sofa looking out onto the Gulf of Siam. Private chefs and yoga masters can be supplied. The 4 Bedroom Beach Villa can sleep up to 10; with a large garden, private pool, beach access and spacious lounge, it's perfect for big family or group gatherings.

    Features include:

    • Bathrobes
    • Fan
    • Hairdryer
    • In-room treatments available
    • Minibar
    • Mosquito net
    • Safe box
    • WiFi


    The open-sided main restaurant has only half a dozen or so tables, overlooking the sea by day and lit by candles at night, so it's all very intimate. It's in the Main Wing, but children are welcome to dine here. If you prefer, you can have meals brought to your own beachside table next to your room.

    Breakfasts are generous and interesting: a buffet of cooked meats, cheeses, tropical fruit and pastries arrives at your table on a tiered cake stand beneath a net - it's rather Betty's of Harrogate. Eggs are cooked however you like them, with bacon or shiitakes, or coconut cream and almonds. There are also Asian alternatives (congee and sushi), and the things you only get on holiday, like fresh crispy waffles and Bircher muesli.

    Many of the dishes on the lunch and dinner menu are based around the idea of 'collision cuisine' and, mostly, it works: we adored the tempura prawns with silky-sweet satay ice cream, but were less convinced by canapés of clams in chilli oil with a chocolate shot on the side. Also on the menu are spicy traditional Thai dishes - we couldn't get enough of the Tom Yam, or the lip-enhancing green papaya salad - plenty of healthy options and Western standbys for when you need to give your digestion a break.

    There is also the Beach Cafe, poolside at the Frangipani Wing, which serves drinks and light snacks throughout the day.

    Outside, there are loads of grazing opportunities - there's a night market at Hua Hin (a taxi ride away), lots of safe fish cafés at the anchorage, and a few bustling, open-air Thai eateries along the beach.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Kids' meals
    • Restaurant
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Vegetarian options


    • Aleenta is all about unwinding, so your activities will likely consist of sunbathing, walking along the beach and paddling or swimming. Sunrise-facing sands lure shell collectors and early morning joggers and, happily, there are no motorised watersports
    • Don't miss a spa treatment at Ayurah Spa; the delicious ingredients such as rose petals, Inca Omega and Luk Prakob will revive your jaded palate as well as banish jetlag
    • Borrow one of the resort's mountain bikes - within 10 minutes you'll be out in the countryside where you can watch Thais at work on their farms and tending their cows. Or head south towards pretty Dolphin Bay
    • The kitesurfing school in the village takes experts and beginners: a good wind blows up every afternoon. Or tone up your upper body with a spot of sea kayaking
    • The coastal walk is brought to a full stop by Khao Kalok (Skull Mountain) at the southern tip of the beach - good climbers should make it to the lookout point at the top in 30 minutes
    • There are cooking classes for couples, with a private tour guide/chef to take you round the local markets and then teach you how to concoct classic Thai dishes, followed by lunch on the rooftop, and a copy of your own recipe booklet
    • Golf is available at a variety of courses around Hua Hin, which itself is a pleasant enough resort town, patronised by Thai royalty and bustling with seafood stalls, souvenir markets and bars
    • If you want to explore the countryside, we can recommend the little-visited Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, about 15km south of Aleenta. It has an idyllic white-sand beach accessible only by longtail boat (Laem Sala), various hiking trails along the coast and up to rocky peaks, a wildlife reserve with interpretative trails (langurs and serows are the elusive highlights), saltpans and marshflats hosting numerous waders (including the purple heron), and a trio of impressive caves, including the multi-chambered Tham Phraya Nakorn with a royal pavilion inside
    • Other day trips include the elephant hospital at Hua Hin, or the Tiger Temple, or the Bridge over the River Kwai

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Cooking classes
    • Cycling
    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Kayaking
    • Kitesurfing
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Shopping / markets
    • Swimming
    • Tai Chi
    • Well being
    • Wildlife
    • Yoga


    Children are greeted with a goodie bag (colouring books, painting sets and a guide to activities on offer) on arrival. This is a lovely place for kids, who are genuinely welcomed by the caring staff, and a Children's Concierge is on hand for families to make the most of their holiday.

    Although the Main Wing at Aleenta welcomes children over the age of 12, the Frangipani Wing with its smart and roomy family rooms is open to children of all ages. Children can also use the restaurant and spa in the Main Wing (though not the pool). Children aged 6 and below stay for free and there's a supplement fee for older children. There's even a 15% discount for single adult families and complimentary babysitting if you've booked a spa treatment!

    Best for:

    All ages

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Within the Frangipani Wing, 3 of the first-floor residences have space for a rollaway bed, and 2 have space for a baby cot. Our favourite place to stay with little ones would be in the 2 Bedroom Chaba Villa (breakfast arrives on a tuk-tuk, which is fun), as it has plenty of space and views out to the Gulf of Siam. Rooms in the Main Wing are suitable for over 12s only and none can accommodate extra beds. Families with older kids and teens should opt for the 2 Bedroom Beach House with has 2 double/twin bedrooms and a private plunge pool.

    Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms


    The Children's Concierge can arrange nannies, babysitters and even teachers through the hotel

    Baby equipment:

    • High chairs
    • Baby cots
    • Car seats
    • Cot-sized mosquito nets

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    Fussy eaters will love the breakfast juices in little bottles, and the menu has familiar items that won’t terrify. Children under 6 eat for free. Milk and cookies are offered at bedtime

    Kids Activities on site:

    • Cupcake making and decorating classes
    • Family cooking lessons with the chefs using organic produce from the farm
    • Coconut beach petanque
    • Kite making and flying
    • Movie afternoons and evenings

    Kids Activities nearby:

    • Visit the local farm and meet its animals
    • Surfing lessons on the beach
    • Trips to local markets, waterfalls and temples
    • Complimentary bikes for exploring the area

    Families Should Know:

    Non-swimmers need to be watched near the unfenced swimming pool (it’s a maximum of 1.2m deep), and you have to be on the lookout for jellyfish in the sea


    • Airport: 3 hours (Bangkok)
    Kid Friendly:


    Three hours' drive south of Bangkok, and 20km from the nearest resort, Hua Hin, Pranburi is a small, unspoilt coastal village. Aleenta is on ‘Millionaires’ row’, at the southern end. Travelling here by train from Bangkok takes a bit longer, but it's a nice mellow journey (see below).

    By Air:
    Hua Hin is your nearest airport, 35km north along the coast. It is a domestic airport so you'll have to fly into Chiang Mai initially to connect. You could also fly into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (210km away), then it's a 3.5 hour drive to the hotel. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving this airport.

    From the Airport
    Aleenta can arrange a return transfer (you can ask to be taken by a C-class limo); enquire when booking. They can also arrange a private air transfer by light aircraft from Bangkok airport to Hua Hin (max 8 people), and sometimes there are other guests with whom you can share. The flight time is 45 minutes and departure times can be arranged to fit in with your arrival at Bangkok airport.

    By Car:
    You can hire a car from Bangkok - please see our car rental recommendations.

    By Train:
    You can take the train from Bangkok to Hua Hin, a slow but mellow 4-hour journey, and get picked up from there. The transfer takes about 30 minutes. Some trains continue to Pranburi which is closer to Aleenta, but since the transfer car is based in Hua Hin, it may not be any cheaper. There are also public buses every half hour from Bangkok to Pranburi (4 hours), but you need to be feeling adventurous and resilient.

    If you are combining a stay at Aleenta with Thailand’s deep south, you can catch a train (or bus, heaven help you) between Pranburi/Hua Hin and Chumphon (6-8 hours), the port serving Koh Tao and other islands off Samui. Timings can necessitate an overnight stop in the charmless town of Chumphon on the southward trip, but not on the return.

    Getting Around
    The hotel can arrange taxis and cars for day trips. You can also borrow a bike, or kayak, to cycle, or paddle, around the locale.

    For all transfer costs, see Rates.

    More on getting to Thailand and getting around


    • Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International 210.0 km BKK


    • Beach 0.0 km
    • Shops 15.0 km
    • Restaurant 1.0 km

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests


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    Rates for Aleenta Hua Hin

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