What does the general manager of a luxury hotel in Hua Hin do when he or she gets a day off?
Well, if you’re Thomas Barguil, GM of the Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa, you gear up for the Gulf of Siam.
At least lately.
That’s because the French national has a new obsession: learning how to kite surf.
In the interview that follows, Barguil talks about who’s teaching him the ropes, what else he likes to do in Hua Hin, and more …
Q: First off, how long have you been in Thailand and, specifically, Hua Hin?
A: I first came to Thailand in 2000 and have been here on and off for five years. My first job in this area was with Evason Hua Hin Resort & Spa, which is just south of here, in Pranburi. I took the job of food and beverage director in 2002, when that resort was just opening. Then, just this last September, I came back to Hua Hin, after being appointed GM of the Anantara here.
Q: What do you most like about Hua Hin?
A: Probably the fact that it has kept its provincial feel. The Hua Hin region has developed significantly since I first came here, but it’s still the charming little coastal town that I discovered 13 years ago. In addition to this, the region has a lot to offer — beautiful golf courses, a very nice vineyard, stunning national parks, historic summer palaces, fantastic beaches and amazing wind surfing and kite surfing, to name just a few things. But above all, the local population is very welcoming.
Q: What do you like to do on your day(s) off?
A: Mainly spend time with my family, and wind surf. Although now I’m learning to kite surf!
Q: Oh yeah? How is that going?
A: It’s frustrating at times. But fun. I’m learning through the folks at KBA, which has 12 kitesurfing schools across Asia. My instructor is a woman charming lady named P’ Miaw. She’s so passionate about the sport (and very patient with me), and that attitude rubs off.
Q: In your opinion, what’s the one activity a visitor should NOT miss when in Hua Hin?
A: Tough question. I’ve always thought the markets are fantastic. But I think the answer would probably have to be a visit to Hua Hin Hills Vineyard. It’s just such a unique experience, especially here in Thailand. It’s off the beaten path a little bit, the wines are lovely, and the views from the terrace of the Sala Bistro are spectacular.