Annual Hua Hin Golf Event Set for September

Banyan's 10th hole

Banyan Golf Club will once again serve as site for the annual Hyatt Open golf tournament.

For the fifth consecutive year, a pair of ‘It’s in Hua Hin’ members are coming together to put on the Hyatt Open, an annual tournament for amateur golf enthusiasts that has generated renown for its assortment of impressive prizes.

The two-day event, which takes place Sept. 6-7 at Banyan Golf Club and is sponsored by Hyatt Regency Hua Hin (among other Hyatt hotels in Thailand), is anchored by a 36-hole stroke-play competition, with Titleist golf bags, regional trips and a new Mercedes-Benz C180 up for grabs.

The player with the lowest overall net score wins the Hyatt Open trophy, a cup similar in style to the Open Championship’s famed Claret Jug.

To further incentivize participation, Hyatt Regency Hua Hin is offering special packages starting at THB 19,800, including two rounds of golf (with caddie and cart), two nights’ accommodation, a welcome dinner and much more.

“This event has gone from strength to strength since we launched it in 2010,” said Sammy Carolus, Hyatt Regency Hua Hin’s general manager. “Based on the amount of inquiries we’ve received in recent weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2014 edition attracts the biggest and best field yet.”

For more information about the Hyatt Open, or to sign up, contact the reservations team at reservations.hrhuahin@hyatt.com, or download the entry form.

Trip to Hua Hin in Offing for Photo Contest Winner

Lagoon Room at Anantara Hua Hin

A stay at Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa is up for grabs until Aug. 1.

In case you need even more reason to put your camera or smart phone to use, Anantara Hotels has launched a photo contest, with the winner receiving a 14-day Thai adventure that includes a stay at Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa.

Called ‘Thailand: Still Having Fun!’, the competition is open to just about everyone — there are terms and conditions, of course — and is easy to enter.

Simply follow Anantara on Facebook or Instagram (@anantara_hotels) and post your favorite photo of Thailand or a Thai-themed image (including the hashtags #funthailand and #anantara) between now and Aug. 1.

Whoever’s photo best captures the country and its culture will be deemed the winner, through an announcement on Anantara’s Facebook page on Aug. 8.

For more information about the contest, including details of what else the 14-day trip entails, check out the official press release.

How to Master the Art of Thai Food

Spice Spoons cooking class

Spice Spoons cooking class at Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa.

Love Thai food but lack the confidence to try your cooking hand at your favorite Thai dish? 

Fear no more.

A few years ago, we at Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa created Spice Spoons cooking class for that very kind of traveler — the one with a real interest in Thailand’s world-renowned cuisine.

Through Spice Spoons, you’ll learn to cook an array of authentic Thai dishes to impress and entertain family and friends back home with. 

Whether you are a newcomer to cooking or an aspiring chef looking for fresh ideas, Spice Spoons is for you. 

Our chefs are trained to provide lessons in everything from fresh produce selection to in-kitchen prepping techniques. 

The class also features a guided morning market tour, which includes the opportunity to sample a variety of Thai foods and visit a revered temple. 

Back at our outdoor lagoon kitchen, you’ll get a hands-on education in Thai cuisine and cooking, and receive a special gift set and certificate.

The program starts at THB 4,500++ per person.

For more information, check out the ‘Leisure’ section of Anantara’s official website.

5 Questions with … Hotelier Thomas Barguil

Hua Hin kitesurfer

Kiteboarding is among Anantara GM Thomas Barguil’s favorite things to do in Hua Hin.

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.

Jimmy Barnes Sings Banyan’s Praises

 

Jimmy Barnes at Banyan

Musician Jimmy Barnes with Banyan GC’s Stuart Daly (left) and Stacey Walton (right).

Banyan Golf Club has entertained its share of world-class golfers over the years, including Belgian bomber Nicholas Colsaerts and Asian Tour mainstay Simon Yates.

Now, Thailand’s premier golf facility can add a rock star to its list of high-profile guests.

Recently, legendary Australian musician Jimmy Barnes visited Banyan and not only played Hua Hin’s premier course, he presented management with a piece of memorabilia commemorating his Platinum-winning 2009 album, “The Rhythm and the Blues,” featuring covers of songs by the likes of Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Bo Diddley.

Before hitting the links, Barnes quipped that he was giving “a No. 1 album to the No. 1 golf club.”

While the Scottish-born rocker came up short in his bid to break Yates’ stellar course record of 66 (how short, we don’t know; we didn’t ask!), he still holds the mark for highest number of hit albums of any Australian artist with a whopping nine. Fair dinkum!

Hua Hin Hotel Rallies Around Wellness

The Barai

THE BARAI Spa at Hyatt Regency Hua Hin is the focal point of THE BARAI Retreats program.

While the protests in Bangkok continue to dominate the headlines in Thailand, a resort in Hua Hin is offering the kind of program no one could object to.

It’s available at Hyatt Regency Hua Hin, it’s called THE BARAI Retreats, and it’s perfect for anyone seeking a mind-body-and-spirit boost.

The program revolves around three wellbeing options:

* Thai Touches: Accommodation, spa treatments, cuisine and cultural activities, infused with Thai touches.

* Healthy Luxe: Healthy meals, exercise opportunities, spa pampering and luxury experiences, all rolled together.

* Couple’s Harmony: A romantic, customized escape, with wellness incorporated.

Each option can be tailored to accommodate three-, five- or seven-night stays in a Regency Club Suite, Barai Suite or Presidential Pool Villa. Guests are encouraged to take advantage of the following activities designed specifically for THE BARAI Retreats:

* Private Yoga Class in THE BARAI’s Tranquility Court, led by a master of the art.

* Healing with Herbs Class, a seaside demonstration in how herbs and spices can help relieve stress and rejuvenate muscles.

* Healthy Thai Cooking Class, a hands-on exploration of Thailand’s most famous dishes.

* Thai Massage Lesson, which delves into both technique and traditions.

The three-day program starts from THB 42,000, excluding taxes and surcharges. For more information, contact Hyatt Regency Hua Hin at thebarai.hrhuahin@hyatt.com.

Hyatt Open Golf Tournament Hits the Mark Again

Hyatt Open winner

Category C winner Arlius Telaumbanau (third from right) was among 128 players to compete in the 4th Annual Hyatt Open in Hua Hin.

The fourth edition of the Hyatt Open is officially in the books.

One of Thailand’s most popular amateur golf events concluded July 21 at Banyan Golf Club with Johnny Walker, Graham Haslam and Arlius Telaumbanau winning their respective divisions.

Sponsored by Hyatt Regency Hua Hin and Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, the Hyatt Open attracted 128 players and a team of Titleist professional club fitters, who were there to let golfers demo the brand’s newest equipment.

The two-day event also included a fantasy tournament, whereby Hyatt Open contestants drew a player competing at the Open Championship in Scotland, and an auction that raised THB 500,000 for a Bangkok-based children’s charity.

“The Hyatt Open just gets bigger every year,” said Stacey Walton, Banyan Golf Club’s general manager. “It’s been fun to watch it grow into one of Southeast Asia’s premier amateur golf tournaments.”

The 5th Annual Hyatt Open will take place next June.

Where Hua Hin Needs to Go to Grow

Power Lines

Putting power lines underground would help boost Hua Hin’s aesthetic appeal, writes Hyatt Regency GM Sammy Carolus. (Photo: kampungboycitygal)

A lot can happen in a decade. In the past 10 years, Saddam Hussein’s regime fell, Facebook launched and Michael Jackson died.

Since 2003, I’ve learned of such events in Hua Hin. That’s how long I’ve lived here now.

Change has occurred all around me, too. This isn’t the same town it was when I arrived.

Hua Hin has grown from a sleepy fishing village to an active, dynamic resort with an abundance of new housing developments, condo complexes, tourist attractions and boutique hotels.

In fact, 10 years ago, there wasn’t even a cinema or department store in Hua Hin. The only entertainment we had was golf during the day and the city center night market in the evening.

Now we’ve got a Cineplex, several supermarkets, the Cicada Weekend Market and The Barai spa.

Indeed, Hua Hin has come a long way in a decade. But there’s still some work to do. Only one carrier — Berjaya Air (Malaysia) — offers international service to Hua Hin, whose airport runway is the same length as Koh Samui’s.

That’s problematic for us hoteliers, because it prevents a lot of Asian travelers from visiting. If they’ve only got a weekend, they don’t want to spend a chunk of it getting to their destination.

I also think Hua Hin would benefit from an array of infrastructural and architectural improvements.

Put all the telephone wires and electricity cables underground. Renovate some of the downtown buildings and shops to look distinctly more Thai. Manage high-traffic intersections better on weekends and during peak season. And invest in metered taxis and shuttles to all the best tourist attractions.

That’s what I’d like to see.

But that’s about all I’d like to see. Because I still think Hua Hin possesses a kind of charm that few places do.

It’s still a safe, comfortable and affordable destination that’s ideal for families and couples. And that, in the end, is what makes me — and I’m sure many other long-time Hua Hin residents — love this city so much.

Hyatt Open Golf Tournament Tees Off in July

15th green at Banyan GC

The Hyatt Open returns to picturesque Banyan Golf Club in July.

If you’re an amateur golfer and like the idea of a little competition in a tropical setting, it’s time to get your game in order and set your sights on Hua Hin — the Hyatt Open is coming soon to Banyan Golf Club.

Organized by Hyatt Regency Hua Hin and Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, the fourth annual, two-day tournament tees off Saturday, July 20, with more prizes up for grabs than ever before.

The most coveted get? The Hyatt Open Trophy, a large, silver receptacle reminiscent of the Claret Jug, which is awarded annually to the winner of professional golf’s third “major” of the season — The Open Championship.

“As the Hyatt Open is held the same weekend as The Open Championship, it only makes sense that the trophy be similar,” said Sammy Carolus, Hyatt Regency Hua Hin’s general manager.

In that spirit, tournament organizers plan to conduct a fantasy tournament associated with the final rounds of the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield golf course in Scotland.

Entry fees for the Hyatt Open start at THB 20,800 net for one player and THB 28,800 net for two players based on twin sharing.

Benefits include two nights in a Hyatt Guestroom at Hyatt Regency Hua Hin, a welcome dinner, daily breakfast, two rounds of golf including cart and caddy, an awards luncheon and complimentary transfers between the hotel and golf course.

For reservations and further information, contact Hyatt Regency Hua Hin at +66 2254 6200 or email reservations.hrhuahin@hyatt.com.

Hyatt Regency Hires Munn to Head Kitchen

Chef Anthony Munn

Anthony Munn brings 33 years of culinary experience to Hua Hin.

Anthony Munn is the new executive chef at the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin.

A 33-year veteran of the culinary industry, the New Zealand native began his career in 1980 at the Hermitage Hotel Mt. Cook in the Southern Alps.

He then moved to Australia and worked with many resorts and stand-alone restaurants all over the country, including Hyatt Regency Perth.

After starting out as that property’s chef de cuisine, the Australian national was promoted to executive sous chef, a position that required him to oversee the operation of three outlets and the banquets department.

At Hyatt Regency Hua Hin, Munn will helm four restaurants and bars and the hotel’s banqueting facilities, which can cater to 400 people including off-site events.

Munn’s mission is to take advantage of the fresh seafood and tropical produce Hua Hin is famous for.

“Having access to such ingredients enables us chefs to create authentic dishes,” Munn said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with a team that is committed to delivering premium products. My goal is to further develop the quality of food at Hyatt Regency Hua Hin to ensure that we exceed guests’ expectations every time.”