Cha-Am Travel Guide
One more luxury resort to tempt us is open on the Gulf of Thailand. Belonging to the Design Hotels portfolio, the Alila Cha-Am just opened on February 1st. It's only two hours south of Bangkok which makes it pretty easy to reach, yet the quiet of the beaches and pool villas sound like more than a world away from the bustle of the city.
Design is, of course, an important aspect of the Alila Cha-Am. Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag, well known in his country, has designed the 79 villas and rooms and there's a focus on "clean lines and strong geometric forms", which sounds pretty modern, but the materials are mainly wood, limestone and marble, and that seems to ground it back in normality, too.
You want to feel like you're somewhere you can relax, not on an architectural hunting expedition. By the way, they're claiming that the beach this resort fronts is the longest beach in Thailand--but we can't confirm or deny this.
Special packages at Alila Cha-Am--and at other Alila resorts--are known as Alila Experiences and they sound intriguing: along with culinary and cultural excursion, they also offer intimate couples' celebrations and "active lifestyle pursuits". We're curious to know more about all of these, but not yet sure that we want to sign up for one. In the meantime, low-season room rates are starting at $176 a night. Not bad at all.