I love infinity pools. Ask Laura. I’d quite happily pay four times the price for a hotel if it had one than for one than did not. So when we checked into the Tawa Ravadee Resort and discovered it had one, I was as giddy as a schoolboy.
The resort, located in Prachin Buri, has a maze style garden on the way in, accompanied by the obligatory large painted elephant. The maze wasn’t a full size one, but then again I have felt like a giant amongst men here, so it could be in absolute proportion. It’s an exquisite, elegant looking building, and the reception was no different.
We were all in the same wing of the hotel overlooking the pool, but as so often happens with me my keycard didn’t work. A quick jog back to reception and lots of cop krung krup later I was in the room.
It certainly wasn’t up to the same standard as the previous night’s hotel, but that’s what happens when you go from a five star place to one that isn’t – it’s never quite the same. The air con unit was louder than the A380 Airbus we used to get here, but it did a job when we were out. The bed was huge and very comfortable, which was great for one of the two nights at least.
A quick change later (a theme of the week so far) and we were in the restaurant for a welcome meal with the local governor, who like everyone I’ve encountered so far was delighted to see us and very welcoming. And to continue the theme, the food was amazing. Fish dishes, pork dishes, rice and salads. It’s a foodies paradise.
It was at this reception I became the world’s worst cowboy. Being one of the blokes on this trip meant it was open season for my pink chinos, especially with the cowboy hat. The randomness of the gift set the tone for the night as we retreated to the bar.
It became obvious pretty quickly the Tawa Ravadee Resort doesn’t see a lot of tourism trade, as two failed attempts at ordering an old fashioned and rusty nail proved. Two Mai Tai’s and a double Drambuie later and we were in business, but do take a seat and put your feet up. Then again, for 90 THB – about £1.90 – they were worth waiting for.
After a few of these our group decided we wanted more. It was at this point one of the girls popped up and announced she saw a sign for a karaoke bar on the way down to dinner. We presumed it was close by, BUT OH NO READERS, it was downstairs IN THE HOTEL, and for a minimum spend (which we quickly exceeded) we could have what we wanted.
As we walked in we noticed a distinct lack of people, other than a sad looking Japanese guy sat at the bar singing love songs. Our guess was he’d had a hard break-up and that his girlfriend was in the videos and wanted to see her again. It did amuse us.
Now, being the quiet, reserved Brits we are, it took some time to get warmed up, but after a few duet-style songs (including me as Ken in Barbie World) we were into it. I am happy to go on record and say my karaoke skills are terrible at best. Every one of my friends will testify to this.
After a night of singing and dancing and laughing, it was up to breakfast to sort me out. And sort me out it did, because the resort’s breakfast bar was insanely good. Fresh fruit, good coffee and plenty to choose from. Always a bonus for me when I find a good breakfast, and I certainly don’t miss the stodge back home. It is the choice that really makes a breakfast. I loved how they weren’t even trying to cater for tourists – it was their breakfast, their culture. I quickly discovered rice is a dish you can have for breakfast, dinner and tea (or breakfast, lunch and dinner depending on which side of Birmingham you live), which was a real novelty. I guess it justifies all those times we’ve had leftover Chinese for breakfast.
It was only towards the end of the second day at the hotel that I managed to get into the pool. Spending so much time in the van between sights means pools have been a must, and it didn’t let me down. A couple of lengths and a chill out was just what the doctor ordered. What he didn’t order was the massive thunder and lightning storm. I was convinced i should have got out of the water, but no-one seemed to care, so i stayed in a bit longer before realising I was going to make everyone else late to our dinner reservation (another constant on this trip so far).
Would I recommend staying here? Yes. Absolutely. There’s no shortage of plush hotels in eastern Thailand, but they’re all authentic. Yes the shower screen was fixed in the incorrect position that meant after every shower the floor flooded, but I looked at it as a water feature. It’s centrally located for everything the province has to offer. That’s pretty handy given the craziness of the roads, something you do have to bear in mind. It’s a great place to relax and use as a base. If you want a day of rest then pull up a lounger by the pool and enjoy the food on offer. It seemed authentic to me, and I loved it.