Since ancient times, Thai kings and aristocrats have escaped Bangkok’s heat for the cool sea breezes of Huahin. The Thai term ‘Taak Arkas’ means ‘to be exposed to the breeze’ and expresses the notion of holiday. Unfortunately, the prevalence of air conditioning in the modern world has undermined this habit. So, the design of this beachfront hotel was a concerted effort to re-establish this ambience.

Yaiya Resort, currently known as The Palayana Hua Hin, comprises three zones: the beach club, the 11 pool villas, and the main building, which houses 29 guestrooms, bringing the total accommodation to 40 units.

The beach club is an active area and consists of open-air restaurant, pool, pool bar, and spa. The beachfront is kept as natural as possible and the sand allowed to extend into this area.

The two-storied pool villas are tightly clustered together, yet the upper-level pools maintain individual privacy. The only area where air conditioning is absolutely requiredthe bedroomis located at ground level within private gardens. Guests then ascend to the pool deck level. Here the living sala avails itself of cool breezes and a tranquil outlook over the pool and garden.

The main building contains the lobby and guest rooms, which are arranged over five floors. This gives the main building a mass appropriate to the depth of the site. Guests arrive in the open-air lobby at upper ground level, the slope of the site permitting a discrete lower level parking garage. The staff and back-of-house facilities are located adjacent to the lobby, in a walled compound.

Guest circulation is a meandering axis from the main building down to the beach, mimicking the gentle slope of the site. The landscaping comprises simple lawn, and large existing tropical trees and shrubs.

Rather than copying traditional Thai architecture, the design of both the villas and main building are simple, unpretentious, and modern, with some local touches. The main hotel block has a rational façade, the deep verandahs of each guestroom softened with bamboo blinds. The pool villas are mainly plaster, with limited elements of natural timber, including the shingle roofs, which have acquired a softness in the salt air.

  • LocationCha Am, Thailand
  • Date2008
  • Interior designerHabita Architects
  • Landscape designerInside Out Design