October 8, 2016

2806 THAILAND (Prachuap Khiri Khan) - Hotel Sofitel Central in Hua Hin

Around the turn of the 20th century Prince Chakrabhongse came to Hua Hin on a hunting trip with Russian nobility. He liked the town and returned to build the first Thai beach villa in Hua Hin. King Rama VI then built a summer retreat here and even later King Rama VII built yet another palace, naming it Klai Kang Won - "far from worries". Because of its Royal past and present and it's proximity to the capital, Hua Hin caught on with the elite of Bangkok and the town began to develop.

In 1921, the Director of the State Railway, Prince Purachatra built The Railway Hotel (now The Sofitel Central) and this, not surprisingly, coincided with the construction of railway line from Bangkok down south. Prince Purachatra personally oversaw the construction of the new hotel. Mr. A Rigazai - the State Railways' Italian architect designed the original building as a luxurious two-story European style resort hotel made of brick and wood - as per a Royal command.

The hotel was constructed on State Railways land while existing retail bungalows were moved a short distance away. Royal Hua Hin Golf Course was designed by a Scottish railway engineer during this era as well. King Rama VI commissioned road maintenance engineer A O Robins to build a golf course on land opposite the railway station, in time to welcome the first hotel guests on October 26, 1922. The hotel featured 14 bedrooms, a lobby lounge, bar, restaurant, billiards room, wine storeroom and large verandas.

A verandah surrounded the building, cleverly designed to protect guests from the sun's heat and prevent rainwater from running back along the tiles. The building was remarkably similar in appearance to the Marukhatayawan Royal Residence in nearby Cha-am. In 1986 the State Railway of Thailand granted the Central Group of Hotels and Accor restoration rights to the grand hotel. The historical building was meticulously preserved, with a new swimming pool and Thai Pavilion also added.

The hotel began refurbishing the old bungalows and added new gardens, lawns and fountains. Accor and the Central Hotels and Resorts re-launched the hotel as a Sofitel after two years of extensive refurbishment that emphasized the Edwardian architecture and colonial traditions. Now the resort is equipped with 71 guestrooms and six exclusive Pool Villas with two distinct room styles: SO Nature, a mix of natural elements and French refinement; SO Arty, blending the sophistication of the past with chic, contemporary design.

About the stamps
The first stamp, depicting Rama IX, is part of a definitive set, about which I wrote here.

History of paradise city - Tourism Hua Hin

Sender: Pumipat
Sent from Bangkok (Bangkok / Thailand), on 28.09.2016

No comments:

Post a Comment