When it opened, in December 2021, The Standard Hotel, Hua Hin sprinkled some Hollywood glitter on this seaside town. Hua Hin, around three hours south of Bangkok, has, over the past 100 years, become a burgeoning beach escape for residents of the Thai capital. Today, the Standard, Hua Hin is designer, dog-friendly, and delicious with a hint of the hotel brand’s decadent past.
Đọc bài viết bằng Tiếng Việt
An orange-tanned German retiree with a slash of white beard rocks from side to side on the edge of his poolside sofa, staring intently, through his crooked silver reading glasses, at the sudoku he’s half-way through. From his beanie hat beams a rave smiley face. So far, so The Standard. Only this time, we’re in Hua Hin, the formerly sleepy Thai seaside town onto which The Standard has sprinkled some Hollywood glitter.
The Nostalgic Sighs Soon Subsided
By 1999, it had become the first The Standard. “It was charming, lo-fi, and unfussy,” Chris Black decided about that original The Standard when its closure was announced, before concluding, in Vanity Fair, that “it was a boutique hotel that defined a very specific brand of turn-of-the-millennium aspiration.” And, most agreed: the Standard was the original boutique hotel.
The nostalgic sighs soon subsided. The Standard had already morphed into a hip global chain of hotels full of local touches and international standards. There were other The Standard Hotels to explore in London, The Maldives, in New York and on Miami Beach, and in Ibiza.
Diplo DJ-ed at the opening of The Standard, Bangkok, where, shortly before that, Dita Von Tese shimmied out of a Martini glass. And, in the reception, a Marc Quinn painting stared across at a glorious video artwork by Marco Brambilla that felt like Damien Chazelle’s Babylon turned into a GIF.
The Standard Hua Hin Dials Up The Chic Design Elements
In its heyday, The Standard, Hollywood, they say, had “floor-to-wall-to-ceiling shag carpeting in the lobby and live nude performance art showcased in a glass case behind the front desk.”
That’s probably still a little outré for Thailand – despite its debauched reputation and the recent legalization of weed. Instead, The Standard, Hua Hin dials up the chic design elements, with prefabricated modernist Malibu-style pool villas either side of a bougainvillea-arched pathway down to the beach.
A neon-pink inflatable bobs in the private pool. And on the table there’s Ryan McGinness’ 50 Parties book. It’s a reminder of The Standard’s more decadent days – in case you were getting too blissed out and bougie in this once sleepy fishing village that for the last one-hundred years or so (thanks first to the railroad built to connect with Bangkok) has been the city escape for Thailand’s nobility and more recently retirees and domestic tourists looking to escape the oppressive city for a night or two.
There’s a disco ball above the bath too. And that’s very The Standard as well. It’s a place, with 199 characterful-cool rooms, most in the L-shaped block between the train-station chic reception and the beach, where, if it wasn’t for the rain showers, bluetooth speakers, and flat screen TVs, you really could be on the Sunset Strip in the ‘60s or ‘70s. Being here feels like you’re pretending not to be hungover at your fashion-designer aunty’s house during Sunday dinner.
Fir Trees Sway Seductively To The Music On The Beachfront
Right now, at The Standard, Hua Hin, the poolside soundtrack wafts over the retiree in the beanie hat and across towards the 100-foot tall fir trees swaying seductively to the music which goes from the gentle sun-going-down sadness of the Beach Boys to Lana Del Ray’s dark ballads of turn-of-the-20th-century Americana.
The lemon yellow-striped sunbeds feel like they might have been shipped straight over when that original The Standard in West Hollywood closed at the end of August 2022 (The Standard, Hua Hin opened the previous December).
Designer, Dog-Friendly, And Delicious
Back up beside The Standard, Hua Hin’s reception, there’s the hip The Juice Café, with its light-wood interior and low chairs, and its sliding doors no one can quite work out. There are records on the shelves – Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue and Sade’s Diamond Life – and a copy of Design Anthology, Frieze, and Mint magazine on the table to leaf through.
There’s a springer spaniel in a baby stroller in the shady garden outside looking enviously through the glass at our delicious Berry Berry Collagen smoothie (with mixed berries, collagen and aloe vera), and the freshly pulled double espresso we snuck in alongside it, despite the fact her owner has fitted fans on the stroller frame to keep her cool. The Standard, Hua Hin really is a dog-friendly hotel.
And, while we’re back up at reception, that reminds us that Hua Hin town is within walking distance, if you can break from the intoxicating spell of this beachfront hotel for an evening. After dark, at Chao Lay Seafood, there’s loud cheersing of Sang Som whiskey, and some fresh seafood served on its pier as a lounge singer sends the guests to sleep across at the bistro-style La Terrasse next door.
Feeling Cool At The Standard, Hua Hin
But mostly, The Standard, Hua Hin, has everything.
There’s yoga on the lawn looking out to sea in the morning beside the all-day Italian restaurant, The Lido, and the curvaceous poolside Lido Bar. The spa offers oil scents in test tubes to try before you lay – the Three Layers massage, as the name suggests, requires three layers of oil to achieve its body toning effect – and there’s the That’s Cool apres-sun treatment with its cooling fresh aloe wrap.
By sunset, the staff have observantly switched up the menus, and share their house cocktails list with Italian-inspired Galliano Spritz, a Sangria D’Avola and three kinds of Negroni – the Siam Negroni contains Thai Iron Balls Gin, and the Chiang Mai Negroni has coffee beans from the Thai highlands.
And a few steps on, towards the beach, there’s Praça’s heritage house, where, around the porch and in the beachfront yard in front they serve small plates of cuisine, something like a Thai izakaya, with Esan Tuna and Krapao Tacos from the ‘Tapas’ menu and coconut brushed pork skewers (Moo Ping Bo Larn) and Binchotan grilled wagyu with broken rice and a tamarind dip (Nuea Yang Pao Taan) from the ‘From The Fire’ menu.
A Hint Of The Standard’s Salacious Past About The Standard, Hua Hin
Then, the evening’s ending, and a Rozetta Johnson song about infidelity drifts across the lawn, and it feels like there’s a hint of The Standard’s salacious Hollywood past about The Standard, Hua Hin, too.