Dolphin Bay Resort
Dolphin Bay is a three to four hour drive from Bangkok Airport, you can arrange transport through their website or use a Taxi/Limousine service. We used Oriental Travel down and Dolphin Bays service on the way back. Both were good although both drove a little fast for my liking! A quick word with the drivers (cha cha noi na kha - slow down please) and all was well with the world!
Dolphin Bay Resort is not a fancy pants Resort it is good, clean, honest accommodation. We have stayed here on a number of occasions down to the fact that our children LOVE it here! The fact that it is easy on the wallet is a mere bonus!!
The resort is situated near a National Park (there is no big town here Hua Hin an hour north of the resort and Pranburi 20 minutes North is the closest you are to larger shops). But that is the beauty of it....
Outside of the resort is a small (not busy road) that separates the resort from the beach, not a problem for most but if you have a toddler that will just keep making a bee line for it this may not be for you!
The Resort has Trip suggestions to explore the local area and can arrange these for you. We decided to stay put at the resort although my husband and son ventured out to go fishing at a nearby lake which they both thought was the best thing since sliced bread!
We took long walks on the beach which is overlooked by the Mountains of the National Park, and the busiest activity is the fishing boats coming and going. It is not a pure white sands typical tropical beach, it has a more rustic and wild feel about it which we love, but may not float everyones 'long tail' boat! There are pretty shells aplenty and crabs and sea creatures for the littlies to discover! Along the beach are some rustic restaurants. Head to Meow Restaurant (next to the resort, go left if you're facing the sea) and try the Red Snapper with Mango salad! It is absolutely delicious and the children's enjoyed gorgeous homemade burgers, be prepared to have a couple of beach dogs come begging....they were not aggressive but if you don't like mutts this may well put you off.
The resort itself is very laid back. The beauty of it is you can keep an eye on your sprogs from your sun lounger. It has two pools, the children's pool has a good shallow end for toddlers and a deeper end with slide for your little explorers. The second pool is deeper still and allows the adults to have a swim (*Read - "floating around on your back looking at the palm trees!"). There is also a lovely wooden play area, complete with swings, slide, sea-saw and climbing frame. Any little one would find something they liked! And a large area of grass to run around on with some small goal posts for the little footie fans in your family.
The restaurant (next to the pool) serves western and Thai food and they also have a separate kids menu (although the fish and chips on the Aperitif Menu would be perfect to order for the kids too(we didn't spot this until our last day!). The food we ordered was good Thai food, and you can choose the spiciness of your food (a rarity in Thailand!). The fresh lime soda drink and Tom Yum soup with rice was our favourite lunchtime bite. And Mango sticky rice with coconut iced cream....well it would be rude not to embrace this Thai pud! The other bonus is they do ice cream cones to keep the littlies happy, the multi coloured bubblegum flavour seemed to get our children's seal of approval (don't say I didn't warn you!!).
At the end of the day we congratulated ourselves with cocktails looking out to sea (there are some sun loungers and a dining area on the beach). My favourite was the Pina Colada, we also tried the margarita and the Mojito.....all in the name of research you understand!
The resort has a TV room for the children to watch movies and have two lists of films (one for younger children and one for older children). This room houses a host of toys as well. It's not the prettiest play room but you're not here to sit inside all day! But it is a good rest bite from the sun during the hottest part of the day. They also have bikes to hire (with chidrens seats) and if you are feeling a bit braver, scooters and even a Vespa! Other child friendly options are a table football, pool table and craft sessions on a Saturday afternoon (for a small fee)paint your own figure, bag or canvas.
With the children catered for you can turn your attentions to a bit of pampering. The resort has trained masseurs (again this is a rare find!), you can opt to go the Spa which is a peaful space, with gentle music or the outside Sala which is next to the road, overlooking the beach. I preferred the outside Sala as i enjoy listening to the gentle hustle and bustle as i float away having an oil massage(saying that one of my massages i booked on a Friday afternoon and the increase in traffic and people using the cashpoint next door was more noticeable so perhaps avoid this time).....again if you like peace and quiet go for the indoor rooms. The Spa also offers manicure and pedicures (a basic nail shaping, cuticle tidy and polish). The children can also enjoy a kiddie friendly massage and mini mani and pedis. My children loved the massages and made them so relaxed that they slept beautifully that evening.
Accommodation choices are bungalows (some with adjoining room) or 1st floor rooms (above the cafe area) with single or adjoining rooms. For a family of four (with our now not so little kiddies) we opted for two room (adjoined). This gives you a lovely double balcony overlooking the resort and the beach. You can share one room but by the time you have paid for two roll away beds and two extra breakfasts it's not much more for the two rooms (with all breakfasts included in the price of the room). Breakfast is a buffet style the home made bread is a nice touch, with yogurt, fresh fruit, pancakes and bacon there is also an organic egg station that cooks eggs/omelettes to order. I loved the freshly cooked omelettes the rest of the food is not gourmet but it fils you all up for a couple of hours!
All in all the staff are friendly, the service was good and the location splendidly remote if you are after a child friendly rustic getaway , this may well be the place for you!!