Singaporebrides | Editors' Notes

July 2017

5 Ways To Have A Relaxing Pre-Wedding Holiday at The Barai Hua Hin

We all know resorts are the best places to unwind and do absolutely nothing—and not feel guilty about it. But what about a resort that takes a more invested interest in your well-being? The Barai Hua Hin introduces five wellness programs to help you make the most of your pre-wedding holiday so you get back into your wedding planning feeling fresher, healthier, and even fitter.

My first visit to Hua Hin was almost two decades ago. Then, there was nothing more to the district than small backpacker hotels, one small shopping mall, and the endless white beach. It was the favourite weekend getaway for the locals staying in Bangkok, since it was a mere 3-hour drive away.

Today you’ll find more than just a holiday palace for King Rama VII in Hua Hin—it is home to one of Asia’s first 18-hole golf courses, five-star hotels, summer beach homes to the rich and famous, fabulous theme parks, and a huge outlet mall. And there’s that eight kilometre-long beach with soft, white sand that Hua Hin is so popular for.

Watch our video on The Barai Hua Hin!

My reason for visiting Hua Hin this time was for The Barai Hua Hin’s newly launched lifestyle programs. I was excited and so grateful to be invited back to the spa, because my first experience there was out of this world. Until today, it is still my most recommended luxury spa and villa stay. You can have a more in-depth read about my spa experience at The Barai Hua Hin three years ago.

However, if you’re looking for more than just a spa experience, The Barai Lifestyle Collection is a great reason to make Hua Hin itself a holiday destination when you just need to take a break from having your brains fried planning wedding budgets and seating arrangements. Here are five ways you can have a relaxing pre-wedding getaway at The Barai Hua Hin.

The Barai SuitesEntrance to The Barai SuitesThe Barai Hua HinSettling down in my suite

1. Marvel at the gorgeous architecture

This award-winning destination spa has 18 amazing treatment rooms and only eight exclusive residential spa suites located on the beach, right next to the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin.

Renowned Thai architect, Khun Lek Bunnag, who was inspired after visiting the famous Bayon temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia, designed the spa. The Barai is named for the “barays”, which are large man-made reservoirs created by the Khmers to channel irrigated water for their daily use, believed to be the life arteries of the empire, and as a source of life, wellbeing and healing.

The Barai Suite ExteriorImage of The Barai Suites Exterior, courtesy of The Barai Hua HinThe Barai Suite BedroomImage of The Barai Suite Bedroom, courtesy of The Barai Hua HinSalaraiImage of The Salarai at the spa, courtesy of The Barai Hua HinWall of Stars The BaraiCut-outs on the wall cast star-shaped lights on the opposite during the magic hour at the spaMcFarland HouseImage of the view from McFarland House, courtesy of The Barai Hua Hin

On my last visit, I stayed at a The Barai Pool Suite on the ground floor, which had a garden and a private plunge pool with sun loungers. This time around I stayed on the upper floor The Barai Balcony Suite, which looks exactly the same, except with a balcony with a view of the Gulf of Thailand. In the suite, there is the unforgettable, unique-to-The Barai, oversized bed and a mini baray for your bath tub. There are also massage beds in the living room if you choose to have your traditional Thai massage in your suite instead of at the spa.

2. Get a health check

The Barai Lifestyle Collection consists five goal-oriented programs, which can be personalised according to your needs. The morning after I arrived at The Barai, I met with Sylvia, the Spa Director, who sat down with me for an hour-long “Healthy Lifestyle Consultation”. We did a body composition analysis with a machine which measures body fat, visceral fat, muscle mass, water, bone mineral content and metabolic rate. With this information, Sylvia was better able to personalise my chosen program to what I wanted to achieve during my visit to the spa.

The Barai Hua HinCaught this sight while waiting for my consultation with Sylvia

3. Set your goals

I chose the Ultimate Unwind program, which is designed to focus on stress release and relaxation. Featuring a selection of The Barai’s best relaxation and rejuvenation treatments, this program promises to replenish my mind, body and soul, as well as ease tension, relieve headaches, improve sleep quality, and recover balance. Does that not sound perfect already?

Aromatherapy MassageImage of the aromatherapy massage, courtesy of The Barai Hua Hin

If you practice yoga and would like to incorporate your daily routine into your holiday, The Barai’s Bespoke Yoga Journey offers one-on-one lessons with an instructor, while integrating a selection of restorative treatments to complement your yoga routines.

Tranquillity CourtImage of The Tranquility Court, courtesy of The Barai Hua Hin

If you’ve been feeling physically and emotionally drained from wedding planning, you might want to try the Vital Body Cleanse program. This is designed for those who are new to detoxing, so it eases you into gentle body cleansing to eliminate and counteract the results from daily stresses. The program uses specific detoxifying body therapies, thermal treatments, and a healthy menu to achieve improved mood, health and vitality.

The Barai Hua HinHydrate often with The Barai’s special juice concoctions

For men who think spas are boring and only for women, The Barai can incorporate your daily workout routine into the program for you so you don’t lose your fitness momentum while on holiday, especially if you’re trying to keep fit before your wedding. The Dynamic Fitness Kick-starter includes guided, results-oriented personal training sessions, which are coupled with unique recovery stretching techniques, and complemented with an assortment of therapeutic body treatments. With a customized workout, you can even continue the program back home to reach your specific fitness goal.

Compress MassageImage of a Compress Massage, courtesy of The Barai Hua Hin

The last program is great for couples who are thinking about losing weight together. A healthy weight-loss process is not about short-term diets, but a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular exercise. The Healthy Weight Kick-starter program is structured to provide you with the tools to start on your new health regime. Strategic therapies such as the Detoxifying Abdominal Massage, in combination with personal training and yoga, will gently guide you to achieve sustainable weight loss, even after the wedding is over. Think of it as a mix of all the programs I mentioned above.

4. Let your mind take a break

The lifestyle programs are typically three days, five days or seven days long, depending on your needs. After your consultation with Sylvia, you’ll be given a personalized itinerary with her recommended treatments. My three-day program included different massage therapies daily, as well as nightly milk baths.

The Barai Hua HinThe key to my locker at the spaTreatment RoomImage of a couple treatment room, courtesy of The Barai Hua Hin

When presented with the itinerary, you may be first taken aback by how your entire day seemed to be on a timetable. However, don’t stress yourself out about having to keep to it; the itineraries are customisable, and you will have a personal butler who will assist you with recommending and booking your daily spa treatments, serving your in-room meal, preparing your in-suite treatments or aroma steam and milk bath for you, just to name a few.

The Barai Suite ButlersThe suite butlers were friendly and very efficientHyatt Regency Hua HinYummy crispy curry noodles at the pool cafe at The Hyatt Regency next doorHyatt Regency Hua HinThe Thai food at Talay Thai restaurant was unforgettably goodHigh Tea McFarland House The BaraiHigh Tea at McFarland House with a great viewThe Barai Hua HinSaw the staff preparing for a romantic dinner for two near the water’s edge

The programs all include daily massage treatments, in-room aromatherapy steam bath, milk bath, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner at the McFarland House, or any restaurant at the Hyatt Regency next door, so technically, you don’t even have to step out of The Barai at all.

5. Have a well-rounded holiday

If you do want to see Hua Hin a little more, there are actually many activities surrounding The Barai that you may have to extend your stay for.

Just a 10-minute slow walk out of The Barai will bring you to the Cicada Market. Open only on weekend evenings, the Cicada Market is a craft market that has an art gallery, beer garden and live music. You can find clothes, decorative items, home wear, and handmade accessories, as well as an open-air food court.

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The other night market to check out is the Hua Hin Night Market. The market stretches the length of one street that comes to life from in the evening, when vendors line the street with their stalls. What is most popular here is the seafood restaurants. The seafood restaurants in this part of town are popular due to their atmosphere, quality of food and low prices. I remember ordering every single seafood dish at a restaurant with my travel companion during my first visit to Hua Hin as the servers laugh in amusement at our gluttony.

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If you’re a big fan of themed malls and parks, you’ll have no problems have fun in Hua Hin. It is home to the Plearn Wan Shopping Village, modelled after a 1950s Hua Hin, the very Instagrammable Santorini Park, modelled after the picturesque Greek island, and The Venezia, which is modelled after Venice, complete with a 200-metre “Grand Canal”.

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And finally, while ordering room service, I saw that some wines in the wine list were from the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard. The vineyard is surrounded by mountain ranges, tucked away in a remote part of Hua Hin, about 36km from the town centre. I wasn’t able to visit during this trip, but the idea of spending half a day in a beautiful vineyard, doing activities like touring the vineyard on bicycle, painting your own wine label, and grape crushing during harvest season is just so romantic and therapeutic, that I think it would have made a perfect end to my three-day “Ultimate Unwind” program. What a pity!

It looks like I may have to go back.

Getting there:
I took a flight to Bangkok and made my way to Grand Hyatt Erawan, where I hopped on the shuttle bus that brought guests to and from Hyatt Regency Hua Hin. The journey takes about 3 hours, depending on traffic. At the Hyatt Regency, my suite butler was waiting for me with a buggy to take me to my suite at The Barai, which is a short one-minute ride away.

A three-day Lifestyle Collection program at The Barai Hua Hin starts from THB 20,700 per person. Rates include three meals a day and are subject to prevailing 17.7% government tax and service charge including 3 daily meals. Guests can choose to book The Barai Suite from THB 19,100 per night or a Hyatt Regency Club Room from THB 7,600 per night. For more information, visit The Barai website.

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5 Ways To Have A Relaxing Pre-Wedding Holiday at The Barai Hua Hin