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Independent Minds: Vasuma Kanathanavanich, VALA Hua Hin

Beautifully blending beachside surrounds with contemporary comforts, VALA Hua Hin has been designed as a true immersion in nature. Rooted in a large, forested plot of land overlooking the Gulf of Thailand which has been in her family for generations, Vasuma Kanathanavanich takes great personal care to nurture the environment which her guests not only enjoy, but experience as locals. From traditional cooking, arts and crafts classes to planting and harvesting rice on the nearby organic farm, the VALA concept draws much of its inspiration from the Petchburi agricultural and creative communities.

Vasuma Kanathanavanich (pictured left) hopes that travellers to the Hua Hin – Cha-Am area will slow down during their holidays to not only relax and rejuvenate at VALA Hua Hin, but get an authentic feel for the ancient coastal province.

What does being ‘Independently Minded’ as a hotel owner mean to you?

Being independent allows me to stretch the horizon of my creative thinking and think outside of the box. It truly gives me the possibilities to be flexible and to adapt quickly to the ever-changing trends of the travel industry and current global situations. I find it refreshing to be able to experiment with new ideas, see the outcomes and adjust as we go without the usual hassles. I am always full of new ideas and looking for inspiration in people and places, in cultures and the arts, in food and nature which I think have been reflected a lot on VALA and its elements. Being a small hotel allows us to be able to really personalise our care for each guest which I believe will enhance the luxurious personal experience we aim to provide.

What was the inspiration behind the hotel, and where do you continue to find sources of inspiration?

The design of VALA was inspired and created under the concept of “Nature’s Touch, Modern Design”, with a trifecta of the all-encompassing beachfront, nature and luxurious privacy and space. VALA represents the fitting blend of sleek modern design with aesthetically conscious features without compromising the understated touch of what natural surroundings have to offer. It is my ultimate intention to blend VALA into its existing natural surroundings which have been my family estates for over 30 years. I started the project with a unique opportunity to create the kind of resort I am always looking for myself when I travel. I believe most of my inspiration has come from a mixture of my travels and the history, the stories and the memories of the land VALA now stands on which I wholeheartedly cherish.

How do you think your hotel stands apart from other boutique hotels?

VALA was crafted to blend its surroundings with modern architecture and space. At VALA, we believe in the luxury of space and the preservation of the existing landscape. Here at the the resort, you will notice that we have mature trees and ample space for guests to roam around, to reconnect and to appreciate nature. In designing the landscape, we tried to preserve as many of these large trees in position as possible, relocating a few to a new area where they would continue to flourish. The architectural plans were not limited only to the building and facilities, but also encompassed the surrounding greenery with different plants selected for each zone.

We also pay great attention to detail and carefully curate all aspects of the hotel, from choosing the bed and bathroom amenities, minibar selection, local activities and partners, to the restaurant menu, the cocktail selection and decoration throughout the hotel.

If you only had 24 hours to get a taste for your hotel experience, what would you recommend a guest must do?

VALA Beachfront Pool Villas come with private pools and sundecks, outdoor rain showers and expansive gardens.

I would suggest staying in one of our Beachfront Pool Villas. Each villa is uniquely designed and set in a serene, enclosed oasis of peace and calmness with uninterrupted sea views. This villa’s stunning location allows guests to enjoy a panoramic view of the ocean, a rare sight to be found in Hua Hin and Cha-am. With a large private swimming pool, garden and a lounging terrace, true rest and relaxation begins here.

Start a perfect day at VALA by waking up to see the sunrise– there is a unique light in the morning when the sun and the sea meet. There is no such thing as the best place to view the sunrise, as each location is different whether it is from the your own room or the main pool. This is not to be missed. Then head to WOODS Kitchen & Bar for a scrumptious breakfast and try out our local favourites such as freshly grilled Mooping (traditional pork skewer) and hot soya milk with Patongo (fried dough).

Head to WOODS Kitchen & Bar for everything from local favourites to international tapas, where each dish is crafted from home-grown ingredients and infused with fresh locally sourced seafood.

During the afternoon, spend a couple of hours by the pool in the shade or sunshine, enjoying a book, a nice swim or just take in the fresh beach air. The pool is in a truly special location. Last but not least, try our signature cocktail, Rosella, a refreshing, combination of Rosella Shrub, Orange Blossom Water, and Sparkling Wine. I can personally promise you that it will beautifully round up your perfect day at VALA.

How would you describe your own perfect luxury experience?

To me, the perfect luxury experience would be when something goes beyond my expectations and when someone goes an extra mile for me. What makes an experience truly luxurious for me is when I can feel the genuine attention to small details, whether in the hotel design, in the facilities, or in the service.

Do you have a vision for the future of the hotel?

At VALA, we care about our home, we are committed to sustainable operations that preserve the environment including reducing food waste, organic farming, local partnership, bio-fertiliser as well as using local raw materials and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Sustainability is not a buzzword to us, it is the VALA way we are committed to nourish. Although we are still in an early stage of development with this mission in mind, we are determined to implement more sustainable and green policies at VALA. These are our contributions that we hope will help preserve the environment and local community for generations to come.