Pranburi isn’t a place you go if you want a party. Set a fair bit away from even the not-exactly-jumping beach town of Hua Hin, this spot, beloved for its long stretches of beach and lovely pink sunsets, is mostly known as a couples getaway, with a stretch of luxurious resorts set along the beach. Aleenta Resort & Spa is among them, a resort that’s made its name for healthy living as well as romantic setting.
Offering unusual spa treatments with a focus on uber healthy ingredients like tumeric and kaffir lime from their own farm up the road, a setup where almost every room has a private pool, and a vegan menu in addition to meaty favorites, you get the wellness vibe as soon as you step through the front gate.
Their welcome drink tastes more of fresh, natural pandan than processed sugar. And moments later, as guests step into their rooms — in our case a Palm Pool Residence (starting from THB5,000/US$150), an ipod is already plugged in playing the resort’s own mix of relaxing spa tunes, world music, pan flute and the like. Instead of the Southeast Asian ubiquitous lemongrass scent in the oil burners, they have a proprietary scent mix burning that’s heavy on the spearmint and smells invigorating.
One thing guests won’t notice is a TV. There are none anywhere in the whole resort. That’s one of their wellness tenets. Later, we also noticed that there is no desk in the room, which might speak to their commitment to relaxing and not working during your stay.
In the closet, guests can discover white pajamas alongside the standard slippers and robe. Outside of the French doors is a private plunge pool and a button on the wall that turns the bubbling jets on for 15 minute increments. Another way this resort differs from most others we’ve stayed at is that the private pools aren’t exactly private. Sure, no one else can use them and they provide a better view than the concrete wall you usually get, but they have no dividing walls, meaning anyone walking around the resort can watch you in your little plunge pool.
One thing that wowed us about this resort was it probably had the fastest room service we’ve experienced in Asia. When we needed ice, and the next morning, a fresh towel and body lotion, they were at our door in under five minutes each time.
The rooms are simple, done with polished concrete floors, natural colored furnishings and fluffy white linens and duvets. In the bathroom, the toiletries come in refillable ceramic jars, part of their commitment to less waste, and the lotions, soaps and other amenities are made locally.
Love the unusual herbal scents of the bath products? You can buy them to take home in the gift shop from jar dispensers. Those that remember to bring their own bottles can fill them up to save plastic and cash. But they also sell bottles you can fill there.
General Manager Johan Wallen said of their commitment to becoming single-use plastic free, “We’re almost there but not quite at 100 percent.” In addition to removing the plastic toiletry bottles and straws from the restaurant, they hope to soon ditch plastic cotton buds in the rooms for pricier wooden ones. “But you have to use the ones you have in stock first or you’ll be even more wasteful,” he pointed out.
In Ayurah Spa, visitors will find basil and bergamot baths instead of rose petals. “Though you can have rose petals too if you want them!” one eager staff member noted. You can also order or make your own body scrub out of a mix of cumin, bergamot, tumeric, milk, yogurt, and more.
We opted for their signature Ayurah Organic Body Polish (45 minutes for THB1,800/US$54) during which we got thoroughly scrubbed with a detoxifying, plant-based paste as we looked out the window at the sea. Guests can also opt for the outdoor beds where they can feel the ocean breeze as they get pampered, but we opted for chilling in the aircon.
After the scrub, we got to rinse off in this round, wooden tub laced with lemongrass and kaffir lime while sipping a cup of hot tea.
Since all but 3 or their 25 rooms have a private pool, the resort has only one common pool, a small nest-like structure best for lounging, Instagramming, and walking to the bar, which is just steps away.
Though guests under 12 aren’t able to stay in the main part of the resort, they do have a family-friendly “wing” of 6 rooms located about 200 meters down the beach.
The three most deluxe round bungalows at the oceanfront have hammocks and full ocean views, while several of the rooms behind have full or partial sea views.
In keeping with their total chill out vibe, each room is outfitted with reading material including a small library — our room included the interesting choices of a John Grisham novel next to a biography of Metallica — and a small book where room guests can share their thoughts about the resort. Our book had messages from around the world including a sweet one from Nov. 5 of last year that started “My daughter is getting married today! :-)”
In the Aleenta restaurant, we tried several items from the vegan breakfast menu, each of which is free for guests. Tofu Scramble is made with curry and cumin dressed with cilantro on a slice of resort-made whole wheat toast. It was filling, tasty, and flavorful. You won’t feel like you’ve skimped and this dish and it didn’t even need salt and pepper.
The Red Bean Tacos with cumin, coriander, tomato, and cucumber come in a traditional crunchy corn shell.
While The Indian Veggie dish is a mixture of sweet potato, spinach, potato, ginger, and chickpea, that should be simple but becomes sublime with perfect seasoning heavy on cumin and curry. These, along with other traditional a la carte breakfast entrees, a pastry tower, fruit, cereal, juice and hot drinks, are included free with breakfast.
At dinner, we tried Seared Tuna Steak Mexicana (THB750/US$22.5) from Japan with bell pepper and avocado alongside Pork Tenderloin Florentine (THB790/US$24) stuffed with spinach and cheese in mushroom brandy sauce and served with delicious deep fried potato cakes that we ran through the sauce until we got every last dribble. The also offer a locavore Thai menu for those wanting their somtam and krapow.
We finished with homemade Rice Ice Cream (THB100/US$3 per scoop) in unusual flavors like coconut lime, peanut satay, and pineapple chili.
Their oversized Coconut Creme Brulee’s (THB250/US$7.5) reputation preceded it as one of their signatures and is often mentioned in reviews. It’s large, rich, and not overly sweet, well worth the high expectation placed on it.
As we returned to our room, we found a wooden frog that can be placed outside as a “do not disturb” totem and homemade cookies as part of turn down service.
Aleenta Resort & Spa
183 Moo 4 Paknampran
Rooms from THB5,000