We managed to take a side trip this time round to Hua Hin. It took about 4 hours to get there from Bangkok (normally 1 1/2-2 hours) because traffic was constantly being stopped to let royalty and VIPs through. Downtown Hua Hin was also a nightmare and we did not arrive until well after dark around 8pm.
Stayed at the Hua Hin Mantra which opened March 2009 for 3 nights. We got two adjoining rooms and so with 4 beds in 2 rooms we each got to have one! Since the resort was new the rooms were all very nice. The bathrooms had a rain shower and the balconies overlooked the pool. The hotel looked much nicer in the dark with the lights on though. During the day I saw that some of the wood on the walkways were already faded and some tiles on the floor of the pool were coming off.
The extensive use of wood in the rooms makes me wonder if they will age well. The hotel does not have any see views and there is a road that runs between it and another hotel called Let's Sea that takes you down to Hua Hin beach. Let's Sea also does not look to have aged well since they have wood on the outside which fades quickly. However, they do extend all the way down to the beach although the beach front of Let's Sea is taken up by the restaurant and a garden so I don't think that they have a sea view from the rooms either.
The breakfast which was included did not vary much and so got stale rather quickly. Likewise the food at Mantra was only so-so (we had dinner there twice) and the staff was not quite as friendly/gushy as the staff at Somerset if gushiness is possible in Thailand (where in the U.S. gushiness can be the norm in some places).
Hua Hin struck me as sometimes contradictory with its mix of hotels and sometimes abandoned (looking) construction projects by the beach. It seems such a waste to let projects die out like that but then again maybe they were not working since it was a long weekend -- Asala Puja.
There is only one mall at Hua Hin called Market Village which also has a Tesco. For a town this size it is quite all right although the weekend we were there it was madness especially with traffic being stopped for VIPs.
We had one meal at Sailom Hotel and another at the Sam Rai Yod National Park. It poured the day we were at the park so we did not get to see the caves. We also drove around the Pranburi estuary which has a very nice wide beach.