Chelona Khao Tao and Las Tortugas are sister resort condo projects from property developer Sansiri in Hua Hin, Thailand, perfect for independent stays.
Our Experience: Having completed a stay at their Escape Hua Hin hotel, we were invited by property developer Sansiri from their corporate headquarters in Bangkok to review two holiday rental condominium projects in the Hua Hin area, Chelona Khao Tao and Las Tortugas. Sansiri, a major player in residential, hotel and resort community development of all sorts, has undergone an aggressive expansion in recent years with projects throughout Thailand.
Whisked several kilometers south of Hua Hin to the Khao Tao beachfront, we looked forward to checking out Sansiri’s sister properties of Chelona Khao Tao and Las Tortugas. Upon arrival at the Chelona Khao Tao complex, we were welcomed by onsite representatives from Rental for the Holidays, the in-house booking agent for Sansiri properties in Hua Hin and Phuket.
Chelona Khao Tao, where we stayed, is a Mediterranean-style complex aligned next to an elongated river-like series of swimming pools.
The pools are punctuated with bridges, sundecks, play structures, fountains and mature landscaping.
Certain of the 174 units in Chelona walk right out to the pool from their patio doors, which seemed wonderfully convenient and refreshing against Thailand’s tropical heat. Ending at the beach, public spaces include fitness center, children’s waterslide and barbecue areas.
Security guard service is on site 24 hours a day with closed circuit TV. Proprietary “PLUS” concierge services provide guests with information and access to activities, local services, and transportation.
Our two-bedroom unit at Chelona Khao Tao was beautifully decorated in whitewashed earthy neutrals and built-in furniture, which complemented the beachy, Mediterranean vibe. Our balcony overlooked a natural area next door.
The master bedroom with king bed was tranquil and comfortably sized, with dressing room/entry off the main hallway.
The 4-piece master ensuite bath had an earthy vibe, boasting a deep soaking tub, separate walk-in shower, with a bronze basin vanity.
Guest bedroom was queen-sized with freestanding armoire. Our second bath served the guest room and main living areas with a hallway entrance.
Our particular unit’s kitchen would be a bit small for Western-style cooking (no oven or dishwasher), but this is a vacation property and presumably residents would be eating out quite a bit. We found it more than adequate for morning coffee and a few snacks. The full-size refrigerator was more than ample for drinks and perishables.
We took a walking tour of the exterior grounds of Las Tortugas, which is a 159 unit complex designed with a colorful Mexican-Caribbean style. Its layout is a somewhat mirror image of Chelona Khao Tao next door.
Like, Chelona, Las Tortugas is aligned with a series of infinity water features, play spaces, and pools for sunning and swimming.
Las Tortugas boasts a pool bar, beach bar, jacuzzi, and large seaside party area with picnic structures and firepit seating for residents and their guests.
While we didn’t tour the condo interiors, you can do so by virtual tour.
Because we stayed ahead of the high season, we had Chelona Khao Tao virtually to ourselves.
Wandering the neighborhood, we ate at two charming restaurants, one right on the beach a couple doors down, and the other across the street, which delivered our breakfast ordered the day before.
A couple of minor issues specific to our unit were attended to quickly: 1) Thai condo rentals don’t typically come with bath towels so be prepared to ask for them or bring your own with you. Since fulltime travel doesn’t afford us the luxury of space for towels, we had to ask for them. Staff devised an ingenious solution for this and they were delivered within a couple of hours. 2) The shower drain in our master bath wasn’t functioning, and backed up into the secondary drain in the bathroom floor. Fortunately in this part of the world, bathrooms are considered potential “wet rooms” and bathroom thresholds have a lip. Since we had a second bath to use, we were perfectly fine with deferred maintenance on this problem the following morning, where it was apologetically fixed. No worries!
If you’re considering a stay at either condo, please be aware that resort wifi is individually assigned to each condo, but is available in the lobby and other public spaces (like the fitness center). This was fine for us as we had our mobile phones to which we could tether and get 4G service while in our unit. But on an extended stay, you might want to consider a more permanent fix depending upon the details in the unit you’re renting.
Favorite Details: Both of us loved being able to access the beach so easily. Khao Tao retains a strong local vibe, with traditional fishing boats lined along the shore, and the lights of night fishing illuminating the horizon after sunset. Two islands, called “Turtle” and “Lion” (see him above?) for their shapes, punctuate the view from the secluded beach. The outside world seemed far, far away.
As Americans, we enjoyed being somewhat of a novelty with many of the locals we encountered. This neighborhood is undergoing transformation, with several more condo complexes going up as well as open land, which will no doubt convert in the future. The tranquil setting was relaxing after the bustle of Hua Hin proper. Since we virtually had everything to ourselves, it was a very quiet and peaceful two-night respite.
Getting there: We traveled to Hua Hin by train from Bangkok. From the historic train station, there are abundant open tuk-tuk like taxis as well as vans and regular auto taxis available. If your stay is extended, you may prefer to rent your own vehicle.
Hotel Particulars: Chelona Khao Tao and Las Tortugas are both represented by Rental for the Holidays, Head Office: 163 Rajapark Building, 10th Floor, Sukhumvit 21 (Asoke) Road, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana Bangkok 10110 Thailand. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pricing: Monthly rental rates are 35,000THB for 1 bedroom units, 50,000 – 55,000THB for 2 bedroom units at both Chelona Khao Tao and Las Tortugas. Three bedroom units at Las Tortugas rent for 70,000THB per month. Long stay rate discounts are available. Other condominiums in Hua Hin represented by Rental for the Holidays range 18,000THB for studios to 120,000THB for three bedroom units. Security deposits and utilities are assessed on a per unit basis.
Our Rating: **** Both Chelona and Las Tortugas are beautifully planned, well-executed concepts. Grounds, buildings and units are impeccably maintained and luxuriously appointed. Onsite security is visible, yet unobtrusive. Staff members are eager to please and special services are available to ensure your stay is enjoyable. Our unit was very comfortable and serene. Khao Tao is an up and coming area which isn’t fully developed as of yet with amenities such as shopping and services. As such, it has a vintage authentic vibe, but might also seem a bit lacking if you’re used to a more fully developed location. We would definitely consider renting with Sansiri in this location for a longer stay on a return visit to Thailand with the understanding that we would probably be happier with our own wheels.
Disclosure: Our two-night stay at Chelona Khao Tao was graciously provided by Sansiri. All extra services, food and beverages were on our dime.