Accor has unveiled its fourth SO Sofitel property in Thailand's beachside region of Hua Hin, 175 kilometres south-west of Bangkok. Formerly the Hotel de la Paix, the contemporary low-rise residence was designed by leading Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag. Paris-based design house UNI Design led the makeover, collaborating with designer Polpat Asavaprapha, founder of women's fashion label Asava.
The result is a playful mix of French elegance and Thai whimsy. An outdoor gallery showcases art by up-and-coming artists while abstract animal sculptures are scattered throughout the grounds.
The property's 77 rooms come in two variants: SO Nature, which uses natural, tactile materials and features the work of acclaimed New Zealand landscape photographer Martin Hill, and SO Arty, which employs a bolder, more colourful palette and includes striking shots by American dance photographer Lois Greenfield.
The hotel's signature restaurant, White Oven, is an all-day dining venue specialising in modern Thai cuisine, while upstairs is HI-SO, a chic rooftop bar offering creative cocktails and beguiling views over the Gulf of Thailand.
The hotel's trump card is that it has private access to Cha Am beach. From the vibe at Beach Society, the hotel's oceanfront seafood restaurant and party spot, it's clear they're hoping to attract a young, sophisticated crowd.
Throw in two pools, a spa and a fitness centre, and most guests will be content to hibernate in the resort. Those looking for additional diversions will find shopping, markets and restaurants in nearby Hua Hin.
Rooms from $170; see sosofitel-huahin.com