The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) board has agreed to extend a land lease contract with Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin pending talks over a contract renewal, said SRT governor Worawut Mala.
He said the SRT is drafting new lease regulations in line with the 2019 Joint State and Private Investment Act before holding talks with the company over a new deal on its 71-rai land. Negotiations are expected to wrap up by September this year.
According to Mr Worawut, the new lease will reflect the current market price and bolster the agency’s revenues.
The law came into effect on March 10, paving the way for the SRT to lease its land to developers instead of relying on public-private partnership deals.
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin has run the seaside resort in Hua Hin district in Prachuap Khiri Khan for 30 years on prime land leased by the SRT. The concession expired on May 15.
A source at the SRT said the agency hired a consultant to assess the deal and it will renew the lease under condition that the company must invest about 3.2 billion baht in a commercial development project on the SRT’s land plots.
According to the source, the debt-ridden SRT expects will renew the lease under condition that the company must invest about 3.2 billion THB in a commercial development project on the SRT’s land plots. The SRT expects to earn no less than 5.7 billion THB for a 30-year deal.
Mr. A. Rigazai, the State Railways’ Italian architect, designed the original building as a luxurious two-storey European-style resort hotel made of brick and wood, in accordance with royal command.
The hotel was constructed on State Railways land while existing bungalows were moved a short distance away. The hotel featured 14 bedrooms, a lobby lounge, bar, restaurant, billiards room, wine storeroom, and large verandas, costing a total of 128,366.75 THB, a staggering sum at the time. A veranda surrounded the building, cleverly designed to protect guests from the sun’s heat and prevent rainwater from running back along the tiles. The building was remarkably similar in appearance to the Marukhatayawan Royal Residence in nearby Cha-am.
The hotel opened in October 1922 and had its grand opening on 1 January 1923.
King Rama VI commissioned road maintenance engineer A. O. Robins to build a golf course on land opposite the railway station, completing the original nine-hole, 3,000-yard Royal Hua-Hin Golf Course and tennis courts in time to welcome the first hotel guests on 26 October 1922.
By 1928 the hotel’s reputation was international and, in order to accommodate the growing number of visitors to Hua Hin, RSR added a new wing of 13 rooms, built to exactly the same design as the existing building.
After WWII two more guestrooms were added, along with three restaurants, a downstairs bar, and a lobby with a panoramic view of Hua Hin’s bay.
In 1988, the hotel was purchased by Sofitel and became the Hotel Sofitel Central Hua Hin.
As of September 2014 it is run by the Central Plaza Hotel Public Company (CENTEL), Ltd. and named the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin.