Apr 9, 2013

Consider spending the winter is SE Asia

The first time I ran across people doing a long-stay at a resort was in Penang, Malaysia at theEngland, who were staying 2-5 months.  I was impressed and thought it was a unique situation.  But I have found out since that it is a common practice for Europeans from many countries to winter in SE Asia at resorts for a month or more.
Parkroyal Hotel.  The guests were Europeans, mainly from

This year we stayed three weeks at the Regent Beach Hotel in Cha-am, Thailand. This is the fourth time we have stayed there.  It was previously a Holiday Inn property but they are no longer partners.  I wish they were so I could get Priority Points to facilitate a stay at other InterContinental properties. 

I think long-stays are an excellent alternative to wintering in Florida or some other warm destination. The advantages are many. No second property to care for thus eliminating the cost of utilities, upkeep, and possibility of a mortgage. And, we like the fact that we can long-stay at different locations.

We met a couple from England who stay two months at the Regent before Christmas, return to England to celebrate the holidays with their family, and then spends three months after Christmas at the resort.  They have been doing this for many years. They, like others, opted for just the room when negotiating their rate.

Others have breakfast included in their rate.  We love the extensive breakfast buffet at the Regent
which offers items to please many ethnic groups.  There are eggs, pancakes, cereal, along with grilled tomatoes and beans which the English like, salad, fresh fruit, noodle soup (fish, chicken or pork), rice, and usually a couple of curry dishes.  Something for everyone.

Most of the day is spend around the pool (there are two) or walking along the beach but the Regent Hotel offers a variety of daily activities plus there are things to do in the area, the most popular being golf.  We have visited a former Thai king’s summer residence and the night market where all kinds of things are offered at a bargain price.  In the evening we take turns dining at the hotel, a restaurant on the beach or walking 10-minutes into a small town where there are a bevy of restaurants, shops and mini-marts. Most meals cost less than $10 per person.

Most of the long-stay guests at the Regent Hotel in Cha’am are from England, Finland, and Germany. We have never run into any Americans.  Resorts usually offer their long-stay and returning guests a special Thank You Reception once a month.  An invitation was sent to our room and we gladly accepted.  The reception was excellent, nicely decorated on a grassy area near the bay, a duo band, and there was a wide selection of beverages and food.  One of the staff members performed a Thai dance for us.

Anyone considering a long-stay at a resort should contact the selected hotel to negotiate the best price.  We have discarded the option of renting a condo where we have to cook and clean – just like home – and many don’t have pools and other resort amenities. When March arrives it was like a mass exodus as the Europeans bid their farewells and returned to Europe. It seems like such a stress free way to winter and less expensive than buying an “winter” home.