When living in Bangkok, I always use the city’s spectacular collection of hotels like public spaces. Whether I’m slurping cocktails at trendy bars, gorging myself at five star restaurants or crashing by the pool, I can get my luxury fix at dozens of great venues. From opulent to funky, they give good hotel in Bangkok.
But what about Pattaya? Is it possible to go hotel-hopping in Pattaya? More importantly, is there a reason to?
Ok, let’s say you woke this morning with an overwhelming desire to have a great breakfast. That boring old bowl of fruit and fiber just won’t do today. Traditionally hotels offer the widest variety of possibilities, but you don’t want some “line-up and pile-up” buffet-style feeding trough. You want a proper breakfast with real choices. And you want it in a cool atmosphere that will allow you to just chill and ease into the day. Hands down the choice in Pattaya is La Baguette, the trendy-yet-traditional French café attached to the Woodland Resort in Naklua.
La Baguette has an elegant French country feel with cool jazzy music playing low and hosts a mix of well-healed Thais from Bangkok as well as locals-in-the-know. Pancakes, crepes and a belly-busting Set Breakfast that will satisfy even the heartiest of appetites. This cozy little café doubles as a bistro later in the day and is also a great place for light dinners or to appease a sweet tooth with an extensive selection of desserts from their bakery. Best cheesecake in town.
But what if it’s more than breakfast you want? What if you’ve got guests in town and want to find a three-hour no-holds-barred hangover busting eating extravaganza? Where is the best Sunday Brunch in Pattaya?
The Edge restaurant located in The Hilton Hotel right on Pattaya Beach Road is hard to beat. As you would expect from a Hilton hotel, the food is top notch and endless. Station after station of everything from hand sliced roast beef to overwhelming choices of seafood. The price is incredibly reasonable at only 1,200 baht per person with a wine buffet option for additional 600 baht. What really sets this brunch apart is the view. If the view from the Hilton was a painting it would be called “Pattaya Panorama”.
Mantra attached to the Amari Ocean View on the North Beach is for the professional eater. Walking into Mantra is like entering a different dimension where no food request seems ridiculous. Mantra’s “mantra” is variety, variety, variety.
Their normal menu comes in six parts that includes Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Thai, Italian, and Mediterranean cuisines. All are on full display at their decadent Sunday Brunches. As you venture deeper and deeper into the maze of culinary delights you “ooooh and ahhhh” like you’re watching a fireworks display. At some point you say, “Okay, now you’re just showing off”.
What if you are just after a chilled afternoon with a good book and access to some sparkling clean water to splash around in? Where is the best hotel pool? Almost every major hotel with a swimming pool will allow outside guests to hang out all day for a nominal fee, usually around 500 baht.
If it’s a hectic party mood you are after, hands down The Hard Rock’s massive facility on Beach Road is the place. For a pre-historic Land of the Lost motif that will surely please the kids, then Centara Grand in Naklua is the perfect choice.
If it’s just me being lazy, I want a jungle setting with great poolside service. Avani Resort (formerly Marriott) sandwiched between Beach Road and Second Road is my favorite. There are plenty of sun-loungers with umbrellas, a fully stocked bar poolside and a doting staff to make sure my mango smoothie is just the right consistency.
If I’ve got kids in tow, then no doubt Thai Garden Resort ocean-esque pool is the way to go. The pool measures 63 meters from end to end and actually has a bridge over the middle. But, it’s not just the size that makes it interesting.
The swimming area includes an integrated children’s pool, aqua beds, swim up jets, and multiple Jacuzzis. And, the eco-friendly salt to chlorine filtration and hygiene system makes the water so soft and easy on your eyes. You can dump all the squealing toddlers you want in this pool and it never seems crowded.
Ok, so let’s say you just want to have a cocktail or maybe munch on some lite snacks. Which Pattaya hotels offer the coolest bars with the best bartenders?
Again it depends on the vibe you’re after. The opulent décor and chilled out house music at Mantra always puts me in the right mood. And, their bar-snack menu is reason enough to go. It is the only place in Pattaya I’ve found that serves a proper martini. But, if it’s Pattaya Beach Ambience you want, I recommend Havana Bar at The Holiday Inn on Beach Road. The funky Cuban-themed bar rambles from inside to outside with the Afro-Cuban tunes flowing all the way. It’s my favorite place to slurp down a platter of raw oysters while watching the sunset over the water.
Honorable mention goes to the rooftop lounge at Barracuda Resort or Dusit D2 as it is also known. Situated right in the middle of Second Road, it’s high enough to see the heart of Pattaya yet low enough to sense the energy. You’ll feel like a voyeuristic cat as you sit on top of the city’s walls seeing everything. Live music and cool cocktails on the rooftop are a good way to spend a few hours.
Pattaya is chockfull of cool hotels from the ultra-swanky to mom-n-pop guest houses. Every one of them has something special to offer. Visitors shouldn’t rule out their facilities just because they aren’t staying there. Find yourself a cozy coffee shop, sparkling pool or sea view happy hour perch and have an “I Can’t Believe this is Pattaya” moment today.
by Bart Walters