Sitting southeast of Bangkok and facing the Gulf of Thailand, Pattaya is among the most famous – and notorious – destinations in Thailand. As it has just about shrugged off its sin-city fleshpot reputation to embrace families and almost-innocent beach holidays, accommodation options today are as wide as the deep blue sky over its sandy bay. Here’s our pick of the best places to stay in Pattaya.
Embracing the shimmering gulf waters, the lush garden at Monttra Pattaya and the curvy infinity pool lend tranquil charm to a fetching spot made for sundowners. While most of the 23 suites in the Pattaya beach hotel are elongated and slightly austere spaces, the commodious premium Canopy Suites are more appealing. Their thatched A-frame chalets have timbered walls as well as a large terrace; two have private plunge pools. Floor-to-ceiling windows line the restaurant, and the property also houses the Jungle Gazebo Spa.
In blending nava (Thai for boat) and nirvana, the Buddhist concept of heaven, Navana’s name neatly distils its ethos. As it sits by a small sandy cove near the northern arm of the bay, trees and shrubbery muffle any wafting hubbub. The sharp angularity and organic curves are striking; rounded garden pavilions and lounges with spindly pillars and undulating textured ceilings stand reflected in a pristine pond-like pool. Rooms and villas at this boutique hotel in Pattaya feature indigo fabrics, wooden accents and copper fixtures; wining and dining, of course, are enjoyed in so-called “habitats”.
This gleaming asymmetrical high-rise luxury hotel in Pattaya looms over the gulf coastline in a prime northern suburb. Be it one of four types of deluxe rooms, eight grades of suites or the vast five-bedroom seafront villa, there’s lots of glass, including balcony railings, floor-to-ceiling windows and duplex window walls. For all the minimalism, the accommodations have stunning sea views framed by terraced pools, decks, lawns and palm-dotted shrubbery leading to a narrow rock-lined beach.
There’s no mistaking the distinctive Hard Rock look and playful atmosphere, though whether you equate it with, say, the melodrama of Meatloaf or the chirpiness of Madness is entirely personal. This huge downtown hotel in Pattaya has a vast pool (famed for its foam parties) with a guitar-shaped deck. Not surprisingly, music memorabilia studs every wall, while musical wordplay brands every amenity and facility. Also, you can freely borrow electric guitars for in-room jams. Sadly, you can’t hurl TVs from balconies – it’s a family-friendly place, after all – and the jack-of-all-trades restaurants favour medleys and greatest hits.
With more than 200 bonsai trees, a thousand palms and discretely placed exotic sculptures among the lush shrubbery, the Thai Garden Resort is truly a slice of verdant paradise. A low-slung pavilion restaurant alongside an amoeba-shaped pool with whirlpools, aqua beds and an arched bridge all lend a faintly palatial vibe. Rooms and apartments are straightforward and unfussy, with their functional decor offset by solid rosewood furniture.
Sitting off a narrow side road in the heart of the city, Noursabah Pattaya is a charming boutique hotel comprising two buildings that flank a long slender pool. The faintly, if not improbable riad-like feel – subtle arabesque designs, motifs and lattice screens – is no accident, for it’s owned and run by a local Muslim family yet wears halal credentials, notably in cuisine, lightly. Pops of black with blue-grey accents offset the all-white and off-white decor, and pool-facing balconies and terraces redeem the compactness of the rooms.
While the imposing exterior resembles a stately 1970s embassy building, the lofty interiors of the Health Land Resort and Spa are sleek and neat; the bright, unfussy rooms feature white panelling and pine-brown furniture. The focus here is on wellbeing, so a menu of rejuvenating treatments – including a Thai massage and herbal compress – is thorough and professional. However, with all-day dining, an in-house bakery and a piano bar lounge permitting a daily yo-yo from health to indulgence and back, it’s no boot camp.
Just minutes from Pattaya Beach, Hotel Vista, a modern building overlooking a slender saltwater pool and yellow-tiled swim-up bar, is one of the best places to stay in Pattaya. Inside, wingback and egg swivel chairs, a billiards table and abstract paintings lend a youthful vibe, while the compact, well-designed rooms are almost minimalist. There are two restaurants, one specialising in Italian-inspired seafood, along with a small fitness centre – remarkable for a hotel this size.
Siam Bayshore Pattaya is located between a hilltop temple and the southern arm of the curving bay is idyllic for some, although the lively bars and clubs of Walking Street aren’t far. Featuring extensive gardens, two pools (one overlooking a small pier-side beach) and multiple dining and drinking establishments, it’s a varied and attractive low-rise complex. The rooms and suites are appealing, with rosewood furniture, lantern lamps, rugs, ceiling-high headboards and local artwork, while in-house Thai cookery classes and free tennis courts bolster the resort feel.
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