By Christy Lau
Check in at the newly renovated Amari Pattaya, which offers a blissful beachfront location and its very own private water park for a splashing good time.
There is more to Pattaya than meets the eye. A risqué nightlife reputation has long followed this resort town, but change is afoot. Recently, Pattaya has welcomed a wealth of international hotel chains, and this, coupled with a range of family-friendly water parks and museums, has lifted the beachside locale into the realm of wholesome entertainment destinations. Moreover, Pattaya’s accessibility from Bangkok – it is only a two-and-a-half hour drive – has made it an up-and-coming location for both business travellers and families.
Amari Pattaya is one such beacon of luxurious relaxation, situated in the north end of Pattaya, right by the ocean’s edge, and within walking distance of the city’s most happening bars and cafés. It is also within a ten-minute drive from the brand-new Terminal 21 shopping mall, the Pattaya bus terminal, and the pier.
The five-star resort has recently undergone a major makeover in the last couple of years in an effort to cater to the current, more diverse guest market. Part of the renovations include an entire new wing toted as the Amari Suites, filled with 49 family-style apartments with one, two or three bedroom options. On the other side, Amari Tower offers 297 guest rooms, including the Deluxe rooms, with a choice of ocean or pool views, and the Deluxe Family room, which comes with a quaint wooden bunkbed for families with young children. There are also the Executive Club rooms, which offer exclusive complimentary access to the Executive Club Lounge.
Connecting Amari Suites and Amari Tower is one of the hotel’s key attractions: a sparkling freeform pool that winds its way in loops around the lush green grounds, and doubles as a mini water park. Augmented with a water house structure, complete with dunkers, sprays and a jungle-themed spiral slide, the water park grants hours of splash-tastic fun, for old and young alike.
Anticipating my stay here, I knew I was in for an unforgettable time the moment I stepped into the lobby, a gorgeous space with soaring ceilings adorned with dangling lightbulbs, sheathed in rustic wooden lantern-like structures. The décor is luxurious without being ostentatious, and cleverly combines elements of contemporary design principles with traditional elegance. Hints of Thai culture are infused seamlessly throughout, making for an atmosphere that feels like you’re in a beach home belonging to Thai royalty.
This theme is carried throughout all of the rooms at Amari Pattaya, including the 49sqm Executive Club room, which became my home for the weekend. Once I stepped inside, I felt instantly soothed by the light blue, white and grey colour palette. The open-plan layout means no walls come between the bathroom and bedroom areas, so the bright white bathtub is visible from the room entrance, adding to the tranquil ambience. The private balcony is another bonus, furnished with chairs to sit and absorb the breathtaking views of the coastline.
With some time to spare before dinner, I decided to check out the Executive Club Lounge, a cosy multifunctional retreat on the 19th floor that offers private check in and check out, as well as a delicious buffet breakfast from 6am to 11am. Your eyes are instantly drawn to the panoramic view of the ocean, which at sunset makes an enchanting backdrop to enjoy the complimentary canapés and cocktails, served from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.
That night, I ate at the Amaya Food Gallery, the property’s signature all-day dining venue, where you can find classic Asian and Western starters, main dishes and desserts. The presence of an Indian chef in the kitchen also opens up possibilities for Indian wedding catering.
If you’re unsure what to graze on, the restaurant also has a special menu with five signature Thai dishes, chosen to showcase the best of the national cuisine. I highly recommend the Miang kham (THB 220), a DIY appetiser that consists of betel leaves topped with various piquant accompaniments, including cut chilli, ginger, dried shrimps, shallots and toasted coconut.
Other Thai signature dishes include Tom yum goong (THB 350), served in a coconut to enhance the creamy broth, Phad Thai (THB 280) and Gaeng kiew wan (THB 250), which comes with a generous amount of white rice to soak up the rich, robust curry. For dessert, the Gluay cheum (THB 140), which translates directly to ‘banana soaked in syrup,’ is a sweet treat that is served with coconut ice-cream to provide a multi-textured thrill for the taste buds.
The following day I woke up early to explore the pool area. Besides the main water park attraction, multiple pools of varying lengths tempt you to take a dip. In between lounging sessions on the red-cushioned deckchairs, you can make use of the push-for-service button system to summon pizza and other light bites and beverages to your side, from the adjoining Aqua Eatery & Bar. Also within the same area is the Treehouse Kids Club, a haven of carefree amusements with arts and crafts activities to keep the little ones entertained while you indulge in me-time.
If you want to get properly pampered for an hour or two, the Breeze Spa will answer all your longings to de-stress and unwind. Your time at this haven of tranquillity begins with a personal consultation to understand what you’re in the mood for, and most importantly, how you wish to feel. Their signature series of treatments, termed ‘Mood Massages’, range from the soft-pressured ‘Dreamy,’ incorporating long flowing strokes, to ‘Energised,’ a traditional Thai massage that uses a warm herbal compress to get your joints to loosen up.
I chose the Dreamy massage, and was impressed at how rejuvenated I felt afterwards. It really did live up to its name, as I was sent off to paradise, and floated somewhere between sleep and wakefulness for the entire 90 minutes. Breeze Spa also offers several other types of body and facial treatments, and even produces its own massage oils made from aromatic plant and flower extracts, which you can purchase, should you desire to re-create the experience in the comfort of your own home.
Back in the room that evening, I treated myself to the luxury of a long bath to cap off my weekend of diversion. Ultimately, Amari Pattaya achieves what it sets out to do. It caters to every type of traveller effortlessly, and has managed to distil the essence of Pattaya’s lively energy into a wholesome sanctuary that promises an Amari-zing beach getaway.
An elegant and versatile venue to host your dream wedding
Deborah Haines, the Area General Manager for Eastern Thailand is in charge of nine properties in Pattaya, including Amari Pattaya, under the ONYX Hospitality Group. She reveals to us how the hotel’s unique design makes it the perfect location for weddings.
“We have intentionally created several beautiful spaces to host various kinds of wedding events. For instance, our Beach Lawn can accommodate 600 people for an outdoor sit-down dinner, while our Grand Ballroom can fit up to 700 wedding guests for an elegant cocktail reception. Our pool area also makes a great spot for pool parties, with the option for a barbecue buffet setup at Aqua Eatery & Bar. Additionally, we are opening a new two-storey wedding venue and beach café on the 1st of December 2019 in the space in front of Amari Pattaya, where Mantra Restaurant used to be, so there will be even more venue options. Furthermore, we will soon be able to provide extra accommodation for larger weddings with upwards of 400 guests, once the adjoining OZO Pattaya hotel, also managed by ONYX, opens in the first quarter of 2020.”
240 Pattaya Beach Road, Nong Prue, Banglamung, Pattaya, Chonburi, 20150
Tel: 03 841 8418