Living life in style.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
Every time a much-anticipated long weekend rolls round, the inevitable debates begin about which holiday locale, ideally driving distance from Bangkok, we should haunt. The arguments follow the same tread: if we were looking for vineyards, we’d drive up to Khao Yai; somewhere quieter, Hua Hin; and if we were in the mood for a party, Pattaya was the obvious choice. However, after my visit to Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach, I had to reassess my assumptions, and now I can emphatically advice that if you’re looking for a secluded retreat to connect with nature and escape from the frenetic pace of city life, all while ensconced in the lap of local luxury, this is the place to go.
“The perception of Pattaya is different from the reality,” Ranjeet Y. Rajebhosale, the General Manager for Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach tells me when I meet him amidst the lush verdure of the sprawling estate. “The idea that it’s ideal just for nightlife is not the whole truth, especially in the space that we are in, which is outside downtown Pattaya. Here, it’s a completely different experience, and in this property especially, we’ve tried to create a destination within a destination.”
Indeed, the resort, which sits on almost 20 acres of landscaped gardens, feels like we’ve been whisked away to a Thailand of yesteryear, with 100-year old banyan trees and converted, painstakingly-restored heritage homes that have stood the test of time for decades. Andaz, which means ‘personal style’ in Hindi, is a lifestyle brand established under the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and while it has a strong presence in India, China, and many other countries in Asia, this is the first of its kind in the Kingdom. “There’s been a dearth of low-rise, beachfront luxury hotels and resorts in Pattaya, so bringing Andaz here, to a destination that has been on the international map for over 25 years, made sense. There was a space in the market for a luxury lifestyle brand, and we simply slotted into it,” Ranjeet tells me. Having heard nothing but rave reviews of the resort since its opening earlier in the year, I was looking forward to discovering more of its characteristic style.
From the moment you step into the resort, you already feel like you’re in an oasis, tucked a few miles away from the bustle of downtown Pattaya. Thai charm is interwoven into every aspect of the property: from their lobby, which looks like a modern interpretation of a traditional Thai teakwood house, complete with wooden rafters and fans, but with end-to-end windows that bring the verdant outdoors in; to the koi ponds and Thai salas interspersed throughout the gardens, replete with traditional Thai pillows and mats that invite guests to curl up with a book or simply meditate amidst the sounds of nature. “The core pillar for the Andaz brand has always been to integrate as much of the culture and surroundings of its location into the property, whether it’s through the design, or the experiences that we provide to our guests,” Ranjeet explains.
As I took a walk through the resort to its private beach (a luxury in Pattaya), I realised that it’s not that the property contains landscaped gardens as far as the eye can see – it’s more that the carefully-contained riot of lush greenery has already existed in that space and the resort has simply moulded itself around it. In pride of place is a banyan tree that must be a century old by a day, branches luxuriously stretched out above us, holding up rattan lamps that seamlessly blend into the foliage. Winding paths encouraging you to get to know the property instead of rushing through the deceptively large space, which had new zones (designated as ‘courts’) to discover as you turn each corner. Despite boasting a full house that weekend, the way the space is designed means that I could find solitude wherever I went, if I so wished, and I was never disturbed by the sounds of happy families enjoying the facilities.
ROOMS AND SUITES
With 204 keys, the resort offers plenty of space for guests of all kinds, from couples looking for a romantic getaway; visitors hoping to take advantage of the array of attractions only a short drive away, spanning water parks to the islands off the coast of Pattaya; to families hoping for a relaxing space where they can avail everything they needed without having to step out of the resort. Their range of rooms, suites, and villas offer everything from garden views, to lagoon views, ocean views, and pool villas, with a select few boasting direct lagoon or ocean access, or even their own private pool.
We were ushered into their 1 King Bed Lagoon Access room, which was a capacious and meticulously-designed space that took my breath away with its attention to detail. Every aspect embraces and celebrates Thai-ness, from a classic Thai poem engraved on the mirror as you walk in; to the carved wooden flowers on the sliding doors separating the bedroom from the kind of bathroom that I could happily live in; to the Thai silk pillows on their array of living spaces and nooks; and the complimentary mid-afternoon snack of Thai khanoms. Their 11sqm patio leads directly into a winding lagoon pool, ideal for a refreshing early-morning dip; one of three different public pools. Of course, as is expected from a modern property, guests can easily cast on to the generously-sized TV and watch from their streaming platforms of choice, but even the allure of my favourite shows was not enough to tempt me away from exploring the rest of the room, which was, to put it mildly, stunningly appointed. The bathroom was perhaps the piéce de resistance, with a bathtub that could easily fit two.
I had the chance to visit a few of the other rooms, which were similarly luxe and inviting, particularly the 1 King Bed Beachfront Pool Villa which had its own pool, and was also steps away from the azure waters of the Gulf. For the discerning guest who’s willing to spend a little more on a private retreat, the resort also has reconstructed heritage homes and manors that have been converted into private ocean-view getaways, perfect for families or groups of friends celebrating a special occasion.
DRINKING AND DINING
The resort boasts six different F&B outlets, all with their own distinctive offerings. At the heart of the resort is their Village Square – fitting as I was informed that the resort’s concept was based around a modern interpretation of a Thai fishing village – which offers three restaurant concepts. My first taste of their sublime offerings was at Village Butcher, their steakhouse with premium cuts of meat and seafood from around the world; an experience that was truly a cut above the rest. Our meal consisted of a refreshing Ceasar salad and an Alaskan crab cake that was flaky and perfectly prepared, but of course the star of the show was the Striploin 300g, packed full of flavour and an epicurean dream. To top off the experience, we were asked to select our choice of steak knives from an array, while on the side we were served mashed potatoes that were sinfully creamy and smooth. We also enjoyed a plate of fall-off-the-bone Pork ribs that truly rounded off the perfect dinner.
La Cucina is their Italian restaurant with fresh pastas and wood-fired-oven-baked pizzas, which also doubles as their breakfast space (which can be extended to the other two restaurants if there are enough guests). Breakfast was a lively affair with a smorgasbord of options spanning Thai breakfast favourites such as joke to classic English breakfast fare, and much more. As someone who considers Italian cuisine to be one of her favourites, I’m unafraid to say that the fare at La Cucina is especially delectable and not to be missed. If you’re looking for more local options, Wok Wok provides authentic Thai flavours in a convivial atmosphere, while their Teak Lounge overlooks the gardens and provides tea, coffee, or cocktails for sundowners or late-night tipples.
Closer to the beach, visit Ruen Thai, in yet another restored Thai teakwood home that has been onsite for 60 years, and which offers lavish afternoon tea options in a regal space; or enjoy fresh-caught seafood at Fish Club, their beachfront seafood grill, which also features DJs and other entertainment as the sun sets over the glittering sands of the beach.
WELLNESS AND OTHER ACTIVITIES
Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach has partnered with renowned Thai spa brand, Pañpuri, and the collaboration of the two luxury brands has resulted in a spa like no other, the Pañpuri Wellness Harbour. If the resort is a “destination within a destination,” then the spa is a destination a step further than that. Walking into the tranquil space, done up in warm woods and soothing shades of blue, you immediately feel the stresses of the day leave you. Kind and attentive staff walk you through choosing a treatment depending on the result you’re looking for, and you’re asked to pick from one of a range of aromatic oils, each with different properties. The spa itself sprawls out on a space decked out with greenery, and the experience was one of the best I’ve had – and I consider myself a bit of a spa connoisseur, with how many I indulge in on a regular basis. I truly felt renewed as I walked out, with all my knots and troubles kneaded away. The resort also boasts an on-site onsen and sauna, a 24-hour fitness centre, and plenty of water-based activities for more adventurous guests.
The experience was one of many that I will treasure from this brief sojourn in the resort; one that made me fall in love with Thailand’s numerous charms all over again.
THE INSIDE SCOOP
Ranjeet Y. Rajebhosale, the General Manager for Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach, gives us more of his take on the property and what makes it stand out from the rest.
Tell us a little about your background and your experience opening this property, the first one of its kind, in Thailand.
I’m originally from India, and I’ve been with Hyatt as a company for almost 22 years. I’ve worked in six different countries over the last several years, which has allowed me to have a very open mindset on how to integrate into different cultures, and allows me as a leader and manager to take the best of all these experiences and help me to grow in my various roles. I came to Thailand to open the first Andaz property towards the end of 2021, and it’s been very rewarding opening a brand which is as unique as an Andaz.
What sets apart Andaz from other luxury resorts in the area?
No two Andazes can be similar. We have almost 30 hotels, and every one is unique in its own way, and that’s because of how it integrates into the location. For us to bring the Andaz brand to life, we had to discover how we can bring the ‘Thai-ness’ into the property. It’s a modern interpretation of a Thai fishing village, and that’s the outlining concept of this resort, and everything else has fallen into place based on that concept. It’s personally been one of my most rewarding experiences.
Most of the hotels in Pattaya are high-rise ocean-facing resorts, and we are very different from that. We are a lifestyle resort which has been conceptualised on a very old, traditional private estate, and the USP is definitely the landscaping. We have our own direct access to the beach, and we’ve taken the landscaping which already existed and elevated it, to create a low-rise structure where people can come and relax in a tropical paradise. It’s a great place for people to spend several days disconnecting from our urban lifestyle.
The idea is for our guests not to leave the resort. We’ve tried to create a space where they can indulge in various forms of activities and experiences, from F&B to wellness. We have a unique spa concept, managed by Pañpuri, a 24-hour gym, an onsen, a steam sauna, and a lot of outdoor experiences for our guests. Not only do we have non-motorised activities by the beach, but we also have team members in our resort who specialise in yoga and meditation, aqua-aerobics, and more. It’s a complete lifestyle space where people can disconnect if they wish, or partake in a lot of things if they want to stay active and connected.
Andaz is a very popular brand in India, which will surely attract a lot of the Indian market. Are there any ways that you hope to accommodate the overseas and local Indian market, as well as Indian destination weddings?
Every market for us is very important. The outbound market from India continues to be very large, and Thailand is one of its key destinations. Within that market, Indian weddings form a very unique segment, and I think that will only continue to grow.
That will be one of the key segments for us to focus on in the year ahead. While we’re spread out over 20 acres, we’re a very intimate space, with 204 keys which is an ideal size for a buyout for an Indian wedding of between 200-300 people. We have multiple spaces from a beachfront venue, to gardens in the resort, to an event space which can accommodate up to 300 people, and all those spaces allow Indian weddings to have a space for every occasion, which allows a lot of flexibility.
We can also leverage the expertise from our chefs and teams in India, so depending on what the clients’ needs are, we can bring in specialised chefs on to our resort to assist with that. Indian weddings are also family affairs, with multi-generation families attending, so from a rooms’ perspective, we’ve got different options. All of these contribute to a space which is ideal for a large group wedding.
ANDAZ PATTAYA JOMTIEN BEACH
345, Moo 3, Na Jomtien Sub-District, Sattahip, Pattaya, CB 20250, Thailand
Tel: 038 221 234