Welcome to the most tranquil of escapes
By Mahmood Hossain
Visiting Pattaya for a beginner can be tad overwhelming, never knowing if the city lives up to its reputation and how it might ultimately affect your visit. However, a string of hotels, resorts, and spas alongside the coastline can subconsciously overlook this location for a little recuperation. Case in point: the Renaissance Pattaya Resort & Spa provides several solid arguments as to why it is a must-visit and worth the two-hour trip from Bangkok.
The beautiful five-star beachfront property is an ideal destination to conduct business and take time off from your hectic life with friends and family. Or, if you’re like us, to call a timeout from everyone you know and take a breather from any work related issues that follow. Located in the quiet comfort of the Na Jomtien district and at the heart of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which is the city’s famous tourist attractions and exhibition venues hub, the resort is a welcome escape from distant noise pollution and stress-induced decision-making. If you want a party, there’s a short 30-minute trip to the city centre where you can live out your indulgent lifestyle. But that’s not why you’re here. You’re here because you seek tranquillity, and the Renaissance Pattaya Resort & Spa will have you embrace it fully, thoroughly satisfied, and place you in a better headspace by the time you leave.
There are two ways to appreciate the aesthetics of the Renaissance Pattaya Resort & Spa. One, you can look at aerial drone shots or exterior views from a yacht anchored out at sea. The property looks absolutely stunning, so much so, that it takes your attention away from its neighbours and your surroundings. Then, there is the view from within.
The moment you arrive at the resort’s front entrance, you are ushered into one of the most breathtakingly calming, scenic views in Pattaya. The lobby has an open view of the resort’s centrepiece, framed beautifully by its architecture. Its eye-line leads to the hues of blue of the sea on the horizon, sitting atop the border of the lobby’s shallow pool, mimicking the effects of the resort’s two infinity pools. The entire atmosphere changes within the resort’s borders. The visuals are spectacular, and the sounds are soothing.
Complementing this experience is the exceptional staff, as they are always eager to help, with a sophisticated approach to
overcoming even complex challenges set by other guests at the resort. We were pleased to see how management, without making certain guests uncomfortable or awkward, handled unfavourable situations with a smile. Giving the staff’s hospitality and care a 10 out of 10 would be an understatement.
The rooms are near perfection themselves. Unsurprisingly spacious and comfy, there’s a sitting arrangement depending on your mood; recline, work, or enjoy the view of the pool or beach from the balcony. The furnishing is exquisite and of modern standards. We had some of the best sleep on the extra-luxe mattresses and sheets, and laid our heavy heads on the softest of pillows, cradling us into the sweetest of dreams.
Drinking and Dining
Our visit to the Renaissance Pattaya Resort & Spa gave us yet another excuse to indulge in its many gifts. The resort’s delicacies are brilliant and come in generous portions. Its all-morning breakfast buffet at the 609 Kitchen, stationed by its talented group of culinary professionals, caters to nearly every option you can think of having during a premium morning meal. Not to mention, certain items are made fresh, right in front of you. But if you happen to miss breakfast or simply desire something different, there are always cosmopolitan-style deli delights at The Deli that you can try as a brunch option.
Back at the 609 Kitchen, we attempted to dive into their enticing eclectic mix of a menu. However, they recommended we try their Indian cuisine, so we obliged. To our surprise, the food transported us to our childhood, homecooked South Asian dishes that were bursting with flavours and triggering the fondest of memories. Taking a slight detour on a separate occasion, we also scratched our Italian itch and indulged in a beautiful bowl of Carbonara, with our choice of pasta; the tagliatelle was al dente and wonderfully plated.
On our second night, we were treated to a couple of new and delicious dishes from Chef Phukao at the resort’s Pebble Bar and Grill restaurant. With a dozen years of experience under his belt, he has transferred his affinity for French fusion cuisine and delivered fine dining worthy of a 5-star resort. His creations are the perfect example of culinary arts innovation. Combined with fresh seasonal ingredients, the Khao Yai burrata salad was absolutely delightful. We could have settled on this dish alone and called it an evening.
Fortunately, this was trumped by one of the more popular dishes on the menu, the Honey glazed snow fish. The locally grown organic ingredients, hand-picked by the chef, were served on a bed of risotto, which was exquisite. But if you’re looking for something more robust, juicy, and overly-satisfying, the Braised beef short rib, yet another new addition to the menu, will send your taste buds to a completely different level.
Let’s not forget the ‘spa’ in the resort’s name. The ultimate relaxation is found at the luxury day spa, rejuvenating your body, soul, and mind, from eye treatments and facials to body scrubs and instructions in the art of massage. Alongside the pool and 24-7 fitness centre, the spa serves as a hub of various beauty services and rejuvenating massage treatments. These amazing amenities will become difficult to part with once you’ve had a taste.
The Inside Scoop
To get better insight, we met with the GM of Renaissance Pattaya Resort & Spa, Bruno Rotschaedl, who spoke to us at the resort’s suave R Bar.
For those considering this resort as a viable option for their special occasions, what do you believe sets the Renaissance Pattaya Resort & Spa apart from the rest in the field?
First and foremost, our location is quite different from the rest of Pattaya. It’s private, much more luxurious, and we are the only hotel on this beach. We have our beach front deck, leading to the beach itself, and we have a lawn, a ballroom, and much more. What else sets us apart? The entire layout and setting of the resort, facing the sunset; our incredible international culinary talents; our wonderful cocktails; I can go on.
This resort is a completely different experience compared to the others in the city. Others lack access to the beach, have no lawns, and privacy is a top priority here, as well as security. Additionally, we are near other activities that guests can take part in. For example, we are close to the Ocean Marina Yacht Club, which is the largest yacht club in Southeast Asia. They are never too far from elevating their stay here.
The same can be said for larger events. We are always working on becoming a preferred destination for Thai-Indian weddings, and on ways that the resort can properly accommodate couples and their family and friends. We are currently investing in this regard.
What would you want your guests to leave with after experiencing the resort?
The Renaissance brand is about discovery. I believe guests will discover a new Pattaya, something that is different from the usual excitement and nightlife of downtown. But that is not our competition. For couples, honeymooners, and families, there are many attractions nearby, of course. There is plenty of exploration to be had here, as Pattaya continues to quickly grow and develop new attractions. And as challenging as the pandemic was, we benefitted by tapping into the local market as well. Both locals and out-of-town visitors are starting to appreciate this location more.
The COVID-19 pandemic definitely changed the way we work and live. How have you and the staff changed your approach to running the resort?
There are now different hygiene practices and sanitation protocols in place. COVID also created certain delays in sustainability. For example, everything was in a single and separate package, in plastic bags and wrapping; you can imagine what that may mean for the environment. For us, being a five-year-old hotel, it was more of a challenge. The pandemic hit while we were still in the process of properly introducing ourselves to the market. We still had to connect with the local community and build trust and respect in the neighbourhood. While it may have put a sudden halt to our progression, we took it as an opportunity to work smarter and continue our journey here.
On a more personal note, what do you feel is the most fulfilling part of your job at the resort?
Before I took this position, I was in Bangkok. In the capital, you go from point A to B to C, and so on. Here, it’s different. People come here to have a really good time and away from the chaos you might find in a city like Bangkok. The fulfilling part is actually delivering that good time to our customers. Guests come and go and experience similar situations with hotel rooms and beaches, but that positive feeling is something you cannot buy. So, I work very closely with our staff to create an environment that is not only comfortable, but one where they are able to instil that positive feeling at every visit. The fulfilment is seeing the customer happier than the moment they arrived. There’s no greater feeling!