The expression "oasis in a concrete jungle" is such an over-used expression when it comes to describing city resorts, but when it comes to any property that the two Bills: Heinecke and Bensley have worked on, it fits. And never more so when describing the Pattaya Marriott Resort & Spa (nee the Pattaya Royal Garden Resort & Spa.)

Occupying eight acres of lush landscaped gardens between Beach Road and Pattaya Soi 2, the resort has two buildings: a ten-story ocean-view Main Building and the four-story Garden Wing.

The astounding feature of the resort is that within seconds of leaving the cacophony of Beach Road with all its automobile and human traffic, you are snug within the quiet confines of this fabulous city resort. As if waving a magic wand, once you pass under the hotel’s archway there is an immediate stillness, which is almost eerie, compared to the hustle and bustle of the main drag you have just left.

If you visit the resort, you must have dinner at its Thai restaurant, the Sala Rim Nam, located in the center of the courtyard. With its surrounding dense foliage - you cannot even see the hotel buildings at night – you could swear you were upcountry, not in the center of Pattaya.

Another thing you will notice if you stay on one of the upper floors is that the sound of bird’s chirping in the courtyard below drowns out the sound of automobile traffic and this is no small feat when you consider the amount of vehicles constantly whizzing around the resort.

The resort has a twenty-four hour coffee shop, the Garden Café, and twenty-four hour room service. It also just happens to be the leading outside catering company in Pattaya (specializing in the airline industry), so it really can bring extensive menus and first-class service to your doorstop.

It has so many excellent F & B options, but the most fun, especially for the kids, might be Benihana, Thailand’s second Japanese-American steakhouse (the other being located in the Bangkok Marriott), with its adjoining Kabuki Sushi Bar. Located next door in the Royal Garden Plaza. Seating up to 100, at its famous Tappan tables, every meal is a show as skilled Thai chefs carve, dice and slice Hibachi and Teriyaki steak, chicken, lobster, scallops and shrimp and much more. They whirl and twirl the food and their culinary instruments before you as if they are juggling balls.

The hotel’s Chinese restaurant, the Rice Mill, located in the Royal Garden Plaza as well, is one of the best in town and offers a wide array of succulent dishes served in clay pots to enhance the aromas and flavors of your meal. It also has a bakery in the Plaza called Numero Uno, which offers a dazzling display of tantalizing cakes, croissants, sandwiches and goods, with all take away baked good being 50% from 8-11 pm.

The Royal Garden Plaza, Pattaya’s flagship shopping center, also has on offer all your fast food favorites: McDonald's, KFC, Au Bon Pain, Sizzler and the Pizza Company as well as a slew of others. And if you are looking for a taste of the weird and wonderful, there is a Ripley's ‘Believe It Or Not!’ Museum, and Motion Master Theatre. There's also a cinema showing the latest flicks and a number of fashion and clothing shops that are all reasonably priced.

The resort houses Pattaya's largest fitness center, which is open from 6am-10pm. It's not only spacious but outfitted with the latest in exercise equipment. Treadmills, bikes, step and rowing machines, Cybex strength machines and free weights are available. And there's a professionally run aerobics room, juice bar, meeting room, access to the hotel’s swimming pool, a spa and two floodlit tennis courts with ‘unreal Wimbledon grass,’ surrounded by lush gardens. A tennis pro is available to provide tennis coaching at all levels. Mountain bikes are also for hire and the nearby ocean offers all kinds of activities ranging from paragliding to jet-skiing and windsurfing.

And for golf enthusiasts, Pattaya is home to 18 golf courses within a 45-minute drive, including the Laem Chabang International Country Club (designed by Jack Nicklaus), the Eastern Star Golf Resort (designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.), the Sri Racha International Golf Club (designed by Gary Player), the Natural Park Hill Golf Course (designed by Ronald Fream) and the Siam Country Club (designed by I. Izumi). The hotel has a special program called ‘Tee Time’ where after you have selected your course it books your tee-time, caddy, golf cart, clubs, shoes and arranges transportation for you to and from the course. And on top of that, there is even a pro shop in the hotel to buy golf gear.

Although the hotel is part of the Marriott chain, which has over 88 hotels and 33,000 rooms in Asia, outside of the professional service you encounter, you never feel as if you are staying in a chain hotel. The hotel’s GM, Somsak Tanruengsri, one of the few Thai GMs in the country says, “We are committed to combining international hospitality expertise with Thai culture and true Thai hospitality to ensure our guests can take home a taste of Thailand. We are dedicated to investing in our staff through training to ensure they offer five star treatment in Pattaya.” So true, from the design of the staff uniforms to the design of the rooms, buildings, F & B outlets, and the landscaped gardens featuring Thai salas and lotus ponds: there’s no doubt where you are: muang Thai. And all the rooms have a balcony or terrace with either a great view of the gardens or the Gulf of Siam.

Another feature of the 290-room hotel, which is very evident upon arrival, is how the staff cares not only about its guests, which it goes out of its way to try and know personally, but also about each other. Teamwork is obviously taken seriously here, and everyone pitches in to make sure that both the guests and the staff optimize their experience while at the hotel. The hotel also has a Self Access Center (SAC) where staff can continually upgrade and improve their English skills.

Conrad Hilton used to stress the importance of ‘location, location, location’ when prioritizing what is essential for making a hotel successful. Given today’s traffic jams and different modes of transport, you might say its now ‘accessibility, accessibility, accessibility.’ Regardless, the Marriott Pattaya is certainly not a logistical nightmare to get to. It’s only 90 minutes by private car from Bangkok, or two hours by bus (half that when Suvarnabhumi comes on line), and although downtown Pattaya is a maze of one-way streets it’s fairly easy to get to. The upshot: you don’t need to spend lots of money and fly to Phuket or Samui for a nice little getaway. You can just hop on the Bang-na expressway and in no time be lounging in a deckchair poolside in a veritable garden oasis while all your troubles are put on hold until you report back to work the following Monday.                 

MANDARA SPA

All the rooms in the Spa are lavishly decorated Lanna Thai style with beautifully polished teakwood floors and walls and sculptures and paintings on corridors and suites offering a glimpse into one of Thailand’s most exotic civilizations. From the moment you arrive at the at the reception area, the staff goes out of their way to make sure you are treated like royalty in the Old Kingdom. Thai cotton robes & slippers, personal lockers, lemongrass tea and your Spa escort will ensure you arrive at your treatment feeling special.

Each Spa room has a private shower, teak massage beds and furniture, local aromatic oil burners, classical Thai music, flower bowls, full amenities and beautiful local plants, all this along with the resort's specially trained Thai therapists in traditional dress. The Deluxe spa suites have private baths as well to help soak away your stress.

Treatments range from herbal body scrubs to fruit and herb body wraps, herbal healing baths, fruit and floral facials, Royal Thai Massage, aromatherapy, Issan foot massage, and Prai hair care, which can all be arranged in a variety of packages.    

KID'S CLUB

The hotel also has a Kid's Club, which provides safe, fun and educational supervised activity from children aged four through twelve. Leave your kids from 10am-4pm in an active indoor/outdoor environment. It's the ideal place for your children's imaginations to fly away as they will have a great time engaged in sport, learning, art, laughter and competition.  Sample activities include: arts & crafts, flower arranging, jewelry making, treasure hunts, water aerobics, face painting, a mini Olympics, movie, tours and computer games.

Ed note:

Five Star Hotel Award
The Pattaya Marriott Resort and Spa is delighted to have recently accepted an award from The Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Hotel Standard Association, the Thai Hotels Association and the Association of Thai Travel Agents placing it in their 5 star hotel category.

Contact Info

Tel: (66-038) 412-120

Fax: (66-038) 429-926

www.marriotthotels.com/pyxmc

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