Impressive pool, quiet location and family option. This high-rise is squeezed between the northern end of frenetic Pattaya and the calmer Na-Klua area, and walkable to the facilities and beaches in both regions. But the setting and views will be spoilt with the construction of another towering Amari hotel next door by 2019. The abundance of mirrors in the bright and sunny Deluxe Rooms makes them feel more spacious. They also feature a curved glass desk and open-plan bathroom, but the angle of the balconies means that even rooms facing the front do not enjoy perfect sea views. The lagoon-shaped pool on the ground level is magnificent, and offers a swim-up bar in an ‘island’, plenty of trees (enjoyed by squirrels), and a shallow end for toddlers. A playground and kids’ club are also under construction. The beach over the road is marginally better 100m further south, and it’s easy to reach by songthaew taxi truck.
Motel-style, quieter than others and metres from the sea. The Avalon is at Dongtan Beach, at the northern tip of Jomtien, a far calmer and prettier region than Pattaya, about 15 minutes away by songthaew taxi truck. Rooms are in 4-level blocks overlooking the lovely long pool, but also facing other balconies 30m away. Those on the corners offer some sea views, although mostly blocked by trees. Deluxe Rooms are spacious, with a corner sofa alongside the floor-to-ceiling window and wide balcony. Thai prints on the walls add to the appeal. Designed more for longer stays, the Executive Rooms contain a kitchenette, dining table, bedroom with polish floorboards, sunken bath and 2 balconies. Not another charmless mega-resort, the location is faultless: barely 20m from a sandy beach, along a dead-end street almost devoid of traffic, and within a stroll of facilities along Jomtien esplanade.
Remarkable garden oasis in downtown, and pleasant for families. With an exterior resembling a carpark, this tranquil resort is in the midst of chaotic Pattaya. Although well-designed so that many rooms face the ocean 100m away, sea views are only guaranteed on the top 2 of the 10 floors, while other rooms overlook the incredibly lush tropical gardens. Standard rooms feature attractive wood panelling, contemporary furnishings, and a balcony large enough for chairs and a pot plant. Very comfortable but with unremarkable décor, the 1-bedroom suites have a separate lounge/dining area and balcony twice as long as normal. Set among magnificent gardens, the pool is serene and enticing, with a swim-up bar, bubble jets and a kids’ area with water slide. There’s also a tennis court. Adjoining the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum, the Avani is 1 block from the esplanade and a 5-minute stroll to the sleazy Walking Street.
Downtown and trendy, but style over practicality. Making impressive use of the narrow block, the overall design of white and blue is stylish and likeable. All rooms are in a 4-level block overlooking the skinny pool and facing the wall of another resort. Rooms have a floor-to-ceiling window leading to a balcony barely large enough for 1 chair. The décor is also uninspiring: grey wallpaper and a disconcerting wall-length mirror. And the layout is chic but not always practical, e.g. the shower has a bench but no door (only an inadequate curtain), and there are no tables next to the bed which is shaped like a space capsule. The centrepiece pool sparkles, but the bar alongside is predictably noisy as many guests are partygoers. The location, however, is unbeatable: halfway along Pattaya, 1 block from the esplanade, and next to the classy Pattaya Avenue shopping centre.
Large, central, quieter than most, and ideal for families. Set 200m back from the main road in downtown Pattaya, this is the big sister to the low-level Wave Hotel in front, so sea views are mostly unobstructed. Rooms are in 2 distinctively different blocks, so they appear like separate hotels. Those in the 4-level Garden Wing facing the larger pool are motel-style and functional, but overdue for renovations. Better are those in the high-rise Ocean Wing: brightly-coloured, airy and spacious, with a sofa alongside the full-length window and balcony. The sizeable S-shaped pool has a kids’ section, but a second pool, virtually ignored around the corner, lacks sunlight. Wonderful family facilities include tennis courts, a billiard room and delightful kids’ club with a pink treehouse alongside. And the location is faultless: next to the world-class Central Festival shopping centre and 1 block from the esplanade, yet it’s remarkably unaffected by noise from traffic and nightclubs.
Cosy Beach Hotel
Distant, but peaceful with remarkable views, yet so affordable. Spread across 3 buildings, this clichéd-sounding resort is perched on ‘Buddha Hill’ between southern Pattaya and northern Jomtien. Rooms at the front of the high-rise Ocean Wing boast perfect unobstructed sea views, while the other half have decent vistas of the streets and distant hills, but some rooms in the other wings may face the street, which is quiet anyway. Rooms and suites vary considerably, but all are spacious and comfortable, with a full-length window and broad balcony. Overlooking the sea, the main pool is shady but could get crowded, so 2 other pools cater for the inevitable overspill. Steps from the elegant clifftop café lead down to a sandy cove, which is virtually private but disappointingly scruffy and home to wild dogs. There are enough cafés and shops in the backstreets, but Pattaya and Jomtien involve a short taxi trip.
Massive, long-established, convenient and family-friendly. As one of the first mega-resorts, it is conveniently located between northern Pattaya and the southern Na-Klua area, and walkable to endless facilities in both regions. It offers 8 types of rooms across 2 mammoth wings. The Premium Rooms are compact but pleasing, with a plush carpet, corner desk and some Thai prints. They offer views of the sea or gardens from a wide balcony with surprisingly tacky plastic chairs. Higher in floors and in rates, the Club Rooms boast perfect views of Pattaya and the sea from a Z-shaped balcony. The Club Grand is the pick of the bunch, but a second shower on the balcony seems pointless. The 2 large saltwater pools feature children’s splash areas, cabanas and swim-up bars. Facing an extensive rocky coastline, the beach immediately in front was improved in 2017. Families will also appreciate the kids’ club, playground and 4 tennis courts.
Quiet but central, contemporary not chic, and good for families. The box-shaped design is eye-catching, and the lobby is welcoming at this largish hotel at Jomtien beach, a far nicer and quieter alternative to Pattaya, 15 minutes away by songthaew taxi truck. Designed for budget-minded holidaymakers on longer stays, most rooms feature a kitchenette, and all have room for an extra single bed. The spacious Junior Suites also contain a dining table, while the fully-equipped Family Suites have 2 bedrooms, TVs, desks and bathrooms. And the bright and airy studios offer a larger balcony. Too far from the beach to offer sea views, rooms overlook the lawn, car park or pool, which is nicely surrounded by frangipani bushes. An uncommon patch of grass alongside has some mini-golf holes, and there’s also a games room. Only 200m from a palm-fringed beach, it’s along a quiet side-street linking the 2 main roads in Jomtien.
Just as expected – huge, central and family-friendly. Making exceptional use of limited space in downtown Pattaya, the lobby and corridors feature the usual autographed guitars and other musical memorabilia, while the famous café is perched next door. Although facing the esplanade, not all rooms have the sea views imagined. Most feature a striking, if a little garish, décor of metallic lampshades, red chairs and purple carpets, and all have the requisite Santana photo or Marley print. The standard rooms are compact, bordering on undersized, while the Rock Royalty Sea View rooms are larger – but also, remarkably with no balcony. The Rock Star Suite offers a lounge area, an internal bedroom with bunk beds, and 2 balconies. The massive lagoon-shaped pool has a tropical ‘beach’ with thatched cabanas, sloping palms and a swim-up bar. And the other facilities are wonderful for families, such as the children’s pool, kids’ club and playground.
Modern, central, jaw-dropping views – but an eyesore? All angles and edges, with no apparent symmetry, is this an architectural wonder or a teetering monstrosity? Either way, it towers over central Pattaya like nothing else. Perched above the world-class Central Festival shopping centre, the lobby is on the 16th floor and rooms soar heavenwards for another 18 levels. The décor is chic throughout. Deluxe Rooms feature a marble entrance and a bed facing an angled balcony with sweeping panoramas across the sea and along Pattaya beach. But the rooms need considerably more colour and the desk, bedside table and sofa are trendily undersized. The more spacious Executive Plus Seaview rooms feature the same unremarkable furnishings, but do boast terrific sea views from a balcony with a Jacuzzi. Adjacent to the 16th-floor lobby, the Infinity pool is one of the most extraordinary in Southeast Asia, while views from the rooftop bar are even more breathtaking.
Convenient, family-focused and startling views. It’s well designed so all rooms facing the front share the same views from their balcony (but less so from rooms in the second wing behind). Deluxe Rooms are very pleasant, with pastel colours and Thai crafts, and the panoramas are as equally eye-popping from the bedroom as from the marble bathtub. There is 1 pool for adults with Infinity edges that seem to merge into the horizon and another very large one for children with a slide and shaded area for watchful parents. The beach immediately across the road is poor, and only marginally better further down. And families are a focus, with a bright and supervised kids’ club offering plenty of activities. One of several high-rises squeezed between northern Pattaya and the southern Na-Klua area, endless facilities in both regions are easy to reach by foot or songthaew taxi truck.
Serene, graceful, ideal for families, but a tad distant. Squeezed between mega-resorts and towering condominiums, this resort is delightfully un-Pattaya. The blocks of rooms are low-level and attractively designed with touches of Thai around the exterior. From the street-level lobby, gardens slope prodigiously to the beach, which is rocky, so a raised sandy area has been created for lounge chairs. Otherwise, the 3 pools are substantial and shady. The ‘Thai-Moroccan’ décor in the standard rooms is not evident, but they are lovingly decorated with genuine feminine touches. All face the sea, but only those on the 3rd and 4th floors could guarantee ocean views. At sea level, the Club Rooms are magnificent, with a sunken Jacuzzi and huge balcony, while the villas boast a private pool. And the kids’ club is one of the best in Thailand. On ‘Buddha Hill’, between Pattaya and Jomtien and with very few facilities nearby, frequent taxi trips are inevitable.
Motel-style – affordable, functional and convenient. Unashamedly functioning for budget-conscious travellers, this old-style resort caters more for Thais than westerners, with lower rates to match. The rooms are no-frills but comfortable enough – perhaps, even a little more elegant than expected – and the small balcony offers unobstructed glimpses of the sea about 200m away. Best are the rooms in the corners providing double the views and light. The sizeable L-shaped pool on the 4th floor offers views and wooden decking sprinkled with potted palms, and is alongside a games area with 2 full-sized snooker tables. The location is certainly agreeable: along a side-street between the two main roads in Jomtien, a less-frenetic alternative to the hubbub of Pattaya, 15 minutes away by songthaew taxi truck. And the beach in this area is particularly pleasant and even quieter as the esplanade heads inland.
Small and affordable, yet prime beachfront location. Not as sophisticated as the marble lobby would suggest, this is a rare boutique hotel squeezed among mega-resorts overlooking the beach. Most Deluxe Rooms face the limited gardens, while a few do offer views of the sea (palms permitting) and the main road – although being about 100m back from the esplanade helps buffer much of the traffic noise. The rooms’ angular layout is unusual and the décor is contemporary, but with too many black-and-white stripes and monochrome art. A couple of Family Suites offer 2 bedrooms. The second-floor pool is breezy and sunny. The only downside is that the huge noisy Hard Rock Hotel next door towers over the gardens, almost menacingly. Not as luxurious or overpriced as others, the inconspicuous entrance is a stone’s throw from the world-class Central Festival shopping centre in downtown Pattaya.
Odd name, but beach frontage and peaceful jungle vibe. This enchanting resort is at the northern end of the far nicer and quieter beach at Jomtien, 15 minutes from Pattaya by songthaew taxi truck. Most buildings are detached, with 1 room up and 1 down, seemingly lost among dense tropical gardens in the surprisingly substantial grounds. The design is instantly likeable, with traditionally curved roofs, dark wooden railings and peach-coloured walls. The divine Deluxe Rooms feature a colourful décor, Thai crafts and a huge balcony/veranda hidden behind thickets of ferns. With so many windows (all facing the gardens), the secluded 2-bedroom suites are also sunny and airy, and feature Thai carvings, a walk-in closet and partially-separated lounge area. The 2 pools are particularly shady, with nothing but birds chirping and gardeners sweeping. And it’s along a virtually traffic-free dead-end street and only metres from a palm-speckled beach.
Colossal, family-focused but remote. Part of a gated ‘mini-city’ with a convention centre and 3 other related hotels, it’s on ‘Buddha Hill’ between Pattaya and Jomtien beaches. Rooms are in a gigantic Y-shaped block, so less than half offer sea views. The standard rooms are compact and the décor is colourful, while suites in the Beach Terrace wing layered down a slope facing the sea are particularly attractive. Some have 2 bedrooms, so they’re especially good for families. The private beach is partly man-made and along a picturesque cove, and there are several beachside pools, a games room, and an unappealing kids’ club adjacent to the lobby. And the other facilities across the entire complex are mind-boggling: 11 restaurants, 7 tennis courts, 2 squash courts and a jogging track. The downside is the isolation. There are no other facilities within walking distance, so frequent taxi trips are inevitable.
Spacious, sumptuous and spectacular views. Part of a gated ‘mini-city’ with a convention centre and 3 related hotels, it’s on ‘Buddha Hill’ between Pattaya and Jomtien beaches. The suites cascade down a precipitous slope to the beach from the ground-level lobby at the 8th floor. All are swish, and offer magnificent sea views from 2 balconies. They range from the 1-bedroom suite with a swivelling TV viewable from the compact bedroom and separate lounge, to the ultra-chic Presidential Platinum Suite, which is absurdly oversized and under-furnished. The lagoon-shaped pool is particularly attractive and large enough for a swim-up bar in an ‘island’. The pool faces a sliver of mangroves and mud, but guests can use the private beach elsewhere within the complex, as well as the 11 restaurants, 7 tennis courts and poky kids’ club. It is isolated, however: with no other facilities within walking distance frequent taxi trips are inevitable.
Family-friendly resort and garden oasis in downtown Pattaya. Based in surprisingly extensive grounds, this graceful hotel comprises 2 wings among verdant tropical gardens of fish ponds and banyan trees either side of a canal. The Ocean Wing provides sea views, but even those from the highest floors are mostly blocked by poles and palms. The pool across the street faces the beach, which is scruffy and barely usable. But definite attractions are the elegant courtyard packed with antiques and the colonial-style lounge/billiard room. Rooms in the serene Garden Wing are lovingly decorated with a bamboo theme; contrastingly, some of the suites are quite garish. The lagoon-style pool is stunning, and incredibly, there is still space for 6 tennis courts. Remarkably, this peaceful Bali-style resort is at the end of the infamous nightclub area of Walking Street, but distant enough from the noise and patrons. Also, the main boat terminal is close enough to walk.
Adorable, petite, convenient, beachfront and uniquely designed. This is truly one of a kind: an exquisite pale-green Art-Deco design reminiscent of Miami, a lobby and café choked with 1920s-era antiques, and an imposing (and inoperable) pink Cadillac outside. Although boasting prime beach frontage, it only has 18 rooms on 3 floors. With all rooms facing the front, they boast perfect sea views, and are wonderfully soundproofed from traffic noise. Most feature a similarly charming Art-Deco style, with pink-and-grey cushions, hanging lamps and Gatsby-style posters. The marvellous décor continues in the Twilight Suites, with a 4-poster bed and adjoining lounge area. The street-side pool is inevitably noisy and lacks some privacy, while the beach across the road is lovely but busy. Guests can also use the family-friendly facilities at the big sister Bayview Hotel behind. The Wave is in downtown Pattaya, with the world-class Central Festival shopping centre very close by.
Quiet, comfortable, with lovely pools and gardens. This hotel – with a high-rise of serviced residences alongside – is in the Na-Klua area, an easy trip by songthaew taxi truck from the hubbub of Pattaya. There are two separate sections, but guests can share the shady gardens and either pool. Most Superior Rooms, which face flourishing gardens and are further back from the main road, feature a colourful décor and sizeable balcony, but the bathroom is undersized. Deluxe Rooms are closer to the road, but still quiet, and most face the pool. Surprisingly rare among other resorts, some rooms on the ground floor have a stepladder from the patio leading to the main pool, with a swim-up bar attached. Other attractions include a snooker table, children’s pool and petite library. But sun-lovers may be disappointed that the closest beach is 500m away. Renovations during 2017 have improved the facilities even further.