Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya Review
Are you ready to rock?
Vibrant American pop-rock interiors, sociable staff dressed in oversize Bermuda shorts, and cabinets filled with ‘Rock Hall of Fame’ memorabilia set the informal tone at this vibrant four-star beachfront resort. Located half-way down Beach Road, just yards from the promenade and long stretch of beach, all are hints pointing to a quirky hotel theme that celebrates American Rock ’n Roll history and puts guests centre-stage: you are the ‘star’, the staff is your ‘band’ and, from the second you enter, you run the ‘show’.
No need for any performance at Asia’s second Hard Rock Hotel, however, just lots of enjoyable fun: Club Med-style water sports and group games around the huge freeform sand pool (at 2,000 square metres Pattaya’s largest), kids activities in the vibrant Lil’ Rock Club, and subliminal lessons in pop and rock history as you encounter the rock relics on display (John Lennon’s musty old jacket, Johnny Cash’s overcoat and Roy Orbison’s guitar to name just a few). There’s even a branch of the famous Hard Rock Café to rock-out in until the small hours, 24-hour room service, and a raucous adults-only foam party on Saturday nights.
These rooms rock!
Hip and vibrant is the order of the day in the 320 guestrooms; the interior of each buzzing with fresh minimalism. Spread over ten floors, the 108 Superior City View Rooms and 159 Deluxe Sea View Rooms are modestly sized at 33 square metres, but feel spacious and uncluttered. This is partly thanks to a fresh two-tone colour scheme of white and, either azure blue (Deluxe Sea View) or pastel orange (Superior City View), together with the use of modish furnishings.
Each has a very comfy king-size or twin beds with signature Hard Rock duvets and pillow cases emblazoned with song lyrics (‘Are you Lonesome Tonight?’, ‘It Takes Two Baby’), as well as a towering portrait of a famous rocker (Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Sting or Tina Turner) above it. Other standard features include wall-mounted TVs, CD players and high-speed Internet access (costs extra). Worth noting for families are the 54 pairs of interconnecting twin and king-size rooms.
Bathrooms feature either a deep Japanese-style standing bath tub or conventional shower. Balconies with chairs come as standard, those in Deluxe Sea View rooms affording superb views of both Pattaya Bay and the pool. It can get a bit noisy at times (especially on Saturdays when there’s a foam party until 01:00), but thankfully double-glazed windows seem cut out most poolside frolics.
VIP Treatment: the Kings Club Lounge
If you fancy playing the VIP, an upgrade to the Kings Club City View or Sea View suites is definitely worth it. On the two upper floors, these are the same size and style as superior or deluxe rooms, but offer extra in-room facilities like DVD player and free use of a pre-loaded Ipod Nano (rock music of course). You also get free rein of the very comfy and chic Kings Club Lounge – an exclusive hideaway with bay views, affable staff, BB King and Elvis portraits, and sleek furniture. Here you enjoy private check-in, breakfast, all-day snacks, free Internet, free laundry (eight items), newspapers and evening cocktail.
For business executives there are nine Kings Club Executive Rooms. These sport identical facilities and benefits but come with a sleek modern workstation with handy shelving and sea views. And the ten Composer Suites max up the size by giving guests a separate living room with small dining table and a long sofa.
Let’s get physical
While the rooms here rock, it’s the experiences to be had outside them that really elevates this place. The aforementioned 2,000 square metre lagoon pool is the definite centerpiece, not only because it’s the scene of energetic water-sports and weekend foam parties, but also because it’s the perfect place to sunbath on stylish sun loungers, lounge in a Jacuzzi, sip cocktails at The Shack’s swim-up bar, or aim for sandy seclusion in one of the eleven private cabanas (available for rent). Keep an eye out also for patrolling ‘Rock Agents’, whose mission is to amuse and charm you with their wacky antics and magic tricks.
A close second has to be the Hard Rock Café (open 11:00 – 01:00). Enjoy a classic American burger while eyeing the rock memorabilia that adorns the walls, or come at night when its one of the best places in town to enjoy live rock classics at very high decibels (and minus any trace of sleaze). Within stumbling distance of your room (just be careful not to fall in the pool), be sure to pick up some Hard Rock souvenirs and gifts from the adjoining Megastore, or catch sunset from one of the hammocks in the cozy open-air mezzanine upstairs.
Flanking both is a charming low-slung Beach House, home to the gym, his-and-hers steam room, sauna, plunge pool area, as well as a spa with four rooftop treatment rooms and a long list of body therapy treatments. Once those have restored your healthy glow, scramble up the rock-climbing wall, have a game of table tennis, or see how your face-painted kids are getting along in the Lil’ Rock kiddies play room. The many stimulating activities offered here (films, colouring, paper crafts, magic, group games) ensure there’s unlikely to be any energy left for rock star-style tantrums. ‘eBar’ is an open-plan Internet area; a place to surf the web, play computer games or just mingle with friends over a soft drink, coffee or beer.
Great American dining and more
Only a few minutes walk are many places to grab a bite, and many guests choose to eat out. However, there is some seriously good food on-site. For snacks, the Hard Rock Café is perhaps the best place in town for those classic American favourites: burgers, fries and cola. And New York-style bakery ‘Starz Deli’ serves eat-in or take-away sandwiches, salads, freshly-baked breads, pastries and smoothies from 07:00 to 19:00.
The all-day restaurant ‘Starz Diner’ is the flagship eatery. A spacious diner with musical instruments, posters, photos, platinum discs and TVs playing MTV, it has an extensive a la carte menu and is where an eclectic and nicely presented buffet breakfast is served (included). The dinner buffet is very impressive, and includes some authentic Thai dishes alongside sushi, roast meats, pasta, pizza and sumptuous desserts.
The hotel has extensive conference facilities, popular, with clients who want to give that mundane meeting or boring business conference a touch of rock-star decadence. Events in the 390 square metre pillarless ‘Hall of Fame’ or music-themed meeting rooms can be complemented by team-building activities like discos, water sports, treasure hunts and the likes).
Reviewed by: Max Crosbie-Jones