If you think Pattaya is just plain brash, think again. The four-star Siam Bayshore Hotel proves this mischievous city can also do beautiful and peaceful. The 270-room beachfront resort has a traditional Thai meets grand European-style interior and is set amidst a sprawling, 20-acre tropical garden. Walking around its organically shaped grounds throws up all manner of natural joys like plants, towering palms and birdsong, alongside man-made ones like massage pavilions, lagoon swimming pools, elegant restaurants and tennis courts. The result is a tranquil, family-friendly resort with a restful sense of space; a lovely four-star respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown Pattaya.
With everything about it creating a feeling of serene upscale seclusion, guests may well forget that, with its spot at the foot of Pattaya Hill and only steps from mischievous Walking Street, it has one of the city’s finest locations.
Grand, inspiring rooms
The lobby is very pleasing to the eye; its interior glowing with a blend of old and contemporary. Low ceilings and cream surfaces play host to plush sofas, dark rattan chairs and quaint Southeast Asian antiques and artworks. Behind it, an indoor central atrium abounds with exotic plants, European statues and bamboo chairs.
The designers of the 270 rooms have used similarly broad brushstrokes, fusing a warm modern sheen with predominantly Thai-inspired traditional décor. These include earthtone colours, elegant lampshades and Thai-style bamboo and rattan furnishings, bedspreads and pillows. As you would expect from a hotel of this caliber, rooms come well-stocked: apart from the customary features, there’s a private balcony with chairs, work desk, and bedside CD/radio stereo system. Bathrooms are sleek and modern, with chic raised sinks on marble surfaces, deep bathtubs (with shower), and a nifty sliding partition window that allows you to watch TV while soaking in the tub.
What you also pay for here is space and privacy. Rooms are spread out thinly across 12 low-rise buildings that seem to merge seamlessly with the lush gardens, so you never feel part of the throng. And the floor space, at 40 square metres, is generous. The cheaper Deluxe Rooms are especially blessed by virtue of their location amidst gardens or by the garden pool. Apart from the twittering of birds these barely encounter any noise – perfect for relaxing with a book. The pricier Executive Rooms are in the busier heart of the hotel, the Ocean Wing (where the lobby and restaurants are). However, it’s still quiet and these have pleasant ocean views, plush carpets, and are accessed via the aforementioned indoor atrium.
Glorious cuisine in a heavenly setting
Walking Street and beyond has a glut of eateries offering everything from fresh seafood and Thai to fish and chips. However, this is a hotel you tend to hide away in rather than look to escape, so you’ll need to sample the hotel fare. Fortunately, you’re unlikely to be disappointed. Buffet breakfast is served in the aptly titled all-day restaurant Sunrise Sunset. Included in the price, it’s an enticing spread comprised of predominately Western favourites like cereal, English and Continental breakfast, tropical fruit, breads and pastries, alongside some Asian favourites. For snacks and lunch, there’s an a la carte menu with Thai cuisine, Italian pasta and more. With its dark wooden floors, chic furnishings and full-length windows, it is a great place to take in the ocean scene while enjoying a snack or afternoon tea.
For dinner, a fine Chinese menu is available in the Bali-Hai Chinese and Seafood Restaurant, with specialties including dishes from Szechuan and Shanghai. There is an indoor area, but eating on the poolside terrace area is best, as a BBQ happens here and the views across Pattaya Bay are wonderful. Just across from it and adjoining the main Ocean Wing is the most impressive restaurant, Siam Elephant. Blessed with similar views, it serves traditional Royal Thai cuisine in an equally traditional Thai setting. Sitting on its veranda is shamelessly romantic, and its dishes notable for containing wonderful flavours and fragrances, not too spicy – perfect for the Western palate.
Oasis of activities
Adjacent to Walking Street, the neon-lit epicentre of all things nightlife in Pattaya, this is a great hotel for those wanting to enjoy it. Equally, with two entrances (one on Walking Street, the other at the end of a driveway leading to Second Road) those wanting to steer clear of it can easily do so too. In fact, with its back-to-nature atmosphere and much to do on site, you can easily cocoon yourself away and forget it exists.
Exploring the hotels natural vegetation and manicured gardens is an activity in itself. Wander paths and discover ornamental ponds, water features and exotic plants, or sit around the tables and chairs liberally scattered throughout for moments of quiet contemplation. Obvious highlights are the two pool areas; one a secluded lagoon pool tucked away within the hotel’s foliage, the other at the front of the hotel with an impressive sea view. Unfortunately a quiet public road separates the latter from the hotel complex – guests need cross it to access it. That said, its worth using as there are few passing pedestrians (the road is little more than a quiet cul de sac joining Walking Street with the nearby pier), lots of sunloungers and just beyond it is a fairly quiet strip of sandy beach, free of hawkers but many boats moored offshore. There are also six tennis courts, pool tables, a table tennis table, and a gym housed in a Thai pavilion.
Drag yourself away from all these to get pampered in the Lotus Spa of Siam. Nestled on wooden decking found between carp ponds and the Garden Rooms, its cute modern pavilion treatment rooms offer Asian-inspired therapies like Thai massage, body scrubs, facials and aromatherapy.
A place for exotic events
With its singular setting, Siam Bayshore is one of Pattaya’s prime locations for events, whether for a business conference, private lunch, theme party or wedding. Nestled in the middle of the complex, facilities include the Parkview Conference Hall. This has a capacity for up to 400 people, and is designed in modern Thai style, with teak wooden paneling and warm earthy tropical tones. There are also several smaller rooms, and events can be custom-designed for your particular needs, from audio-visual equipment to catering.
Reviewed by: Max Crosbie-Jones