Amari Orchid Pattaya – A Review By Punam Mohandas
The Amari Orchid is undoubtedly one of the better hotels in Pattaya, more so the five-star Ocean Tower wing, much coveted as most of the rooms offer a sea view, unlike the adjacent four-star Garden Wing.
With both wings combined, the Amari offers a total room inventory of 523-keys. All the Ocean Tower rooms come with balconies. There are three executive floors here with 47 rooms and suites that are serviced by the Horizon Club offering complimentary breakfast buffet, finger food and non alcoholic drinks through the day, and a Happy Hour in the evening.
The Amari Orchid has opted for bright peppy hues in its colour scheme, in keeping with the happy fun mood a beach resort like Pattaya tends to bring on although, unfortunately, even given this key point the lobby is rather unprepossessing and small. The hotel signboard is done up in orange while, in the interiors, splashes of red offer a contemporary Asian touch to offset the dark wood and glass fittings. Concealed lights in red panels by the elevators are a neat touch. The rooms offer these bold red touches too, in the rugs, drapes, table lamp and armchair, the whole complemented by red anthurium flowers in full bloom placed in stylish stark white vases.
The Executive floor room furnishings are done up in royal purple; a subtle yet distinctive differentiation from the rest of the rooms in the hotel. The Executive suites come with two balconies and a sliding door to create the partition between bedroom and sitting room.
All rooms are spacious and well appointed; classy with clean lines and simple décor, no clutter. The bath tub and double washbasin area is part of the room, with separate cubicles for the shower and toilet, however, should a guest desire privacy, the bathing area can be screened off from the bedroom by lowering the latticed blinds. ‘Family Rooms’ have two bunk beds tucked away in a separate alcove, which kids are sure to love. Rooms come equipped with electronic safe; mini bar; tea/coffee maker; flat screen TV and DVD player. Wi-fi access is available through the property.
The welcome kit includes the mandatory platter of fruit and a Perrier bottle. Two bottles of mineral water are placed per day, with more readily available on request. What I am particularly impressed by is that the Amari brings back the now long-forgotten hotel culture of truly making a guest feel welcome, by placing a full box of freshly baked cookies for tempting nibbles.
Relaxation facilities include the Breeze Spa and Salon with nine treatment rooms, of which two are for couples and two are known as the VIP rooms – similar amenities, but with the addition of a steam room and Jacuzzi. The signature treatments are the Panpuri Mood scrubs – including a new papaya enzyme body scrub followed by an application of sandalwood oil, honey and shea butter – and the Mood massages which include the Dreamy; Serene; Rejuvenated; Invigorated and Energised. Apart from this, the Sivara Salon caters to hair and beauty treatments. One drawback is that the Amari does not offer separate steam and sauna facilities; these can only be availed through the spa. However, it does have a Fitness Centre that remains open 24-hours.
Other recreation options include two swimming pools (lap as well as free-form) with outdoor Jacuzzi and whirlpool, and a shopping arcade on the ground level near the Business Centre.
The Kids Cave is the entertainment zone for children over in the Garden Wing. It’s 80-baht per hour for the ball pens and other games, 500-baht for the entire day, and 100-baht per hour for the video games; the latter has been done up with creativity to make it a real fun space. Three little cubby holes set at varying levels, rather like a tree house, in which children can climb in and lounge back with their feet up whilst playing their favourite game – I wouldn’t mind being a kid again myself! Unfortunately, no adults allowed in this zone! The staff also organise fun activities for the little people such as T-shirt painting, doll painting and suchlike.
F&B options at Amari Orchid include Tavern by the Sea and Mantra, which are stand-alone outlets albeit on the premises. The former is styled as an English pub, offering both international and Thai cuisine, draught beers and sports such as pool and darts. The latter is evening dining, plus a brunch spread on Sunday, and offers seven open kitchens catering to different palates such as Japanese; Chinese; Indian; Thai; Mediterranean; Grill and Seafood. Apart from these, Essence is the all-day dining outlet at the Ocean Tower, while Orchid Terrace is an open-air breakfast venue at the Garden Wing. Bars include the Lobby Bar at the Garden Wing and Ice Bar and the swim-up Pool Bar at the Ocean Tower.
Business facilities include three conference halls in the Ocean Tower plus two boardrooms, and five halls in the Garden Wing. The pillar-less Aranda Ballroom can take 550pax theatre-style; 500pax for cocktails; 360pax for classroom-seating and 300pax for formal dinners. AV equipment and other support services are available. The staff is also trained to organise team-building events and thematic evenings such as Oscars Night; Pirates of the Caribbean; A Night of a thousand Stars; Moulin rouge; Floating Market and suchlike.
The Business Centre allows all guests the complimentary use of computers for 30-minutes. Club room guests can use the computers in the Horizon Club for as long as they wish, free of charge.
One of the points the Amari Orchid certainly needs to work on to tick all the boxes is to keep the lobby doors shut at all times; in this environmentally aware day and age, it’s criminal to have an air conditioned lounge and the doors ajar to let in the muggy heat from outdoors. Also, it doesn’t cost anything for the doormen and other lobby staff to greet guests with a smile and a greeting; it’s a bit odd to find dour faces in the Land of Smiles. Having said that, special mention must be made of the housekeeping staff who are ever smiling and quick to respond to guest needs besides being exceedingly courteous – down to removing their footwear before going in to clean the rooms, even though there’s no one watching.
The Amari Orchid is located at the absolute end of the Pattaya beach promenade, so, although of course one is facing the sea, it’s a brisk 15-minute walk to what one would call the ‘heart’ of the promenade, past the Central Mall to where the Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Swensens are located. Local transport in the form of songtaews (open mini vans with a tin roof and bench seats lined on either side) are available in plenty and it costs 20baht per person to get to a point on the promenade (you must negotiate price if you wish to go elsewhere). The popular Walking Street with its night life of go-go bars and pubs is located at the other end of the promenade.
While Pattaya does have its own airport, there are many more inexpensive options to travel to this island. If you are flying into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and intend to leave for Pattaya the same day, note that it takes only an hour to get there from the airport, while from within the city, it takes within one-and-a-half to two hours (by car). Taxis charge 1500baht irrespective of how many passengers there are (not more than four). Air conditioned buses are exceedingly comfortable and leave from the airport every hour; price roughly 110baht per person. Buses from Ekkamai in Sukhumvit leave every half an hour and the cost is 113baht per person. You can also do the minivan from Victory Monument which costs 100baht per person; the van load is 14-pax and it takes close to three hours.
AMARI ORCHID PATTAYA
TEL: +66 38418418
FAX: +66 38418410