Avani Pattaya Resort & Spa – A Review By Punam Mohandas
The Avani Pattaya has quite a history behind it. Starting off as the Royal Garden Plaza hotel, it then metamorphed into the Marriott for about fifteen years until 2016, when it assumed its present avatar of the Avani, an offering from the Minor Group (the hotel and the adjoining mall are also owned by William – Bill – Heinecke, the owner of Minor International.)
The USP of this hotel is undoubtedly location, location, location. Superbly set on Beach road, right across from the promenade, the hotel is adjacent to the Royal Garden Plaza Mall as well as connected to the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Louis Tussaud attractions. Thus, come rain or shine, there is always something for guests to keep themselves occupied with, especially those with little children; indeed, there is little or no reason to leave the hotel precincts at all, given the wide variety of cuisines on offer too.
One walks into a huge, sprawling lobby, open on the sides and with entrances from the Beach road as well as the 2nd main road, beside Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. In fact, there is a third entrance to the hotel a little past the mall and which takes one directly to the Thai restaurant, Sala Rim Naam and yet another entrance via the Japanese outlet, Benihana,
The lobby is a quiet space, cooled by lazily circling ceiling fans and dominated by wide, backless divans, while the far end leads to more intimate chair seating in the bar area. There is a large, colourful yellow elephant placed in the foyer, an ideal photo opportunity for visitors.
With 299-keys to its credit, the room categories are classified as: Avani Garden View (38sqm); Avani Garden Plus (38sqm; also offering 24-hour check-in service, free minibar and Club Lounge access); Avani Sea View (38sqm); Avani Terrace Suite (58sqm); Avani One Bedroom Suite (72sqm); Avani Spa Villa (50sqm) and the Avani Presidential Suite (300sqm).
All the room categories are similar in terms of set-up and colour scheme, with a pleasing aquamarine touch in the furnishings offset by neutral shades of fawn and grey in the flooring and drapes; the only differences are in room size and view. The Terrace Junior Suite offers a direct access to the pool and is an ideal category for couples. The bathrooms in this category are quite humungous and uniquely designed; twin washbasins along with separate wardrobes and luggage racks are either side of a short passage that leads to an oval bathtub, which is placed against a wide glass expanse overlooking a covered garden space, while the shower space is narrow, but long.
The Avani Sea View is rather well laid out, with optimum use of space. It is a spacious room, with a cosy balcony that offers two recliner chairs and a view of the sea. There are plenty of mirrors, bright, overhead reading lights and the bedding is exceedingly comfortable. The bathroom is equipped with the usual shower plus rain shower and bathtub; there is a narrow drain cleverly cut into the side of the bathtub, so that any excess water that splashes out goes through the drain instead of wetting the entire bathroom floor.
Room amenities include tea/coffee maker, two bottles of complimentary drinking water (more available on request) provided in glass bottles, in a bid to be environmentally responsible. Other amenities include large screen television, electronic safe and iron with ironing board. Moreover, there are thoughtfully constructed little exercise ‘cards’ which explain how a particular push-up etc should be attempted. Toiletries are from the La Bottega brand. The bathrooms are kitted out with jet sprays and magnifying mirrors.
F&B options include the Garden Café, which has 300covers inside as also on the terrace and serves buffet breakfast as well as a barbeque seafood buffet at dinnertime; most sensibly, since this is of course, a resort, the breakfast hour is until 11am and provides quite a spread. The other outlets are Dicey Reilly (separate entrance from 2nd main road as well) with 200covers and serving international cuisines including Thai dishes; Benihana, the premium Japanese outlet all done up in a red and black theme, offering teppenyaki as well as sushi delicacies and a separate bar area on the terrace. With 110 covers, including two PDR’s of ten seats each, Benihana offers access from the hotel, Royal Garden Plaza mall, or Beach road. Sala Rim Naam, offering traditional Thai cuisine, is beautifully surrounded by lotus ponds and water bodies and is sala style, i.e. open on all sides. This outlet has 300covers and is ideal for group dinners. Apart from the restaurants, there is the Swimming Up Manao Bar by the poolside, the Elephant Bar in the lobby and the Pantry bakery, also in the lobby.
It should be noted that the Avani Pattaya has its own farm and thus, uses freshly sourced, organic, homegrown produce in its cooking.
Recreation options include a large, free-form swimming pool with built-in Jacuzzis and water slide for children. There is a Kids’ Room by the pool and a smaller one in the gym area. Apart from this, the resort also offers Thai cooking classes by the poolside. In terms of sports, there are two tennis courts and a well-kitted fitness centre, AvaniFit, that spans a mindboggling 1398sqft! It offers separate cardio, yoga and weight training spaces, along with separate sauna facilities for men and women. There are complimentary Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, aerobics, etc classes organized on a daily basis. AvaniFit also provides guests with a complimentary juice and fruits bar.
The Avani Spa is redolent with the fragrance of ginger. There are five treatment rooms (one single) done up in pale pistachio furnishings and another one pavilion style by the swimming pool. Two of the couple rooms have huge, sunken stone baths, Cleopatra style! The signature treatment is a two hour pampering session that involves a 90-minute massage and a 30-minute body scrub. The spa uses only the Thai Bhawa brand for body creams and scrubs and the German Biodroga brand for facials.
Convention facilities include the Ballroom that can host 300pax and has an extremely large pre-function space out on the patio; Orchid Garden that can take 150pax; the Rose Garden that can accommodate 120pax; Rice Mill with 50pax and the Chaba with 40pax (all theatre style seating.)
Staying at the Avani Pattaya is a great experience all around. Set on 10rai (roughly four acres) there is lots of greenery and water bodies around the property, making it a proper oasis bang in the centre of Pattaya’s thrumming Beach road. Apart from the enviable location – which alone is a primary consideration – the staff are all attentive and most speak reasonable English. Unlike most other hotels, F&B staff remain calm and unhurried even during the busy breakfast rush. Housekeeping is well trained and replenish amenities after once noting guest preferences. Pest control is satisfactory, however, could be improved upon.
All major airlines fly into Bangkok as also many low cost ones. Pattaya is under two hours away from Bangkok by road. Taxis cost 1,500 baht for the journey, limousines are approximately at 2,500 baht, while the minivan cost is 140 baht per person; of course, the vans take much longer. Bus prices are similar to the vans and the time element is roughly between 3-4 hours. The hotel is within walking distance to Central mall and the nightlife of Walking Street. Other sights to see in Pattaya include Coral Island, Ripley’s, Pattaya beach and Jomtien beach (much cleaner.) A wide variety of water sports such as jet skiing, parasailing etc, are available and can be organized through the hotel’s travel desk. If you have more time on your hands and would like to venture further afield, check out Koh Samet, 45-minutes away from Pattaya or else Rayong, about a couple of hours further off.
AVANI Pattaya Resort & Spa
TEL: +66 38412120
FAX: +66 38429926
Punam Mohandas asserts her right to be identified as the author of this work. Any views or opinions expressed in this review is that of the author.