Centara Grand Mirage Pattaya – A Review By Punam Mohandas
The Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya is located on Wong Amat, which is quieter and cleaner to the extent that it can almost be termed a private beach.
The Centara Grand Mirage is about ten minutes from the bus station, and twenty minutes from bustling Pattaya beach, which gives you a fair idea of its location. One enters into an open-air lobby that gives on to views of the sea, but is so busy and crowded that one wends one’s way through the central water fountain, lobby snack bar, coffee station and furniture to get there. The Reception area is off to the right however, given the size of the property, four check-in desks are too few and one inevitably finds snaking long queues in front of the counter.
Teak and bamboo predominate the interiors while an arch-like curve above has an elephant sculpture that can be seen from the gardens outside as well. Indeed, once in the gardens, you can see that the lobby is actually somewhat of a stilt-like structure, with the stilts set in a water body. Located in the centre of the premises, surrounded by lawns and ponds, is the hotel’s symbol; a totem pole of almost fifteen animals built like a ceremonial tower and accessed by a rope bridge.
On either side of the lobby spread out the two accommodation wings. At a whopping 555-keys, the property is split among 18-floors with 11 room categories, all of which have balconies and are sea-facing. These comprise the Deluxe room; Deluxe family; Deluxe ocean view; Deluxe family ocean view; Premium Deluxe; Deluxe family residence; Club Mirage; Club Mirage suite; Grand Mirage suite; Grand Mirage duplex suite and the Royal suite. All rooms come with settees or daybeds and rain showers in the bathrooms, besides the usuals of ceiling fan, electronic safe, mini bar, tea/coffee making facilities, flat screen TV – it’s rather odd to note that the hotel offers Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Italian channels, but no Indian channel, given its propensity of Indian guests.
Although the Deluxe rooms have a tiled flooring they still use plenty of natural substances in their décor, such as wood and stone. The entire wall behind the bed is like a ridged sandstone sculpture. The mirrors come edged with a twig-like bamboo frame, while faux bricks offset the cane chaise lounge. The bed framework is made of wood and coir rope. The bathroom space is quite cramped while, most inconveniently, the flush toilet (with too high a seat) is placed right near the entrance. None of the bathrooms have doors or sliding partitions; they are all curtained, which is somewhat of a drawback for families with curious small children and, of course, the noise disturbance to a sleeping spouse even with the simple act of washing one’s hands.
The Club Mirage suites have a bamboo backdrop against the bed while the mirror in the bathroom is surrounded by a similar bamboo frame. This category of room has a bathtub as well; the bathrooms are rather small and the oval-shaped tub is wedged in sideways between a bamboo-like frame and the washbasin.
Akin to the Presidential suite in other hotels, the Royal suite is a duplex 275sqm space. The living and dining areas, bar, kitchen and one twin-bedded room are all on the ground floor. The living quarter is spacious while remaining cosy; wood and cane dominate the fitments, with a cane chair hammock slung up off-centre. A fawn, russet and fudge brown colour scheme goes well against the dark wooden flooring. The bedroom on this floor has its own separate entrance and can also be connected to an adjoining room. Leading out is the sundeck and an outside Jacuzzi and infinity pool with spectacular views of the sea. A wooden staircase leads to the upper floor which consists of a master en suite. The bathroom here has a Jacuzzi as well. A separate study area leads to the bedroom, which has a simply humungous canopied bed – at a quick glance, about six people could fit in here quite comfortably – facing a panoramic view of the sea, with its own private balcony. The room is dominated by a huge red, brown and silver ridged painting while the bed has a wooden backdrop.
Housekeeping service at the Centara Grand Mirage by and large is efficient, courteous and unobtrusive. Pest control is surprisingly effective for such a large property; full marks on this point.
F&B outlets are varied and include the 370-cover (indoor and outdoor) Oasis for all-day dining that overlooks a pond and where a gushing waterfall provides a soothing sound; the 210-cover Ginger & Lime, open only during the evening and offering an Asian food court; the 96-cover Acqua, with Italian specialities; the 145-cover beachfront Flames, open only during the evening and offering a barbecue spread; the 200-cover sea-facing Oceans that serves light snacks till 6pm after which it functions purely as a bar; Waves pool bar; Vistas, the lobby lounge; Zulu, the cocktail and sports bar and the club lounge for Club Mirage guests only. Overall, the prices are on the high side and the portions are small. F&B service is fairly lackadaisical. The breakfast buffet offers plenty of Chinese variety, but again, surprisingly, no Indian dishes make it to the menu.
Recreational facilities at Centara Grand Mirage include the water park with a meandering lazy river, waterfalls and water slides. There are swimming pools a-plenty, from the lap, kids and infinity pools, as well as the bigger main pool. Further, the hotel offers two outdoor tennis courts. There are ample activities to keep children occupied, ranging from water sports to a small rock climbing area. Camp Safari ensures toddlers are kept busy with painting, flower making, etc while older ones have the E-Zone to themselves, with table tennis, pool table and video games. There is quite a well equipped fitness centre on the premises, with plenty of machines and also, a yoga and aerobics studio. Every morning there is a 45-minute session of water aerobics in the main pool where everybody is welcome to join in; the loud dance music can be jarring though, for guests who just wish to laze the day away. The Spa Cenvaree is located within its own secluded villa space. It’s extremely pleasant and serene here, with outdoor, discreetly curtained pavilions for the Thai massage and 22 indoor treatment rooms. The spa menu is fairly extensive and special bridal treatments are available.
The Centara Grand Mirage offers a ‘Meeting Village’ that comprises of the Mirage Grand Ballroom – one of the largest in Pattaya – with a capacity of 1,200 pax theatre-style, plus smaller halls known as the Utopia, Aurora, Mythica and Fantasia with a capacity to accommodate between 160-210 pax. Additionally, the ballroom, beach and roof gardens and the poolside are available as outdoor venues. There is a Business Centre for complimentary guest use that strangely enough, features a large mock wedding cake in a corner.
The Centara Grand Mirage has a shuttle bus every hour on the hour, to the Central Festival mall on Pattaya beach, as a cost of 50 baht per person per route. The timetable is not always reliable though, especially on the return route to the hotel, where one can be apt to get stranded with no explanation.
In terms of attractions on Pattaya, there is the Ripleys Believe it or Not museum and the Miss Tiffany’s and Alcazar ladyboy shows. Visit the coral island or the floating market; sunbathe on Jomtien beach or the rowdier and dirtier Pattaya beach. The infamous Walking Street with its nightlife of bars and cabaret shows is on this beach as well.
If you have time in hand, then it is certainly worthwhile taking in the neighbouring islands of Koh Samet, Rayong and Koh Larn.
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 about 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 Bus Station in Sukhumvit leave every half an hour and the cost is 124baht 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
Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya
Tel: +66 38301234
Fax: +66 38714999