Photos: Onyx Hospitality Group

Amari Pattaya, which underwent major renovations last year, now offers the new Amari Suites and original-but-fully-rejuvenated Amari Tower. It immediately gives guests a sense of arrival with its vast and spacious lobby at Amari Tower. The receptionists work with their backs to a huge and beautiful wall panel created by Italian artist Alex Turco. It shows different shades of blue, fitting to Amari Pattaya's beachside location. Look above and you'll see a very long rattan chandelier that resembles the clouds. Living up to its family-friendly status, a counter is dedicated to a children's check-in. Yep, you read that right. A young guest who's below the age of 12 can "check-in" and receive vouchers and small gifts. Gimmicky, definitely yes. But it should make the kids feel special and welcome. And who wouldn't like that?

I intended to stay in the low-rise Amari Suites, which is also geared towards families and friends, and after the check-in, my squad was whisked away in a buggy car to the new building, which sits on higher ground. Why walk when you don't have to?

First Impression

The Amari Suites features 49 two- and three-bedroom suites that offer more than enough to make you feel at home. I opted for a two-bedroom suite on the ground floor, which has easy access to the swimming pool from its terrace. The two bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom, sandwich a spacious living room, totalling to about almost 100m² in size. Needless to say, it can easily accommodate four grown-ups but it can accept up to five guests. Minor complaints about it are (and I'm being nitpicky here); no bathtub to luxuriate in and I found no hose in my terrace area to wash my feet with before going back into the room after swimming in the main pool. Also, although there are a few hedges between terraces, I think the terrace could use a bit more privacy in case guests want to hang out without prying eyes. Guests staying in Two or Three Bedroom Suite also enjoy exclusive perks such as the daily minibar replenishment, daily sundowners, one free daily meal for children and late check-out.

Swimming pool and water park.

I managed to sneak into some rooms at the Amari Tower (don't ask me how) overlooking the sea or the pool, if that is a factor for you. Out of the 297 stylishly refurbished rooms, four Executive Club Suite Ocean View rooms stand out with their breathtaking ocean views (duh) and open-floor plan. The bathroom isn't fully walled and a big bathtub sits behind the big bed with a partition between them. Sexy. This room should make for a very comfortable and romantic stay for two in nearly 120m². Or you can opt for a similar setting with Grand Deluxe Ocean View, which is half the size but comes with the same great view. If a family of four wants to stay close and cosy, the 64m² Deluxe Family should do the trick. From a high floor, you can also spot OZO North Pattaya being built adjacent to Amari Pattaya at the back.

With nearly a dozen choices between Amari Tower and Amari Suites, you're bound to find an accommodation that suits your need. The most basic type is Deluxe Room which comes in a respectable size of 49m².

Staying In

You may be surprised to learn that a hotel this size has only two main F&B venues — Amaya Food Gallery and Aqua Eatery and Bar. The former is an impressive all-day dining and Thai restaurant helmed by Indian executive chef Mohan CN. He definitely does Thai cuisine justice in terms of flavour and presentation with the likes of Tom yum goong served in a coconut with the hotel's logo stamped on it, Pad Thai served on an enamel tray and Miang kham set on a pedestal rattan tray. The breakfast service is filled with an international selection with a corner dedicated to kids. The latter offers a more laid-back poolside feel. Aqua Eatery and Bar is where grown-ups can enjoy a meal with a pleasant side of sea breeze despite being quite far from the beach. Also, guests staying in Two or Three Bedroom Suites can avail their perk of daily sundowners from 5-7pm here. If this doesn't float your boat, Mantra Restaurant is in the process of being relaunched as Beach Quarter. If you want more dining diversity, many restaurants and bars await you outside along Beach Road.

Two-bedroom suite living area.

Grand Deluxe Ocean View.

Amaya Food Gallery.

Breeze Spa reception area.

The swimming pool is a rather serious business, being cleverly designed into several levels. On one end, it's a noisy mini-water park with features such as water cannons, a tipping bucket, mushroom showers and sliders. The free-form pool cascades down to a quieter and deeper end next to the front lawn. Plenty of sun loungers are dotted along the pool but there're also a couple of cabanas where two can lounge with more privacy, too.

If you really want to seriously sweat, check out the well-equipped high-tech Fit Centre on the fourth floor of Amari Tower. Think treadmills with all kinds of channels and virtual scenery from across the globe that go fast or slow to match your actual pace. With a variety of equipment and machines, the gym should make keeping fit enjoyable for guests.

Breeze Spa awaits you at the end of a long day if you want to relax. I received a Muay Thai treatment from an award-winning masseur. It may sound scary but it's just a combination reflexology, oil massage and herbal press. Did I remember much of it? No. Well, if you stay awake and aware the whole time, that's not a sign for a good spa treatment. As for kids, they can happily tire themselves out at the swimming pool or The Treehouse kids club where activities are provided from 9am to 6pm, living up to its family-friendly positioning.

Business-wise, Amari Pattaya has several setups for event hosting from an indoor meeting room, a grand ballroom for 700 guests to an extensive lawn for more casual gatherings.

Going Out

Amari Pattaya offers plenty of POIs along Beach Road. A (legitimate) massage at Let's Relax or a stroll at Terminal 21 Pattaya or Central Festival Pattaya is within walkable distance. A short drive gets you the likes of Phra Yai Temple, Sanctuary of Truth and Nong Nooch Garden.

Final Verdict

Veteran Amari Pattaya emerges almost anew with added appeals, making it a good choice for leisure or business travellers. However, if you want a secluded no-screaming stay, obviously, this is not it. Amari Pattaya is offering several packages from B1,000 resort credit when you book via its website, 25% off for three-night stay or longer, 20% off when you book seven days in advance and exclusive perks for event hosting. Room-only rates here start from B2,880++ per night while a night in Three-Bedroom Suite sets you back for B12,990++.

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