- Check-in: British Airways Galleries Lounge, Mumbai
- Check-in: Clipper Lounge First Class, Mumbai
- Airborne: Flight CX 750 (BOM-BKK), Cathay Pacific, Economy
- Millennium Hilton Hotel, Bangkok
- Around Bangkok
- Hilton Hotel, Pattaya
- Around Pattaya
- Radisson Suites, Bangkok
- Check-in: Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge, Bangkok
- Check-in: British Airways/Qantas First Class Lounge, Bangkok
- Check-in: Cathay Pacific First & Business Class Lounge, Bangkok
- Airborne: Flight CX 709 (BKK-BOM), Cathay Pacific, Economy
After spending two nights in Bangkok, we checked out from the Millennium Hilton, Bangkok and drove to Pattaya. The hotel quoted an exorbitant THB 5,500 or so for a 2 hour long drive, but we were able to look up a cheaper option of THB 1,400 on the internet and picked up a Toyota Innova (chauffer driven) to drive us to Pattaya.
The Hilton Pattaya is a new hotel which opened only in 2010, situated atop a mall on the Pattaya beach. The first 12 floors are occupied by the mall, and the hotel occupies 14th floor and upwards. I could not get a good shot of my own, so I am using one from a local source. The deal with being a new hotel? They tried to be modern, which came with its own positives and negatives and I am not sure if I liked all the modern experiments in layouts, or maybe it is just me.
Exterior Hilton Pattaya (Courtesy Pattaya Times)
I was in touch with the hotel for a while, and like my earlier trip to the Millennium Hilton, Bangkok I had booked two standard King bedrooms. As a Hilton Diamond, the hotel upgraded one of the rooms to a standard suite, the King Ocean Suite, on the 29th floor. The other room was going to be an Executive Room. I requested in advance for the rooms to be on the same floor if possible.
On arrival at the lobby, we were greeted by the bell captain who escorted us to the lobby. I proceeded for check-in to the Hilton HHonors desk and presented my documents. On realising that I am a Hilton Diamond, the staff at the check-in requested me to proceed to the 33rd Floor to check-in at the Executive Lounge. The bell captain accompanied us to the lounge.
The 16th floor lobby
At the lounge, all four of us were offered welcome drinks and cold towels on arrival. I presented the documents and the staff told me that while the suite was ready, the second room was not. I first took my parents to the suite and we walked into a breathtaking view!
The suite had a spacious living room with a balcony stretching out, and a bedroom with another balcony. The living room had an L-shaped couch and a some more seating. The hotel seemed to have erred towards the modern rather than the traditional look of hotels, but seems some convenience was overlooked in this tradeoff. What I could see as a sign of bad design, was the work desk being integrated into the wall next to the television. By their logic, you could not be using your laptop to work and watch TV at the same time. Or was the thought that, “who comes to Pattaya to work anyways?”
Living Room workdesk
Living Room seating
A view from the entrance
In the balcony
There was also a bathroom which was as big as the bedroom itself, which had a wardrobe with an irritating motion-sensor based lighting system that would go up when it would see any movement even far away. Also, while the bathroom was massive and had a separate lav and a shower area and a tub, one could have a little jogging track in the empty area in the midst. Another design flaw with the modern was that there was only one sliding door for the lav and the shower, so if both the occupants would decide to use the facilities at the same time and wanted to shut the door behind, there would be a riot in the room. Have a look at some pictures.
Bathroom amenities were again from Peter Thomas Roth, however there were much more of them in this hotel room as compared to my stay at the Bangkok hotel the days before. As for welcome amenities, there were none when we checked in but a largish plate of fruit arrived after checking in.
Me and my brother went back to the lounge to collect our stuff and talk to the hotel staff about our room. I could not understand why there was no room ready for us, and the staff was not being able to give me a timeline as well. So, I requested to speak to a supervisor and in a short while a supervisor turned up. He asked me if I would like to check into an Executive Room. At this point I was shocked because I thought we had discussed all of this over email. He apologised to have kept us waiting, and asked us to walk with him. We walked to a room on the 33rd floor itself, an Executive Room and we were asked if we were going to be okay with the room. There were 3 beds in the room (an extra bed was placed) so I asked him if this room was prepared for someone else. But I was told that this room was ready for us and we checked in. The supervisor continued to apologise, and took out the extra bed from the room by himself. He told me he’d upgrade me to a suite the next day, but no one at the hotel ever brought it up again and seems like this was not going to happen.
As an aside, I sighted a welcome letter in the lounge in my name but it never arrived in my room or that of my parents. So, we were usually clueless about the hours at which the breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktail service would happen and were going to have to go with our instincts on it on all the 3 days we were there.
The Executive Room here was much bigger than the room at the other Hilton a couple of days back and had a balcony of its own as well. As usual, the work desk and the TV station were merged into one, so you couldn’t work and play at the same time. And there was a TV integrated into the mirror, something new I have started to sight at hotels of late, which meant you could take a soak in the tub and watch TV along. Like I described earlier, there was a single door shared between the shower and the lav, much to my dislike.
Room view from the bathroom
TV station and Workstation
View from the entrance
View from the balcony
Coffee machine. Note the setup of 3 glasses for 3 inhabitants in the room
Fancy TV in the bathroom mirror and amenities
On my dad’s insistence, we stepped out late afternoon to grab lunch. He did not want to be eating at a hotel restaurant, however, we did not have to go far since the mall below had a few very nice restaurants. To get there however, one needs to switch elevator banks by first arriving into the hotel lobby on the 16th and then going over to the other elevator bank which connected to the mall for floors 14 to ground level. And my other beef with their high tech elevator systems which required me to present the keycard for access to my floor.. I could not get access to my parents floor on 29th so I had to go and ask for a separate keycard for floor access. And this funny thing would get mixed with the other keycards looking alike in my pocket. Somebody had to think this through and did not.
We settled for a nice foodcourt, on the third level if I remember correct, though it was so tantalisingly close (right opposite to the Carls Jr. burgers!) Eating here would mean everyone got their choice of meal (daddy is a vegetarian!) and we had a nice long late lunch that afternoon. In the evening we stepped out for exploring a bit of Pattaya on our own, and came back to the hotel after in time for the evening cocktails.
The staff at the lounge, though they could not solve my rooming issues properly in the afternoon were much more attentive for the rest of the stay. During the afternoon they asked us about our dietary preferences and I informed them about the vegetarian preferences for my parents. They took note, and promised to have some vegetarian snacks ready for us in the evening in case we decided to drop by.
When we arrived at the lounge in the evening, that was indeed the case. Everyone was offered food and drinks of their choice. What I liked indeed was that there was an assortment of the usual stuff (cheese, nuts, bread, the works…) but the lounge would also bring you a little platter at your table directly from the kitchen. My parents got the vegetarian platter while I went with the non-vegetarian one. Everyone ordered a round of drinks including some of their house cocktails and mocktails.
Self serve drinks
My little personal platter of sushi rolls, prawn springrolls and a mini beefburger
Subsequently, we did not have an appetite for dinner so we were going to watch a movie together. The room had all sorts of ports to feed input to the TV, including HDMI, analog and laptops, but when I tried to connect it to my iPad using the official Apple connector, there was no signal on the TV. This being a weekend, the hotel had no engineering staff in the evening to send to the room and we eventually watched the movie on the iPad itself.
I think the entire family woke up pretty early the next morning, all for the same reason, that the alarm clocks in the iPod speaker stations in all rooms were not set to off and hence while I intended to sleep till 8 AM, I was out and about at 6:45 AM. I find it highly irritating when hotel staff do not follow the checklist and reset the alarms after check out.
The next morning we returned to the lounge for our breakfast, since we intended to have a quick breakfast and push off to an island off the beach of Pattaya and had a ferry schedule to meet. Breakast did not disappoint and there was a large ensemble of bakery products, fresh jams, fruits and cereals to start the day. Eggs were on order and I went with sunny side up!
Hilton Pattaya Lounge breakfast
We spent the day out and about the island, and came back in time for a drink at the cocktail hour again. I’ll only share the picture of the little platter of the day with you.
By now I had gathered that this hotel had some people with some good intentions but the newness of the hotel was perhaps coming in the way of it becoming a ‘very good hotel’. The staff was inexperienced and the systems and processes, if any, were breaking down far too often. Take the concierge desk for example. You ask them for a map or directions, and they are busy hawking you their expensive cars to take you to a destination 5 minutes away.
So, I’d decided to keep to the beaten path the next couple of days and not make any requests that I thought the hotel would not be able to handle. However, this is where they surprise me. They knew that it was my parent’s wedding anniversary during our stay, through our email exchanges from before, and on the appropriate day they sent in a platter in the room to commemorate it. Yet, someone forgot to remove the clingwrap!
While I had tried out and liked the lounge breakfast, I wanted to get a complete sense of the hotel and so on the second and third day of my stay here, we went to the Edge restaurant on the 14th floor where breakfast was served. The breakfast started at about 630 or so but we would never turn up before 9:45 AM. So, both the days, we first worked on getting everything at the table before the breakfast wrapped up, and then proceeded to eat.
The breakfast spread was huge again, and catered to the various tastes of the region. There was the western spread, as well as Chinese and Japanese platters on offer. A very big but confusing egg station since you had to go to two different locations if you needed omelettes or other kind of eggs and these were different ends. The staff wouldn’t wait on you since the restaurant was so busy, so you could be potentially waiting for upto 20 minutes to get your juice or coffee on the table. When seated outside, you could have a lovely view but very humid weather, and it would be a long time before you could catch someone’s attention.
I did not manage to click too many pictures this time around.
Cereals, compote and the view…
An array of dishes
The hotel has a infinity pool on the 16th level itself, and while I checked it out, my honest intention of lazing in the pool or sipping on a beer by the pool did not quite come true due to being on a family schedule.
The infinity pool
We were at the hotel one of the afternoons of our stay so we went over to the lounge for our coffee and tea break. Afternoon Tea hours were on, and while we initially seated outside for the view, we quickly realised it was hot and moved inside in a few minutes. Tea and Coffee orders were taken on the table, while we helped ourselves to the selection of cakes and sandwiches on offer. I liked the eye for detail, there was small plates with chips and sandwiches already ready for you to take away to your table.
View from the Executive Lounge
Our little tea party
Assortment of cookies, cakes, pastries and sandwiches
I can truly assure you that my three days at this hotel were a puzzle that I still have in my head not completely solved. The hotel has some lovely views, and being a ‘new’ hotel, has not seen wear and tear like the others on the beach strip. However, it also meant the staff was raw and needed a lot of training, unless the hotel management has decided that this was a touristy city so they could get away with the usual transactional nature of doing business prevalent in the town and not invest in having repeat guests. Although it was my own choice to book at this hotel due to it being a new hotel, they still have a long way to go before they will reach the standards of exactness that make a good leisure stay worth the money.
I would love to come back here, but only when they have everything sorted out!
P.S. : My choice of hotel was guided by a variety of factors, including loyalty benefits. As a Hilton HHonors Diamond, I could potentially be offered a suite upgrade with their new policy this year onwards, so I chose this property. I wrote to the hotel after making a Best Available Rate reservation, and they were happy to upgrade me in the first instance itself rather than going around the bush like the Millennium Hilton in Bangkok. And I could keep both the rooms in my own booking which meant I could earn points for both rooms on my HHonors account.
I’d converted my reservation into a prepaid reservation under the Great Getaway sale since I was going to save 33% on the Best Available Rate. The Hilton Pattaya is a Reward Category 5 hotel, so this means a standard room night award could come to you at 35,000 HHonor points per night.