Royal Garden Resort

by Tom Aikins, Mar 20, 2002 | Destinations: Thailand / Pattaya

Traditional musicians at the Royal Garden Resort, Thailand.
The open air lobby at the Royal Garden Resort, Thailand.
Board sailing at the Royal Garden Resort, Thailand.

If you're looking for a place in Pattaya that will provide an oasis of calm in the middle of the bustling activity all around this seaside tourist attraction, look no more. The Royal Garden Resort, which faces both Second Road and Beach Road, is indeed an oasis of calm as you step into the beautiful garden enclosed by the walls of the hotel and adjoining shopping plaza. And even further inside, you'll find a relaxing spa that's part of the fitness club facility and is designed to take away the worries of the world with its healthful skin and body treatments.

A weekend stay allowed us the luxury of experiencing all that this excellent resort facility, one of the jewels of the Minor Group's business empire, has to offer. From restaurants, shopping, the gardens and pool, the fitness club and spa, this is a resort that has a little bit of everything under one, albeit large, roof.

Actually, our first experience was with the spa, as we entered the property from the Beach Road side and were making our way to the lobby. We spotted the sign for the fitness center, which contains the spa also, and made our way up to the third floor to check things out before we checked ourselves in. Tennis and recreation manager Sean Panton was waiting for us and enthusiastically described the services offered by the spa and club. We decided to take up the offer to try the spa's treatments right away, and after checking into our well-appointed room, returned to the spa for an afternoon and early evening of treatments.

We selected the Spa Rejuvenation package which lasts three hours and additionally added an herbal aroma steam session which occupied the first half hour of our time there and cleansed our skin thoroughly in preparation for the rest of the treatments to come.

We started with the Siamese herbal body scrub, which left our skin tingling after the coarse particles were rubbed over all of our bodies. After a cleansing shower, we were back on the massage tables for Thai herbal-floral facials, which are designed to cleanse and moisturize the skin. Our choice was the Chiang Mai honey mud mask, which cleared off dead skin cells and revitalized the face. Next was the aromatic healing bath, which is a romantic way to spend a half hour with your loved one as you soak up the minerals and herbs in the large tub of hot water.

Then it was back to the massage tables again for our finale, the body massage. We chose the herbal aroma massage, which employs Thai herbal aromatherapy oils and techniques as the masseuses gently kneaded the final tenseness from our bodies. All in all, we felt drained and yet exhilarated when we left and will certainly look forward to the next time we can indulge in this pampering.

The rest of our stay at the resort was just as pleasant as our spa experience. The enclosed garden and pool area is a great place for relaxing with a good book or paddling around in the water and getting a tan. There's some good food service here as well as a pool bar that you can enjoy while sitting in the cooling water. Our room was on the ground level of the hotel, which didn't afford us a view of the ocean, but it did offer us a small outdoor patio, which opened out into the garden and was a very peaceful place to sit in the late afternoon and early evening as the sun was setting. It's hard to believe that only meters away is the bustle of Beach Road since none of the street noise makes it inside to this secluded hideaway.

Also only steps away is the shopping mall that makes up a great deal of the total property space. It's three stories high and includes the world-famous Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, the only one in Thailand, which is definitely worth a visit if you haven't been before. There's almost every kind of store imaginable here and probably every fast food franchise available in Thailand, including an adjacent Burger King and McDonalds, the first time we've ever seen that.

Of course, you probably won't have to think about fast food since the hotel has enough restaurants of its own to accommodate a wide variety of culinary tastes. The Garden Cafe Restaurant is the international and Thai outlet that serves both buffet and ala carte meals and also hosts numerous food festivals. The above-mentioned food service at the pool consists of the Loy Nam bar, which serves snacks, sandwiches, salads and BBQ items.

There's also a branch of the world-famous Benihana restaurants here as well as a newly opened Chinese restaurant, the Rice Mill, which is also in the Marriott Royal Garden Riverside Hotel in Bangkok. And, in the front of the complex on the Second Road side, is a branch of Delaney's Irish Pub, the Bangkok institution. So whatever it is you're looking to eat, you probably won't have far to go.

If you do happen to indulge in one of these places, or any other, you can always work off a big meal at the fitness center. With all the talk about the spa, we neglected to offer details about the fitness center, but it is also deserving of some space. It's a large well-equipped space with the latest Cybex machines, plenty of stationary bikes and treadmills and individual TVs with headphones at each machine. There are also tennis courts and expert instruction from the professionals who manage the club as part of the worldwide Peter Burwash International company.

Other activities including table tennis and badminton are available as well as mountain biking. This really is a well-equipped facility and is one of the nicest we've seen in the country. Combined with the spa, it offers a wide variety of activities for all types of health, fitness and wellness programs.

If you're looking for a place to relax for a weekend and yet still be in the middle of the action that makes up Pattaya's exciting nightlife, the Royal Garden Resort is difficult to top, with all of its own attractions and others outside only steps away.

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