Hard Rock Pattaya: Born to be a star

"Born to be a star" by Britney Spears is the tagline of a pamphlet publicising the Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya due to open in the last quarter of this year. A "star" is precisely what the hotel aims to be, with its plans to rock Pattaya with features and concept not seen before in the destination. It will be the first Hard Rock Hotel in Thailand and the second in Asia, after Bali. The Hard Rock Hotel in Pattaya also marks the first major (hotel) development in Pattaya in the past 15 years, says resident manager, Andrew Khoo Beng Kee. The 320-room hotel boasts of other "firsts" in both form and concept. Its Beach Club Pool is Pattaya's largest free form pool. A sand island by the main pool provides a private haven for children to build sandcastles and play volleyball. There is also a sunbathing pool, with 15 centimetres of water to lay in and get a great tan. On the eastern part of the pool are 11 cabanas for rental for half or full day. Musicians, jugglers and tight ropewalkers provide daylong entertainment around the pool. A three-tiered sundeck transforms into a stage at night for shows. "The whole idea is to make the pool an area of unified activities for the family, a concept not seen in Pattaya before," says Khoo. The e Bar (the Thai name stands for "crazy bitch") features a unique Cupboard Bar. During the day it serves as a cyber café serving only coffee and tea. At night it opens into a cupboard with coffee, cocktails and spirits and beers. "We break away from the bar tradition of having a live band but instead incorporate Internet facilities and PC games. From experience we found out that holidaymakers still want to keep in touch with the world," says Khoo. The Starz Diner is an all-day diner decorated circa 1950s modern retro style with music of that era. It is the first in Pattaya to feature an open kitchen which dishes up Japanese, Thai/Chinese and Californian/Italian cuisine. But beyond the aesthetics and new concepts, Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya is seen as the stimulus for the resort city to move away from its unsavoury image of sex and girlie bars. "Pattaya is the number one destination in Thailand for Thais, local expatriates and foreign visitors but its image has taken a battering. Beginning this year the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the local provincial government have embarked on a campaign to market Pattaya as a family holiday destination. The presence of a Hard Rock hotel will enhance this image. We'll also act as a catalyst for this change (in image)," says Khoo. Pattaya has the ingredients to be an ideal family playground - its easy access from Bangkok which is one-and-a-half hour drive away on the new highway, its 19 golf courses which charge less than 500 baht (US$11.80) for green fees and seafood, not to mention the sun, sand and sea. It is also becoming a clean city with a new sewage plant to discharge waste and new zoning rules and regulations to control the development of new buildings. "We are seeing a revival of Pattaya. The recent rebranding of the Royal Garden Hotel into a Marriott also signifies the changes taking place and a sign that people want such changes. Eventually Pattaya will shed its image as a cheap tourist destination. This in turn will generate even more interest and draw in investments," said Khoo. Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya will open all its rooms, facilities and F&B outlets "at one go", as Khoo puts it. Published rates start at 3,870 baht (US$101) + 17% (10% service charge and 7% VAT). Special introductory rates will be announced soon. He forecasts an average room occupancy of 65 percent for its first year of operation. Target markets are the family and conference and corporate markets from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

The Big Impact
January - March 2023 eBook

How is 2023 shaping up for Asia’s travel industry?

Read Now

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI