Andaz Pattaya อันดาซ พัทยา

Carina Chorengel, Senior Vice President - Commercial, Asia Pacific at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts

Making waves on Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard

From the shores of Bang Saray, the distant skyscrapers of Pattaya appear suspended above the Gulf of Thailand on a clear day. Dazzling in the sunlight, Chonburi’s largest city could almost be mistaken for Miami. And much like The Magic City, Pattaya is best known for its bustling beachfront, high-end hotels and neon-lit nightlife.

But just 20 kilometres up the coast from the mainland’s most popular seaside destination, the sleepy fishing community of Bang Saray strikes an altogether more sedentary chord. Here, shrines, stilted seafood restaurants and the occasional inflatable toy store dot the main strip, while fishermen usually outnumber tourists on the three-kilometre beach.

That is not to say the town is absent from the tourist radar. In recent years, the area has become a hit with well-heeled weekenders from Bangkok searching for a convenient, low-key alternative to the bright lights of Pattaya. The completion of the Pattaya bypass on Highway 7 means the ocean breeze, fresh seafood and some of the kingdom’s best golf courses are now only a 90-minute drive from the Thai capital — at least on a good day. Meanwhile, the slated high-speed rail connecting Bangkok’s two international airports and Pattaya’s U-Tapao Airport will be another boon for tourism in the area upon completion.

Six-bedroom Heritage House accommodation at Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach
Ranjeet Rajebhosale, General Manager, Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach

A sticking point for many visitors, however, has historically been the lack of quality accommodation. There are charming guesthouses and homestays in and around the town, but no internationally branded resorts on the scale found in many of Thailand’s other coastal destinations.

This finally looks set to change with the introduction of Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach later this year. Global hospitality firm Hyatt’s debut Andaz property in Thailand, the USD 150 million project will occupy a 6.4-hectare land plot with direct access to nearby Tawanron Beach.

The 204 rooms and villas will be arranged in low-rise clusters, surrounding six F&B venues, three swimming pools, event spaces and nature-laden public areas. Two heritage houses, meanwhile, have been transformed into the resort’s most highly prized accommodation: a duplex four-bedroom Manor House and six-bedroom Presidential Heritage House – both featuring a private pool and bespoke services such as a dedicated butler.

“This piece of land has such a rich history," explains Carina Chorengel, Senior Vice President – Commercial, Asia Pacific at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. “A former family estate, it is blessed with mature trees and traditional Thai houses. It has stood strong and retained its authentic charm amid the development of the surrounding area.

“This heritage fuses perfectly with the spirit and vision of our brand."

Hyatt’s “luxury lifestyle brand", which launched in London in 2007, now boasts almost 30 properties worldwide. The destination heavily influences the design of each. In Asia Pacific, Andaz Bali, for instance, takes cues from the island’s traditional architecture, while the Singapore outpost borrows elements from the conserved shophouses set amidst alleyways from its historic Kampong Glam neighbourhood.

Beachfront Pool Villas at Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach
A gracious raintree greets guests at the entrance of Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach

A similar commitment to celebrating local heritage is underway on Tawanron Beach. One of the main challenges at the one-time private holiday home — owned by frozen seafood magnate Narit Chia-Apar — was to integrate a contemporary lifestyle resort into an established woodland with 50- to 100-year-old trees and a family estate featuring traditional Thai houses without upsetting the balance of the area. The solution? Create a series of separate zones and low-rise building clusters woven seamlessly through nature. Many of the trees were preserved and used as centrepieces throughout the resort, and, in addition to the repurposed manor houses, a small teak building has been conserved as a teahouse.

Led by award-winning Thai architecture firm A49 and PIA Interiors, the property also showcases the talents of local artisans. For instance, native and natural materials such as woven bamboo from the province’s famous Panas Nikhom community and local ang sila mortar are integrated to evoke Chonburi’s fishing villages.

“Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach is like a time capsule that transports guests into a more graceful era," says Pichai Wongwaisayawan, Deputy Managing Director at A49. “It reflects a sense of Thainess and the authentic personality of its destination."

Other local collaborations include a partnership with exclusive Thai wellness brand PAÑPURI to introduce a spa in the tranquil watercourt area of the resort and to create a unique scent forbathroom amenities. The resort, meanwhile, will eschew the usual fruit juice welcome drinks in favour of serving Thai-inspired craft sodas by a young Chonburi-based entrepreneur.

But who exactly will the team at Andaz be welcoming when the doors open in the final quarter of 2022? According to Ranjeet Rajebhosale, the resort’s General Manager, about 90 per cent of pre-bookings will hail from the domestic market, but the demographic will evolve as tourists continue returning to Thailand.

“We’re already starting to see a shift, however, and next year will be completely different with a healthy mix of domestic guests and international travellers," he adds. “What’s more, in Thailand and Asia Pacific as a whole, we are seeing more demand for premium room types and suites.

“Our guests are continuing to book extended stays, making the most of being away due to higher airline ticket prices and limited flights."

With the entry of Hyatt’s Andaz brand marking the destination’s first internationally branded resort, it is likely only a matter of time until other big names follow suit and Bang Saray emerges from the shadows of Pattaya’s skyline on the horizon.

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Published 29th August 2022