The Golden Sea Pattaya Hotel is located in a quiet neighborhood between Central Pattaya and South Pattaya. Despite the peaceful immediate surroundings, however, it is just a short walk from a busy commercial strip and a bustling bar street close to many key tourist attractions.
I was planning to spend a total of seven nights in Pattaya, Thailand, a beach resort located about two hours from Bangkok and 90 minutes from Bangkok’s impossible to pronounce Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
Faced with a gap in my schedule, I went on line to find a hotel to spend two nights at to fill in the gap.
Arranging Transport …
After checking out of the Hotel Baraquda Pattaya – MGallery by Sofitel, I asked staff at the front desk to arrange a taxi for me to my next hotel, which I assmed would be only a few blocks away.
They wanted to know my budget, but I wasn’t sure how much I should be willing to spend as I was still struggling with the exchange rate and didn’t really know how much a short trip like that should cost in Thailand.
“Don’t the taxis have metres?” I asked.
No, I was told. A fare needed to be negotiated in advance. When a price was suggested, it seemed a bit high considering the short distance.
So I was asked if I wanted to go by motor scooter, but I said no. I didn’t have a lot of luggage, but I certainly had too much luggage to be accommodated by a scooter.
Was air-conditioning necessary? No, I said. I could survive a short trip without it.
I was told to sit down in the lobby while a member of staff ran down to the street to see what he could come up with.
Several minutes later, he came back to fetch me, and he escorted me to one of the flatbed trucks that have been converted into a sort of minibus in Pattaya.
They usually hold several people, but I was to have it all to myself. This seemed like a bit of an adventure. I climbed on board with a sense of exitement.
The Entrance …
I made sure to double check the price before departing from the hotel – you have to be careful in this part of the world, and I didn’t want any unnecessary drama upon arrival.
The fare was supposed to be 1,500 baht. As we negotiated the side streets and back alleys of Pattaya, however, I suddenly remembered that I had tipped the guy that had arranged transport for me.
I looked in my wallet and discovered that – to my dismay – I didn’t have exact change to pay the driver with, and that could lead to the kind of drama I had been hoping to avoid.
When we arrived at my destination, the Golden Sea Pattaya Hotel, I got out of the truck, pulled out two 1,000 baht bills and held on to them as I asked the driver if he had a 500 baht note.
He looked surprised – or maybe it was disappointment. But he extracted a 500 bill from his shirt pocket and handed it to me. Only then did I pay him my fare
I could be wrong, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if I had handed him the two 1,000 notes first, he would have insisted that he didn’t have change, and I would have been left in an awkward position.
The Lobby …
The hotel seemed nicer than I had expected. It also seemed larger than I had expected.
There appeared to be three or four separate buildings, and one of them had its own lobby. Were they one hotel or a collection of hotels?.
There was also a strip of what appeared to be row houses opposite the buildings. I later learned that these were villas targeted at long-staying guests.
A bellman had come out to the street and escorted me from the van to the furthermost lobby. After I checked in, I was told to sit down and relax while my room was readied.
My Room …
I was housed in room 315, a superior room measuring 40 square metres, but – if truth be told – it seemed much larger than that.
There was a half refrigerator, coffee and tea-making equipment, and a decent sized clothes closet.
Two single beds had been shoved together to create one large bed. There was a long workstation along one wall, which accommodated my laptop computer, a flat screen television, and my suitcases.
I found the space quite comfortable to work at. Wi-fi was complimentary.
The decor was quite attractive with cream coloured walls, dark brown wood, artistic golden accents, and two burgundy armchairs.
The Bathroom …
The bathroom was a bit old-fashioned with a brown and beige colour scheme, white fixtures, a brown marble counter, and a combination bathtub and shower. At least it was clean, and the towels were fresh.
The Balcony …
There was a spacious balcony with two wooden chairs, a wooden table, and a rack to dry clothes on.
The balcony had a view of the hotel’s swimming pool and the rowhouses across the alley.
Other Options …
The hotel has a total of seven room types. In addition to the 27 superior rooms such as the one I stayed in were …
- 217 deluxe rooms measuring 40 square metres,
- four grand deluxe rooms measuring 45 square metres,
- 44 studio deluxe rooms measuring 40 square metres,
- one grand junior suite measuring 120 square metres,
- nine junior suites measuring 80 square metres, and
- 21 villas measuring 136 to 182 square metres.
Suites have dining areas and kitchens with larger refrigerators and microwaves
The Breakfast …
The hotel served a buffet breakfast in a comfortable cafe with indoor and outside seating until 10.30 am.
When I booked my room, however, I didn’t opt for breakfast since I never eat breakfast at home. Instead, I picked up something at a nearby mini mart the night before and just made coffee to go with it in my room.
The cafe did not serve lunch or dinner.
The Shrines …
The hotel appeared to be Chinese or Chinese-Thai owned. There was a mixture of Chinese and Thai cultural elements as reflected in the interior design and the indoor and outdoor shrines.
The Swimming Pool …
The swimming pool, as viewed from room 513 on the fifth floor, is open from 9 am until 8.35 pm.
Atop a one-storey building, the pool remains in the sunshine throughout the day, from sunrise to sunset.
There was a kiosk selling soft drinks, beer, fruit juice, and ice cream. There was also an outdoor space with showers.
I found the pool a little too small to do laps in and gave up after only 20 minutes. Particularly annoying was the yellow plastic lane marker to differentiate the shallow end from the deep end.
It would not have been so annoying if it had been placed at the mid-way point because I could have yswum under it the way I’ve done at other hotels.
But placed where it was made doing laps particularly awkward because I had to duck under it at the end and beginning of each lap.
The marker was attached to hooks on the floor on both sides of the pool. I accidentally stepped on one of them as I stood up from my lounge chair (it was directly in front of it), and I’m lucky I didn’t fall and break my neck.
This kind of careless disregard for the safety of guests seems all too common in this part of the world.
I find it hard to believe I was the first hotel guest to have stumbled on it and cannot believe that nobody had thought of placing something over it to prevent an accident from happening.
The Location …
Pattaya is the closest beach resort to Bangkok. It is located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) southeast of Bangkok, the nation’s capital.
The hotel was located in a quiet residential district, which appeared to be in the middle of nowhere when I arrived.
When I went out in search of something to eat, however, I was surprised to see that bustling commercial strips were less than a five minutes’ walk in one direction and less than a two minutes’ walk in the other direction.
How to Get There
Pattaya is roughly a two hours’ drive from downtown Bangkok. Unless you want to drive, you can travel to Pattaya by shuttle, bus, or taxi.
If two or more of you are traveling together, I would recommend going by taxi – providing you can get the fare negotiated in advance.
If you are going directly to Pattaya from overseas, the good news is that it’s relatively close to Thailand’s busiest airport. And another airport, which is even closer, is starting to attract international service, as well.
A third option is Don Mueang International Airport, which is considerably more distant. The drive takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Suvarnabhumi Airport is served mostly by international airlines as well as domestic airlines flying to foreign travel destinations.
U-Tapao was traditionally used for travel to domestic travel destinations, but it is starting to attract major airlines flying to international destinations.
Qatar Airways launched service to the airport in December 2017, and other airlines are sure to follow suit shortly. This will make Pattaya an even more attractive travel destination for overseas beachgoers.
Don Mueang is used mostly for domestic flights and by budget carriers.
The Verdict …
Overall, I was quite satisfied with the hotel. The room was both comfortable and spacious, and the interior design was quite attractive.
Only the bathroom was a bit dated, but that did not bother me. At least it was clean, and the towels were fresh.
As for the location, it was both quiet AND convenient. I can imagine myself staying there again.
The only thing I was disappointed with (and the only reason I might not want to stay there again) was the swimming pool. It was fine for sunbathing but not long enough to do laps in.
If I didn’t want to go swimming, and only wanted a comfortable place to stay. I would gladly stay there again.
I’ll give it one thumbs up.
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