Less than a two hour drive from Bangkok, Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort on picturesque Wong Amat beach at Pattaya is a fantastic option for short and long-stay family holidays. A destination in its own right, it describes itself as ‘a playground for everyone’ and such is the case.
Designed to a Lost World theme – it remains Pattaya’s only fully themed resort – the hotel boasts 555 rooms and suites, all with ocean views, spread across two cliff-like wings. The rooms are spacious, ranging from 42 to 326 square metres, and all come with a furnished balcony or terrace on which to enjoy the views and the sea breezes. Most rooms offer a king-sized bed or two double beds, with the Deluxe Family Residences also providing bunk beds for children.
Every room category features a spacious bathroom with walk-in shower and amenities such as flat-screen TVs with international satellite channels, radio and in-house music, in-room safe, minibar, internet access, and tea and coffee making facilities.
The elegant suites are super-spacious, providing a haven for couples and plenty of room for families. The Grand Mirage Duplex suites encompass two floors of accommodation connected by a spiral staircase. These are large enough for four adults and four children. The super-luxurious Royal Suite is also spread over two floors and has enough space for a large family or group of people. It comes with its own private sundeck and large swimming pool.
Not that you’ll be spending that much time indoors, because the resort has myriad attractions with which all members of the family can fill their day. The children can enjoy the extensive Kids’ Club run by professional supervisors and resident entertainers who lay on fun daily activities. There is also an indoor Camp Safari and games room for the very young while teenagers have a separate E-Zone with games consoles and a meeting area.
The resort’s main attraction though is its huge water park. Set within jungle-like gardens stretching from the main buildings down to the beach, it is home to no less than 5 swimming pools – a children’s pool, an infinity pool, a lap pool (strictly for the use of adults only), a large freeform pool, and the ‘lazy river’ which winds its way through the gardens and has various waterslides and waterfalls along its course.
A recent addition to this water world is the aptly named Monsoon Island, a dedicated zone for younger children (although dads seem to get just as big a kick out of it).
Constructed with non-slip padded flooring, the zone has an array of water spouts, sprays and water cannons and a jumbo tip-up water bucket mounted on a tower. It is a safe and fun area in which pre-teens can keep cool and burn off energy.
Beyond this is the resort’s own 230-metre stretch of Wong Amat beach, a playground of fine sand where an extensive range of water sports and other activities can be enjoyed, including windsurfing, kayaking, snorkelling, boating, volleyball and fishing. All of which leaves mum and dad blissfully free to relax on their own – dad perhaps over a few cold beers at the main pool’s swim-up bar, mum with some aqua aerobics or a traditional Thai massage at SPA Cenvaree, an oasis of calm and relaxation set within its own village to one side of the water park.
Then at the end of the day the family can reassemble for some much-needed nourishment, and here too the resort has a fine choice. There’s all-day dining at Oasis, which serves a hearty breakfast buffet and regular themed dinners – the seafood night on Thursdays is particularly popular. Then there’s Ginger & Lime, which offers a fascinating take on Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines. Flagship restaurant Acqua serves delicious modern Italian cuisine with the accent on fresh seafood, and Flames is a haven for magnificently grilled meat and fish dishes. With striking décor and great views, Vistas is the perfect rendezvous point and lounge for anytime of the day, while the Zulu bar makes for a lively evening spot.
As experienced hotelier Andre Brulhart, Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort’s urbane general manager, puts it “We are anything but a ‘cookie-cutter’ design hotel. This is heaven for families. We really do have something foreveryone, but particularly children. In fact, it is the kids who encourage parents to come back… not, in our experience, that they need much encouragement.”
Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort
277 Moo5 Naklua, Bamlamung Pattaya, Chonburi
0 3830 1234 ext. 4148 | centarahotelsresorts.com