Standing tall in the heart of downtown Rayong
The city of Rayong, and the province of Rayong itself, are both parts of Thailand that the average tourist may overlook. However, business professionals know that Rayong is not only a vibrant manufacturing region but also a great place to enjoy a weekend getaway from Bangkok. And while the primary lure of Rayong has always been long sandy beaches such as Hat Mae Rumphueng, and the pier that offers ferry rides to the popular tourist island of Koh Samet, the Holiday Inn & Suites Rayong City Centre now offers visitors more of a reason to visit Rayong’s downtown core.
The 30-storey city hotel—which just opened its doors in the first week of September, and has a Grand Opening celebration set for late November—provides travellers with 288 comfortable guest rooms to choose from, including 64 spacious suites (many of which can be rented as adjoining rooms). The range of suites are aimed at the hotel’s longer term guests, and include separate living room, dining table, bathtub (in addition to shower), and limited cooking facilities. Guests who book anything from the One Bedroom Club Corner Suite upwards are entitled to ‘Executive Club’ privileges, which includes access to the private Executive Club on the 27th floor for the whole day, where complimentary snacks, coffee, tea and drinks are served, as well as an evening wine and cocktail social from 6pm till 8pm. Other guests can also access the Executive Club by paying an extra supplement.
The rooms themselves are designed and furnished in a modern contemporary style, using a bright but always tasteful range of whites, muted blues, soothing greys, and pale wood tones. Each guest room offers an array of amenities designed to make your stay more comfortable, including in-room safe, ironing board and iron, blackout shades, tea and coffee making supplies, work desk, mini bar, and fridge. In addition, high-tech amenities include flatscreen satellite TV (with premium channels), iPod docking station, and free Wi-Fi. But sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference, and for me I just loved the plush terrycloth bathrobes—made to fit the Western physique.
For business travellers the hotel offers an assortment of meeting rooms—all named after local Rayong districts—including a grand ballroom capable of holding 500 persons theatre-style. But for guests looking for a place to simply unwind, the 29th floor infinity swimming pool delivers high altitude breezes and stunning views of the ocean as well as the surrounding countryside. The fact that the hotel is the tallest building in Rayong means that visitors to this elevated outdoor viewpoint have unobstructed views in every direction. There’s also a fitness room beside the pool, with treadmills and free weights.
The hotel has a number of F&B outlets, of which The Brasserie, located on the 5th floor, is probably the most frequented. A sumptuous buffet breakfast is served here for overnight guests—who can take advantage of indoor or outdoor seating—after which the restaurant offers à la carte lunch and dinner menus. The dinner menu offerings run the gamut from Thai specialties to European and international delicacies, with stand-out dishes that include: chicken with cashew nuts; grilled pork steak with vegetables; Massaman lamb curry with roti bread; and desserts such as crème brulée tart and raspberry cheesecake. There’s also an impressive drinks menu and wine selection to accompany meals, and on Friday and Saturday nights a buffet dinner is served (for guests who want to try a bit of everything).
The hotel’s other F&B outlet is the CU Lounge & Bar, located on the ground floor by the lobby. Stop by for a variety of light meals and snacks, complemented by Lavazza coffees and premium teas, as well as an extensive selection of cocktails, wines and beers. And, by the time you read this, the finishing touches will have been put on the hotel’s two newest socializing spots—a Cigar Lounge on the ground floor, and Elementi, the hotel’s premiere Italian restaurant up on the 30th floor (scheduled to open at the beginning of November).
All this culinary sophistication is welcome news to both the residents of Rayong and tourists visiting the area. And while the beachfront still offers lots of yummy seafood shacks by the water, the city’s fine dining scene is now centred firmly around this newly opened civic landmark. by Bruce Scott
Holiday Inn & Suites
Rayong City Centre
554/5 Sukhumvit Rd, Noen Pra, Muang Rayong, Rayong
Tel: 03 897 8789
MEET THE MANAGER
In conversation with Ian Pirodon, General Manager of the Holiday Inn & Suites Rayong City Centre.
Who generally makes up your client base so far?
Rayong basically has been in a state where there is a lot of local travelers coming in, such as corporates working in SCG/PTT, the petro chemical industries, but the Eastern seaboard is full of international companies, most of whom have been staying in Pattaya. But with our international brand we bring a level of service standard and international cuisine that they just couldn’t find in Rayong before. So even in our short opening phase we are seeing so many international guests coming through.
What is the key feature that sets this hotel apart?
The key feature for us is the 64 one-bedroom suites. We’re the first Holiday Inn Suites property in Thailand. They’re designed for these types of environments where you do have some long-stay—anything from 10 days to three months—and it gives them the opportunity to feel at home.
What are some of the things to do and see in Rayong?
The Prasae Mangrove Forest Walk is about 15 minutes away, and within a short radius of the hotel you’ve got key highlight attractions including a strawberry farm, a floating market (which is just around the corner), this seafood corridor which attracts a lot of Bangkok Thai travelers, and during the fruit seasons you get a lot of visitors—particularly during the durian season. Our hinterland view, from the rear of the hotel, looks out onto the [Suan Son] National Park. For our Bangkok market they’re amazed by the greenery. We want to change people’s perspective of what Rayong City comes across as. It’s known as an industrial estate but it’s also a lovely town.