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Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya 4.0

Pattaya, Chonburi Province, Thailand

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Located in downtown Pattaya near shopping malls and dining
  • Across the road from the beach
  • Two massive pools with regular foam parties and swim-up bar
  • Kids' club, babysitting services, and children’s pool available  
  • Tennis and basketball courts plus free guitar rentals
  • Full-service spa, offering beauty treatments, sauna and massages 
  • Hard Rock Cafe, pizzeria, and diner plus 24-hour room service
  • Suites are spacious and sunny, and most feature balconies
  • Free in-room Wi-Fi and in most public areas
  • 24-hour airport shuttle available at a fee
  • Free guitar rentals available  

Cons

  • Food scores low marks across the board
  • Downtown Pattaya is notorious for sex tourism and can feel seedy
  • Children not allowed at pool parties (a pro for many)
  • Service can be slow during check-in and check-out

Bottom Line

The upscale Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya remains one Pattaya's most popular international brand hotels. Rooms are modern and keep the garish rock-themed decor to a blessed minimum, with features like flat-screen TVs, minibars, and air-conditioning. Guitars are available for nightly jam sessions and there's a swim-up bar and weekend foam parties at the massive pool. A full-service spa, endless kid-friendly activities, and a beach just across the road all make this a fine pick, but the hotel's surroundings in downtown Pattaya can feel a little lurid at night. Those who aren't timid, though, will find lots of restaurants and bars nearby, meaning the sub-par food at the hotel can be sidestepped. Those wanting something a little less hectic might prefer similarly-priced Rabbit Resort nearby, which has a more intimate vibe.

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Scene

Funky, music-themed chain hotel with bustling party vibe

To be clear, the level of style at Hard Rock outposts around the world is variable -- some are dated and overwrought, while others are more contemporary. At Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya, the decor remains faithful to the eclectic music memorabilia that's made the brand famous, but mostly tasteful -- the Beatles strut across Abbey Road along one hallway, while Elton John says, "Goodbye to yellow brick road," on another. Meanwhile, a tempting display of electric guitars of all shapes and sizes cover one lobby wall, with a sign offering guests the opportunity to jam out in the privacy of their own rooms (for free!). All of it is enough to tug at any music lover’s heart strings -- and it explains the hotel’s continued popularity with guests from all over the world. The scene in the funky, purple-carpeted lobby is understandably a hectic one, especially considering the hotel’s 323 rooms, two restaurants, and massive pool area that seems to be constantly teeming with people. As a result, the parking lot can get crowded quickly, and service can be slow during check-in and check-out. Given its recognizable status, this hotel manages to appeal to everyone, from couples to families with small children and big tour groups, among others. 

Location

In downtown Pattaya, within walking distance of beach and nightlife

The hotel is centrally located in downtown Pattaya, and the beach is just across the road. Various shopping areas are within a reasonably easy walk -- like Mike Shopping Mall (a 13-minute walk) and Avenue Pattaya (a six-minute drive from the hotel). A few unique local attractions are nearby, including the Teddy Bear Museum -- it’s the only one of its kind in all of Southeast Asia and just a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The Buddhist temple known as the Sanctuary of Truth stands on a hilltop nearby, a 15- to 20-minute drive from the hotel.

There are plenty of dining options within a reasonable walk of the hotel as well, which is helpful as the food here can be underwhelming. Leng Kee restaurant is under 10 minutes away on foot, while Mantra Restaurant and Bar (part of the Mantra Resort) is 13 minutes away on foot. There’s also Madras Darbar, an Indian eatery that’s about an eleven-minute walk. Keep in mind that downtown Pattaya is a hub for Thailand's sex trade, and the area can feel a bit seedy. It will take about an hour to reach U-Tapao Airport, and Suvarnabhumi International, back in Bangkok, is a 90-minute drive from the property. Keep in mind that traffic can alter drive times drastically in this part of Thailand.

Rooms

Contemporary, mostly understated style with flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi

We have seen plenty of overdone rooms at the Hard Rock hotels that we've visited -- from tribal tattoo-inspired motifs to rooms that appear bathed in pleather, style isn't always at the fore of the chain's concerns. Thankfully, while the rooms here aren't the epitome of style, they are reasonably contemporary and subtle enough to make them pleasant places to crash at night. The color scheme is predictably white, black, and gray, though framed images of famous musicians on the walls add a bit of rocker personality. Otherwise, expect to see lots of light wood paneling, dark purple carpets, and glossy black details

Rooms here are spacious and sunny, and come in a handful of different categories, including upgraded King’s Club units, which offers extra perks like a private check-in, daily cocktail hours and a cozy, exclusive breakfast room. All rooms feature up-to-date amenities like coffeemakers, Phillips speakers, minibars, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs with satellite channels.

While rooms with city views might be less appealing than sea-view or pool-facing suites, rooms with city views all offer balconies (some sea-facing rooms do not). Certain balconies have hot tubs, though it's worth noting that rooms overlooking the pool will pick up noise from occasional pool parties. Rooms on the higher floors are surprisingly quiet, considering the hotel’s downtown location. Bathrooms are appropriate for a hip bachelor pad, done in austere gray and black, with contemporary fixtures and rainfall showerheads. Some offer peekaboo windows into the main body of the room, with wooden shades that can be drawn for privacy.

Features

Popular Hard Rock Cafe plus endless activities for adults and kids

This hotel's name-brand status makes it a destination among visitors to Pattaya, even for those who aren't staying at the hotel. Of course, one of the prime spots here is the famed Hard Rock Cafe. Additionally, the hotel also offers a pizzeria and Starz Diner, meaning that cuisines drastically range from local Thai food to European dishes and American favorites. While the variety is impressive, the lack of specificity is probably to blame for the poor quality, and many guests reported that the food is sub-par at best. 

Cocktails from the hotel’s swim-up bar come in handy for the weekly foam parties at the hotel's huge pool -- these soirees have gained the hotel rave reviews from previous travelers. One important note: the age limit for these parties is set at 20, so some travelers may have to leave the high-schoolers and kids at home. The beach is just across the road from the hotel. A kids' club (and babysitters) provides entertainment day and night for the little ones, and the hotel has a sizable kiddie pool and a game room, though there are fees for some of these services.

A health club plus tennis and basketball courts are on-site, and there's a spa for a more relaxing way to unwind. As expected, the nightly entertainment here includes occasional live music, and all manner of rock swag is on-sale in the hotel's shop. Free guitars are on hand for guests to use and there are no time limits on how long they can be used. DJ kits can also be borrowed for free, and free curated playlists are also offered. Wi-Fi is also free at the hotel and meeting space is available. Airport shuttles run around the clock, though they aren't included in room rates.

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Address

429 Moo 9, Pattaya Beach Road, Cholburi, Pattaya 20150, Thailand

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