Across the street from the beach, close to shopping and nightlife
Extravagantly styled rooms, many with balconies and some with sea views
Large suites and extra beds available
Rooftop pool and small gym with modern equipment
Restaurant serving Thai and Western fare all day
Coffee shop plus a 24-hour convenience store
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Limited sea views
Decor may be gaudy for some
LK The Empress is a three-and-a-half-pearl hotel with palatial decor and a spot-on location for the beach and Pattaya's famous nightlife. Its 131 rooms and suites have balconies -- some with sea views -- though the style may be a bit kitschy for some. Common features such as microwaves and DVD players are a plus, and the larger suites are plush and spacious. There's an outdoor pool, gym, and a restaurant serving Thai and Western fare all day, plus a coffee bar and a useful 24-hour convenience store. Travelers who prefer a more mdoern finish could take a look at A-One The Royal Cruise, at the other end of the beach. It has more facilities -- including a spa -- though rates there will be higher.
Extravagantly styled hotel that's a step up from basic area crash pads
The Empress has a grand palatial style, full of golden statues, elegant furniture, and huge draped curtains. It's set on a busy commercial street, so stepping in through the shining gold revolving doors from the chaos outside provides a sense of contrasting calm. Decor is in gold and white tones, with huge flower displays placed around the lobby. Many intricate pieces that draw the eye, from the beautiful chandeliers to the garden corner with marble statue and wall mural. The sense of grandeur is continued throughout the hotel -- even the gym has an ornate silver mirror hanging on the wall. While the style is certainly a step above some of the mid-range and budget hotels in the area, the look may be a bit gaudy for some. Guests are generally younger travelers looking for a step up from basic hotels, plus weekenders from Bangkok and family groups.
Across from the beach, amid shopping and dining and a 10-minute walk to Walking Street
LK The Empress is located across the street from the beach in Pattaya, with an entrance on a side street off of busy Beach Road, between other hotels, malls, and restaurants. It's a 10-minute walk south to lively Walking Street, the city's top night spot, and about the same to attractions such as Ripley's Museum. The city beach is across the street, and it's a 10-minute drive to the ferry pier for boats to Koh Larn -- a quiet beach retreat that's more quintessentially Thai. It's also a 10-minute drive to popular Wat Phrai Yai, the Buddhist temple with huge golden Buddha statue, and around 20 minutes to Pattaya Rail Station and the Floating Market. Farther afield, the beautifully landscaped Nong Nooch Botanical Gardens are are about a 45-minute drive from the hotel. Most travelers will use the airports in Bangkok, which can take two hours or more to reach by car, though that depends on traffic.
Variety of rooms and suites, most with balconies, some with sea views and/or jetted tubs
Rooms at LK The Empress are a decent size and have balconies -- some with sea views. Decor continues the exuberant style found throughout the hotel, with ornate headboards, wooden floors, and plenty of cream and gold tones. Some may find the look a bit gaudy, and the balconies in lower-end rooms can be small -- large enough for just one chair. All include air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs with DVD players, safes, small food preparation areas with kettles, microwaves, and minibars. Many of the larger rooms are able to accommodate extra beds. Suites add a further touch of opulence, with velvet armchairs, throw pillows, and fluffy rugs, plus separate living rooms. The Garden Suite has its own sun room, and the Three-Bedroom Suites have kitchens and dining rooms. Bathrooms have a clean and neutral finish, with dark wood accents and cream tiling. All feature rainfall showers, and most have bathtubs (with the exception of Standard Rooms) -- many have jetted baths.
A rooftop pool, gym, and restaurant plus free Wi-Fi, but no spa
While this hotel ticks most boxes for an upmarket stay, there are some misses that are surprising. The hotel has a rooftop pool, which provides restricted views out to the ocean, plus loungers and a shallow kids' end. There's a small gym with modern cardio machines and a weight press area. We were surprised by the lack of a spa. A restaurant serves Thai and Western fare for all meals, with room service available. The buffet breakfast includes an egg station, and is served in a breakfast room with views onto the street. It's not included with all rates. There's a coffee shop serving snacks and ice cream, and there's a 24-hour convenience store within the hotel. Airport transfers and laundry services are both available for a fee, and Wi-Fi is free throughout.