Our trip to Pattaya last December had thrown up quite a few surprises for us, primarily because one doesn't readily associate Pattaya as a holiday destination for families. All that changed when the monkies splashed themselves crazy at Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark and mingled with farm animals at Pattaya Sheep Farm.
But equally important for parents is the availability of family-friendly resorts at that particular holiday destination too. Because sometimes all we want to do on a holiday is just to laze within the hotel, with enough activities to keep the kiddos occupied at the same time.
And Pattaya does not disappoint.
In fact, Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort - one of the resorts we stayed in Pattaya - had the monkies mesmerized the moment we checked in.
Woah, a mini waterpark right on the hotel's premises! But more on that later, I promise.
Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort is right smack in the prime location of North Pattaya, offering direct access to the beach just 500 meters away. More importantly for parents, it is located far far away from Walking Street, which is home to Pattaya's seediest night entertainment.
Having opened in November 2014, the property is one of the newest hotels in the North Pattaya area and from our first impressions when we stepped into the lobby, everything looked to be so spacious and well-designed.
Of course, the litmus test for the monkies when it comes to hotel accommodation lies in the room.
Rooms at Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort consist of Superior King/Twin, Ocean View Suite and Executive Family Suite with 2 bedrooms and a living room. All rooms have free WIFI, a balcony, in-room safe, refrigerator and tea & coffee-making facilities.
Superior Rooms starts from S$95 per night if you make an advance booking so that is really affordable! Oh and better yet, accommodation and breakfast is FREE for 2 children under 16 years if they share the parents’ room and utilising existing bedding.
We stayed in an Ocean View Suite (from S$170 per night) which came with a master bedroom with a king-size bed and a separate living room. An extra (and welcome) perk that Ocean View Suites have is drinks in the in-room minibar are absolutely free for us to consume.
And with a name like 'Ocean View Suite', our room had a splendid view of Pattaya Bay.
Well, splendid enough to induce sloth-like behaviour.
Luckily though, the amenities within the hotel provided enough motivation for the monkies to get off their bums... and in the process, push their almost-asleep Dad off the comfy bed.
There are 2 pools at Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort, with the lap pool on the 5th floor catering mainly to adults. The ground floor is where everything in the name of fun comes together for kids.
The Kids Club is a modest set-up, home to dinosaur toys, toy cars, 2 computer stations and Ale's fave - a ball pit.
Outside, there is an open space with 2 mini goalposts where kids can perspire over a game of mini football game. Do note that while the Kids Club is free to use for all children of hotel guests, it is not tended with staff so parents of younger children will not be able to leave them in the Club alone.
One of the activities that the monkies did not manage to try was rock-climbing (chargeable at 200 Bht per person for 30 minutes) due to a lack of time.
But at least they finally got their wish.
Without a doubt, Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort's appeal lies in its water park (free and exclusive to hotel guests).
The water park may not be huge but as long as there are slides, water fountains and pure water play involved, the monkies are always happy!
I know the yellow slide looks like your typical water slide but trust me when I say that the slide is deceptively fast and spirals sliders down into the water in a speedy fashion! But as you can probably guess, that only increased the number of times that the monkies went on it!
For the thrill-adverse, there is always the cute whale to take refuge in.
And to up the thrill factor, the water park also has a dedicated area for swimmers to leap off from a cliff and into the water below.
Never ones to shy away from challenges, the boys took turns to take flight.
There are 2 platforms of different heights... and no prizes for guessing which platform the boys consistently leapt from. (Hint: It's not the lower one.)
Little wonder then that the monkies requested to visit the water park every single day during our stay at the resort.
Not only is Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort located a 5-minute walk away from the beach, one block away lies a new development with cafes, grocery store and the Teddy Bear Museum. My recommendation is to hail a tuk tuk off the street (20 Baht per person per trip) and head down to the nearby CentralFestival Pattaya Beach Shopping Mall (a 5-minute ride), billed as Asia's largest Beachfront mall and Pattaya's largest shopping mall. Plenty of deals to be found there, as the wifey will attest to!
Great location, comfy new rooms, and a colourful water park - definitely all the right ingredients for a family-friendly hotel. And knowing the monkies, they will jump at the chance to return!
Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort
463/100, Moo 9 - Pattaya Second Road - Nhongprue Banglamung
20260 Pattaya, Thailand