Beyond The Shore
Skirting around the Eastern Seaboard mega-city of Pattaya, you soon find yourself eyeing the odd coconut palm here and there as concrete structures slowly give way to natural green, tropical plant life. Some 20 kilometres from Pattaya, both sides of Route 3 highway are shaded in dense vegetation and an excursion down a side road may ultimately lead to quiet little hideaways that only a select few are aware of. One such sanctuary is the newest offering from Cross Hotels and Resorts, X2 Oceanphere Pattaya, a striking, all pool-villa resort a short distance from Bang Saray Beach.
Two huge wooden doors mark the entrance to the stunning main building that houses reception, the all-day restaurant Ocean Bistro, a classic spa, the fitness centre, the open-air rooftop bar Chili Blue and the relaxing pool complete with sun loungers and jacuzzi. The main building is also the place where guests can kick off their exploration of the area with a choice of bicycles and battery-powered scooters available. The masterful architectural style echoes the quintessential nature of Thailand’s rice terraces, thus each villa is slightly higher than the next so as to provide unobstructed views.
As we checked-in with the help of two very resourceful X2 staff, we were presented with complimentary welcome drinks and cold towels; heaven-sent items on a stifling hot day. With the required formalities complete, we set off on a short walk to our impressive pool villa, just one of 59 villas that are tastefully laid out with a private garden, sun terrace and pool. Massive glass doors welcomed us to the ultimate in tropical paradise accommodation and led directly to the living quarters that sport a large relaxing sofa, comfortable chairs and table, high-end television with multiple international and local channels and a fabulously powerful and portable Bluetooth speaker – perfect for hooking up to your music collection.
X2 Oceanphere Pattaya has a choice of luxury villas that start with the splendid one bedroom villa, the marvellous two bedroom duplex suite, which easily accommodates a family of six, and tops out with the amazing four-bedroom villa suitable for up to six adults. The duplex villa option has a cool spiral staircase connecting the living area to the bedrooms, which both feature en suite bathrooms and a range of complimentary amenities. The main bedroom’s en suite bathroom also boasts a bathtub, perfect for those long hot soaks after a busy day. Furthermore, each bedroom features state-of-the-art 37.5® Technology bedding that allows guests to enjoy a cool and comfortable sleep by maintaining the body temperature at 37.5 degrees.
After spending a couple of hours by our plunge pool enjoying cold drinks from the mini bar, we decided to explore the area and took advantage of the trendy, battery-powered scooters to zip around the resort, then out on to the quiet country lane and down to the beach. Bang Saray Beach is a narrow strip of sand just a couple of metres from shore to sea, but it’s close to three kilometres in length. Lapped by calm turquoise waters and fringed by swaying palm trees, the beach is an excellent place to chill out, enjoy some fresh seafood Thai style and sip a cold beer. If you want a little more comfort try one of the many bars and restaurants opposite or head down to the main town.
Legend has it that pirates were some of the first inhabitants of Bang Saray, but there’s little chance of you being forced to walk the plank these days. No, today’s residents are a friendly bunch of people who love to chat with tourists and welcome visitors to explore their little slice of paradise by the sea. Numerous seafood restaurants jut out into the sea, their elevated walkways providing the ideal location for the perfect Instagram photo to show friends back home. Opposite the seafood restaurants is Bang Saray Kongkharam temple, built in the 19th century and known to the locals as Wat Luang Pho Thong Yu. This is a great place to experience a moment of solace as you make merit or say a solemn prayer.
As sleepy fishing villages go, Bang Saray’s community is remaining on the front foot and organizes an afternoon market every Wednesday, has annual parade each April that promotes the town and each night turns a little stretch of road into a walking street lined with cafes, bars and restaurants. There is also a growing expat community at Bang Saray with some foreigners opening bars along the beach and at least one in the town itself. Just outside the town and opposite the beach is Bang Saray park, a lovely little plot of nature with huge trees, a walking-jogging track and a great place to kick off your footwear and ground yourself.
After a fantastic night’s sleep, we awoke to discover that it was almost 9am; the heavy curtains completely shutting out the rising sun. X2 Oceanphere Pattaya’s stunning architecture also acts as a kind of noise insulator, blocking out all unwanted outside sounds. A quick dip in the power-shower freshened us up thanks to X2’s exclusive selection of toiletries. We were now ready to start a new day and even the weather was on our side as clear blue skies beckoned us outdoors.
Breakfast at X2 Oceanphere Pattaya is a wonderful experience, especially if you like a free-flow champagne morning meal. Ocean Bistro’s breakfast menu features a selection of Thai and Western favourites, while the fresh fruit bar and invigorating vegetable juices provide ample natural sugars and fibres to breath new life into even the most jet-lagged person. A cornucopia of buns, breads, cereals, yogurts are all made fresh daily while a choice of coffees, a selection of fine teas and several fruit juices are there to help wash breakfast down. However, the pièce de résistance is the three-tier platter of cold cuts and cheeses, fresh fruit and croissants and jam served to each table.
People say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and X2 Oceanphere Pattaya pull out all the stops to make sure you leave feeling completely satisfied, if not stuffed. With the sun now high in the sky, we headed back to the shade, coolness and comfort of our villa. High-speed WiFi meant that we could enjoy our seclusion from the outside world without being truly isolated. As mentioned earlier, the portable Bluetooth speaker is great to have outdoors on the table next to the pool playing your favourite tunes as you chill in the water or catch a few rays on the lounger.
My only regret about our vacation at X2 Oceanphere Pattaya is that it didn’t last long enough. To really relax these days takes time, at least five days, and spending time in style, comfort and luxury of the oasis by the sea is the perfect tonic for hardworking people. Now, you don’t need to take my word for it, you could put yourself in my shoes and try a short vacation at one of the best new resorts in Thailand and see for yourself how easy it is to unwind, relax and rejuvenate at X2 Oceanphere Pattaya.
For more information and reservations, call +66 (0) 9101-02999 or email: stay@X2pattayaoceanphere.com
10 Things to do at X2 Oceanphere
- Chill in your stylish pool villa with your partner and enjoy all the mod-cons.
- Head to the rooftop bar and meet new people.
- Jump on a scooter or bicycle and explore Bang Saray Beach.
- Enjoy a day out in Pattaya, the city by the sea that offers everything the international traveller could dream of.
- Book a round of golf at one of the many world class golf courses.
- Take the family to the nearby Cartoon Network Amazone or Ramayana water parks.
- Visit Nongnooch Tropical Botanical Gardens and explore more than 50 international gardens.
- Hire a boat at Pattaya pier and go scuba diving at a nearby island.
- Practice the ancient art of Thai boxing at Kombat Group in Bang Saray.
- Enjoy an afternoon wine tasting at Silverlake Vineyard.
- All these attractions and many more are only a short drive from the resort.