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The Royal Cliff Group of Hotels in Pattaya Revisited – a Personal Journey

Royal Cliff

Revisiting the Royal Cliff Hotels Group, a jewel of Pattaya’s hospitality sector, the former General Manager reflects on its evolution, iconic status, and continuous commitment to excellence in luxury and MICE services.

PATTAYA, Thailand – Being the former GM of this iconic hotel I was looking forward to my visit. It was a special occasion – a family gathering of close overseas friends. A honeymoon visit for my friend’s daughter. It has been 20 years since I last stayed overnight at the ‘Cliff’. I live in Bangkok and have holiday properties in Pattaya, so the need to stay elsewhere on my visits is not normally necessary in the resort city, however, this was a celebration.

On arrival, we were shown to a delightful seaview room in the Royal Cliff Grand Hotel one of 4 hotels that make up the group. Now entering its fifth decade I have had the pleasure of being associated with this grande dame for a small part of its illustrious history under the extraordinary leadership of the Vathanakul family in particular Khun Panga Vathanakul, the Managing Director. Today the next generation of the family helps hold the reins with Khun Vitanart ‘Gap’ Vathanakul  as the Group’s CEO.

I had the privilege to be the general manager of this magnificent property which has grown from a small one hotel resort into four great hotels with world class facilities and restaurants set in 64 acres of grounds. With an impressive arsenal of 280 top awards (including 15 TTG Travel Hall of Fame Awards) since being established in 1973.

Royal Cliff colage

It was the first hotel in Thailand to build a privately owned fully equipped Convention Centre – PEACH (Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall). Capable of seating 4,900 people.

I had the responsibility with the MD and all of her family to welcome former PM General Prem Tinsulanonda in 2000 as a guest of honour during the official opening. On behalf of my team of over 1,500 associates, it was a proud day.

Following expansion PEACH today is 3 times larger and is heralded as one of Asia’s leading resort convention venues, offering an all-in-one convention solution, recognised as a forerunner in Thailand’s MICE sector. It has over 23,500 sqm of event space and boasts state-of-the-art amenities, impeccable services, and advanced technical support. It is ideal for hosting events ranging from trade shows, international conferences and exhibitions to product launches and banquets.

The Royal Cliff Group of Hotels has been a beacon of luxury and hospitality, the Royal Cliff Grand with its inauguration at the time of PEACH’s opening, redefined and lifted the bar higher. Designed to cater to the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE) sector in conjunction with PEACH, providing service at the very highest levels.

The Royal Cliff Hotels Group stands as a unique destination in a spectacular location and goes beyond just providing luxurious accommodations.

Delivering a comprehensive and world-class experience, the resort boasts an impressive array of amenities. With 11 restaurants, plus bars and a bakery the property caters for all preferences and palates, offering a culinary journey that is simply exceptional.

Being the former GM, I was keen to try the signature Grand BBQ Buffett. Available on the last Saturday night of each month – it is a highlight. The choice was excellent and we all ate too much. Khun Panga the MD said hello and along with the GM warmly welcomed our table.

The Saturday Evening Grand Barbecue Buffet at Larn Thong restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating options is open every last Saturday of the month from 18:45 to 22:30 hrs.

We sat outdoors, just perfect with live music and cool breezes. A good selection of Thai, Chinese, Italian, Indian and Japanese dishes. BBQ meats, fresh seafood and other goodies straight from the grill along with a varied dessert menu. Just THB 1,650++ per person (USD 56 net).

The resort has 7 pools, also the private beaches add extra choices of sandy beaches, waves and seaviews.

Sports enthusiasts can find solace in the myriad of sporting facilities available within the resort. From well-equipped fitness centres to 7 excellent tennis courts with 2 squash courts plus spaces for various outdoor activities, the Royal Cliff caters to a diverse range of interests.

My time overseeing the operations of this magnificent property in my capacity as General Manager was marked by a commitment to excellence and a dedication to maintaining the Royal Cliff Group of Hotels’ position as a leader in luxury hospitality.

Firmly established as one of Thailand’s premier resorts, The Royal Cliff Group of Hotels will continue to set new standards, offering guests an unparalleled experience on the East Coast of Thailand.

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Andrew J Wood was born in Yorkshire England, he is a former hotelier, Skalleague and travel writer. Andrew has 48 years of hospitality and travel experience. Educated at Batley Grammar School and a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew started his career in London, working with various hotels. His first posting overseas was with Hilton International, in Paris, and he later arrived in Asia in 1991 on Bangkok with his appointment as Director of Marketing at the Shangri-La Hotel and has remained in Thailand ever since. Andrew has also worked with the Royal Garden Resort Group now Anantara (Vice President) and the Landmark Group of Hotels (Vice President of Sales and Marketing). Latterly he has been the General Manager at the Royal Cliff Group of Hotels in Pattaya and the Chaophya Park Hotel Bangkok & Resorts.

A past board member and Director of Skål International (SI), a former National President with SI Thailand and a two time past President of the Bangkok Club. Andrew is the former President of Skål Asia. In 2019, Andrew was awarded SKÅL’s highest award the distinction of Membre D’Honneur.

He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Asia.