Staycation: Garden Cliff Resort and Spa

We had a three day weekend December 3-5 for the King’s birthday (also known as Father’s Day). At first, I decided to go to Koh Chang to enjoy the beach and island life. Unfortunately I had decided at such a last minute that the accommodation was way out of my price range and I was not feeling like spending time in a hostel. As the long weekend approached, I felt less and less like traveling but still feeling the need to get away. Using my fantastic Internet research skills, I discovered the Garden Cliff resort and spa in Pattaya. 

I was surprised that I could book their cheapest room (2,500 baht at the time of booking) only a few days in advance and during such a popular holiday. I decided two nights would be a perfect amount. Then I received an email saying my credit card was invalid and my booking could not be secured. In my excitement, I had put the wrong expiration date. I quickly called them to fix the error and they were most helpful.

I took a songtaw in Pattaya as far as it would take me and decided to walk the rest of the way since check in started at 14:00 and I was a little early. The map they sent me made the walk look a lot shorter than it actually was; fortunately for me there were signs posted along the road to tell me I was going in the right direction. When I arrived at the driveway it did not look like the driveway to a fancy resort which made me a little nervous. It looked more like an alley and I thought my internet skills had failed me. After you got past the two apartment buildings on either side, it looked like the driveway to a resort and not the kind of place that you walk to. The security guard smiled at me as I walked past as if he sees people hiking up the bamboo lined drive daily.

Is this the right place?

I was certainly in the right place. At the reception desk I received a complimentary welcome drink which tasted like sweet orange juice in a fancy glass. A nice Russian man checked me in and told me that I had received a free upgrade to a junior suit room (looking online at the time of booking, one night in the junior suit was more than two nights in the room I originally booked). The room was way too big for one person but it had a nice sea view. I went for a look around and swim after dropping my backpack off in my room. The pool was really cold, really really cold. It was a cloudy day so the sun didn’t have a chance to warm it up.

Room with a view

For dinner I went to one of their restaurants. It was a very fancy restaurant, like pull your chair out for you and place your napkin on your lap for you sort of fancy. My guess is they don’t get many single visitors. I ordered the seafood platter for two (challenge accepted) because it sounded delicious. There was crab, squid, shrimp, and fish cutlets with potato wedges and fried rice. I don’t know if it was supposed to be a romantic thing but there was nothing romantic about me trying to pry open a crab with a fork. I ate all of it except one squid because I’m not a huge fan of grilled squid.

After dinner I went down to the spa and frolicked in their jacuzzi, sauna, and steam room for a hour and a half. The spa was having an end of year promotion, all treatments 20% off and they had a special package of steam room, one hour your choice massage, and their golden scrub. I booked a package for the next day. Then I lounged in my room eating chocolate and drinking tea while flipping through all the satellite tv channels the room offered. Note: way too many channels for one person.

Room service breakfast

I ordered room service breakfast and it was promptly delivered at 9:30. Eggs, bacon, fruit plate, assorted pastries, espresso, hot chocolate, and milk. This place made me feel like a princess. After cleaning all the plates I went down for a nap on the white sand artificial beach. The sand felt like powder it was so fine but then it got everywhere. Got a little pink, my fault for not reapplying sunscreen often enough.

I went to my spa appointment early to see if they would let me frolic in the jacuzzi again before my spa treatment. They did and I splurged a little so it was a milk bath with rose petals in it. At first thought, rose petals in your bath sounds awesome and they were super fun to play with. But they kept getting clumped together by the jets and sticking to my skin. However, it was very nice, felt good on my pink skin. After an hour in the jacuzzi it was time for my treatment.

First, I sat in a steam room for ten minutes. For my massage, I chose the aroma therapy massage with lavender because it smelled nice and purple. My masseur had magic hands; I felt so relaxed, like I was floating. Then I had the golden body scrub which had little flakes of gold in it for skin impurities. The gold turned my skin slightly yellow which washed off in the shower I took after being scrubbed. But it turned my bracelets funny colors and that took soap to get them back to their rightful colors. I felt like a princess.

I went back to the fancy restaurant for dinner after my spa treatment. I ordered one of their signature dishes, crispy pork leg with apples and spicy mango sauce. Again it was not a meal to be eaten elegantly. The crispy pork leg was super crispy and at times I had to eat it with my fingers. The spicy mango sauce was a little too spicy for my taste but it really tied the dish together nicely. A bit of crispy pork, some apple, with the mango sauce, was a treat. I loved it. After dinner I decided to pick up some dessert; chose a slice of cake I thought the woman said was mocha but turned out to be caramel. Caramel is different than mocha, not bad but not what I was expecting.

Being a slice of mocha cake I decided to save it for after breakfast the next day. I had breakfast delivered to my room again, it was cheaper to have room service breakfast than to go down to the breakfast buffet. I also got to eat breakfast in my pajamas while staring out at the ocean. I had the same breakfast just without the assorted pastries since I had cake. They have me more coffee and more hot chocolate much to my delight.

I was sad to check out. My goal for the weekend was to feel like I had gotten away and it was successful. The people were helpful and friendly; I felt like a valued customer. I would certainly go back, though the experience would be different. The guard waved to me as I walked back down the drive.

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