Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Accommodations, Part 6: The Poseidon Guesthouse in Jomtien

The Poseidon Boutique Guesthouse in Jomtien may be a little out of the way for those hell-bent on whooping it up while staying in Pattaya, but that's also a large part of it's charm for this old dog.

Unless you have your heart set on multi-level indoor mall shopping you can find almost anything else you'd want within a few blocks of the Poseidon: miles of beach, thousands of chairs and umbrellas, a book store or two, newstands, a variety of restaurant cuisine, beer bars and clubs and yes - even some nighttime entertainment. Pattaya itself is just a short 10 minute ride away, if you really want malls and crowds and traffic. If you want to be right in the heart of the nightlife in Pattaya proper I'd recommend Baan Dok Mai, also a friendly place but of a more basic style. Both have their good points.

The Poseidon rates may sound a bit higher, but I've found it to be a good value for both that I've tried: the Superior room and the VIP Studio. Nightly rates in low season on their web site today are (approximately) between US$43 for a Superior room and US$77 for the VIP Studio. For high season the same rooms would be US$53 and US$91. I've not stayed in the Master Suite because at 80 square meters (861 square feet) it's far beyond my needs, space-wise.

The Standard room is actually more of a level other places might call a Superior room. The decor is tastefully done, the towels and linens are of a very good quality, there's a desk of adequate proportion - something often lacking - and the basic items you'd expect to find (the TV, room safe and VCD player, for example) are all above the norm. In fact, I found the VCD player to be a handy way to play music in the room.

They provide a fairly full range of items in the mini-bar but as I always prefer to stock my own snacks and beverages they've always been good about sending housekeeping up to remove their stock - something I learned long ago helped avoid unexplained charges on check-out, and something I now ask for at every hotel. Just to be clear, though: I've never had an unexplained charge at Poseidon.

As is the case at most of my favorite places in Thailand, the staff themselves are a feature. Pleasant, welcoming and professional they have the luxury of not having so many rooms that they can't keep track of who's staying with them, and they not only remember you when you're coming and going they look as if they actually care and aren't merely going through the motion of being polite. Hospitality staff can be a somewhat transient occupation, but many of the Poseidon folks have been there for a while, and it's nice to see familiar faces each time I stay there.

Normally I tend to stay in lodging a little more simple (it makes a longer stay a bit easier on the pocketbook and frees up funds for some charity work I enjoy) but they have VIP Studios at the Poseidon with not only a shower area of generous proportions, but a Jacuzzi. There's just no better way to relax and mull over the day after showering off the sweat and dust, and I've enjoyed them immensely. If one of those rooms is available, I highly recommend booking it. If it's been a hot day, try it with the water just barely warm. Heavenly!

Breakfast at the Poseidon is an activity best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. My personal preference is outside on their front terrace to watch the area come alive, but you can sit inside if you prefer. The juice and fruits are always fresh, likewise the delicate croissant, the coffee is "real" coffee - and the omelets are made to order. Grab a paper from the lobby table and take your time! Some of my nicest memories of the place are my quiet breakfasts there, and the chats with the staff while they take and deliver my order and then go about their regular morning duties, tidying up, sweeping, that sort of thing. Sadly one of my favorite waiters has moved on to another hotel, but nothing lasts forever. We'll catch up with him in another post, another day.

From the front door you're maybe 30 feet from where you'd catch the song taew on Thapraya Road into Pattaya proper, if that was your plan for the day or evening. It's 10 baht to ride it either direction, and they're both regular as clockwork and easy to flag down: hold your hand out, palm down, and sort of cup your four fingers down and in quickly two or three times, as if you were grabbing a handle. That's also the way you'd call someone over to join you, as the upturned crooking of the index finger we'd use in the West is considered to be impolite.

There's been major re-paving done on Thapraya over the past couple of years and I understand that while it's nearly completed there's still work being done. At least it isn't the 20 minutes of dirt, dust and delays.

If you go out the front door and go the other direction (to the right) you'll be at the shoreline in about 300 yards by making a few turns, not "as the crow flies". On your way you'll pass the one club with an actual show: the Venue. They have a full singing/dancing/cabaret show that I've yet to see but am told is fun. At the Venue corner you'd make a couple more quick turns before taking a right onto Thapraya road again and the short stroll to the beach. You'll see better what I mean on the Poseidon's location map and aerial map below.

You'll arrive at the beach near the main sign for Dongtan Beach, and all along there you'll find many places happy to rent you a chair in the shade for the day for about 50 baht. We'll visit the beach another day, too - but just to give you a point of reference. Naturally I can't say there aren't other places to stay that are closer to the beach than the Poseidon - but none I've stayed in so far that I've liked as well.

[Note: like PJ's Place in Chiang Mai The Poseidon is a smaller venue and very popular with return visitors. It books up quickly, so do your best to make reservations early to avoid being disappointed. Now (August) is not too early if you're thinking of a VIP Studio during January. By the way - someone's sure to ask about guests: For your safety IDs are recorded and held at the reception desk. There is no charge for guest visits.]

Map from the Poseiden web site

The Poseidon is the green star on the map above


macaroni21 said...

There was one day a few months ago when I thought I might have a morning coffee and read my newspaper at the Poseidon before I made my way to the beach, but I changed my mind when I saw the dust blowing in from the roadworks just 20 - 30 metres away. I hope the road's done by now, otherwise sitting on the terrace can't be all that pleasant.

khunbaobao said...

Definitely... that'd certainly be unpleasant. Last time I was by there was back in February. Does anyone know if the works done there now? Thanks for dropping in, Mack!

Anonymous said...

looking at your photo of the breakfast tray, I see a bottle of Nestle water, and a cup that contains ice cubes. In Pattaya, and in Thailand in general, how safe is it to drink the water from melted ice ?

khunbaobao said...

MOST times the water in a hotel has been filtered and is safe to drink, brush your teeth or rinse your mouth in the shower with, but you can always check at the desk (considering the source, of course). Some hotels have a separate spigot by the sink that's for drinking water. I stick with bottled water for drinking more as a personal preference than anything else. I'll be posting still this week about staying healthy there.

Ice in a known hotel or restaurant is safe. Ice from a cart on the street many times is not. The only thing you can be sure of is that nothing is sure. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thx for the information. Very informative!

khunbaobao said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
khunbaobao said...

My pleasure. Early readers may remember Poseidon as where I was staying when I allowed myself to become dehydrated ("You're A Couple Quarts Low There, Buddy" - March 24th).