Mason Pattaya is something entirely unique for the destination, muscling in somewhat unexpectedly on Thailand’s high-end hotel scene, going head to head with the country’s top resorts. The glitterati gasped in disbelief – but was also very much intrigued, as were we. And it didn’t disappoint.
Mason Pattaya is a ‘village’ of just 35, almost perfectly designed, cubic, neo-Brutalist villas, brought right into the 21st-century with modernist communal areas. It is carved effortlessly into a rocky hillside, set on a small footprint of land that cascades down on to a bijou swathe of beachfront.
Bangkok-born architects VaSLab played perfectly to our tastes, the Brutalist colours and palette of textures are masculine and earthy. Concrete, terrazzo, natural tiles, wood and glass come together with bold lines and subtle curves to create a fully updated Frank Lloyd Wright-like masterpiece (there’s no wonder it is part of the Design Hotels collection, it’s a perfect fit) – except, with an authentically Thai accent.
We liked that the hotel embraced its Thainess without having to crack out the teak and silk, so common in Thailand. It’s a refreshing approach to build something in the Kingdom that’s modern yet in tune with its location. Aesthetically, everything was just faultless – from the Dong Sculpture artwork and the lighting to the foil-logoed key cards.
Our Duplex Grand Pool Villa wrapped around a gorgeous private pool. It was sprawled over two floors, with sea views over the roofs over other villas. It boasted a contemporary living area and an expansive bathroom with a bathtub big enough for six (the bath-ware is hand-crafted by Chon Buri-based Ang Sila artisans who are masters at working with granite). If you’re looking to splurge, go for the indulgent Beachfront Grand Pool Villa – the name says it all.
Beyond the design, we could tell that so much thought had gone into guest comfort. Branded beachwear and accessories, top-of-the-range Marshall Bluetooth speakers, divine bedding and slim, flat-screen TVs, each perched elegantly on a custom-made easel. We liked that a lot, as we feel televisions are often the clumsy necessity in such spaces (in fact, we’d prefer to do away with them completely), but at Mason they have been made part and parcel of the whole experience.
It being a villa hotel, the natural thing to do was to arrive and disappear into our own space. As a result, the resort lacked conviviality. Breakfast was served in the hotel’s Zila Street Bistro & Bar where we first realised there were other guests on the resort and while the staff were super-sweet, the fare needed improvement, considering the price tag. For lunch and dinner, fresh seafood underpins the menu, alongside international and Thai cuisine. Drinks can be had at the cute little beachside bar and rooftop pool space. If you need more pampering, there’s the Mason Spa.
Mason Pattaya is perfect for an utterly romantic getaway, a place to escape the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. The emphasis here is on mind-blowing escapism, so if that’s what you want, get booking!
Na-Jomtien is a sleepy little fishing village, but what that means is that its little roadside eateries serve some excellent seafood, with a laid-back, local vibe. Ask the hotel’s staff which their favourites are, then get them to write down some must-eat dishes in Thai. It’s highly unlikely that there will be English speakers at the restaurant, so unless you’re ready to point and gesticulate (which is a hysterical experience in itself) or use the translator on your phone, make sure you are prepared in advance. In either case, you’re going to have a spectacular meal.