A hotel will add their own cut and consequently overcharge. Most meter taxis have prices displayed in the back giving standard costs to main tourist destinations but you can negotiate similar deals in better comfort.
For the last few years I've used The Limo Pattaya (http://www.thelimopattaya.com/
) for most taxi journeys to/from Pattaya following a great recommendation from OC on here some time back. Decent cars, good service and friendly drivers. Can't fault them.
As for the longer journeys (CM etc) just fly, flights are cheap in LOS, check out airasia.com, unless you've got a thing for trains an hours travel beats the hell out of 12.