sojourneys


Ascott Sathorn Bangkok
January 24, 2012, 4:40 am
Filed under: hotels, reviews | Tags: , ,

A key strength of the Ascott Sathorn Bangkok is the sheer spaciousness of the rooms, but that is perhaps unsurprising because all the rooms are serviced apartments.  The fitness center is another asset also because of its cavenous dimensions.  The pool is of an adequate size, and seems to be popular among the guests.  The rate also seems reasonable for a property as well furnished as the Ascott Sathorn.

Having said that, several issues could be looked into to enhance the guest experience:

(1) Stop charging for bottled water.  I know of no other premium hotel that charge for factory distilled water beyond the daily “allowance” of two small bottles.

(2) Stop charging for requests for refreshing of toiletries supply.  Yes, the hotel uses L’Occitane, but the bottles are miniscule and to charge for requests for additional supplies beyond the daily “allowance” suggests stinginess.  In fact, prominently displayed in each apartment is an astounding list of 125 items from the sofa set to the desk lamp and their corresponding cost (just in case they go missing upon check-out).  Either the hotel is not quite attracting the premium travelers it claims to target or the management is paranoid.  Not good either way.

(3) Press the commercial operator of the fitness center to extend the operating hours to be more guest-friendly.  Closing at 9:00 p.m. on weekends and 10:00 p.m. on weekdays is quite unheard of.  Most premium hotels today have 24-hour gyms.

(4) Ventilate the corridors on the guest floors.   They are as warm as a sauna.

(5) Improve the breakfast offering.  Guests on diverse online travel communities have commented that the breakfast is pedestrian.

(6) Smile more?  The staff seem so stern-faced.

That is not to say that the Ascott Sathorn is inferior.  For business guests who plan to stay for weeks at a stretch and find the commercial business district of Sathorn convenient, the service apartment presents a viable option.  Regular holiday makers however may find other alternatives more attractive.

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Andaz West Hollywood, California

The Andaz West Hollywood, situated on the fabled Sunset Boulevard, is a jewel in Hyatt’s crown, and a model of what hotels ought to be — bereft of stuffy check-in counters with staff rooted to their station and in their place, welcoming hosts equipped with tablet PCs to process check-ins and who multifunction as concierge-extraordinaire.

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The overall feel of the place, from the architecture to the lobby decor to the guestroom furnishings exude an urbane, contemporary vibe without crossing into pretentiousness.  Hence, guests feel relaxed, welcomed, and at ease.

Andaz in Hindi means “personal style” and the host who checked me in thoughtfully asked if this was my first stay at the property, and when affirmatively informed, proceeded to switch the originally assigned room that was to face Hollywood Hill to one on a high floor (the 12th) that faced the city–a magical sight of the Sunset Strip at night with its glittering and shimmering lights, and on a clear day, the silhouette of downtown Los Angeles beckoning in the horizon.

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The View King room I was so thoughtfully assigned to was one of the most spacious I’ve stayed in, and generously appointed.  In addition to a study desk, there is a section by the floor-to-ceiling window–partitioned by heavy curtains–a chill-out area featuring a chaise lounge and loveseat sofa. With the exception of alcohol, guests are free to partake of the minibar that is stocked with organic tea, orange juice, soda, and snacks.  The bathroom features delightfully-natural toiletries from Mill Valley, CA-based Pharmacopia.

There is an adequately-equipped gym on the mezzanine floor, but the best-kept secret is the rooftop pool offering panoramic views of the surrounds, from the gated abodes of the wealthy on Hollywood Hills to the gleaming towers of downtown LA and everything in between.

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All-in-all, Andaz West Hollywood has been one of the more distinctive Hyatt properties I’ve stayed at, and I look forward to being able to return in the near future.