sojourneys


The Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok
January 2, 2015, 1:45 pm
Filed under: Bangkok, hotels, reviews, Thailand | Tags: , ,

The Radisson Blu brand draws its lineage from Scandinavian Airlines System, and is positioned at the upper end of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. The Radisson Blu Bangkok, opened less than a year ago, did not disappoint.

DSC00141DSC00143DSC00144DSC00145DSC00147

Rooms are spacious and well-appointed. Like many contemporary upscale hotels, a glass panel separates the bathroom from the bedroom, and there is a generous writing desk as well as a comfortable lounge chair. It would have been nice if the water pressure in the shower was stronger, but otherwise, the spaciousness of the bathroom and large mirror provide much respite from the hustle and bustle of the Bangkok streets.

DSC00156DSC00166DSC00172

The fitness center, while not as equipped as commercial gyms or for that matter, the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, is adequate for a getting a decent overall workout. The all-day dinning restaurant serves a delicious breakfast, and service was excellent. All-in-all, the Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok presents a compelling value proposition for visitors making a sojourn to the Thai capital.

DSC00203



The Refreshed Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok
February 11, 2014, 1:40 pm
Filed under: Bangkok, Erawan, hotels, Hyatt, reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

The Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok is my favorite hotel in Bangkok. The property boasts an excellent location in the heart of the Ratchaprasong shopping district, direct connection to the skywalk linking two BTS stations, and probably the best facilities among hotels in Bangkok including a Technogym-equipped fitness center on par or even better than high-end commercial gyms.

A stay at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok just became more compelling as the property emerges from a renovation of the guestrooms–which were looking rather dated–with New-York based designer Tony Chi helming the projects.

Image

Image

Image

The result is guestrooms that look fresh, contemporary, while retaining the comfort and ease of a residence.

Image

Image

Coupled with a fine array of restaurants and the Erawan Bakery–where delectable creations go at half-price starting 6pm every evening–there is little reason not to make the Grand Hyatt Erawan a home away from home in the City of Angles.

Image



The Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit

The Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit is Marriott’s latest property in Bangkok, having been only officially opened sometime in the middle of March (just in time for the Songkran, or Thai New Year holidays in April).

Image

Its best asset is its propinquity to the Bangkok sky train system (the Thonglor station on the Sukhumvit line).  Check-in was smooth, and the hotel fuses contemporary decor with traditional Thai motifs.  The elevators are a highlight, with touch-sensitive LCD screens that advertises various features of the hotels (including “Thailand’s color for the day” which varies with each day) where buttons are.

Image

Image

Image

Guestrooms are comfortable with all the amenities one would expect of a five-star property, except for one important feature.  There is no full-length mirror.  Did the decorators forget this essential item?  Whether as a business or tourist hotel, most guests would want to do  quick check of their attire before going out to their appointments of the day.  Yet, this feature was sorely missing.  The bathroom was curiously capacious, taking up almost a third of the room.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Service wise, as perhaps can be expected with a new hotel, staff knowledge was inconsistent.  During breakfast in the all-day dinning restaurant, the breakfast menu never materialized despite repeated requests.  At the third request, a menu was delivered, but it was the lunch and dinner menu.  It was only then that the wait staff said that they did not have a menu dedicated to breakfast fare.  Again, strangely lacking in a deluxe property.  And for the fitness enthusiast, the gym–which while serviceable, would benefit from more weight resistance equipment–is shut tight by 10pm despite it being advertised as a 24-hour facility.  Guests have to go to the lobby on the ground floor (no phone was in sight to allow guests to call the front desk) to ask a staff to open the door to the gym.  And when I did, one front desk staff exclaimed that I could have just used my key card to open the door, only to be corrected by her colleague that a key card reader has not been installed at the gym.  Hopefully this was part of a teething process that will soon be sorted out.

Image

Image

Image

Image



Refreshed Tony Chi-designed Rooms at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok
November 21, 2012, 7:28 am
Filed under: Bangkok, hotels, Hyatt | Tags: , , , ,

The Grand Hyatt Erawan is my hotel of choice whenever I visit Bangkok, and I’ve previously noted that despite the spaciousness, the decor of the rooms is looking rather dated.

I was hence excited to be upgraded to a newly renovated guestroom by celebrated designer Tony Chi during my recent stay in October.  Having stayed there for a weekend, my verdict is that the refresh is incremental rather than quantum.

The layout is essentially the same as the old rooms–entrance foyer with bathroom to the side, bed, and finally study–expect that the furnishings are updated with designs that emphasize clean-lines, non-intrusiveness, and functionality.

So while the net effect is not jaw-dropping, perhaps the brief was for Tony Chi–whose projects include the Andaz Fifth Avenue, Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou, and Grand Hyatt Chengdu–to design a theme that is contemporary without being avant garde, comfortable without being boring, and modern without loosing the distinct Thai identity.  These, especially the surfeit of the in-room amenities such as fine teabags with an Asian-accented tea set, fruit basket that was replenished daily, June Jacobs toiletries, as well as various objet d’art exuded a plush yet residential vibe.



The Pullman Bangkok King Power — Bangkok, Thailand
February 8, 2008, 3:56 pm
Filed under: Bangkok, hotels, Pullman Bangkok, reviews, Thailand

The Pullman Bangkok King Power is another new hotel in the Bangkok metropolis to have adopted a post-modernist decor.  However, this is balanced with subtle Thai sensibilities, functional considerations, and professional service.

The club-level room has everything a business traveler could ask for and more.  There is an immediate sense of space with its floor-to-ceiling windows.  In-room amenities are plentiful, but the smartest feature must be its wardrobe, which opens on the back-end to the spacious bathroom.

The capaciousness extends to the open spaces of the hotel, such as the lobby and the pool.  The pool in particular features a small grass lawn, where guests can lay out the towel for a tan (just make sure to apply a generous dose of sun block as the equator sun is relentless).

There are a number of dinning options within the hotel which seem to be reasonably priced.  Else, a complimentary hotel tuk-tuk brings guests to the nearby Victory Monument BTS.  The gym is small, but adequately equipped.



The Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand
May 9, 2007, 2:02 pm
Filed under: Bangkok, Erawan, Erawan Shrine, holiday, Thailand

The Chinese often refer to the statue as the Four-face Buddha, and countless devotees of all races and creeds flock to pay their obeisance at the Erawan Shrine (Thai: ศาลพระพรหม, San Phra Phrom), one of the most popular and potent religious embodiment in Thailand.

erawan2.jpg

Contrary to popular Chinese parlance, the Erawan is a Hindu shrine, housing the much-revered statue of the four-faced Brahma or the Pra Prom, the Hindu creator god.  The current statue is also not the original.  On March 21, 2007, a mentally disturbed ex-soldier climbed over the low metal gates wielding a hammer, and proceeded to shatter what is one of the most venerated religious symbol in the country.  Religious and legal proscriptions notwithstanding, 27-year old Thanakorn Pakdeepol was assaulted by onlookers until he was comatose.  He died on the way to hospital.

erawan1.jpg

The shattering of the four-faced Brahma was seen as a portentous omen for then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed by a military coup in September that year. 

erawan3.jpg

The Erawan Shrine’s omnipotence can be attributed to the role it played in the 50s when the Thai government set out to build one of the city’s first luxury hotels.  The project met with repeated setbacks from cost overruns to worksite injuries.  The final straw came when a shipload of Italian marble meant for the hotel’s lobby sunk offshore.  After various spiritual consultations, a shrine to Brahma was erected, and the accidents ceased.  Word of the the Erawan Shrine’s prowess spread and its place in Thai spirituality was sealed.

Here are some clips of worshippers and tourists at the Erawan Shrine, nestled under the city’s towering skyscrapers and meandering skytrains.

Clip #1

Clip #2

Clip #3



Holiday Inn Bangkok Ploenchit, Thailand
May 5, 2007, 4:40 pm
Filed under: Bangkok, holiday, Holiday Inn, hotels, photos, reviews, Thailand, vacation

The Holiday Inn Bangkok Ploenchit is out of expectations on two counts.  First, a typical impression of a Holiday Inn is that it is functional but nondescript.  The second has to do with the façade of the building. It is concrete, grey, and drab. The Holiday Inn Bangkok Ploenchit on the inside is sleek, freshly contemporary, with installations and ambient lighting accentuating its modernity. Have a look.  First, the façade of the hotel.

building.jpg

The grey concrete face masks a modern, hip interior.

lobby1.jpg

lobby2.jpg

The rooms are well-designed, and quite plush. 

room.jpg

The pool is small but quite popular with guests.

pool.jpg

The gym is in the basement and hence is a little dark, but the equipments are new and adequate.

holidayinngym1.jpg

Overall, the hotel has the hip factor without being overly pretentious. And the service is fantastic. The location cannot be better, with the Ploenchit BTS literarily at the door of the hotel, and the shopping shrines of Central World, Siam Paragon-Siam Center-Siam Discovery Center trinity, and the popular MBK all within walking distance.