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.

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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.

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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.

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The Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa
January 11, 2014, 2:58 pm
Filed under: hotels, Phuket, Renaissance, Thailand | Tags: , , ,

Located on the picturesque Mai Khao beach far from the maddening crowd yet mere minutes from the airport, the Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa is everything that its neighboring JW Marriott Phuket is not. The Renaissance Phuket is boutique with less than 200 rooms exuding tranquility and intimacy, while its sister property bearing the seemingly more glamorous JW Marriott badge is a sprawling complex replete with omnipresent sales staff selling timeshare units that screams mass.

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Guestrooms are spacious, and are decked in neutral palettes promoting relaxation. Its large, comfortable bed with pillow options and adjacent divan are perfect for that much needed postprandial siesta.

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But why spend too much time in the room when other stars of the property include two beautiful pools including one with direct access to the magnificent Mai Khao beach?

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Dining is great, and one of the more interesting options is Sand Box, which besides being literally next to the beach has soft white sand as its flooring. The Lounge, a pub adjacent to the lobby that also serves light fare during the day takes on a different vibe at night with the hanging seagulls creating surreal silhouettes against projected colored lights.

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For the health conscious, breakfast includes a juicing bar with a wide variety of local and imported fruits and vegetables, as well as a small fitness room with hot jacuzzi facilities in the shower room.

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All-in-all, the Renaissance Phuket with its warm and friendly service, boutique vibe, contemporary decor, and direct beach access, makes for a relaxing getaway.



Indigo Pearl Phuket, Thailand
October 12, 2012, 9:04 am
Filed under: Phuket, reviews, Thailand, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

The Indigo Pearl, nestled against Nai Yang Beach–a small beach-side enclave on the northwestern shores of Phuket–is part of the larger Nai Yang National Marine Park.  The hotel, owned by the local Na-Ranong family, was founded on tin money, and the owners have clearly decided to pay homage by infusing the metal (at one time called “black gold”) into the design motifs of the resort that permeates the entire property from the installation art to the cutlery in its restaurants.

The Indigo Pearl is a fine gem in many ways.  It’s a mere 10-minute taxi ride from the airport in a location that is quiet, pristine, with easy access to the beautiful Nai Yang Beach. The premium pearl bed suite I stayed in was spacious, well-appointed, and conveniently comes with an in-room power adaptor.  Wi-fi is free throughout the resort.  The bed is comfortable, and the shower area is huge (in fact, it is “integrated” into the room without any barrier).  There is a modern-Thai-industrial feel to the decor.

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There are three pools dispersed around the property, of which two are off-limits to children below 14.  Great idea.  The gym was under renovation, but the equipments remained accessible in the back room, although they were tightly placed.  The property is generally well-kept and the grounds verdant with native flora, but the array and dispersion of the wide variety of accommodation blocks can be disorienting.

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The co-located Coqoon Spa is worth a trip, if only to see the crown jewel of its spa suite, which clearly takes its inspiration from a cocoon to provide that surreal, enveloping sensory experience.  Treatments in that room come with a mark-up of 10%, by the way.

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There are six dining options on the property, but the best deals and most uplifting ambience are found just outside the resort along the beach where you can feast on seafood with your feet literally resting on the sand, the waves lapping up the shore, and the Andaman breeze gently caressing your soul.

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Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, Thailand
August 5, 2008, 3:15 pm
Filed under: hotels, reviews, Thailand | Tags: , , ,

The Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, Thailand, situated at the heart of the prime shopping beltway within walking reach of Central World, Gaysorn, Siam Paragon, and beyond that the Siam Discovery Center and MBK, is a hotel that befits its prefix. It also houses one of Bangkok’s holiest shrines.

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The rooms are spacious, well-appointed, and immaculately-maintained, although the furnishings and over-use of wood hints at the era during which they were designed.

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Fitness and spa lovers will appreciate the expansive (and expensive) Club I.sawan, which boasts Italian-made Technogym machines with a view out to a bamboo-lined wall. The gym is hence called The Greenhouse.

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The lobby features an all-day dining restaurant and lounge flanked by an interior promenade lined with European-inspired street lamps. The mezzazine floor overlooks the lobby via spacious balconies. Colonial pillars reach for the sky. All these design features combine to create the impression of a genteel European boulevard within the spacious lobby.

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Rates can be pricey, but occassionally the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok does run some specials, which make the stay worthwhile.



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.



Laguna Holiday Club, Phuket, Thailand
December 13, 2007, 2:17 pm
Filed under: Laguna, Laguna Holiday Club, Laguna Phuket, Phuket, resorts, reviews, Thailand

On the tide of an economic boom, Phuket is awash with private villas and mixed-used developments, and the Laguna Holiday Club belongs to the latter.  It is a small property located within the lush Laguna Phuket–launched in 1987 as the first integrated resort in Asia–and features hotel rooms and private apartments.

The main life of the resort is the scenic swimming pool, which gains its pristine views from of its adjacent propinquity to a lagoon and the wide expanse of the Laguna golf course.  As a boon to families with children, the pool comes with a tube slide.

Some of the hotel rooms are of a studio apartment configuration, which while basic, are spacious and open out to the golf course.

Rounding out the facilities is a small exercise room.

The lobby adjoins the property’s only restaurant, which is an open-air all-day eatery.  It serves an interesting hot stone menu in the evening.

Service is generally brisk and efficient, and the hotel is good for a weekend jaunt, but not much more beyond that.



Industrial Art Reimagined – Indigo Pearl, Nai Yang Beach, Phuket
December 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
Filed under: beaches, hotels, Indigo Pearl, Nai Yang, Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is witnessing a construction boom, but much of it is of the plebian, vanilla variety.  Barely 15 minutes from the airport, rising out of a disused tin mine at the crest of Nai Yang Beach like a phoenix is the area’s piece de resistance, the Indigo Pearl.

The hotel is very new, and it is clear that some of the kinks weren’t quite ironed out.  The hotel staff for example, could not seem to locate a non-smoking room despite two futile trips amid the pouring rain, before finally settling on an upgraded accomodation.  Fine linens, pool views, a large tub situated near the foliage-sheltered balcony, and a luxe-sized room all combined to make the minor inconvenience more than worth it.

 

While the beach is not much to shout about, there is no lack of recreational options within the hotel’s immediate environs.  There are three pools (one was under construction), a well-equipped gym boasting Technogym equipment, and four excellent dining options.

Comprehensive amenities aside, the hotel is dotted with whimsical art, fixtures, and furniture pieces–and sometimes, all three fuse.

Despite the distinctive interior design theme, the overall external arhitecture is a relaxed contemporary Thai, allowing a sense of ease as you stroll its lush, verdant grounds to explore the nearby beach.

Thanks to Thailand-based designer Bill Bensely, the Indigo Pearl‘s post-industrial look is reinterpreted to fantastic effect.  The use of cast iron, exposed wooden beams, Punka Wolla fans, all combine to evoke chic without being suffocating.  It is a hotel to come back to.