A January 2006 trip
to Bangkok by Kauai Boy
Quote: A tour of the mid-range to high-end hotels along Silom Road
A few steps down Silom Road from the Sofitel Silom Bangkok Hotel, and a 10-minute walk from the Chong Nonsi BTS Skytrain Station, on the “quiet” half of Silom Road, the Narai Hotel offers mid-range accommodations with excellent accessibility to both the Silom business district and the Silom/Pathpong nightlife.
With modern, Thai-influenced décor, the crowded entry way leads to a rather dark, circular lobby with a staircase spiraling up to a set of dining tables overlooking the reception area. And, though there were place settings there, I couldn’t quite figure out to which restaurant the dining tables belonged to.
All rooms are carpeted, with standard rooms being small to medium-sized (about 30 sqm), having either two twin beds or a queen-sized bed, and all the standard amenities of a mid-range western hotel – desk with IDD phone, high speed internet connection, and overpriced mini-bar.
The Narai has a wide range of services that make this property reasonably-suited for both business and leisure travelers. Their business center offers computing and internet services, faxing, and copying. And to relax, the hotel sports an outdoor swimming pool and fully-equipped fitness center w/ sauna, steam-room and jacuzzi. For dining on property, the Narai has two reasonably priced buffet restaurants -- one with international cuisine, the other sukiyaki style -- and a pizzeria that also offers all-you-can-eat pizza for just about US$6, every Tuesday for lunch.
Walk-in rates are quite high – standard, single-occupancy rooms start at 3,000 Baht/night (about US$75), taxes/fees included. Local travel agencies (as of January 2006) or online searches can produce rates as low as 1,690 Baht/night (about US$43/night), taxes/fees AND breakfast included, DOUBLE occupancy. However, if you want to splurge a little and get the hotel’s best room, the Narai Suite, the walk-in rate is just 6,500 Baht/night (about US$163), compared to the over 7,000 Baht/night rate found elsewhere.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 23, 2006
222 Silom Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10500
+66 (2) 237-0100
Before being taken over by the Accor chain, the Monarch Lee Gardens Hotel was one of the premiere properties in the area catering to international businesspeople that required easy access to Bangkok’s “old” central business district. Now, carrying Accor’s top-of-the-line brand name, the Sofitel Silom Bangkok retains the high standard of Asian service that patrons of the old Monarch had come to expect, while adding a taste of French style that makes this hotel rather unique amongst the other properties in its price range.
About 5 to 10 minutes on foot from the Chong Nonsi BTS Skytrain Station, this hotel is situated at the quiet end of Silom, within walking distance to (but comfortably away from) the dance clubs, raunchy nightlife and street markets of Pathpong and Thaniya Plaza.
A very warm welcome was extended to me the moment I walked through the door, making me feel just a tad guilty as I was just touring the property with no intention of staying here. Stepping into the small lobby area gave me the feeling of entering into more of a boutique hotel, rather than the sterile feel of a typical business hotel. However, this hotel certainly matches the amenities and services of a typical western business hotel – business center with computer, copy, and fax services, along with an entire floor (high on the 36th) dedicated to meeting space. And for relaxation, you can visit the swimming pool area with a well-equipped fitness center, jacuzzi and spa services offering traditional Thai massage either in-room, poolside, or in one of several private treatment rooms.
Standard guest rooms are well decorated, matching the French-design theme, but medium-sized at best – about 30 sqm (300 sf). All rooms have polished hardwood floors and king sized beds, along with the standard offerings of high-speed internet (DSL cable connection), overpriced minibar (skip this – there’s a 7-Eleven down the street), and work desk. Bathrooms have bathtubs but are a bit cramped.
For dining on property, the hotel offers two high-end restaurants – Mistral, with daily buffets featuring Mediterranean cuisine, and Shanghai 38, a Chinese restaurant located at the top floor with excellent views of the city and the nearby Chao Phraya River. Also serving a limited menu is the hotel’s wine pub, V9, on the ground floor.
At 3,600 Baht/night (about US$90/night) including taxes/fees, this property falls into the high end of the mid-range group of hotels. You can also buy your way into the exclusive executive floor at 4,800 Baht/night (about US$120) for added amenities, and access to the Sofitel Club Lounge with free evening cocktails, etc.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 23, 2006
Sofitel Silom Bangkok
188 Silom Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10500
+66 (2) 381-991
Sitting in a small residential lane branching off Soi Saladaeng half-way between Silom Road and Sathorn Road, the Saladaeng Colonnade is a low-rise, European-colonial style building, with seven floors and three levels of underground parking. The property is very conveniently located – just a 3- to 5-minute walk to the Saladaeng BTS Skytrain Station and the Silom MRT (Subway) Station, giving you easy access to the entire mass-transit accessible points in Bangkok. The small, elegantly decorated reception area accentuates a luxurious yet cozy, home-like atmosphere perfect for businesspeople on extended stays, as well as vacationers looking for an alternate to standard hotels. All studio (43 sqm), one-bedroom (58 sqm), and two-bedroom (77 to 114 sqm) apartments are tile-floored and fully furnished with antique-style furniture, one queen or two twin beds, and a fully equipped kitchenette that includes an oven (no microwave) and mid-size refrigerator with NO over-priced minibar. All rooms come with international cable and satellite channels, while the larger apartments are also furnished with a small stereo system for CD’s and tapes. And, to top it all off, high speed wireless internet is available FREE throughout the building.Carry-out laundry and dry-cleaning service is available, but there is also a small laundromat with coin-operated machines in the building.A small lap pool, as well as an adjoining kiddy pool, lies adjacent to a reasonably equipped fitness center with sauna and jacuzzi within separate men’s and women’s changing rooms. If you prefer a larger, more extensive fitness center, the 3-floor California Fitness Center is around the corner on Silom Road.For dining, there is a small, but elegant Italian restaurant on the ground floor, as well as numerous street vendors and food stalls just a few steps out the door. You could also take a short walk to Lumpini Park, one of the largest green areas in the city, for a relaxing stroll around the lake. And, of course, there are the numerous massage parlors, street shopping, and the bustling nightlife at Pathpong and Thaniya Plaza just 100 meters away on Silom Road.The Colonnade officially considers itself a serviced apartment complex, but offers hotel-style services and amenities at comparatively low daily and weekly rates, as well as monthly rates for those seeking long-term accommodations. Rates (as of Jan 2006) start at 2,500 Baht/night (about US$63), 14,200 Baht/week (about US$373), or 45,000 Baht (about US$1,125) per month for a studio, not including taxes.
21 Soi Yommaraj, Soi Saladaeng.
Bangkok, Thailand 10500
+66 (2) 636-0131
Just a short 50 meters from Silom Road on Soi Saladaeng, Saladang Place is a relatively new, high-rise complex that offers comfortable, residential-like accommodations at reasonable rates. Like the several other “serviced apartments” on this road, the property is very conveniently located – just a 3 minute walk to the Saladaeng BTS Skytrain Station and the Silom MRT (Subway) Station, Silom Road shopping and theatre complexes, as well as the popular night spots along Pathpong and Thaniya Plaza.
Studio apartments, with either one double bed or two singles, range from 40 to 45 sqm (400 to 450 sqf) and include a microwave and mid-size refrigerator. The larger rooms (1 BR, 2BR, and 3BR) range from 75 sqm to 230 sqm and have kitchenettes with stoves along with a dining area. All rooms are carpeted and come with IDD phones, and international cable and satellite channels. High-speed internet is available for an extra charge (about 2,000 Baht/month).
On their Panorama Deck, there is poolside bar and a pretty impressive pool – half shaded, half under the sun – as well as a small, but fully equipped fitness center. There is no kiddy pool, nor is there a jacuzzi, but there are dry saunas and steam rooms in the men’s/women’s changing rooms. In addition, there are two squash courts in the building – equipment can be rented for a fee. Once again, if you prefer a larger, more extensive fitness center, the 3-floor California Fitness Center is just around the corner on Silom Road.
Along with the small restaurant (where the breakfast buffet is served), there are always numerous street vendors and food stalls a few steps out the door, as well as all the western-style fast food establishments at the nearby Silom Shopping Complex. For fine dining, the 5-Star Dusit Thani Hotel sits right out back, though you would need to walk around to take the front entrance.Like the Colonnade, Saladang Place is also a serviced apartment complex, but offers hotel-style services and amenities at comparatively low daily rates, but no discounted weekly rates, as well as monthly rates for those seeking long-term accommodations. Rates (as of January 2006) start at 2,200 Baht/night (about US$55), or 45,000 Baht (about US$1,125) per month for a studio. Unlike the Saladaeng Colonnade, these rates already include taxes/fees as well as daily breakfast buffet.
SalaDang Road, Silom.
Bangkok, Thailand 10500
+66 (2) 636-0111
Hotel | "The Dusit Thani Hotel"
With the relatively recent appearances of the luxury, riverside resorts (Shangri-La, Peninsula, and Oriental) and the modern, high-rise business hotels along Sukhumvit, no one seems to command as much respect in terms of excellence in service and international prestige as the Dusit Thani. At the entrance of Silom Road, at its intersection with Rama IV Road, the Dusit Thani is well situated in the middle of “everything”. From multi-national banks and corporate offices to the bustling nightlife of Pathpong, from bargain hunting at the Suan Lum Night Bazaar to the raunchy clubs along Thaniya Plaza – everything Bangkok is known for is either within walking distance, or easily accessible via either the BTS Skytrain (Saladaeng Station) or the MRT Subway (Silom Station), both being just a few steps from the hotel’s entrance.
Catering to businesspeople, international diplomats, and high-end leisure travelers, the Dusit Thani is admittedly very, VERY expensive for this area. I wouldn’t imagine ever staying here with my teacher’s salary. However, my Dad would stay here for all his visits to Thailand (on official UN business), and he holds it in such high regard. So, with that in mind, I figured I’d give it a little tour to see what all the hype was about.
Walking through the front entrance, guests are greeted by a brightly lit lobby, with luxurious, yet modern, décor. Considering its age, the architecture is quite impressive. Hospitality is extended from the moment the doorman lets you in and greets you with a bright smile, a wai, and a cheery “Sawatdee, krup!”
Strolling through the hallways and peaking in one of the “Superior Rooms” (maids here in Thailand are notorious for leaving doors open with rooms unattended), I see a room impressively furnished, yet surprisingly and unimpressively small – I believe a sign of the building’s age. Another observation of note – on top of the bed was an inordinate number of pillows! Seriously, does anyone really need that many pillows?!
The hotel does have the standard amenities of a luxury property – business center, limousine service, in-room massage, and concierge – as well as 24-hour butler services (extra charge of course!). The mid-sized fitness center is equipped with state-of-the art cardio-machines, weight machines, and free weights. However, the outdoor pool is quite small and seemed crowded.
There are eight fine dining establishments within the hotel, ranging from an American steakhouse downstairs, to “New French” cuisine at D’Sens on the top floor. Of course all of them are outrageously priced considering the typical cost of food here in Thailand. However, if it’s ambience you’re looking for, you get what you pay for.
As already mentioned, rates at this hotel are quite high. However, I was able to find discounted rates starting at 5,930 Baht/night (about US$143) for a superior room, taxes/fees AND breakfast INCLUDED.
Dusit Thani Hotel
946 Rama IV Rd.
+66 (2) 236-9999