The bedroom was tastefully decorated and boasted two queen-size beds, satellite TV (although you probably won’t have time to view it), and a welcoming orchid on our pillow. We had a great view of all the activity on the river from our pleasant seating area through the full floor-to-ceiling glass wall. Although not extravagant, the hotel room was exceptionally comfortable and roomy. Air-conditioning was standard and indeed essential. Although we were told that the room had a safe, this was not the case, but reception offered a free safe deposit box on the ground floor. This did not pose problems, and it offered peace of mind whilst we were out on our travels.
There was a range of services available in the hotel, including a range of restaurants (although we always ate out), shops (including the obligatory tailors), health club, two swimming pools, sauna, hot tub, and a tennis court.
The hotel information service was always available and provided free maps of Bangkok, with good advice about rates to pay for services and the best forms of transport. A superb way to get around from the hotel is to use the river taxi caught from the hotel jetty. If you want a taxi, it’s best that you ask the hotel to sort it for you, as they will ensure a fair price at the beginning of your trip and woe betide the taxi driver who tries to inflate the price.
We spent some time in the hotel lobby. It’s huge, the chairs are very comfortable, and there was a range of entertainment throughout the day. We listened to a traditionally dressed Thai woman playing traditional Thai music, relaxed under the spell of a solo pianist, and caught the end of a jazz ensemble. The décor in the entrance is large and impressive. This, together with the indoor water feature and entertainment, sets a pleasant ambience for the hotel.
The hotel proved to be a good base for exploring Bangkok. We could safely walk around the area and were quick in accessing a local street market. In a 10-minute ride, you’re in Chinatown and near the river taxi, but who would want to rush?
At the end of a long day, we received a traditional Thai greeting from the reception staff, as the lift was called for us and, on entering our room, we saw the sheets had been folded down for us and there on the pillow, alongside our nightwear, was a freshly cut orchid. A lesser mortal would say, "There’s romance, for you!"
We did feel pampered and special in this hotel, and by Western standards, it’s not expensive.
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by Alex Murillo
San Jose, Costa Rica
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