This post picks up from the previous comparison between the two Bangkok Hyatt hotels. Matthew and I have covered quite a bit about the launch of the new Park Hyatt Bangkok including his exhaustive and photo-filled review, my suite review, and an analysis of current and speculation on future pricing. In what will be my last post on the topic, I wanted to compare and contrast the two Bangkok Hyatts and line up the Grand Hyatt Erawan vs. Park Hyatt Bangkok.
Grand Hyatt Erawan
Breakfast must be broken up into two different categories for the Grand Hyatt as Globalists are offered free breakfast in the lounge, and others will pay for breakfast downstairs in the buffet style restaurant.
In the lounge guests will find an impressive spread. European cheese and artisan breads coupled with jam, honey, and a toaster. Cereals, muesli, granola and yogurt are also available with fresh squeezed juices and fresh-cut fruit are waiting in glass door refrigerators.
A limited, four-item menu is offered at the table and guests are immediately offered a drink when they sit down; iced or hot lattes were made by hand from the staff, a wide selection of teas were also available. Additionally, the buffet was available with made-to-order omelets, noodle soup, bacon, sausage, and typically enough components to complete both a Full English breakfast and a traditional American breakfast. There was often also a couple of Asian options in the morning, my favorite is Singapore Noodles.
The lounge offers excellent service, especially from Tok, one of the kindest hotel employees we have ever met. There are also beautiful views from the top, private dining rooms in case you have a larger party.
Park Hyatt Bangkok
I covered in my post, as did Matthew in his that the breakfast was amazing at the Park Hyatt Bangkok. True silver cutlery, a restrained, elegant dining room with massive windows looking over the infinity pool nine floors above the city.
One deficiency I covered in my post was that the Park Hyatt would first ask for your room number (most hotels do) then gave an abbreviated menu to Globalists with just a handful of menu items. The far larger menu was offered to non-Globalist guests (aka those paying for their breakfasts).
Without knowing of the other menu at first, I simply ordered something they weren’t offering on our limited menu, pancakes for my daughter. Most hotels, and certainly all Park Hyatt hotels will fix you just about anything you want for breakfast – on the menu or not – and will not incur an additional charge.
The problem is that it felt like they had gone intentionally out of their way to offer a lesser product to their most frequent guests.
However, despite the Globalist shade the hotel was giving us we still loved the food. I will exclude the many photographs of food in this post available in my previous post and Matthew’s but I will include just one. The fresh pressed juice was unreal, and unlimited. Unabashedly I drank between 4-6 bottles of the stuff. I cited before that at US prices, I likely consumed $30 worth of juice, however, after heat consideration that seems light.
Winner: Park Hyatt Bangkok because the overall experience was simply excellent. I can ignore the limited menu at the Park but can’t ignore the lounge breakfast at the Grand Hyatt.
Grand Hyatt Erawan
Some of the rooms in this property face the BTS lines crisscrossing through central Bangkok with the aforementioned pool below. We were able to take advantage of one such room over New Year’s and watch the show from our air-conditioned room as opposed to sweating and fighting crowds in the square outside of Central World.
The standard rooms at the Grand Hyatt Erawan will certainly wow guests from western hotels on their first trip to Asia. They won’t know that many of these are standard for high-end western brands, as their Grand Hyatts in other parts of the world simply don’t offer them.
The bathroom, for example, even in basic rooms will seem deluxe to westerners. Marble floors, double vanities and stand alone soaking tubs will make it feel nicer than at home. Opposite the tub are two closed-door rooms, the first is the toilet, equipped with a phone. The added layer of privacy is appreciated when traveling with others and allows your significant other to bathe or get ready without taking turns for the bathroom. The shower is also behind a door and separate from the tub – oh how I loathe shower over tub combinations.
The room is otherwise within the limits of western imagination but feature international plugs (no adapter required regardless of country), a desk or table suitable for four people, excellent views (on one side, buildings on the other). There is also a safe, a respectable closet and a mini bar with fridge.
The suites will enhance some of these elements adding a Japanese toilet with bidet and dryer. The suites are approximately double the size and split into two rooms. The first, an anteroom and living room often with a guest bathroom (but not a Japanese toilet) and a much larger mini bar featuring an Illy coffee maker.
Then there are the Spa Cottage Suites which are really villas. These are four-room standalone buildings on the fifth floor, the same as the pool and spa. The first room (in a four quarter square moving from front left counter-clockwise) is a living room filled with tables, chairs, board games and an extensive mini bar and fridge. The second is the bedroom which opens onto the patio and features a good-sized tv and a chaise lounge. The third room accessed from the bedroom is an equally sized bathroom. There is a stone massage table in the middle of the room, a clawfoot tub, double vanities and a four person steam shower. The final room is a massage room with robes, and all of the materials needed to host an in-room massage. In the evening, turn down service included lighting the candles around our room.
Park Hyatt Bangkok
Matthew was sadly not upgraded during his stay but my family was. That allows us to give a great representation of differences in product offered at the Park. Both rooms offered stunning views of the city, though Matthew’s standard room held a significant advantage.
The standard room is smaller and does not feature a Japanese toilet, a huge oversight for any property of this caliber. The bathroom features a stand alone tub, a separate shower, and floor-to-ceiling windows (though not in the bathroom naturally). The bedroom was spacious and perhaps in any other city in the world, this room would be every bit of the five stars the hotel has been awarded.
The suite I received was spacious, and accommodating. We had guests in the city that came by to visit and there was plenty of space for them to stretch out in the living room on couches and chairs. The suite also featured a guest toilet, a long table perfect for work or dining, a mini bar with fridge and an Illy coffee maker. The separate bedroom matched the large windows of the living room.
The bathroom in the suite was impressive with a double vanity splitting the toilet (closed-door) and the soaking tub and rain shower on the opposite end of the bathroom. The bathtub and shower really do feel like a spa, and it is impressive.
Two obvious failures are that the closet is located next to the door, as far as possible from both the shower and bedroom. It is unthinkable to place the closet this far away from the place one usually gets dressed, in the bedroom or just out of the shower. It would be understandable if this were a conversion and not a brand new hotel, but this is a completely new build. The second obvious failure is the exclusion of a Japanese toilet in both the standard rooms and the suites. This is such a standard amenity everywhere else in Bangkok and Asia that it is an odd and questionable exclusion.
Park Hyatt Bangkok Standard room. It’s not close.
Park Hyatt Bangkok Suite. The views and the amenities of the room, despite a lack of a Japanese toilet and odd placement of the closet, put the Park too far in front of the Grand to match. This is perhaps the clearest differentiation between the two properties, both of them feeling like their classification as Park and Grand Hyatt hotels.
Grand Hyatt Erawan Spa Cottage Suite. I’m sure that when the Park Hyatt fully opens they will have superior suites, but they will not have the ability to offer this tucked away, resort within a city hotel feel.
Value for Money
Grand Hyatt Erawan
To truly consider the value for money received at both properties, we have to make some assumptions because pricing recently has been all over the place. Traditionally, the Grand Hyatt would sell rooms for about $140/nt, but recently these have jumped as high as $225 (or $400+ if you use the AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts program to book).
Based on the rate of $140/nt, the hotel is a little tired but inline with the market. The pool is beautiful to look at but unusable so there must be a slight deduction in its value for this. But with the rest of the amenities and great location it also has a leg up on the competition. I have paid as high as $160/nt for this hotel and that is my upper limit. Factoring in free breakfast in the lounge and a staff that really do go out of their way to make you feel at home, this property is worth every bit of $160/nt even in a market as competitive as Bangkok.
However, $220/nt would be laughable if it weren’t so offensive. The market just doesn’t bear that out. You can find superior properties everywhere you look for far less than even the $160/nt price point and it really feels like the hotel is exploiting business travelers who have the budget and prefer Hyatt hotels. There is nothing wrong with the capitalistic approach to their pricing, if your loyal customers will pay it, charge them. But if you have other loyalties as well, there is no reason to stay in this hotel for a single penny higher than $160/nt.
If you plan on using points to offset your expense, the property is currently a category four with a cost of 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night, or $100 + 7,500 points when using points plus cash. That value is fair for the property and I have used all three methods (cash, points, and cash plus points) for stays over the years in good conscience.
Park Hyatt Bangkok
Like the Grand Hyatt, pricing has been all over the place but unlike their sister property across the city, prices have come down since opening at $300-325/nt. promotional rates were even cheaper than the Grand Hyatt for some time, dipping as low as $220/nt while the Grand Hyatt inexplicably wanted five dollars more.
Comparatively, the Park Hyatt is a steal for the slight premium over the Grand Hyatt. The problem is that the hotel is not yet a finished product. Just 18% of the rooms are currently available for sale, and other amenities like the top floor restaurant are not open at all.
Further, in a city where five-star hotels can be had for less than $100 USD by top western brands (Le Meridien, Conrad Bangkok, etc.) it is overpriced for the market. I covered this in further depth in my initial review of the property and it was echoed by Matthew, neither one of us strangers to the city.
To date I have stayed in 14 hotels in the city of Bangkok and I am adding another next week. This is the first and only time I have paid more than $200/nt in the city and there are much more affordable hotels for considerably less money. The St. Regis routinely offers stays for $180/nt. The Park Hyatt is nicer, yes, but it’s not 20-45% nicer. And that’s part of the reason why discounts have helped the Park Hyatt to sellout at $220-250/nt – that is, a 40 room sellout.
If using points, the property is a fair 20,000 points per night. If you would prefer to use points and cash it might be a good value to pay $125 and spend 10,000 points/nt if rates return to $325/nt.
Winner: Park Hyatt Bangkok as long as it is $220 or under. Frankly both are so overpriced that neither are really reasonable. At $300/nt there are just too many options that offer a complete product and will give you a better value for your money. If the Grand Hyatt Erawan were to return to $140/nt and the Park back up to $300/nt, then the Grand Hyatt would win, but I would still recommend staying elsewhere in the city.
The Park Hyatt Bangkok holds a key advantage over the Grand Hyatt. Despite an inferior location, longer distance to the BTS, and an incomplete property, it still beats out the Grand Hyatt Erawan. The difference is only further exasperated when the Grand Hyatt charges through the nose.