As part of the best promotion in the hotel industry this summer (2012), my wife and I made a mattress run to Bangkok (already living in coastal Thailand). With two separate accounts, we wanted to try both of the Park Plaza Hotels in Bangkok and split our stays over the Friday and Saturday nights.
Former UPGRD Blogger Brad from RegionalFirst, also posted on this hotel as part of the same promotion, his review differs, as does his room choice. Make sure you check out his review of the Park Plaza Bangkok as well!
Location, location, location.
The three hotels in the Club Carlson network that we have visited, (Radisson Sukhumvit, this one and Park Plaza (Soi 13) – coming soon) have all been within a ten minute walk of each other in the popular Sukhumvit expat neighborhood (Asok, Nana). For some reason none of these properties face Sukhumvit like their Starwood competitors, but they are also offered at a fraction of the price.
The biggest struggle is when you first go to find the hotel. In Bangkok, major roads are named (Sukhumvit) and the streets that branch off of them are “soi”s, in this case the 18th street off of the major vein. Once you turn off Sukhumvit and start heading down the road you’re not really sure how far down you have to go, and when you don’t know where the hotel is, it seemed like quite a distance. Once you get there and know your way back, it’s easy, but not fun if on foot the first time.
There is no question that Club Carlson has done a great job with their hotels in Bangkok. The lobby was stunning and welcoming. There were people having a drink in the lobby, another using the customer computer (a massive 27” iMac) and it seemed to have a buzz about it.
We were greeted at the counter by helpful staff, and a glass of chilled passion fruit. We had opted in to the e-standby upgrade, something I really like about the booking process with Club Carlson hotels, but the desk received no notification of this but we still agreed to upgrade the room. The woman checking us in also did not acknowledge my elite status, nor offer me the best available room for the category I booked. She also did not explain what was different between the room we booked and the upgraded room, so while I am sure it was an exceptional value – I honestly don’t really know.
For all my whining about not getting my allowed status upgrade (which I confirmed was available before we reached the checkin counter) the upgrade only cost 102 Baht or $2.95 USD. We were happy to pay this, and though costs are substantially lower here in Thailand, both of us were kind of shocked that this inexpensive of an upgrade was even offered. The next level available was double our original room price, and we of course passed on that.
Though last time we were escorted to our room by staff, this time we were directed to the lift and made our way upstairs.
As our last room had some mold in the shower, I made a point to check that first – it was spotless. The desk and chair (usually unimportant to me) was excellent and useful. I even wrote a post from it. The remote control (purportedly the dirtiest thing in a hotel room outside of a duvet cover) was very clean, and stowed away in a leather bound book along with a remote for the DVD player and a listing of the channels and the language spoken on those channels. This simple placement really made me feel like they cared about cleanliness and convenience.
The bathroom was fairly impressive as well with a rain shower head, no bathtub, but plenty of space.
Wife’s Input: A small bench in the shower is excellent for shaving my legs.
My Response: I thought that was for resting, I may have rested there. [I didn’t really]
Wife: Gross. Anyway, there was also an excellent hair dryer. In fact it was so good that I think it was better than the one I have at home. It’s the small things that enhance the experience.
I don’t often use the desk in hotels, we are usually out exploring the city and I try not to work while we are on holiday. But this desk was particularly convenient. The desk had a large surface space, and though there was a a somewhat annoying writing mat (I am sure there is a better name for this, but I think it gets the point across) it was easily slid out of the way. I wrote most of this post at the desk and was quite impressed.
At the desk was a modern leather chair which was comparable to what we have seen at other premium hotels, like the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin (coming soon), or Le Meridien Bangkok (coming soon). Though there was free WiFi throughout the hotel (my favorite Club Carlson feature) there was also a retractable ethernet cable on the desk out of the way, but there if you need it.
Our third floor room did not have a great view. It wasn’t the end of the world, but being back from the main road (Sukhumvit) was a detractor, perhaps a higher floor would solve this problem, but our view was of a parking lot and some nearby local homes. Club Carlson Bangkok hotels have been 0/2 for view, with another stay shortly, we will see if there is a view in the next one.
Overall, this hotel is a great value for money. The location is not on the main road, but it’s a five minute walk to Sukhumvit. Service was good, not exemplary. The room was a terrific value for the $50-ish we spent on our weekend night stay. I would happily recommend this hotel to a friend or client in the market for a high three star hotel at a tremendous price. With some service improvement, and a room on a higher floor, this may be one of the better values in Bangkok.
Oh, and the Sherpa was pretty pleased with the 50,000 bonus points he received as part of the greatest hotel promo of 2012.
Have you stayed in this property? Have you ever found a better upgrade than $2.95 without it being free?