Thailand Travel Guide
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel News / Hotel Indigo Hotels / Bangkok Hotels / InterContinental Hotels Group / → All Tags
If we think about it for a second, we’re surprised Hotel Indigo hasn’t opened in Bangkok sooner than it will do, just over two months from now: its funky vibe, eclectic design, and often very pretty guestrooms seem like a natural fit for the Thai capital.
From what we can tell, the hotel was originally planned to arrive several years ago, so perhaps the thinking over at Indigo was similar to ours, but February 1, 2015 it will be in the end. At least that’s the date from which you can currently make a reservation at the 192-room hotel on Wireless Road, across Lumpini Park from Sofitel So. Our first impression, based on the rendering above and some photos below, is certainly favourable, with hardwood floors, window seats, stylish furniture, and an overall look that has a hint of Indigo Shanghai to it.
Seven hotel restaurants, seven set menus at an affordable price. Sounds like a decent challenge? Then make your way to Bangkok, where seven downtown hotels are taking part in the Taste It All festival.
Taste It All is an annual festival, that used to take place on just one day, but this year – with “Imperial Delight” as the theme – it has been extended through 30 November.
The seven restaurants taking part are:
OpenThread / Hotel Service / Hotel Heaven / Anantara Hotels / Phuket Hotels / Thailand Hotels / → All Tags
It may not look much, but what it represents is pretty huge.
This is a plate of turmeric, which I was handed the week before last during my stay at the Anantara Phuket Layan, Anantara’s newest Phuket hotel, which opened in January in a cove at Layan, near Bangtao Beach.
Why was I handed a plate of grubby roots? Because the previous day, I’d learned that in Thailand, turmeric is a widely used remedy for mosquito bites (FYI: it works brilliantly). So the following morning, I asked the breakfast staff whether there was any turmeric in the kitchen. No, they said, but we can go and buy some for you if you'd like. I said no thanks, and thought no more of it, going off to the beach to itch. Twenty minutes later, a member of staff rushed up, proffering this plate of turmeric. Now that is customer service.
Of course, service standards in SE Asia are always head and shoulders above those in the West, but Anantara Layan really stood out, even by Asian standards. Over the course of three days there, here’s what various members of staff did:
One of the more aloof members of Atlanta staff
Yesterday we introduced you to the Atlanta Hotel in Bangkok and its militant anti-sex tourist policy. The Atlanta is a budget hotel – rooms start from 800THB ($24) and go up to 1950THB ($59). But despite its low prices, it’s run with a rod of iron – it opened in the 1950s and checking in today is like stepping back in time a few decades. And its attention to detail is certainly better than plenty of five star places we’ve stayed in. Why? These 10 reasons why, for starters:
Another day, another hotel welcome drink. A pineapple milkshake, since you ask – so far, so blah.
But wait, what’s that on the coaster? Ah yes:
ZERO TOLERANCE & SLEAZE FREE ZONE
NO SEX TOURISTS, JUNKIES, LOUTS & OTHER DEGENERATES
Of course, this isn’t the first time the Atlanta has warned you of its guest policy. “SEX TOURISTS NOT WELCOME,” shouts the homepage. “Visitors who object to any of The Atlanta's policies or who intend to spend their time in Thailand whoring, behaving badly, indulging in alcohol abuse and illicit drugs should stay elsewhere,” says the long caveat page. The message is repeated on the email confirming your reservation. And if you hadn’t got it by then, this is what greets you beside the front door:
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One can never have too many hotels on Phuket, and for Accor, nine just isn’t enough. Hence the arrival of Novotel Phuket Karon Beach, which opened three days ago on Karon Beach (not exactly an exclusive location, but good if you want the feel of a resort).
The fourth Novotel on Phuket, it’s newly built with 224 rooms, which look rather nice, if not groundbreakingly original. There are three restaurants, two bars, a fitness center and sauna, and an outdoor pool (this rendering on the Facebook page looks nice, though we’re a little suspicious there’s no photo on the website yet).
There’s even a “video games area” (shudder) and a kids club.
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Being in the middle of a brand refresh isn’t stopping Le Méridien Hotels from opening new properties, with next month the addition of Le Méridien Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok Golf Resort & Spa. While it’s too early for some of the new brand elements to pop up in the room design, the first images show an attractive, if relatively safe, contemporary look, golf course views, and a balcony with sunbed.
The tenth Starwood hotel and third Le Méridien in Bangkok, the hotel brings some much needed competition to the city’s airport hotel game, dominated by the Novotel BKK Airport at the moment. Being a 15-minute drive away, Le Méridien can’t quite beat the Novotel’s terminal location, but with fresh rooms and much more extensive facilities, it should shake things up nonetheless.
That’s because it’s a separate entity – done by Infinite Luxury, a Phuket-based, English-started design company. Kata Rocks will open November 28 on the southern end of Kata Beach, with a slightly different feel than Ibiza and Mallorca Rocks – it’s for grown ups, for starters. Think a bunch of those modernist houses from the Hollywood Hills transplanted onto the hillside (and beachside) of Phuket. In fact, there's more than a hint of Malibu to it, too.
The aim at Kata Rocks, rather than to get blasted and dance like Leo DiCaprio, is to indulge in “effortless and luxurious relaxation” – now that’s something we can get behind. Accommodation is in 34 individual Sky Villas rather than rooms – and they look fantastic, with bright white, modern interiors, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea, TVs set into the ceiling and – get this – their own private pool.
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Sometimes there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing. At least, so think Starwood, who are on track to open a Sheraton in Koh Samui. It will join their current roster: a W Retreat, a Le Méridien, and Vana Belle, part of the Luxury Collection.
The Sheraton will take over the current Imperial Samui Beach Resort, which had 141 rooms. It’s on the same beach as the Vana Belle, and only two hotels away.
Unfortunately, all good things come to those who wait. The Sheraton was down to open in December, but it’s not yet listed on the Starwood website, and (HT Flyertalk) it’s now showing up on Starwood’s forthcoming hotels list, and is down for March 2015. Although, since it’s not yet available to book, even that may be optimistic.
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This will be the third W Hotel in Thailand and fortunately, it does seem a bit different from the other W hotels out there, at least in terms of layout. The interior offerings are W all the way.
Here's how the property is described:
W Retreat Phuket will be located on Koh Yao Noi, one of the largest islands in the Phang Nga Bay archipelago between the eastern coast of Phuket and western coast of Krabi on the mainland. The W Retreat will provide an integrated lifestyle experience with 79 standalone villas, starting from 155 square meters in space. All villas will feature private outdoor areas and plunge pools as well as superlative views of the limestone cliffs that dot Phang Nga Bay.
W Retreat Phuket - Phang Nga Bay will also offer a lobby lounge, an all-day dining restaurant and a specialty restaurant and bar. It will feature 120 square metres of modern meeting and event space; FIT, a well-equipped workout facility and swimming pool; and a contemporary spa with six treatment rooms. The W Retreat will be accessible from both Phuket International Airport (HKT) and Krabi Airport (KBV), with a fleet of high speed sea vessels, a private jetty and helicopter landing pad for ease of guests transfers.
And don't forget about Whatever/Whenever service! We'll circle back with more news on this property...in 2017.
Riverside room in the Krungthep Wing
Like Los Angeles, Bangkok is a city that seems to go on forever, sprawling out over a total area of over 600 square miles. This means that there’s no shortage of hotels and no shortage of neighborhoods. But if you’re looking for the finest lodging in the city, it doesn’t get much better than the Shangri-La.
Although its location puts you well outside the city center and quite far from many of the attractions (such as the Grand Palace), cheap taxis, nearby river taxi and public transit stops allow guests to maintain their mobility while indulging in the five-star comfort of the Shangri-La. We don’t need to say much more in that sense – the Shangri-La’s reputation for luxury definitely precedes it – but given that the property in Bangkok has two separate wings with two separate entrances, you might be wondering which is the best room to book.
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The Thai beachtown of Krabi is located two hours east of Phuket, offering visitors a handful of national parks and barrier islands to explore in the Andaman Sea. The 192-room Centara Grand Krabi is the area's most luxurious property, and it's also the most secluded, tucked in at the base of a national park and surrounded by cliffs on both sides.
The resort is a combination of low-rise buildings and individual villas built up into the cliffs, and the real treat comes from the balconies of the rooms that sit up the highest: A breathtaking killer view that looks out over the resort to the ocean and rocky coastline. Looking the other direction at night, the sky lights up and the palm trees silhouette against the clouds.