10110 Travel Guide
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:
On May 1, Radisson Blu welcomes guests to its first hotel in Thailand’s capital, the Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok. The brainchild of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Radisson Blu Hotels extends its reach into Asia, as does everyone else, while continuing to offer up its universally appealing style of hospitality.
Vikram Chatwal's minions over at The Dream Hotel Bangkok sent us this updated photo of the hotel's exterior.
· Dream Hotel Bangkok reviews [TripAdvisor]
· Vikram Chatwal Skips Dream Hotel Bangkok Opening, Blames His Not-Yet-Born Daughter [HotelChatter]
[Ed. Note: This is the Bad Rate in our Good Rate/Bad Rate feature. This rate was valid on September 19, 2006 and is subject to change. Enjoy.]
Grand or Grande? The Sheraton Grand Sukhumvit in Bangkok charges double for the extra "e". Our good rate, the Sofitel Grand Sukhumvit, could have picked a more original name. Right down the road is the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit--our bad rate of the week. The one letter difference in the "grande" results in a doubling in price: an average of $164 a night in October. With taxes, a three-night stay would be $592 if booked through Expedia. Even worse, this is a non-refundable rate: the whole amount gets charged to your credit card when you make the reservation.
Somehow this got designated as a Starwood "Luxury Collection" hotel, but the Sheraton Grand Sukhumvit is a convention hotel located next to a convention center, with 429 rooms.
As with many of our Bad Rate hotels, there's an overpriced romance package as well if you book direct. For an extra $95 you get breakfast, a few drinks, and "free" accesss to the health club.
Like the Sofitel with a similar name, it is near a skytrain station, lots of shopping center, and nightlife options that appeal to, ahem, businessmen far from home. There's no discernable difference in amentities, facilities, or convenience except faster broadband, if the 10 mbps claims are true. (You'll pay extra for it anyway of course.) You can decide for yourself whether a Sheraton convention hotel is worth double the rate of a brand new Sofitel, but for us this deal smells like a week-old durian.
[Ed. Note: Welcome to our Good Rate/Bad Rate feature where we look at hotel prices in the same city and decide which is better worth your hard-earned benjamins. The rates listed here was valid on September 19, 2006 and are subject to change.]
When a new luxury hotel opens up in a city already jammed with upscale hotels, you can almost always count on bargain rates until they get established. That's certainly the case with the new Grand Sukhumvit in Bangkok, Thailand.
Through the end of the year--even Christmas week--double rooms start at $84.11 if you book it through Expedia. This is an advance payment rate, however, so you may want to spring an extra $10 a night for the refundable option. The rack rate for the hotel (also known as the "just for show" rate) is listed at $228.
We always worry about any place with "grand" in its name, but Sofitels around the world are reliably consistent and this being a new one, it should be impressive. It is located in the Sukhumvit area, which is more of a shopping and expat zone than it is a tourist one, putting you far from the river and historic sites. It is right next to the tram line, however, so you can be whisked to other spots quickly and efficiently.
The 36-story hotel has 145 rooms and 241 fully equipped apartments to fill, so you shouldn't have any problem getting a room at the intro rates. Locally rated as a five-star, the Sofitel also has 2 restaurants, 2 bars, a fitness centre, a sauna and the inviting swimming pool featured here. No need for men to wonder about the need for hotel porn in this part of town: in true Bangkok fashion there are a dozen strip clubs within a 10-minute taxi radius.
· Grand Sukhumvit by Sofitel reviews [TripAdvisor]
But unfortunately he won't even be there to enjoy it as Page Six reports Vikram and his wife Priya are awaiting the "imminent" birth of their daughter in their Malibu mansion.
Now, we're not so good with math but Vikram and his wife got married in February. It's now August so that's like six months. We're not saying its a shotgun wedding or anything, but if Vik got any cold feet before the big day than Priya had a pretty sweet back-up plan.
Anyways, as for the hotel itself the place is described by the Preferred Boutique hotel group as
Asia's fashion hotel shot-in-the-arm, Dream Bangkok blends the funk of East-meets-West with style, sensation and good taste. An evocative "in-your-dreams" design brings a new level of surrealism and splendor to the world of accommodations and entertainment. Guests who enter this realm of theater and art find that it's their dream - Dream Bangkok just provides the room service.
The hotel web site menu offers options such as Fantasize (room descriptions), Flavours (Thai and Western menus), Frolicking (Flava restaurant and lounge, Avatar Spa, Health club) and Fetish (so far, nothing in this category.)
The place has 100 rooms (for about $160 a night) that follow the Dream NY theme with 42-inch plasma tvs, pre-loaded iPods upon request, allergen free feather bed and duvet and internet access in the forms of LAN and Wi-Fi.
Dream Bangkok is already hyping its top-notch service with the concierge staff reportedly forsaking the word "no" and the fleet of Mercedes Benzes that await guests at the airport.
Now back to Vikram. After his daughter's birth, he plans on continuing the Dream expansion with places in London, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles. Thankfully there are no frightening black-and-white-decor-only Night Hotel spin-offs in the works.
Yeah, we have had a bit of a Thai hotel fetish this week, but that is the way it works around here--remember Wynn?
It's about a 10min cab ride to the city centre which is what makes it so cheap (US$72 per night!).. but taxis cost chips anyway and damn the place is lush!
So, deal or no deal? One recent guest fresh off a May stay says deal:
Very friendly and helpful staff. Nicely furnished rooms. Only drawback is the small swimming pool. Remember to use the hotel tuk tuk if you want to visit the nearby Emporium shopping centre or to take the BTS train.
Guest access to a hotel tuk tuk? Sweet.