10120 Travel Guide
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If Thanksgiving is the one time of year when NYC's Herald Square can actually become relevant again (Macy's parade, hello?), then it was with good foresight that Marriott waited until this week to announce their new midtown Courtyard property. The worldwide hotel brand will plant a new Courtyard by Marriott Herald Square inside the former Atlantic Bank of New York Building, on the corner of 35th Street and Sixth Avenue.
This news also coincides (then again, in this business, coincidences don't really exist) with Macy's announcement last Tuesday that the flagship Herald Square store will be receiving a $400 million makeover.
Photo Gallery / Thailand Hotels / Bangkok Hotels / Sweet Suites / Como Hotels / Tablet Hotels / → All Tags
It's hot in Bangkok, and often unbearably humid. The Metropolitan Bangkok knows this, which is why there are refresher towels waiting just inside the entrance to the lobby. Which is why there's an expansive indoor fitness facility complete with his and hers spa hottubs. Which is why there's a resort-quality outdoor swimming pool. Bangkok's urban tropical environment mean that guests at The Metropolitan are here for a multitude of reasons, from business to a getaway.
We were there as your usual tourists to Thailand, taking in every bit of the place and we've already shown you our Metropolitan room, but we also managed a peek into the Penthouse and COMO Suites while we were at it.
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So everyone who's everyone knows The Metropolitan London and its modern interiors, members-only Met Bar and prime location, but do you know it's got a sister site in The Metropolitan Bangkok? It's true; there's a sleek white hotel sitting a little off bustling Sathorn Road that also lights the logo of The Metropolitan, and it's just as cool, just as comfortable with two huge differences.
Big difference number one: this Metropolitan is a world away from London in Bangkok, and you'll know it through Thai elements in the rooms and an award-winning Thai restaurant, called nahm, which serves things like durian ice cream.
Big difference number two: the room rates are very affordable, but of course this is because we're talking Bangkok versus London here. We stayed for two nights via the Tablet Hotels private sale for $91 per night.
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If there is one easy way to get someoneah hem, a hotel geek, ideallyto think about a trip to Bangkok, Thailand, it's by listing some of the room rates for the city's four- and five-star hotels. They are low three digits, or, in some nice cases, even two digits, like at the Anantara Bangkok Sathorn where a deluxe regularly goes for $98 per night, and you have a small apartment with two balconies overlooking the city.
This is not your typical Anantara; it's business-focused, and situated just off the pulsating vein (and sometimes clogged artery, if it's rush hour) that is Sathorn Road. We were only at this hotel for a sleep-and-dash, so although we can't say anything about the pool (which it has) and restaurants (which it has), we can say that the deluxe room layout is generous, with separate living, dining and sleeping areas plus a commodious restroom.
So you're going to Southeast Asia. So you're going to experience the putrid, spiky, fruit that comes with a reputation: Durian. Whether it's your first or your thirty-first brush with the fruit that smells so bad it's banned on subways on airplanes, there's always a new way to enjoy it. We think we found the bestas Durian ice cream!
At nahm at the Metropolitan Hotel Bangkok, this is totally an option (but of course, so is the classic mango sticky rice). Deny the temptation of the sticky rice! You're at the Bangkok branch of London's famous Michelin 3-starred nahm by Chef David Thompson, so you're already living a little dangerously.
Let's talk about hotel mark-ups for a moment. Everyone knows that dining at a hotel restaurant costs a premium, but with it you (hopefully) get more attentive service, convenience and superior presentation. In a country where goods and food are generally extremely cheap by western standards, the mark-up at hotels can be glaring.
Take, for instance, a simple order of coconut milk in Bangkok, Thailand. We refer to the water inside of a coconut, sold in Thailand still inside a freshly sliced-open coconut. This week we've sipped it in several places, including a street market, a local restaurant, and the Colonnade restaurant at The Sukhothai Hotel.
Above you see the pristine coconut served at The Sukhothai. We paid 250 THB ($8.25) for it. Below is a different story.
The prices are going as simple as the decor
The political unrest in Thailand may have stabilized, but bookings must still be down because the Metropolitan Bangkok is reaching out to people to come back out there with special rates.
The Good Morning Bangkok package gets you bed and breakfast, a daily fruit plate and free access to the gym, pool and yoga classes. So far, so blah – until you realize it’s going for $130 (£86) a night, and rooms used to start at $260 (£173).
It’s valid till the end of the year, and if you wait till after September, you’ll have the added bonus of Nahm restaurant opening up (it’s currently at sister hotel The Halkin in London).
The view from the Banyan Tree Bangkok. Wouldn’t be a trial to work out our karma there.
Karma. We like ours good, and sometimes we wonder how ours is doing when we fritter away money on nice hotel stays.
But what do we know? Very little, by the looks of it. Because it turns out that booking a posh hotel can give you good karma.
Stay two nights at a Banyan Tree or Angsana hotel, and they’ll hand you back a resort credit that’s the same price as a night’s stay. For real. Up to $1,860 worth of credit, that you can use for food,
souvenirs important purchases and, most crucially, spa treatments. It’s called Karma. We repeat, for real.
You may not impress the water cooler co-workers much these days with tales of running a plain old marathon, but how about running a "vertical marathon" up a high-rise hotel's steps--in Bangkok, Thailand?
The swanky Banyan Tree Bangkok is kicking off its annual vertical marathon on September 10, with runners vaulting up 1,093 steps to the helipad on the roof. Best of all, this won't require six months of training and hours of your time on race day: the record-holder did the whole thing in 6 minutes and 29 seconds. All proceeds go to a children's AID charity, and last year's event raised over 10 grand.
You can enter the race for only $9, but you need a good night's sleep right? The hotel is offering a Vertical Marathon package that is $175 a night, including breakfast, marathon registration, a t-shirt, and 20% off at the spa---for that leg massage afterwards. You also get 20% off at the restaurants, including the aptly-named Vertigo on the roof, with a 360-degree view of the city. Have a sunset dinner and brag about how you ran up there from the ground level just that morning...