The Last Aeroplan Hurrah: St. Regis Bangkok

Introduction
United Global First Lounge San Francisco
Lufthansa First Class San Francisco to Munich
Le Meridien Munich
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich, Swiss Business Class Munich to Zurich
Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich, Swiss First Class Zurich to Bangkok
St. Regis Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Lounge & Spa Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
Exploring Hong Kong
United Club Hong Kong and Thai Airways Royal Orchid Lounge Hong Kong
Asiana Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon
Hyatt Regency Incheon Airport
Asiana First Class Lounge Seoul Incheon
Asiana First Class Seoul Incheon to Frankfurt
Sheraton Frankfurt Airport
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt, Lufthansa First Class Frankfurt to Seattle
Four Seasons Seattle


Perhaps it’s one of the more irrational things I’ll ever do, but I decided to arrange a car transfer with the hotel. Bangkok cabs are inexpensive so on one hand it’s a waste, but I figured we’d give the hotel transfer service a try in one direction. The cost was about $90USD, and the transfer was in a pimped out Mercedes S500. I will say that while it was expensive, it was really nice to arrive at a hotel in Bangkok not drenched in sweat, as cabs in Bangkok tend to cheap out on the air conditioning.


Car transfer


Car transfer


Hotel exterior


Hotel entrance

The hotel’s lobby is actually on the 12th floor, though there’s still a fairly grand entrance on the 1st floor including plenty of seating.


1st floor entrance

We were escorted up to check-in on the 12th floor, which consisted of individual tables instead of one long check-in desk, which I always find to be a nice touch at luxury hotels (the Park Hyatt Tokyo has the same).


12th floor lobby

I had booked our stay through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (the hotel hasn’t yet joined Virtuoso). The rate was identical to the best available rate, which was around $200USD per night. By booking through Fine Hotels & Resorts we received complimentary breakfast and one complimentary afternoon tea once during our stay in addition to the Platinum benefits.

While Starwood Platinum members have always received free breakfast at this hotel, they now have to select it in lieu of the 500 point welcome amenity. This is due to the SPG program revamp that happened on March 1. So by booking through Fine Hotels & Resorts I essentially “earned” an extra 500 points and got free afternoon tea.

It’s worth noting that the alternative was to book cash and points for $90USD plus 4,800 SPG points per night. After crunching the numbers I didn’t think that was worth it. It’s rather crazy that the hotel has since gone up to a category six hotel, meaning cash and points would now be $150 plus 8,000 points per night. That’s outrageous given how inexpensive luxury hotels are in Bangkok.

The agent at check-in was very friendly and informed us of all our benefits. She informed us we had been upgraded to a Grande Deluxe room with a nice view. I was a bit surprised not to get a Metropolitan Suite which Platinum members seem to report getting about 90% of the time at this hotel, though after looking at availability she informed us that we could move the second night if we wanted to.

I was impressed that the GM was “hovering” around the lobby, and as each party checked in he introduced himself and handed out his business card, mentioning that he appreciates any feedback. I thought that was a nice gesture.

Our room was located on the 22nd floor, room 2227. It was easily one of the most beautifully decorated rooms I’ve ever seen, and in the end we decided not to even move the second night, since apparently the Metropolitan Suites at this hotel don’t have nearly as nice views.


Room entrance

By the entrance was the closet and bathroom equipped with a walk in shower and separate tub, as well as double sinks.


Bathroom


Tub


Sinks


Toilet

Then sliding doors led to the bedroom, which featured a soft bed facing a flat screen TV, as well as a couch and desk with comfortable chair.


Bedroom


TV


Couch


Desk

The room featured views of the pool and in the distance the racetrack and city. While I love Bangkok as a city, it’s not one I usually associate with nice views. This was definitely the nicest view I’ve ever had in a Bangkok hotel.


Awesome views


View of pool

Since this is a St. Regis they have the signature butler service. I’ll never quite understand what purpose the butlers serve. Our butler introduced herself to us at the beginning of the stay, though if you need anything you call the “central” butler phone number, and then they dispatch a butler to help. So it’s not quite as personalized (or useful) as the one I had at Aman-i-Khas, for example (not that I was expecting that level of service).

The two things they seem to always suggest doing is helping with packing and unpacking, and also bringing complimentary tea or coffee. The latter is useful, I guess, but does anyone really want a stranger packing and unpacking their clothes? I sure don’t…

It’s worth noting that as a Platinum member you get access to a complimentary evening cocktail reception at the hotel’s bar, Decanter, between 5:30PM and 7:30PM. It’s almost like a mini club lounge with a nice little spread consisting of cheese, meat, bread, olives, etc. They also have a wine list from which you can order whatever you’d like, including champagne. It’s a nice little bonus for Platinum members given that the hotel doesn’t have a club lounge.


Decanter


Buffet


Not too shabby

Breakfast is served daily in Viu Restaurant from 7AM to 11AM, so we took advantage of that both mornings. As is the case in most Thai hotels, the spread was very, very good. It wasn’t quite as good as Le Meridien Bangkok, which is easily the best spread I’ve ever seen, though it was still very good. They had everything imaginable, from Western to Chinese to Japanese to Thai.


Breakfast restaurant


Omelet station


More food


Fresh fruit


Breads


The good stuff


Lukewarm waffles, pancakes, and french toast


More food!

My only complaint is that the service was a bit lackluster. While I found the service around the hotel to otherwise be great, unfortunately the restaurant staff were lacking a bit with efficiency and accuracy. I should also note that a lot of the hot options were lukewarm at best, so I’m not sure if they weren’t replacing them often enough, or if their heating mechanism was no good.

While we’re talking about Platinum benefits, it’s also worth noting that Platinum members get five free pieces of laundry dry cleaned during their stay. They seem to do it overnight, though not faster.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the report we also received complimentary afternoon tea once during our stay, which we took advantage of in the lobby bar. While it wasn’t the seven course afternoon tea I had at the Burj Al Arab, it was excellent nonetheless.


Afternoon tea


Afternoon tea

As far as the hotel’s facilities go, the pool, spa, and gym are all on the 14th floor. The pool is especially nice, including two (cold) jacuzzis.


Pool


Jacuzzi


Hotel from pool


Bar by pool


Gym


Gym

The Elemis Spa was also fantastic, easily one of the nicest I’ve ever seen. The spa was considerably more expensive than Le Meridien Bangkok, though well worth the price. I was especially impressed by the (hot) jacuzzis they have for before or after treatments.


Spa entrance


Spa reception


Post-treatment area


Post-treatment tea


Elemis Spa hot and cold

On the whole I’d say the St. Regis is probably now my favorite hotel in Bangkok. Bangkok has lots of great luxury hotels, though many of them are starting to show their age. The St. Regis has both great service and brand new facilities, so I’d return in a heartbeat. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, Le Meridien is very good as well and possibly has even better Platinum recognition.

Comments

  1. sam says

    I like the toilet shots. Just like the lime and diet coke shots, it is not a proper Lucky report without it!

  2. Jack says

    What about the SGS? I find their platinum recognition better than the St. Regis. Free Breakfast, many options for free happy hour, huge upgrade percentage, very personalized service, etc.

  3. Brent says

    @ Lucky

    You should do some sort of Easter Egg. Hide something in one of your photos that doesn’t belong (in the room) and see who the first one to point it out is. Might make for a better contest than a random giveaway!

  4. RakSiam says

    there is a middle ground between taxis and exorbitantly priced hotel limos…there are lots of car services. The one I usually take is about $30 one way and they use nice late model Camrys and Nissan Teanas (Maximas).

  5. RakSiam says

    @JetAway, as you can see in some of the photos, the hotel is located right at a BTS (Skytrain) station Ratchadamri (I believe). Just one stop from the big malls for shopping. Sightseeing is a little less conducive to public transit unless you take BTS down to the river (Saphan Taksin) and take the river boat to the Grand Palace area.

  6. d says

    It’s walking distance to Central and Siam Paragon – or one BTS stop. In opposite direction, one BTS stop to Patpong.

    AOT Limo offers R/T car service with Volvo or Camry [both with A/C] for less than what was paid for one day in the Mercedes…LOL.

    We watched the construction of hotel when it first started back in summer 2010. It took quite a bit of time to complete….

  7. John says

    Ben @ RakSiam- I used a limo service based at the airport in Bangkok, AOT Limo, in Dec. It was only $72 one way for a late model BMW 750. They had cheaper cars as well. They are located inside the baggage claim in BKK as well as another counter outside of baggage claim. I did not have an advanced reservation. On the return from the Conrad to BKK I used the Conrad hotel BMW 7 series. The Conrad charged around $92. AOT is a much better deal than using the hotel car at the Conrad or St. Regis.

  8. David says

    I think you should do a blog post about arrival transporation services, and when they make sense for certain cities and properties. If you have 3 or more people, then you should definitely look into it, b/c the incremental cost is minimal.

    I was looking at the GH Beijing, and the service starts after de-planing: Our Private Limousine Transfer includes our “Meet & Greet” service. With this service, our airport representative will wait for you with a “Grand Hyatt Beijing” sign, at the aerobridge of your plane. You will then be escorted through to the Immigration line, followed by the luggage collection point and finally to your Private Limousine.

    This is definitely worth it to me, considering the comfort of getting to the hotel without language issues, potential to earn points, and low incremental $ cost for 4 people.

  9. Joelfreak says

    The Four Seasons next door to the St. Regis was one of the most reasonably priced, and best stays I have EVER had… definitely worth looking at.

  10. Andy says

    @David – May I ask how much the hotel/airport transfer cost? What type of car did they use? I presume air conditioning is a given? Did you have to pay the driver, or was it chargeable to the room? Thanks.

  11. Andrew says

    Can you please take a trip to Asia one of these times where you actually “go” to Asia? Meaning, you land at the airport not knowing where you’re going to stay, you haggle with a cab driver for ten minutes to get a $7 fare down to $6, eat street food, etc? In other words, do the things that make Asia Asia, and make Asia worth going to?

    Also, although you somewhat admit it, $90 is absolutely nuts for an airport transfer in Bangkok. Is the marginal utility you gained from an S500 really worth more than the countless things you could’ve otherwise purchased in BKK with the $60-$75 you could’ve saved on getting to your hotel?

  12. lucky says

    @ Jack — Haven’t stayed there yet, though will likely give it a shot the next time I’m in Bangkok.

    @ Brent — LOL, I love it. Promise to do that with the next report.

    @ JetAway — As @RakSiam points out, the location is excellent for sightseeing, both in terms of the actual location and access to transportation.

    @ RakSiam @ John — Good to know for next time. Thanks.

    @ David — Would be very curious to hear the cost for that.

    @ Andrew — I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When I travel I spend 8+ hours a day walking around. I admitted upfront that I’ve never before arranged a car abroad unless it was included with the hotel. I always take public transportation or taxis, no matter how lost I am (and I negotiate). I just don’t think I can add much value in writing a thorough review of a city I’m frankly not an expert on, since there are many better resources on the web. I’m trying to fill a different niche by focusing on the “getting there” and “staying there” part, and less on the destination.

    And while I don’t eat a lot of street food (I’m terrified of getting sick abroad), there’s nothing I love more than the hawker stalls in Singapore.

  13. David says

    This arrival service is listed on the Grand Hyatt Beijing website (http://tinyurl.com/77zcugw), and is quoted for 600CNY ($95) in an Audi A6. They also offer a MB S350 for 920CNY.

    Since it’s booked through the Hyatt, I assume it can be charged to the room, but I only reserved it for a trip later this year, and haven’t used it yet.

  14. DBest says

    Just curious, do you ever take the subway from the airport (for those cities blessed with a rapid connection to downtown)? I see how its not worth it for groups/families, but for single travellers I’m a big fan.

  15. lucky says

    @ DBest — Absolutely, almost always when it’s an option. I’m all for public transportation when it’s efficient for where I’m headed.

  16. Rich says

    I have to agree that $90 for transfer to the hotel is a bit much for you and your travel companion. In cases like that, how do you handle the cost? Do you and he split it?

  17. Tony says

    I’ve stayed at this hotel too. I got the same response from the management when I asked about the metropolitan suite – and when I kindly asked them to check again, after about 20 minutes they said they could have it ready. It was a fantastic suite, 1-bedroom, but the views weren’t great at all. However, at the category 5 level I thought it was a great redemption value for my points. Also – dry cleaning could be done same day, you just have to ask. The best part of it all was the Platinum member cocktail hour you mentioned above. Fantastic selection of beverages!!

  18. Rowena says

    Just wondering if the shower in your room tended to flood the whole bathroom floor? We stayed in St. Regis last year and the water used to flow out of the bottom part of the shower screen. I saw reviews on TripAdvisor and it seemed that our shower wasn’t an isolated case. I wonder if they had that fixed.

  19. lucky says

    @ Rowena — For me it wasn’t too bad. Putting a towel in front of the shower did the trick. It definitely could have been designed a bit more practically though.

  20. Jonnie says

    I don’t know if it’s your camera lens, but everything in the hotel rooms looks very small, like the couch and bathtub? I mean, there is no way I could fit both me and my usual Bangkok ladyboy companion in that tub!

  21. Donald says

    I don’t understand where your friend stays, you never post his room. Do you arrange a camp bed for him?

  22. lucky says

    @ Donald — Regardless of who I’m traveling with, I’m an adult and capable of sharing a king bed with just about anyone.

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