Chasing the Sun: InterContinental Bangkok

Introduction
Lufthansa First Class Seattle to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Lounge & Senator Lounge Frankfurt
Thai Airways First Class Frankfurt to Bangkok
InterContinental Bangkok
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge Bangkok
Cathay Pacific Business Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific “The Wing” Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific First Class Hong Kong to San Francisco


Bangkok is probably the best city in the world for reasonably priced luxury hotels. The cost difference between a four and five star hotel is very small, so it’s often tempting to go with the likes of the Four Seasons, Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, etc.

But I do love loyalty programs, so have stayed almost exclusively at Starwood hotels in Bangkok. Two visits ago I stayed at Le Meridien Bangkok, which was a beautiful hotel and a phenomenal value. During my last visit I stayed at the St. Regis Bangkok, which I think is one of my favorite Starwood hotels in the world. The problem with many “true” five star hotels in Bangkok is that they’re several decades old and don’t feel especially modern, so the St. Regis mixes great service and modern amenities.

However, this time we were staying for two nights over the weekend with an early morning arrival, so the choice was a no brainer — it would be the InterContinental for a couple of a reasons. First of all, I had a buy one get one free weekend night certificate to redeem, which worked perfectly for this stay. But another reason was that as a Royal Ambassador with InterContinental you’re entitled to guaranteed 8AM check-in, which would be very useful for such an early arrival.

I ended up booking a club room for roughly $250USD (with the second night free), and was upgraded to an executive suite.

We took a taxi to the InterContinental and arrived at around 8AM. The hotel is located in the Ratchaprasong district, along with many other luxury hotels. The drive from the airport took about 30 minutes and cost less than $10USD.


Hotel exterior


Hotel exterior

The lobby of the hotel is impressive with super-high ceilings and plenty of space. We were greeted immediately at the check-in desk, though upon seeing that I was a Royal Ambassador, we were directed to the 37th floor club lounge for check-in formalities. Almost all hotels do that, and I still can’t decide whether it’s something I love or hate. On one hand it’s nice to have a more “personalized” experience in the lounge, though it’s extremely inefficient when you’re already standing at the check-in counter.


Lobby


Lobby

Once in the club lounge we were greeted by a lovely Bavarian lady named Julia. She processed our check-in quickly and offered us a welcome drink.


Welcome drink

Within a few minutes we were escorted to our executive suite on the 34th floor, which was huge.


Hallway

The suite featured a living room with a couch and a couple of chairs, along with a desk.


Living room


Living room


TV


Desk

On the table was the welcome gift consisting of a bottle of wine and an elephant toy.


Royal Ambassador welcome amenity

The living room featured a view of the Bangkok skyline.


View from the room

By the door was both the minibar and half bath. The minibar featured plenty of juice, water, and beer, though no booze.


Minibar

The half bath was spacious.


Half bath

The living room connected to the bedroom via sliding doors. The bedroom boasted a king size bed, chair near the window, and vanity mirror with seat.


Bedroom


Bedroom


Bedroom


Chair


Vanity mirror/TV

The bedroom connected to the bathroom via a small hallway.


Hallway to bathroom

The bathroom featured a tub, walk-in shower, double sinks, and toilet.


Sink


Tub


Toilet and shower

On the whole the room was modern, spacious, and felt “fresh.”

Another highlight of the hotel was the club lounge, which is a huge facility on the 37th floor. Physically it’s a beautiful space with plenty of seating and great views.


Club lounge


Club lounge

They had three main servings a day. The first was breakfast, which was served daily from 6AM till 10:30AM (I love what a big window that is). The spread was extensive, and featured all the continental options you could possibly want, plus you could order off a menu, as follows:


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread

I also loved the Thai iced tea with breakfast every morning.


Thai iced tea

The club lounge also served afternoon tea from 2:30PM to 5PM, which was a fairly nice spread. It consisted of finger sandwiches, cakes, scones, muffins, etc.


Afternoon tea


Afternoon tea


Afternoon tea

The evening spread was available from 5:30PM till 8PM, and was definitely one of the larger spreads I’ve seen anywhere. It had a variety of cold options and also four or five hot dishes that were frequently refilled. There were also waiters roaming around clearing plates and offering anything you could want to drink.


Evening spread


Evening spread


Evening spread


Evening spread

As far as the hotel’s other facilities go, there was a massive (though oddly furnished) gym with great views of the city.


Gym


Gym


Gym

There was also an outdoor pool on the 37th floor, which seemed to offer a bit more style than substance.


Pool

The one slight scare I had during my stay was when an earthquake in Myanmar was felt at the top of the InterContinental during breakfast one morning, which freaked me the heck out. You can read more about that here.

On the whole the service at this hotel was very good. The club lounge staff — especially Julia — were exceptional, and the rest of the employees were generally helpful too. I was a bit surprised that quite a few of the employees in the lobby, including the concierge, didn’t speak English. I had asked him about a place to buy bubble tea, and he looked at me like I was from a different planet. He asked me to write it down on a piece of paper, which I did. He then Googled it and proceeded to tell me there were none in Bangkok. I went back to the club lounge to ask Julia, and she could recommend one just a few feet from the hotel right off the top of her head.

Anyway, on the whole this is quite a good hotel. As a Royal Ambassador this hotel is a phenomenal value, especially given how nice the club lounge is (and Julia, who staffs it). That being said, if I didn’t have status I probably wouldn’t stay here. I still really love the St. Regis, so while I’d definitely consider staying here again, it isn’t a “no brainer.”

Comments

  1. John says

    Ben- Do you usually tip in these hotel club lounges? I usually only tip when they serve me food with a waiter (as opposed to a selfservice buffet in the lounge).

  2. says

    Sorry, read too quickly. Thai Iced tea is bomb, but I prefer milk tea. The best drink ever is definitely the Mango Juice at Paris Vendome Hyatt. Free for diamonds, but if not Diamond then it would cost 14 Euros a glass!

  3. Diana says

    Maybe I’m seeing things, but that looks like a window between the tub and the bedroom. Is that awkward when you’re traveling with a friend? Or is there some sort of agreement that one stays out of the bedroom while the other is using the tub/shower?
    And I have to admit that I was surprised to read that you like bubble tea. If you’re looking for some in the area, there’s a place near you. Everything’s made fresh, no powders. https://www.facebook.com/drivethruboba

  4. choi says

    two questions, how do you attain the high status with ITC and second, how did you get the buy one get one free coupon ?

  5. lucky says

    @ John — I never feel pressured to (aside from the Westin Diplomat, but that’s a different story), though sometimes do. In this case I don’t think I did.

    @ caveman — You get one of those certificates for being an Ambassador member.

    @ romsdeals — Sorry, for booze meant liquor.

    @ Diana — There’s a privacy screen that can go down for complete privacy. Hate when they have those glass arrangements as well. Thanks for the heads up on the tea, I’ll check it out!

  6. lucky says

    @ choi — The certificate comes with Ambassador status (which can be purchased for $200). I got Royal Ambassador status through a referral from another Royal Ambassador member, as each member can nominate one person for that status.

  7. David says

    I think this is a good property for first time visitors to Bangkok, decent access to shopping and cheap eats, public transportation, and reasonably priced massage places (hotel spas can be 3-4X). Also, the IC is connected to a Holiday Inn.

  8. lucky says

    @ David — Speaking of which, found this spa to be way overpriced. It was $100USD+ for an hour long massage. I’ve found most hotels in Bangkok to charge in the $50-60USD range, which seems more reasonable.

    So just got $8/hour massages in the shopping mall across the street instead.

  9. David m says

    I stayed at the intercontinental Bangkok for 5 nights a few years ago . It was a point break hotel at the time so each night was only 5,0000 points instead of 30,000! We were only planning on staying 2 nights but at that “price” we decided to stay longer. The room rate during our visit was over$200 a night- so this was a great use of our points.

    My wife and I travel with backpacks – however we were still treated wonderfully!

  10. Lanny says

    My Wife and I stayed two nights at the IC Bangkok in May and wow! What a place. I contacted the front desk manager ahead of time and let him know I was a longtime fan of IC hotels and he upgraded us to the club level (no suite upgrade but we were happy with what we were given). As Lucky mentions, the lounge is the highlight of this property. The service is incredible. Most of the female servers are downright beautiful. I believe I remember the Julia he mentioned. She was always talking with other patrons… never said a whole lot to us… but I was impressed with the food and the service for SURE. Anytime I get a chance to get back to Bangkok… my allegiance is there. The ONLY downside was the night we went to the rooftop pool… the agent didn’t bring us any towls or waters, just sat there texting on his phone the whole time… but to me… if thats the worst that happened… no that big of a deal. Thanks for the review Ben.

  11. Jonnie says

    I have never heard of “bubble” tea either so I’m not at all surprised a Thai would never have heard if it.

    I have been enjoying your trip report immensly, but this report on the IC in Bangkok is off the mark. It’s funny how you initially say how you don’t like some of the truly 5- star hotels because of their age and maybe dated style and appearance and yet you stay in one of them and go on to give it high praise. I guess you wouldn’t know, but having lived for almost two decades in Thailand, I can tell you that the I C, and the predecessors at its location, have been around for decades too. Just one look at the decor, especially the rugs and floor surfaces, gives its age away. I mean, those white and grey marble looking bathroom wall/floor tiles are like so 1980s. And don’t even get me started on the furniture.

    However, your plane flight reports are spot-on, even if I don’t like the food on planes, even in the front of the bus, as it’s all slop!

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