A Royal (dis)HHonor: Le Meridien Bangkok

Introduction
Aloft San Francisco Airport
Cathay Pacific Lounge San Francisco
Cathay Pacific First Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific First Class Hong Kong to Singapore
St. Regis Singapore
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge Singapore
SilkAir Business Class Singapore to Koh Samui
Conrad Koh Samui
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Koh Samui to Bangkok
Le Meridien Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Lounge Bangkok
Royal Jordanian Business Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific “The Wing” First Class Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific First Class Hong Kong to San Francisco


Bangkok is one of my favorite cities in the world as far as luxury hotels go. I can’t think of any other city with as many reasonably priced five star hotels as Bangkok. So while I would have loved to sample another great luxury hotel in Bangkok, the purpose of this stay was a bit different. We were in Bangkok for just a night, and when it comes to not-so-classy nightlife the location of the Le Meridien is tough to beat, as it’s close to Patpong Night Market.

I’ll keep this review pretty short, as I’ve stayed at the Le Meridien before, and wrote an extensive review of my stay here, so check that out for full details of the hotel. Instead I’ll just focus on what was different this stay.

We had booked the Le Meridien the day of our arrival and it cost a bit over $100USD for the night, a rate at which it didn’t make sense to use points. The website wasn’t showing any suites available, so we had no expectations of a suite upgrade.

Check-in was efficient and we were informed that we had been upgraded. I wasn’t expecting any sort of an upgrade, so I was impressed. We were assigned room 2218, which was a “circular” room on the 22nd floor.

The room was just under 400 square feet and featured a king size circular bed, a couch with seating for three, a desk, and a flat screen TV.


Circular room


Circular room


Circular bed


Desk


Couch

The bathroom was quite nice with a soaking tub and walk-in shower.


Soaking tub


Shower


Toilet


Sink

All the toiletries were Le Meridien branded.


Le Meridien toiletries

On the whole the room was fairly nice. That being said, as I wrote about here, circular beds drive me bonkers. What’s shocking is that the Le Meridien charges a nearly 70% premium for identical rooms, the only difference being that you have the privilege of sleeping on a round bed in one.

Truly puzzling to me, and in the future I’d request not to be upgraded.

I’ll keep this short and share just a few other random thoughts about this hotel. First of all, it has one of the most impressive breakfast buffets I’ve seen anywhere in the world, and fortunately that hasn’t changed since my last stay. The spread is huge, and the quality of the food is quite good as well. It hands down beats the spread at the St. Regis Bangkok (my favorite hotel in Bangkok) in terms of both quality and quantity. The only hotel I’ve stayed at that may have a better breakfast spread is the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Abu Dhabi.

Next, the Le Meridien has the most reasonably priced hotel massages that I’ve ever seen. Hour-long massages at this hotel go for about $30USD. I know you can do much better than that on the streets, but as far as hotels go, that’s the cheapest I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately they sell out in advance, and I wasn’t able to get an appointment booking the night before, unfortunately.

Lastly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many “for rent” people at a hotel as in the elevators at the Le Meridien. My gosh, makes me pretty grossed out to be sleeping in the beds (after all, what you don’t know can’t hurt you).

Anyway the Le Meridien isn’t the most luxurious hotel in Bangkok, though it’s a great value and they generally take very good care of Starwood Platinum members. I still prefer the St. Regis Bangkok, though it’s substantially more expensive. For a one night stopover I still love the Le Meridien, and would return in a heartbeat.

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Comments

  1. No buffet pictures? Why do I feel cheated?
    šŸ˜‰ The anticipation builds for the next-up “segment from hell”. Have one of those welcome aboard vodkas Lucky, to quell the pain of re-living.

  2. You should be REALLY grossed out since I’m sure the round beds are the favorite of the “for rent” crowd.

  3. I’ve always wondered a bit about the round bed rooms and how they differed from the regular king rooms. And now I know. And I an just as baffled as you are about how they can charge such a premium for the exact same room just with a smaller bed.

  4. How was the view of the circular room? I’d imagine the view from the 22nd floor is better than the 12th floor?

  5. @ Joey — Generally the area around Patpong isn’t especially “pristine” as far as views go. While the view is better higher up, the views don’t compare to what you’d get on the river or at the St. Regis, for example.

  6. Can you be more specific about “for rent” offers in elevators. That’s an unusual place to be solicited, no? Do they just ride the elevator up and down or to they seek you out and follow you — I think it is worth it for you to be more clear so that people can have their antenna’s up.

  7. @ Michael — To be clear they weren’t “offering” anything in the elevator, but were already “hired.” Just very clear what was going on.

  8. Do you recommend this over StR for an overnight connection? Probably going to book 3 rooms, 3-4 ppl per room.

  9. @ Eric — I mean the hotels are kind of in different leagues. The St. Regis is a true luxury hotel and stunning, while this is a nice four star hotel. If price isn’t a huge issue I think the St. Regis is a no brainer. Also consider a property that belongs to Virtuoso or American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, as you’ll get free breakfast, late check-out, a room upgrade, and an added amenity like free dinner or a $100 food & beverage credit, which is especially valuable on a one night stay.

  10. Have you ever booked one room from SPG and a 2nd room thru FHR on the same stay? I know plat benefits extended to 2nd rooms are ymmv.. is that the case with multiple rooms under FHR?

    As always, thanks for your insight.

  11. @ jorge — I don’t know, didn’t ask the people in the elevator to show me what’s under the hood… :p

  12. @ Eric — Hmmm, you should have no issues with that, I think. But why not just book both through FHR? Then there definitely won’t be any issues.

  13. I too dislike round/oval beds and ‘gimic’ rooms. Otherwise, this single-night accommodation (with the excellent breakfast) seems like a bargain at (about) $US100. For a multiple night stay, I too would probably look elsewhere. I also agree with your choice to not blow points on such an inexpensive room, round bed or not. As for the available decorations in the elevators, come on Ben. You’re a big boy now and you’ve been to Bangkok before. Decorated lobbies and elevators are part of that city’s cultural structure and you knew that before you went. Nice post.

  14. Does that mean each room under FHR gets all the benefits if booked under one person? I get a rate about $40 cheaper than FHR at StR, but I guess it’s a bit trivial to overthink this. Anyways, great trip report thus far!

  15. Lucky,
    My wife and I are staying here in December for our first trip to BKK. The St. Regis was out of our price range, unfortunately. How is the LM’s proximity to the train? We’re likely to spend a good amount of time near the river or tourist sites – how bad’s the transit to those locations? Thanks!

  16. @ Chris — Public transit is a bit of a haul away, though taxis in Bangkok are so cheap that I really don’t think it’s much of an issue.

  17. Le Meridien Bangkok is my favorite Starwood Property. As a Platinum guest, I’ve always been upgraded to a top floor suite, and I’ve been very warmly welcomed with high quality in-room gifts from the General Manager. They run a class act. And the buffet at Latest Recipe cannot be beaten anywhere.

  18. I have personally stayed at this property and indeed in the Circular Room.

    I was able to reserve it for 5400 BHT ($180) but then used SPG BRG with a match from Expedia to get it down to about $150 in May 2011.

    I enjoyed it – despite the usual scenarios that might occur in the room.

  19. Reviving an old topic, but I recently stayed at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, and it’s one of the best Starwood properties I’ve ever stayed at in any price range. They are in the process of room remodels, and I got a new one. I was shocked at the size of the standard room. It feels very big and palatial, and the level of craftsmanship and detail I’m the trimwork, lighting, etc was superb. The rooms had a very luxurious feel, and felt as though they were built and designed to last. On top of that, the breakfast buffet was very high quality, and service throughout the hotel was top notch. It’s also one of the cleanest hotels I’ve ever stayed at both inside the room and in the common areas.

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