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Saturday, March 15, 2014

[Hotel Review] The Sukuthai Hotel Bangkok

Often regarded as one of the Thai capital’s quintessential hotels, The Sukhothai Hotel Bangkok has been charming guests for over two decades with its unique intepretation of Thai design that is at once contemporary and at the same time reminiscent of ancient Siamese capitals such as its namesake, the ancient ruins of Sukhothai in Northern Thailand.

 I had the chance to experience the impeccable offerings of The Sukhothai Hotel during a short jaunt in Bangkok. Anyone who has been to this tourist mecca knows that the city has a very competitive hotel scene, with several excellent and impressive hotels at every price point. For a hotel to continually be recognized as one of the best in the city for over two decades,  it practically needs to go the extra mile and during my stay there, I did come up with a few points that perhaps explains the hotel’s accolades.

 One important point about The Sukhothai Bangkok which separates it from most hotels in this bustling city is that it is at once located very conveniently in the central business district, just off Sathorn Road yet the property is filled with lots of open spaces to create a semi-resort feel. The hotel is low-rise which further adds to that out-of-town appeal.

the executive suite in its 76 sqm glory
I checked in to the hotel after making my way back to Bangkok from Nakhon Ratchasima. The procedure was quick; the reception staff gave me a puang malai (garland made of jasmine) to welcome me to the hotel and then escorted me to my room. I was politely told that I got upgraded to an Executive Suite which further set me up for anticipation as we made our way to the room.
 The Sukhothai Bangkok’s Executive Suite is a tasteful extension of the Thai accents found all over the hotel. At 76 square meters, my room was very spacious with enough capacity for a full living area, work desk and a hallway by the entrance. The hotel has stayed true to its original design since it opened in 1991 yet the overall look remains timeless. I could see replicas of ancient carvings reminiscent of the ones I see in ancient temple ruins around Thailand, and these made for a nice touch especially for a visitor like me.

An LCD TV was placed in between the bed and the living area which could be swiveled in either direction. This is coupled by a Bose sound system and iPod player, a perfect amenity for audiophiles.

Situated just by the working desk, the minibar was well-stocked, with a coffee machine and a copious amount of bottled water that’s just perfect for a day out in steaming Bangkok.

Magnificent bathroom

Another highlight of this property would definitely have to be the bathroom cum walk-in closet, which is already as big as a regular hotel room. What makes the bathrooms here special is that it has a teakwood flooring. That, coupled with glass walls on all sides, made me feel like I was not in a bathroom at all.

To be frank, the bathroom seemed lavish enough to actually sleep in! I would have to say that the rest rooms here are the most spectacular I’ve seen among the hotels I’ve stayed in so far.

 turn down service at sukhothai bangkok
I went out for a long day in Bangkok and returned later that night to find turndown service having been done in my room. A small stuffed elephant was placed by my bed as a souvenir while a newspaper menu for the next day was also waiting for me. I was most impressed with the hotel’s comprehensive – and exotic – pillow menu with a selection that ranges from knightsbridge memory foam to lavender herbal pillows. I practically didn’t know what to choose!

Breakfast at Colonnade in The Sukhothai Bangkok

My stay came with breakfast which was served in Colonnade, the hotel’s international dining restaurant. The hotel is pretty well known for its breakfast buffet, which is said to be one of the best in Bangkok. The selection here is not about having too much variety with terribly long buffet stations. Instead, the hotel keeps it fresh and realistic, with several cooking stations which I heavily recommend. Top of my list was definitely their made-to-order pancakes which are just about the best I’ve ever had. Soft and fluffy with an aromatic buttermilk flavor, I was enamored even from the first bite!
breakfast selection at colonnade
For healthier alternatives, the breakfast selection in Colonnade puts great emphasis on wholesome food, including fresh juices, at least three types of porridge and oats, a salad station as well as a honeycomb. Those looking for heavier dishes will be pleased by the Thai selection consisting of curries and stir-friend meat and the dimsum station with at least 4 types of dumplings.

Facilities

The hotel has practically everything you can expect from a resort-hotel; a humongous lap pool, a spa, well-manicured gardens, alfresco dining and several restaurants. I specifically tried their award-winning Thai restaurant, Celadon (which I will talk about more in another entry).

It was in fact so tempting to just stay in the hotel all day I felt a bit guilty every morning when I had to leave for the day!

stupas as part of the hotel decor, mimicking the actual ones in sukhothai historical park
One thing noteworthy about the property is its expansive gardens and how it manages to keep everything low-rise. There are only 210 rooms in this hotel, spread across two buildings. At any given point in time, you won’t have to find yourself jostling for space with other guests, not even during the typically busy breakfast buffet.
tranquil gardens inside the sukhothai bangkok – didn’t feel like i was in bangkok cbd at all!
A must-do during a stay in the hotel is to venture out to the gardens early in the morning to see the lotuses in the pond in full bloom. It’s quite a picturesque sight which immediately reminded me of similar lotus ponds in the ancient ruins of Sukhothai. I must say this hotel really stays true to its name!
 fitness center at sukhothai bangkok
One thing I tend to use as a benchmark when reviewing hotels is to check out its fitness center. In this regard, I was actually quite impressed with the hotel’s gym. Although it’s not particularly large, it was well-stocked with weights and machines for cardio and resistance. Given that this is a low density hotel with just 210 rooms, I didn’t expect the gym equipment to be so complete.
The swimming pool is also exceptionally large. What it lacks in terms of scenic views out into the city skyline, it more than makes up for via the extra space to enjoy a swim. I didn’t even have to compete for pool space with families while I was there, despite staying during a weekend.
the floating bar at zuk
Aside from the Thai restaurant, Celadon, which I tried during my stay there, the hotel has a couple of other famous f&b concepts including Italian restaurant La Scala, which often plays host to celebrity chefs from around the world and the lobby lounge called Salon which has one of Bangkok’s most popular chocolate buffets. I was particularly impressed by the interiors of The Zuk Bar, especially with its floating lounge that I’ve never come across anywhere before.

Verdict

The Sukhothai Hotel Bangkok describes itself as a place of sanctuary and I’m totally inclined to agree. It’s hard to believe that a place like this exists in the very dense central business district of Bangkok, offering a respite and a sharp contrast to the urban grit of the Thai capital. The timeless Sukhothai-inspired accents here are unique and serves as a refreshing variation to the typical uninspiring look of chain hotels. If you’re looking for a place to unwind and relax yet still be at the heart of the central business district, The Sukhothai Bangkok is the place to be.
The Sukhothai Hotel Bangkok
13/3 South Sathorn Road, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
+66 (0) 2344 8888

3 comments:

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