A classy spot in Bangkok
ERIC SCOTT November 27, 2012
THE Royal Orchid Sheraton in Bangkok is a classy hotel. It sits on the Chao Phraya River and all rooms have river views like ours up on the 23rd floor and. We could look across the river and enjoy the view of the multi-period and multi-style architecture on the other side.
The hotel was refurbished a couple of years ago and the lobby itself is a work of art with stylish designs and luxurious furniture. While my wife and I were there was a wonderful exhibition of rocks with natural sculptures embedded I them. It was fascinating.
Our room was typical Sheraton, spacious without being too roomy and of course the wonderful Sleepmaker king bed and huge TV screen. There was internet connection for a fee, but in the Link area downstairs free wifi was available and easy to access.
We were in Bangkok for a couple of nights on the way home from Koh Samui and chose the hotel because of its riverside situation and its five-star reputation, which was well earned.
Looking down from the room windows I could see the hotel pool. It was a rectangular affair, a lap pool basically, and it did not look enticing. However, in the lift I saw the note: “Pools”. That was plural so we set off the check them out and discovered that the lap pool was just that and the Garden Pool is absolute heaven.
It is a huge free-form pool with plenty of shade and pool beds and not crowded. There is a pool bar tended by a good natured, always smiling Thai local who found time to handfeed grey squirrels that inhabited the palm trees and a flock of pigeons joined the bathers at the pool edge, while at one time a huge lizard swam lazily across the width of the pool.
Behind the pool is a cool, treed garden. Apparently the pool and the garden belong to the Portuguese Embassy which did a deal for its use by the hotel.
We spent many happy hours swimming, sipping, and resting between trips out into the city.
We ate breakfast each day in Etc on the River. A bright and airy room on three levels that all looked out over the river. Breakfast was a busy time, but there was never an empty bowl on the huge buffet tables with the international food choices. Whatever you fancied, it was there.
We ate dinner one night in Giorgios Italian restaurant which proved to be a special night with perfectly cooked food, attentive service and a reasonable price for a five star hotel restaurant.
There are two sections – indoor with air conditioning or al fresco by the riverside, but if you want to avoid smokers, you have to stay inside.
Another great feature of the hotel is the cross-river ferry, which is as plush as the hotel itself with its padded velvet seats and ornately polished wooden superstructure. The ferry runs every ten minutes to and from the hotel to the Skytrain station. This complimentary service is available Monday to Friday from 7 am – 10 pm and Saturday, Sunday and public holidays between 10 am – 10 pm.
We found this to be a great boon in our travels, particularly in trips to the amazing indoor, air conditioned bazaar called MBK with its acres of shops and stalls. It beat being hassled by taxi and tuk-tuk drivers who all want to take you anywhere but the destination you ask.
I didn’t get the chance to check out the Club Lounge so I can’t report on it.
At the end of our short stay our plane did not leave until midnight, but the hotel kindly gave us a 2 pm late checkout, which gave us the chance to wander around the city a little more and finally to spend our last hours in the cool of the evening by the pool..
We waited in the beautiful Lobby Bar listening to a cool jazz band until the hotel arranged limousine was ready to take us to the airport. The Lobby Bar featured live music each night and luckily for us the not very good group of Beatles imitators were playing the night before and we could escape to the calm of our room.
We came away from Bangkok with happy memories of a close to perfect stay even the clouds and rain cleared for our stay.