When visiting Bangkok, choosing a hotel to minimise involvement with the city’s traffic can be a good idea – and if sightseeing and shopping are the main objectives, then the 5-star Pathumwan Princess Hotel above the MBK shopping centre should be on a sortlist of options, reports ITTN’s Neil Steedman.
The hotel is either a short walk (or taxi ride) from the Airport Rail Link’s city centre terminus or a 45-minute, 400 Baht (approximately €10.00) taxi ride direct from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Bangkok’s top visitor attraction, the Grand Palace (where the late His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej currently lies in rest) and the Chao Phraya River are just 5km away.
There are direct links from the hotel’s ground and second floor levels into the MBK centre, through which a four-minute walk brings you to the National Stadium terminus of the BTS Skytrain, and, a little further on, to the famous Jim Thomson House. One BTS stop, or short walk along the covered SkyWalk, brings you to Siam Discovery, Siam Square and the Siam Centre, and onward to Central World Plaza, Big C, and the Erawan Shrine – all without joining the Bangkok traffic.
Rooms and Suites
The Pathumwan Princess offers 455 ‘modern Thai style’ guestrooms and suites, all with expansive views of Bangkok’s skyline and including 314 Superior rooms (34 sq m), 59 Deluxe rooms (42 sq m) and five types of suite accommodation ranging from 60 sq m up to the Deluxe Garden Suite at 86 sq m.
Check-in and check-out desks are up an escalator at second floor level. Check-in was friendly and efficient, accompanied by a (very!) hot towel and a cooling lemongrass drink for a Thai-flavoured welcome. The receptionist then escorted me to the room, where my bag was (eventually) delivered.
My pleasantly furnished 20th floor Superior room, which is currently 3,040++ Baht (€80.00) per night (+10% service charge, + Government Tax) on the hotel website, www.pprincess.com, included free wi-fi and (most welcome!) international plugs at the work desk. An illustrated ‘box guide’ to exotic Thai fruits is handy for first-time visitors to Thailand, but the guest room guide to services could do with an upgrade – for example, it still says that a departure tax is payable at the airport, but this has been included in air fares for a long time now.
Restaurants and Bars
There is a wide choice of 10 restaurants and bars. The ground floor provides the [email protected] bakery, Citi Bistro and Studio bar, while the second floor offers the Kongju Korean and Tatsumi Japanese restaurants as well as Ping’s Thai Teochew seafood and Ping’s Hotpot restaurants. Move up to the eighth floor for the Loop Italian restaurant, which includes the Pisa private dining room, and the Vista bar terrace. (The latter overlooks a 25-metre outdoor salt-water swimming pool, part of Bangkok’s largest fitness centre, the 9,000 sq m Olympic Club.)
I dined in Ping’s Thai Teochew seafood restaurant and had breakfast in the Loop, both of which were good, although the breakfast buffet, while sufficient, is not as extensive as in some other hotels.
Also on the eighth floor is the DeSheli Spa, where masseuse Ni provided an excellent 90-minute Essential Oil Sabai Sabai Body Thai Massage. This normally costs 2,700++ Baht (about €70), but a 60-minute foot massage is only 900++ Baht (€24) – and you can book either for before 12.00 noon to avail of a 40% discount.
The spa also specialises in anti-aging beauty treatments (which I didn’t try).
For business visitors, there is a business centre, corporate club lounge and butler service, as well as function and meeting rooms.
Bangkok is a great city to visit, but it can be hot and the traffic is always busy. However, checking into the ‘peaceful oasis’ of the Pathumwan Princess Hotel should help make anyone’s stay an enjoyable one.