A regular business traveller to Bangkok, this was my fourth or fifth stay at the Sukhothai in the last 18 months. Before meeting with the General Manager on the day of my departure, I thought long and hard about what needed improvement. The answer: nothing! As far as I'm concerned, the Sukhothai has established the absolute pinnacle of perfection in Bangkok hotels.
Let's start at the airport. We had arranged in advance a very reasonable airport pickup. We were met just after Customs by a uniformed Sukhothai staff member who took charge of our baggage trolleys and escorted us the 50m directly to the curbside Mercedes E320 waiting for us (ask for chauffeur "Charlie"). The car was brand-new (as is their fleet of hotel cars) and we were given iced towels scented with lemongrass and chilled bottles of mineral water. A painless 40-minute trip into town, and we arrived at the property.
The Sukhothai is a smaller, older property - a low-rise, with perhaps 6 or 7 floors only. It is definitely not a mega-hotel. This means that all the staff, from the doormen to the waitresses and managers, remember you *by name* and give you a welcome that is warm, genuine, and makes you feel like "home".
The front desk staff are highly professional, and check-in is quick and painless.
Rooms: I've stayed in everything from a "standard" to a "mini-studio" (and have had friends stay in one of their suites). Even a "standard" room with a less-than-perfect view is head-and-shoulders above anything else I've come across in Asia (and indeed in most of the rest of the world). King-sized bed, excellent mattress, top-quality bed linens... Decent sized desk with wired and wireless internet (at a typical USD 25 per day, more on that later). Fully stocked minibar. Flat screen LCD TV. Air conditioning that WORKS (important, as the heat index was +43C when we were there). Bathroom with separate toilet, large shower, and independent bath (tub) complete with rubber duckie should you want company. Excellent amenities. A mountain of huge bath towels, changed regularly during the day. The room was spotlessly clean. Room doors have electronic keys, deadbolts, chains and peepholes.
Laundry and dry cleaning was fast and efficient and beautifully presented wrapped in tissue paper, delivered in a silk box.
Room service was equally fast and efficient. I didn't eat in the room on this trip (but have done so in the past). The menu is varied and well-prepared and service is fast and accurate.
Food & Beverage:
The breakfast (buffet style, with made-to-order eggs) is served in the Collonade restaurant and is expansive and caters to Western, Japanese and other Asian tastes. The quality is outstanding. Coffee is prepared to order from a real coffee machine - not served from old pots. A variety of freshly prepared fruit juices, plus a "smoothie of the day" can be whipped up for you. Budget enough time for your meal: you'll want to eat a lot, so don't rush out the door to get to your meeting too early.
Celadon: high-end Thai cuisine. The quality and service were very good, but I'd recommend walking down the street a few hunded meters and dine instead at Baan Khanitaa if you want a larger menu and the same quality. Celadon is quiet and elegant whereas Baan Khanitaa is crowded and noisy - depends on your mood.
La Scala: very high-end Tuscan Italian food. The quality was tip-top but I found the value-for-price argument weak.
Poolside Restaurant: surprising varied, tasty, inexpensive all-day menu! There's both an outside and inside (airconditioned) section.
Zuk Bar: nice for cocktails and after-dinner drinks. They've just opened an "al fresco" terrace with comfy sofas to sit on - oscillating wall fans to keep the temperature and bugs down.
Spa facilities: there is a full spa with a huge selection of different spa treatments, massages, etc. Manicure and pedicure are also available. Unfortunately, there's no hair salon in the hotel.
Other notes: During my stay, there was an Executive Programme promotion which, for THB 1,000 (USD 28) per day, gave you unlimited wired/wireless internet, 3 pieces of laundry or dry cleaning per day, plus complimentary cocktails (open menu) at the Zuk Bar from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. Considering that Internet alone is almost $20 a day, this was an easy decision to take. For some room rates, breakfast isn't included. The Exec Prog Plus adds on the fantastic breakfast buffet for just a few Baht more.
You can get an electronically distributed version of more than 800 world newspapers delivered to your room for a reasonable price. It had been quite a few months since I had seen the LA Times and that was a treat for me!
Security is fine at the hotel (and fine in Bangkok in general). No unsavoury characters in the hotel nor loitering around the grounds. Metered taxis are available through the doorman with a typical wait of about 90 seconds.
The concierges are extremely knowledgeable and are able to secure reservations instantly, even at high-draw locations (e.g. Vertigo at the Banyan Tree).
The General Manager is accessible to all guests and has some marvelous stories to tell about the hotel business in the region (he is an old Asia hand of many, many years).
Finally: this is a 5-star hotel competing with the likes of the Oriental. As such, it's not really targetted to families with small children. There is a lovely swimming pool, but there aren't other kids' facilities, kids' menus, etc. Thai people LOVE children so there is no problem in that respect, but if you are travelling with a younger family, you may be happier in a mega-hotel that has specific activities catering to young ones.
None of these above notes do the property justice. Each time I come back to The Sukhothai, I see familiar faces from the moment I step in. All the staff are really happy to see me and welcome me back as a valued guest and friend.
Summary: this is a real jewel of a hotel - quiet, off the main road, peaceful, elegant, warmly accommodating. I am counting the days until I can come back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- COLONNADE, all-day dining restaurant features live cooking stations, Carving Trolley and a wide selection of Western and Asian favorites. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Sukhothai Bangkok Hotel Bangkok
- Sukhothai Hotel Bangkok
- Bangkok Sukhothai Hotel