Asia, Hotels and resorts

With thousands of hotels to choose from, Bangkok is a major hub for tourism and overseas business in South East Asia. With a residential population of 10 million, Bangkok has over 12 million tourists visit each year, all looking for some where to stay, to business, hold conferences and even get married. On our recent visit to Bangkok we were invited to stay at one of the Amari hotels, part of the Onyx Hospitality group.

Amari Watergate

Located in the Pratunam neighbourhood in Petchburi, The Amari Watergate is surrounded by local bazaars and shopping malls making the area a busy and vibrant place to be. With a driveway leading up to the raised ground floor, there’s a steady stream of taxis dropping off new guests and delegates for the hotel rooms and events that happen here every day. The large lobby area is a world away from the noisy streets outside, with comfy seats, plenty of porters and staff to help you check in and often a quartet or duet playing acoustic music while you acclimatise. It feels like a great way to calm the thousands that pass through the area while keeping everything organised and moving.

The room

Our room was on the 31st floor so you know the views are going to be good. It’s also 1 of 3 executive floors that comes with access to the executive lounge and services. Room 3118 did indeed have a great view facing out towards the shopping malls and skyscrapers of downtown Bangkok. A large desk is the first thing you see when entering, with free wifi in the room, it’s got ample workspace with a view! Two comfortable single beds pushed together made our large double bed for the evening. That’s fairly standard practice for a hotel executive floor geared towards business clients. The styling of the room is modern and contemporary with enough detail and features to make you feel comfortable and homely. The bathroom has a separate bath and shower which is a great setup although, as with 90% of all hotels I’ve ever stayed in, the shower head is fixed to the wall at a low position, not much good for me who is 6’4″ tall (1.93 metres) who has to bend over to get my head under it. The double wash basins were a nice feature with lots of room to get refreshed and ready for your day. The bathroom door was slatted which I’m not sure what for, I would have preferred a normal, more private door, but that’s personal preference.

The executive lounge

Having a room on the executive floor gives you access and privilages at the executive lounge where you’ll find free breakfast, free tea and coffee all day, free drinks and very tasty snacks during happy hour at 5pm – 7pm. With fantastic panoramic views of the city and great service, this area really is a haven worth repeatedly visiting during any stay. We really enjoyed coming here to relax rather than relaxing in our room. It’s a great atmosphere where businessmen can meet, tourists can sit and read the a newspaper and enjoy the view. The service here is great and very personal, it serves as check-in and check-out for those on the executive floor too and the staff were very helpful and responsive. It’s almost as if we had our own hotel within the hotel.

Traditional Thai food in Thai on 4

With 569 guest rooms there’s a lot of mouths to feed in this hotel, thankfully there’s a variety of options when it comes to dining. Heichinrou serves Dim Sum and Imperial Chinese Cuisines. Cascade Cafe by the lobby and Henry J Bean’s bar and grill serve a more western menu and for some real authentic Thai food you head to the 4th floor for the aptly named “Thai on 4“. It’s a bright, well styled restaurant that serves a wide variety of thai dishes and local specialities. We opted for the chef’s special of “Deep fried soft shell crap in lemon sauce”, some very tasty Japanese mushrooms and Khao Soi, a tasty dish with northern style egg noodles. The food was delicious and the service was very attentive, refilling our wine glasses with a nice Australian Shiraz poured from an ornate metal wine cradle. It was a very pleasant evening in great surroundings and thankfully there was also a good atmosphere in there with a number of guests eating around us. I often find hotel restaurants lack in atmosphere with too few people in them (or far too many) but the balance here is just right.

The Breeze Spa

No 5 star hotel these days would be complete without it’s own Spa. It seems once hotels and spas would considered different entities, these days it’s hard to imagine not having at least one massage during your stay, especially after a busy day’s sight seeing, shopping or at a conference. So we headed to the Breeze Spa on the 8th floor, walking past the very inviting pool to a relaxing and beautifully styled spa reception. Most spas are styled with dimly lit rooms and soft wooden surroundings. It’s was great to visit a spa with bright spacious rooms and stone tiles. More refreshing than sedating which made a nice change. Opting for a head massage and facial cleansing it was a great treatment that helps clear your head as much as your pores. 90 minutes can fly by when you’re relaxed and pampered. The ginger tea served while you put your shoes back on and return to the real world was very welcome.

Entertainment

With limited time in Bangkok we hopped in a metered taxi from the hotel and spent the day looking around the Grand Palace. Built in the 18th century, it’s an amazing set of colourful and highly artistic buildings shimmering with gold and green at every turn. It’s a popular place for tourists so expect crowds but the complex is fairly large and extremely photogenic.  After lunch we headed to the shopping malls of Bangkok for some retail therapy. Siam Center, MBK and the Paragon are all within easy walking distance of the Amari Watergate Hotel and with the traffic problems in Bangkok we were glad we walked. In the evening a pint down at Henry J Bean’s in the Lower Lobby was a fun place to hang out with live bands who delighted in dragging people on to the dance-floor, a popular place it seems for both tourists and conference delegates who like a beer after a tough day.

We had a great couple of days at the Amari Watergate. This amazing Bangkok hotel has everything you need and runs very efficiently. The service especially was worth noting, quick to respond to any questions or concerns. We had a small mishap with an iron that nearly ruined an item of clothing, the staff were very helpful in sorting it out, even apologising with an impressive box of Amari branded chocolates. Their laundry service was quick, reasonably priced and there’s even a free shoe shining service. The turn-down service is a treat at any hotel but they surpassed themselves at the Amari. With so many people to keep happy on a daily basis, it’s impressive to see the hotel is well organised and still able to give a personal service guests.

More information

With thanks to the General Manager Pierre Andre Pelletier and his staff at the Amari Watergate Hotel in Bangkok.