Business in Bangkok has largely returned to normal – with passengers arrival up 6 percent year-on-year in December. Meanwhile, hotel occupancy at press time, has reached 60 percent, almost a year after a protracted demonstration by the Red Shirts lasting three months. In a bid to lure back travellers, a number of hotels around the bustling commercial area of Ratchaprasong Junction have been sprucing up their facilities. Below are five newly renovated hotels in the area:
It is undergoing an extensive renovation as part of a global initiative to refresh the Holiday Inn brand image, including the introduction of a stylish new logo in its signature green colour scheme.
What was renovated: The hotel’s façade was repainted and the entire lobby was transformed to make it more stylish and trendy. All 379 rooms were fitted with powerful showerheads and new LCD TVs. Additionally, housekeeping now offers guests the option to choose between soft or hard pillows.
What’s to come: The hotel is to replace the guestroom carpet.
For more information, visit www.holidayinn.com
Directly opposite the Erawan Shrine, where majority of the protests occured, the hotel was completely shut down at the peak of the conflict. But now after a top-down refurbishment project, business is coming back.
What was renovated: Everything was refurbished from the lobby to the guestrooms and the swimming pool. Some of the most important changes include changing the entire colour scheme from green to a sleeker brown and gold. Rooms are now equipped with iPod docks and LED TV sets.
Meeting spaces were also enhanced to feature advanced technology, such as video streaming of events into guestrooms and lights that come in a million different colours. Finally, the hotel introduced Bangkok’s first cigar bar – Humidor – and the Grossi Trattoria restaurant.
What’s to come The hotel now aims to make significant pushes into the medical tourism industry. It will introduce more handicap-friendly facilities throughout the building such as wheelchair lifts. Currently, guests can utilise the 24-hour roster of doctors and nurses on call or book appointments at the best hospitals through the concierge.
For more information, visit www.intercontinental.com
This 14-year-old flagship property decided to refurbish its facilities in 2008 to keep up with the times. Renovations were complete in 2009 and the upgraded facilities now include greater technology and a more contemporary appearance.
What was renovated: All of the hotel’s 441 guestrooms are now equipped with new technology, including a "Remote Jack Pack" plug-in panel enabling guests to connect their portables to the TV. In terms of appearance, the 294 deluxe rooms now feature a more sophisticated look with dark woods and glass interiors, although some rooms have retained their original authentic Thai flavour. The renovated rooms are located on the eigth to 15th floors. The Executive Lounge was also renovated and now exudes a more modern feel with its dark panelling and floor-to-ceiling windows.
What’s to come: The hotel is set to upgrade its food and beverage outlets. The White Elephant Thai restaurant will soon close down to make way for a sister brand of the world famous Michelin-starred New York Steak House. The alfresco area of the Bangkok Baking Company will be expanded to create more seating.
For more information, visit www.marriott.com/hotels
NOVOTEL BANGKOK ON SIAM SQUARE
Located on the doorstep of Central World mall, this 22-year-old Novotel is a natural favourite of shoppers. Renovation is ongoing, which is now centred in enhancing the guestrooms.
What has been renovated: This property began retrofitting its rooms in April last year to feature Novotel’s new-generation rooms and so far, guestrooms on the first three floors have been completed. The new product is designed to feel spacious with the smart use of technology and glass.
Working spaces are made more "flexible" with universal adapters in crucial locations. Rooms also feature a Media Panel allowing guests to hook up their gadgets to the TV, floor-to-ceiling windows, and bathrooms separated with glass partitions for greater transparency and space. The Novotel Fenix Ploenchit, which opened its doors earlier this month, and the Novotel Bangkok Impact, due to open in April this year, also feature these new-generation guestrooms.
What’s to come: Eventually, all the guestrooms will be retrofitted with the new designs, and then, improvements will be made in the lobby and function rooms.
For more information, visit www.novotelbkk.com
PLAZA ATHÉNÉE BANGKOK, A ROYAL MÉRIDIEN HOTEL
Renowned for its meeting facilities, it was only logical for the hotel to invest in enhancing and expanding them. Renovation involved building a connection with the nearby office complex – Athénée Tower – for extra space and easy access for corporate customers.
What was renovated: With the extension into the neighbouring tower, the hotel was able to build an entire extra floor with a new 1,060sqm Athenee Crystal Hall ballroom. Smaller meeting rooms – London Rooms, China Rooms and the Japan Room – are also newly built with the largest measuring up to 125sqm. The hotel now boasts a total of 5,000sqm meeting space.
Furthermore, the hotel introduced a new spa concept in January this year, which combines French and Thai massage techniques tailored to guests’ blood types. Each guest will receive a blood group consultation and the therapy will use oils and creams that compliment their blood type.
What’s to come: The hotel management believes the enhancements just reported are sufficient to create guest satistifaction – for the moment.
For more information, visit www.lemeridien.com/plazaatheneebangkok