News

UPDATE: Bangkok hotels strive to keep things running

28 Oct 2011

The roads out of Bangkok are getting more congested as thousands swarm out of the city in anticipation of a rising tide ahead.

Residents are fleeing the Thai capital and into beach resort towns such as Hua Hin, approximately 200km to the south, and Cha-am in central Thailand.

Water has begun to seep into the Grand Palace after the Chao Phraya river overflowed during the high tide on October 27. Roads around the famous site and areas in Bangkok’s Chinatown district are already partially flooded. Authorities have asked residents to leave these areas.

According to the Thai government's public relations website, several suburbs and areas adjacent to the Chao Phraya river are experiencing flooding, and the river's express boat services have been suspended. 

The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, which is right by the river, is seeing increasingly high water levels outside the property, and is facing a mounting risk of floodwaters permeating its premises. But a spokesperson from the hotel confirmed with Business Traveller Asia-Pacific that the hotel remained dry and that the water level was closely monitored.

“Tides are high, and are expected to be at their highest over the weekend” said a representative from Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.

“We’ve had experience with floods at least twice now. We have food stocks and comprehensive contingency plans in place for our customers, and staff. The hotel teams are on full alert at all times and meet regularly to evaluate the situation which is currently under control," she said.

“For the few staff [members] whose homes are flooded, we have provided accommodation within the hotel for them,” she added.

But the flood has already caused the hotel booking cancellations and a lower-than-usual occupancy rate. Meeting groups have also postponed their bookings and events to December and early next year.

The Peninsula Bangkok, another hotel near the Chao Phraya river, has also readied its staff in the event of floodwaters reaching the property. Sian Griffiths, director of communications for The Peninsula Hotels, said as the property was built on a higher ground, it was not at immediate risk from the flood.

“There is a number of guests staying with the hotel at the moment. We are fully staffed and fully stocked. We are working with our suppliers to make sure that we will continue to get food in,” she said, adding that the hotel's executive team was meeting regularly to get updated on the situation.

Apart from hotels, airlines are also taking measures to deal with the unabated flood.

Cathay Pacific has announced that one of its five daily scheduled flights between Hong Kong and Bangkok (CX701/CX702) will be cancelled on 28 October, and October 30 to November 2 due to weaker demand for the route.

Meanwhile, low-cost carrier Nok Air has added special flights out of the Suvarnabhumi Airport from October 27 to November 10. The flights operate to nine destinations, including destinations such as Chiang Mai and Phuket.

The US has also become one of the latest countries to issue a travel warning to its citizens against visiting flood-hit areas in Thailand.

For more information and updates about the floods, visit http://thailand.prd.go.th/

Tiffany Sandrasageran

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