WHAT’S IT LIKE? Much of the public spaces such as the sprawling lobby and spacious café as well as accommodation in the Crown Tower were refurbished and launched last year, paving the way for the hotel to join the ranks of new-feel Holiday Inns throughout the world. (Tweaked logo and signages will go up on January 1, 2010.) The rooms in the adjacent Plaza Tower were enhanced five years ago and are due for another touch up shortly.
WHERE IS IT? On Silom, a long and usually clogged thoroughfare that leads to the Chao Phraya River. The nearest skytrain station is Surasak.
ROOM FACILITIES Hues of chartreuse, aubergine, vermilion, gold and powder blue were used to brighten the Crown Tower’s guestrooms. Bleached wood panelling, glass and mirrors kept the ambience light and uncomplicated. My Executive Suite consists of a sitting area – ideal for a small meeting – linked to the bedroom by a short corridor lined with a vanity table and closets. (Windows behind the dressing table supply excellent natural light to groom and blow dry one’s hair.)
The bathroom is huge with a separate shower and tub, and the sink capacious enough to wash without splashing water on one’s shirt.
As is fast becoming the norm, universal sockets are provided and located in a convenient spot on the desk. Wired and wireless internet access, which worked without a hitch, comes free of charge in the suites, but costs US$7.56 for 15 minutes and US$14.77 for 24 hours, both excluding taxes, in Superior and Premier Room categories.
Another executive privilege is the use of the 23rd-floor lounge, which provides buffet breakfast and features an outdoor terrace – an invitation to unrepentant puffers. Free Wi-Fi access is available here.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Given that Bangkok brims with dining options, the hotel has wisely chosen to only offer four very functional outlets: the all-day Brasserie with a view of the street action; Tandoor, a nod to the Indian heritage of the Harilela clan who owns this property and other Holiday Inns in Thailand, Hongkong and Singapore; and two bars, the 24-hour Orchid Lounge in the lobby and Hari’s Bar that features a live band nightly.
Specialty of the Brasserie is a buffet spread which costs US$16 per person for breakfast, US$18 per person for lunch and US$21 per person for dinner. Dinner for two at the Tandoor is between US$29 to US$44.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES Two ballrooms, named Crystal and Silom, can accommodate 700 and 850 guests respectively. Ten function rooms, measuring between 33sqm and 916sqm, are good for small and medium-sized workshops. A business centre operates from 7am to 11pm. Wi-Fi service is offered in the lobby area for a fee – users can purchase a pre-paid card good for two hours at US$24, 12 hours at US$42 and three days at US$55.
LEISURE FACILITIES A swimming pool, fitness centre including a steam and sauna, as well as tennis and badminton courts stand at the ready for those with time to use them. While the hotel lacks a spa, there’s no surfeit of spas in the neighbourhood. The concierge can recommend a couple of good ones.
VERDICT The spacious Executive Suite and its user-friendly technology contributed to a productive stay, and the bed was firm but comfortable.
HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 684 occupying the Plaza Tower and Crown Tower. The Plaza Tower consists of 340 Superior Rooms and six Plaza Suites, while the Crown Tower has 256 Premier Rooms, 60 Executive Club Rooms, 20 Suites, a Presidential Suite and a room for the physically challenged.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The refurbished Crown Tower Rooms boast extremely comfortable beds and the latest communication technology and audio-visual hardware. The multi-mirrored vanity table in my Executive Suite is a real plus.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in December started from THB1,950 (US$445) for a Standard Room.
CONTACT 981 Silom Road, Bangkok 10500, tel 66 2 238 4300, www.holidayinn.com
Margie T Logarta