Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Millennium Hilton

20 Mar 2007 by Tom Otley

WHAT'S IT LIKE? Opened in March 2006, the 32-storey Millennium Hilton is just across the river from Bangkok's Downtown area (accessible by regular hotel shuttle boat). It is modern in style, with good meeting and conference facilities, as well as a resort-style spa. The impressive 12-storey honeycomb atrium lobby and large windows give the impression of being on the river, especially with the pools of water both inside and out (don't stare at the ceiling for too long – I nearly stepped in one of them). The interiors have been designed by Australian company BARstudio with New York-based Tony Chi (Asiate, Mandarin Oriental New York and Spoon at the Intercontinental, Hong Kong).

WHERE IS IT? On the banks of the Chao Phraya river opposite the Sheraton and a little further along from the Oriental. It is less than 10 minutes from Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain Station with a free shuttle boat running from the hotel's private pier to both that station and River City (departures every 20 minutes).

HOW MANY ROOMS? 543, comprising 299 deluxe river rooms, 90 deluxe plus river view, 76 executive river view, 32 deluxe river view suites, 44 executive river view suites, a two-bedroom river view suite and the royal suite.

ROOM FACILITIES Décor is contemporary, with only minimal touches of Thai culture – the fabric on a seat, perhaps, golden lacquer and wooden panels or curtains that have a bamboo pattern – and all have river views. They are designed in accordance with the hotel's three-zone concept – work, sleep and relax – "allowing guests to put back a little of what life takes out". All are a good size, with the deluxe rooms starting at 34 sqm and having a seating area, high-speed internet and plasma televisions, complimentary newspapers, bathrobe and flowers as standard. Executive rooms are the same size but have access to the executive floor on the 31st floor, with buffet breakfast, afternoon tea, evening drinks and complimentary soft drinks through the day. There is also complimentary laundry and pressing (two pieces per day), personalised check-in and check-out at the lounge, and business services available.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS There are several: Flow is the all-day-dining restaurant on the ground floor overlooking the river. Other options include Yuan for contemporary Cantonese, Prime steakhouse ("prime steaks, prime views, prime service etc..."), Three Sixty on the 32nd floor with 360-degree views and Zeta Bar, a new Hilton concept following on from other Hilton locations (Sydney, London, Kuala Lumpur). 

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The 30th floor has 10 meeting rooms, and with the recently-opened extension to the hotel there are in fact two full-sized ballrooms with a capacity for up to 900.

LEISURE FACILITIES Located to one side of the lobby, the two-storey spa has been built to resemble a contemporary Thai Sala, centred around a huge centuries-old Banyan tree, with 12 treatment rooms overlooking the tree, and a 20-metre infinity-edge pool overlooking the river. There's also a good-sized health club on the fourth floor, with full exercise room and a large exercise studio, where classes are held most mornings. Also on the fourth floor is the open-air infinity pool and a beach of white sand with sun loungers.

VERDICT An excellent choice, although the location can prove problematic if you are planning to rely on taxis for transport around the city. The service is world-class, as are the hotel and its facilities, and it represents real value for money, particularly for those happy to take the free river shuttle and then jump straight on to the Skytrain for getting around downtown Bangkok. The range of fitness facilities, larger rooms and location make it a good choice for longer stays, as it is slightly removed from the bustle of Bangkok, and would be suitable for a longer business trip, perhaps with partner or even with families (children up to age of 12 stay for free, have a 50 per cent discount in Flow restaurant and cots in rooms are provided free of charge). 

PRICE Fully flexible internet rates for a midweek stay in mid-April start from THB 5,085 (£76) room only.

CONTACT Millennium Hilton Bangkok, 123 Charoennakorn Road, Klongsan, Bangkok, Thailand 10600, tel +66 2 442 2000, hilton.com.

Tom Otley

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