Tuesday, July 26, 2016

[Bangkok, Thailand 2016] Banyan Tree Bangkok

Photo By: Elin Chow
Official Website: Banyan Tree Bangkok
Address: 21/100 South Sathon Road, Sathon, Bangkok 10120, Thailand

Located on South Sathon Road in the heart of financial district, 40 minutes from Suvarnabhumi International airport is Banyan Tree Bangkok, one of the tallest and most luxurious hotel in the city of Bangkok, with a stunning panoramic view over the city. Offering 327 rooms and suites, the hotel is minutes walk away from Embassy of Australia, Embassy of Malaysia. Embassy of Germany and Canadian Embassy with plenty of local eateries, markets and convenience stores located just across the street.

I always wanted to stay in a Banyan Tree property due to the brand's esteemed reputation, providing guests with a luxury experience, but could not afford to due to budget constraints. Staying at a Banyan Tree property is beyond a doubt, a luxury experience that usually comes with a high price tag. Thanks to a very good friend of mine. I finally get to enjoy such luxury this time. I believe if it is not because of her, I might not be able to afford to stay at a Banyan Tree property so soon.

Banyan Tree is renowned for its world class amenities, excellent customer service and impressive spa facilities. A week before our arrival, we received an email from the hotel providing an extensive pillow menu which allowed us to select up to 2 pillows from the the menu of 5 (Neck Foam Pillow, Double Curved Foam Pillow,  Medium Foam Pillow, Non Allergenic Fiber Ball Pillow, Hard Foam Pillow), free of charge. In my experience, the choice of pillows can make a big difference on my sleep quality. So the pillow menu was actually a nice added touch and by contacting us in advance to confirm any pillow choices will ensure that enough stock is held and we will get what we wanted.

The VIP treatment begins the very moment our Grabcar drove into the hotel. Before we even got out of the car, the boot has already been lifted, the luggage were out, the door was open and someone was checking whether we have left anything on the seat in the car. "Sawatdee Khrap" with palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion, smiles and slight bows, the Banyan Tree team greeted us right at the very moment we stepped out from the car. It was such small gesture that made us feel incredibly special and welcome.

Upon stepping out from the car, the Guest relations officer immediately came forward to receive us. She asked for our hands and put on the fresh smelling Thai flower garland around our wrist before leading us towards the hotel lobby for check in.

Arriving guests will be wowed by an incredibly impressive and spacious lobby that looks out on a lush tropical garden and waterfall through a large floor-to-ceiling. The lobby area is decorated in warm rich bronze and gold hues with stylish furnishings.

Further in, we were greeted by the soothing sound of a Khim, played by a beautiful Thai lady dressed in a brightly-colored silk and the calming scent of essential oil. It instantly made us felt as though we have just arrived at a spa retreat. Along our way in, well-dressed staffs welcomed our arrival, greeting us with smiles as they bowed slightly and palms pressed together.

We were seated while being checked into our room. The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable.

We specifically requested for a high floor room with a river view. Our request was noted, only to find out that Banyan Tree was kind enough to give us a complimentary room upgrade. We had our Oasis Retreat Twin Room upgraded to the Serenity Club Twin Room situated on the Level 56th floor, high up above the bustling streets of Bangkok. Staying in the Serenity Club Twin Room also allowed us to enjoy added luxury of Club Lounge benefits at the hotel. That was really a delightful surprise for us!

In addition to that, Serenity Club Twin Room offers additional children's amenities upon request and up to 2 pieces of complimentary laundry per day.

The large and spacious lobby offers plenty of comfortable seating for guests to relax, sit and spend some time with their family and friends. A black grand piano sits quietly in a corner of the elegant hotel's lobby, adding a touch of sophistication and elegance to the space.

The atmosphere is very relaxing and tranquil. Relax on one of the couches and chairs to enjoy a book or newspaper or interact with other guests.

Some facilities include a health club with steam, sauna, a gymnasium and yoga, Pilates and lessons, an outdoor pool located on the 21st floor with a juice bar providing refreshments and cool respite from the heat, fully-equipped business center to meet all business needs and Banyan Tree Spa, arguably one of the best luxury spa in Bangkok. Offering an extensive menu of signature treatments, Banyan Tree Spa is undoubtedly a great place to rejuvenate after a tiring flight.

Located on the 61st floor, you will find the famous Vertigo and Moon Bar, an alfresco sky bar and restaurant offering one of the best dining experience with some of the best cityscape view in the world. Simply google any "best rooftop bar in Bangkok" and I believe the Vertigo and Moon Bar at Banyan Tree Bangkok Hotel will be in the top 5 list.

We intended to visit the famous Vertigo and Moon Bar initially, but due to time restraint, we had to give it a miss.

Upon receiving our room card key, we hustle off to the elevator and went straight up to level 56, where our room is located.

As soon as you stepped out of the elevator, you will instantly know that luxury and leisure await you. The long silent corridors and deep carpets offer ultimate comfort and privacy.

Located on the 56th floor, the Serenity Club room is generously spacious, luxurious and elegant, but slightly smaller than what we anticipated.

Featuring separate areas for sleeping, working and relaxing, the room is delightfully furnished, combining sophistication with true luxury. The front door opens to a small living area with couch and desk which leads to a small sleeping area with attached bathroom.

Our luggage were delivered to our room shortly after we got to our room. Banyan Tree certainly live up to its expectation, with exceptional services and exquisitely designed rooms and suites offering expansive living and working areas - perfect for a small family who prefer a little extra space.

The studio style room provides plenty of space to move around, sit and relax without feeling cramped. Room was quiet enough to allow a decent night sleep. We did not hear any noise outside our room at any point of time.

The wooden furnishings and fittings and carpet may look a bit dated but are well-maintained and in excellent condition. Complimentary WiFi is available throughout the entire property to keep us connected at all times. Other in room amenities also includes a satellite TV with cable channels and 24-hours room service.

Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, the room offers stunning panoramic views of Sathon Road and the Chao Phraya River, giving the room an abundance of natural light.

It was nice to stay in a room high up above the city with most of the buildings below us. We get to enjoy the 180 degree view over the bustling city right from our room at any time of day.

Designed with business traveler in mind, the room also features a large functional desk with office chair, just perfect for work or just relaxing in peace and quiet.

Behind the desk, the mini bar offers an extensive range of alcoholic drinks and healthy snacks, but only non-alcoholic beverages were complimentary. The mini bar includes multiple bottles of red wines, hard liquors and snacks which are chargeable.

Other than that, the mini bar also provides a good selection of coffees and teas in room, which will be replenished on daily basis.

Coffee maker, electric boiler, ice bucket, sets of glasses and cups are provided in the room as well.

The reusable glass water bottle are covered in Banyan Tree signature black and white floral fabric.

Other than that, the room is equipped with alarm clock and multiple power points by the desk, bed, lounge and even the bathroom - just great for those who have lots of gadgets to charge.

The best feature is the sitting area with an over-sized sofa and oval glass coffee table, providing one plenty of space to spread out and relax.

On the oval glass coffee table is a fully-stocked fruit bowl with a booklet providing information about each fruit. We did not eat any of the fruits because we did not know that it was complimentary. International and local magazines and daily newspaper are provided in room for our reading pleasure as well.

Aromatherapy burner and essential oils are provided in the room as well, with scents changing daily. The hotel even provides a menu explaining what is the scent provided on that day and what are the health benefits of that scent.

The simple but luxurious bathroom features a separate glass enclosed walk in shower and deep soaking tub.

Luxuriously furnished, the beautiful bathroom features granite counter top fitted with a dual tapped sink and is stocked with complimentary bottled water, rolled face towels, hand soap, hair dryer and fresh cut orchids.

In addition to that, the bathroom also has an adjustable wall mounted magnifying mirror with LED lighting for applying makeup or shaving and an electronic weighting scale for guests to keep track of their weight while traveling.

The glass enclosed shower area is equipped with shower gel, shampoo and hair conditioner and a handheld massaging shower head with four spray mode options, providing a very relaxing shower experience. I love the Banyan Tree toiletries range very much because they smell and feel really amazing on my skin. The extra large and thick towels provided were also very clean and absorbent.

Other complimentary bath products replenished daily as needed include shaving kit, comb, brush, sewing kit, nail file, shower caps, detergent, cotton pads and swabs, disposable toothbrush and toothpaste.

The best feature of the bathroom is the ultra deep soaking tub - perfect to enjoy a relaxing bath after a tiring day.

The spacious soaking tub is complete with exclusive bath salt, bubbly bath foam and bath oil from Banyan Tree.

Behind the bathroom door is a large built-in closet and storage space complete with bathrobes, bath slippers, mini safe box and iron facilities. Both the bathrobes and slippers have the same design as Banyan Tree's signature fabric.

The hotel does not provide a bidet spray in the bathroom. But why do you need one when the bathroom is equipped with a Washlet, or electric toilet seats with water spray features for anal and genital cleaning. With just the push of a button, the Washlet will automatically clean and dry you after you are done with your "business".

Other services provided by Banyan Tree includes daily turn down service with lovely gifts. Unfortunately, we missed the turn down service on our first night at the hotel because we had the "Do Not Disturb" button on. The housekeeping staffs got into our room on our second night to prepare our beds for sleeping, cleaned our room and replaced our empty water bottles. They even left us some cookies and a small gift before leaving our room.

Banyan Tree Bangkok, being situated in the central business district, is certainly not the best place for tourists. Its location is not terribly close to the tourist areas or public transportation. The nearest BTS (Saladaeng) and MRT (Lumpini) Station are located about 10 to 15 minutes away from the hotel under the extreme heat. You will probably want to take a taxi to the neatest BTS or MRT Station instead.

Banyan Tree has a fantastic concierge service and will always be happy to arrange a taxi for you. However, we actually prefer using Grabcar service over regular taxi because it was way cheaper and faster.

Besides taxi, the hotel also provides a complimentary Tuk Tuk and shuttle service that runs to the BTS or MRT Station every hour from 9 am to 6 pm daily.

To use the complimentary Tuk Tuk service provided by the hotel, we have book a time for our ride to the BTS Station at the concierge counter.

The Tuk Tuk dropped off right in front of Silom Complex, just beside the Saladaeng Station. But unfortunately, Banyan Tree do not provide Tuk Tuk service back to the hotel from the BTS station. We have to use the Grabcar service back to the hotel. The complimentary Tuk Tuk service was great, but it was a long wait. It will be good if Banyan Tree can consider increasing the frequency of the Tuk Tuk and shuttle services from one hour to 30 minutes.

Staying in the Serenity Club room allowed us to access to the Club Lounge on the 19th floor where we were treated to VIP amenities such as buffet breakfast, non-alcoholic refreshments, light snacks and free flow of Thai local beers.

We had our buffet breakfast served at the Club Lounge on our first night at Banyan Tree. Tables are big and generously well-spaced out, allowing a good level of privacy and space. The Club Lounge was fairly empty and we were happy that we do not have to compete with other guests for food and drinks.

Upon sitting down, we were asked whether we would like some coffee or tea. The hotel has an egg menu where we can order some poached, sunny side, boiled or scrambled eggs for breakfast.

The buffet breakfast was awesome, but nothing was exceptional. Their generous breakfast buffet offer a great selection of exotic fruits, fresh pastries, cold cuts, meats, cheeses, sushi, salads, cereals, western and Asian breakfast and fresh juices. Service was excellent and staffs were generally very well-trained and friendly.

For those who do not have access to the Club Lounge, buffet breakfast will be served from 6.00 am to 10.30 am daily at the Romsai Banyan Tree Restaurant, an all-day dining restaurant located on the lower lobby floor. The restaurant features a huge floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a tropical rock garden and waterfall. However, it can be hard to get a seat by the windows. Unlike the Club Lounge, the restaurant tends to get very busy during breakfast hours, so you might want to get there early if you want to get a seat by the windows.

The restaurant features live cooking stations where food is prepared fresh before our eyes. For those who have the options to choose, I would really recommend you to try eating at both the Club Lounge and the Romsai Banyan Tree Restaurant. Even though the food offered at both places are more or less the same, the atmosphere are entirely different.

After 2 days, our short escape is nearing an end. Banyan Tree Bangkok is truly an oasis to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. A place which I will want to go back again and again every time I visit Bangkok. Well, if my budget permits.

The hotel offers a very intimate and romantic ambiance for honeymooners and couples to settle in and a comfortable environment for weary travelers to relax and rest. Sometimes we find it difficult to leave the hotel to explore the city because it was just too comfortable and we truly regretted for not planning a longer trip. We did not get to enjoy most of the facilities in the hotel due to time constraints.

Everything was almost perfect, except housekeeping, which was a little disappointing and needs to be improved. There are hairs on our bathroom floor and no effort was put in to tidy out our things in the room. The desk, bathroom and floors were all in a mess - exactly the same way we left. However, the bed linens and towels were changed, toiletries and mini bar were replenished. The housekeeping staff was very polite and patient too. She pressed the door bell and waited before entering. When we told her to come back 30 minutes later, she smiled and obliged.

Other than that, I also found the hotel security a little slack, especially for a 5-star establishment. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can access the hotel lift on the ground floor without tapping the room access card. Hopefully, the management can improve on this.

Banyan Tree Bangkok really lives up to its reputation and brand's luxurious standard, offering exceptional services, quality accommodation and all the amenities of a five-star hotel. It is a perfect place to relax and rest after a tiring day of sightseeing. The staffs were very friendly and helpful and will always greet us with a smile whenever they see us,

Overall, it was a wonderful and luxury experience staying at Banyan Tree Bangkok. Although the hotel room was a little expensive for Bangkok standard, it was worth every penny. The hotel offer everything you will need for a comfortable stay and I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a quality accommodation in Bangkok.

Be sure to follow me on my Facebook or Twitter to get the latest updates on my 2016 trip to Bangkok! Also, do not forget to share my blog posts with your family and friends if you find them helpful. In the meantime, you might also want to check My Wanderlust page for some of my other travel adventures.

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