Hotel Check: Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand
PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS As one of the city’s famed riverfront properties, the majority of the accommodations here boast active water views while the rest enjoy entertaining city and garden vistas. With a separate building offering all-balcony accommodations and a waterfront lounge in the main tower, this hotel offers some of the most luxurious surroundings in the city.
PRICE Internet rates for a traditional room on the random dates we checked start at $172
CONTACT Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Road, Bangrak, Bangkok, 10500, Thailand, Phone +66-2-236-7777, http://www.shangri-la.com/bangkok
WHERE IS IT The hotel is situated on the edge of the Chao Phraya River, which in non-rush hour times, is about 40 minutes from the airport (but plan accordingly). Another perk of this hotel is its proximity to a nearby BTS station, which is the city’s public transportation monorail system. This hotel is very convenient to most of the tourist sites either via car, monorail, or boat.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? There are two separate towers at the hotel (Shangri-La and Krungthep wings). It is advisable to tell your driver which building you are headed to although the savvy staff has a list of who is staying where. The main Shangri-La building welcomes guests into a glamorous lobby with high ceilings and windows of glass facing the active Chao Phraya River. There is a lovely lounge where live music, afternoon tea, and evening cocktails prove popular thanks to the views. Greeters guide guests to check in before being whisked to their rooms by speedy elevators. In the Krungthep wing, known as a hotel within a hotel, there is separate reception and the option to enjoy a private pool and whirlpool.
ROOM FACILITIES This hotel is one of the larger properties on the riverfront and wins out thanks to spacious guest rooms, the majority of which face the river. Many even have day beds tucked into window nooks where guests can curl up with a book and watch the water traffic flow by. Beds are stacked high with duvets and pillows and angled toward the windows for maximum views.
Most notable are the traditional Thai art pieces that serve as headboards although younger visitors will notice that power outlets are conveniently placed nearby. Wide work desks have additional power and USB portals plus ample space to use laptops to access the free wireless Internet access. Bathrooms are coated in marble and come stocked with ample toiletries, deep soaking tubs, and rainfall showers. Natural light streams through translucent walls separating the bedroom and bathroom, but there are no privacy shades. Horizon Club rooms come with L’Occitane toiletries, free clothes pressing, and access to a club lounge with complimentary breakfast, all-day drinks and snacks, and an evening happy hour with appetizers and cocktails. The Krungthep wing’s rooms all have furnished balconies and access to a Riverside Lounge setup in the lobby that is open to guests interested in booking that package with free drinks, breakfast, and evening snacks included. All rooms see beautiful furnishings using Thai silks, but those staying in the Krungthep wing enjoy access to a private pool deck area and whirlpool close to the spa.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS There are a lot of options for dining here, which makes it a tough call for those that want to explore the street food in the neighborhood. With that said, the hotel’s restaurants enjoy a solid reputation around town both for locals and visitors.
Volti is a well-known Italian outlet serving homemade pasta while Shang Palace is the brand’s signature Chinese dining room known for its elaborate tea presentations and Peking Duck. Salathip serves authentic Thai fare each evening along the riverfront in air conditioned or al fresco seating areas. NEXT2 Café serves three meals a day from exciting buffet stations offering everything from Chinese to Indian. Guests booking Krungthep wing and Horizon Club rooms enjoy priority restaurant reservations. Book the hotel’s special cruise ship that serves a dinner buffet as guests enjoy the twilight lights along the Chao Phraya River. Another special experience is the daily afternoon tea (with a menu that rotates seasonally) presented on three-tiered stands served within a gigantic, golden shell stand.
LEISURE FACILITIES The main swimming pool sits along the river with two lifeguards on watch and a family-friendly atmosphere. Staffers circle around with fresh fruit skewers and chilled bottled water as guests lounge on cushioned chairs beneath the shade of blossoming trees.
A fitness center featuring the most modern equipment faces the pool and river areas, and the signature CHI, The Spa (a hallmark of Shangri-La properties) offers a variety of massage and beauty treatments in individual rooms with soaking tubs, steam showers, and spaces with Thai massage areas. Couples rooms are a particular favorite.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES Free wireless Internet is available to all guests throughout the hotel. The hotel does strong business with meeting and event groups thanks to its immense ballrooms and breakout areas. The Thai staff does an exceptional job providing on-point Thai hospitality, which draws even more international groups.
VERDICT This hotel is a star along the riverfront earning accolades from frequent visitors for its high standard of service, part of the traditional Shangri-La namesake hospitality.
(Pictures by Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand)
By Ramsey Qubein
Ramsey is a regular contributor to Business Traveler across all print, digital, web and social channels. He travels more than 400,000 miles a year criss-crossing the globe to report on hotels, airlines, loyalty programs, and all things travel.