Sunday, December 16, 2012

Novotel Hotel (Platinum) (Bangkok)

Although this is a very new establishment, most aspects of the hotel met our expectations. 

1) Location: Shopping  
If your main purpose of going to Bangkok is to shop, this location is perfect. We were told by the lady at the check-in counter that 99% of the people staying in the hotel are Singaporeans. It's located above the new wing of Platinum Fashion Mall and right next to the old wing of Platinum Fashion Mall (where we spent most of our time and money at). Really loved the location because we could drop our bags or take a short rest then resume shopping. 

Note that this is a VERY busy district and there are bad jams regardless of the time of the day. 

Besides Platinum Fashion Mall, it's also within a 5 minute walk to Pantip (selling computer-related stuff), Pratunum Market (open-air market), Central World (modern shopping centre with lots of eateries), Big C (a hypermarket), the Erawan Shrine (the four-faced Buddha) and Siam Paragon (shopping centre with IMAX). 

In the direction of Central World and Big C, you will see lots of roadside food stalls and stalls selling everything from clothes to accessories to toys. If you go to Central World at night, there seems to be some drinking fest every night with live performances. 

2) Location: Everywhere else
The hotel is far from the few tourist attractions we wanted to visit, including the temples and Chinatown. We opted for a cab everywhere from the hotel- more about this later. 

3) Room 
I loved everything about the room. Comfortable beds, good working wifi, many TV channels including my favourite Asian Food Channel and we could see Central World and the never-ending jam from our room. As mentioned above, the live music performances go on till quite late at night so we basically heard the pounding music every night. For those who have trouble sleeping, you might want to request for ear plugs or see if there are rooms that might not be affected by the performances. 

Interesting toilet design where the toilet has a separate door from the rest of the bathroom. Good for those who like to hog the toilet. There are no locks to the toilet door- might not be the perfect design if the two people sharing the room do not know each other very well.

Note the darkened screen. It's transparent (i.e. whoever's in the room can see you bathing and you can see the room when you're bathing) unless you press a button and the screen comes down. You have to hold onto the button for some time before it will come down. Love the shower. 

4) Breakfast 
Breakfast was good. There was a selection of bread and danish pastries, hot food such as roast potatoes, fried rice, noodle station, egg station, fruits, a wide fruit juice selection, yummy pancakes etc. 

5) Rest of the food
We had dinner in the hotel once but I'll blog about it another time. Suffice to say that we preferred the food at Platinum food court.

6) Amenities 
Some people commented that this was like the pool at MBS but sorry, this doesn't make the cut because it's a small pool. The gym looked good enough for travelling purposes. Free computer usage at the 6th floor which I thought was a plus point for those who don't bring their laptops and don't want to squint at their phone screens.

7) Service
I'm not sure why I'm leaving the worst for the last but I'll do it anyway. 

Folks at reception were mostly friendly but that's about it. Unlike many reviewers  I don't find their service particularly friendly. My most memorable experience was at Trader's Hotel (KL) where every staff regardless of their position would greet you with a sincere smile. Here, I was bogged down by the feeling that nobody would smile at me unless they were tipped. Here are some issues with service. 

Firstly, lack of decorum is something that was evident with the concierge staff. We tipped a guy at the concierge who carried our luggage and he entered the luggage room. Before the door closed, he checked the tip, right before our eyes. There was another guy who helped move our luggage. While deciding how much to tip him, he was hovering in a distance and looking at us, obviously waiting to be tipped. 

Secondly, the staff do not really know their taxi prices as someone pointed out in other reviews. For those who are looking for an estimate to go to the Wat Pho area, our taxi fare was around 90 Baht on an early Saturday morning. Even with bad jams on our way back, it was 110 Baht.  

Thirdly, I'm not sure what time the rooms get cleaned but we were quite surprised one day when we went back at 4+ pm and the rooms were not yet cleaned. The next day, we came back from breakfast at 10 am and couldn't enter the room because they were cleaning the rooms. Besides the erratic timing, I have no issue with housekeeping because they did a good job. 

Fourthly, I think we were badly ripped off by a concierge staff. We asked a particular staff how we could go somewhere with 6 people. With an earnest face, he told us that he had a really good deal for us which was 1500 baht for a shuttle van which would get us to our destination and would bring us back once we called the driver. We don't blame it on that particular staff that we had to pay such an extortionate price- we blame it on ourselves for our naivety and we fully recognise caveat emptor

I would come here again if I want to shop at Platinum because the hotel's location is really good for shopping purposes and the room exceeded my expectations. However, service awaits improvement. 

Novotel Hotel (Platinum) (Bangkok) 
220 Petchaburi Road


Next time stay at Intercontinental. The service is awesome and central location cannot be beat.

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