Even though I have been to Bangkok several times, my preference has been to stay near the city centre, specifically between the Siam and Asok Sky Train stations as it makes it convenient to meet people in the city when one is not sightseeing. However this trip was part to show my sister the city who is visiting the city for the first time. And I figured it would be great to stay by the river, where some of Bangkok’s luxury hotels can be found ranging from the Mandarin Oriental to the Shangri-la. Located slightly further away is the older Royal Orchid Sheraton which certainly costs less as it was around THB3,050++ (~$92++) per night.
Taking Uber from the airport to the hotel took around an hour and upon presenting our travel documents to check in, the receptionist brought us to the Club Lounge on account of my SPG Platinum status. The Club Lounge was to be found on the 27th floor though if guests are staying at the lower floors, they would require a change of elevators to get to the lounge. Located at the end of the Y-shaped tower, the club lounge offers a splendid 180-degree view of the Chao Phraya river as it is right on the riverfront.
Check-in took a while but as we were seated and provided with drinks in the empty club lounge, it was a relaxing affair. Breakfast was provided in the club lounge for SPG Platinum guests with no option of having in the ground floor restaurant. However they were very gracious in allowing an additional guest for our party of 3 to access the club lounge, and the receptionist at the club lounge added an extra bed into the suite to accommodate us. After providing us an overview of the Platinum benefits, the staff mentioned the opening hours of the club lounge and the times for breakfast and evening snacks.
Room No: 818 Category: Executive Riverview Suite
From the club lounge we proceed to our assigned suite on the 8th floor, which is located at the end of the corridor and below the space where the club lounge is located. Entering the suite, there is a small toilet with its own sink on the left. This space acts like a powder room but it is also the only toilet in the whole suite and is connected by another sliding door to the main suite bathroom. There is also a towel hanger in this toilet space.
Moving down the small foyer, there is a partition that kind of blocks the desk from the door for some privacy while lounging in the living room sofa. While most of the time, SPG Platinums are upgraded to junior suites or open-plan suites, it was nice to get a full suite with a large living space as it makes it feel like an apartment. There is a 3-seater sofa and an armchair positioned to face the window to take advantage of the river view in the living room.
There is also an elliptical work desk and a revolving leather chair so guests working could watch the TV at the same time. Underneath the flatscreen TV, guests can find the coffee brewer and minibar along with a DVD player. For long-term stays in the city this is a very nice suite to stay in. A plate with some chocolate pralines and 2 apples was placed on the coffee table as part of the welcome amenity.
Across from the desk, there is a door that leads into the equally spacious bedroom. Lined by the wall, there is a large wardrobe and 2 armchairs facing the windows again with great views of the river.
Also facing the large windows with the river view is a generous King-sized bed with bedside tables. On the other corner of the room, there is a triangular cabinet with a flatscreen TV on top of it. It was also neat for the hotel to add some motif to the wall on the end of the bedroom.
From the bedroom, guests could access the main bathroom that adjoins the powder room where the toilet is located. In a certain sense this suite reminds me of the suite I had in Pashmina Val Thorens where the toilet is located separately from the main bathroom. This seems to be a European style design allowing multiple guests to use the bathroom at the same time albeit for different purposes. In addition to a bathtub, there was a spacious shower stall with sliding glass doors in the bathroom. However all these fittings does make the bathroom seems somewhat cramped and I felt the vanity lacks some countertop space to place all the toiletries.
Bathroom amenities provided was the usual Sheraton Mandarin and Mint scent and like many Asian hotel chains, little things like dental kits, shavers, comb and cotton buds are provided. The suite was definitely spacious but I would have loved the suite more if the bathroom was a little bit more spacious. Otherwise, I could certainly stay in the suite all day to gaze at the river view.
SPG Platinum members gets automatic access to the Club Lounge, if one is available, regardless of room category booked. As far as Sheraton Club Lounges go, this one sits on par with the one in Sheraton Hong Kong for the views. Being located on the top floor, this one has a higher vantage point for gazing further out but the suite view on the lower floors would be better to observe the boats and life on the Bangkok river front.
Guests are greeted by a reception desk upon entry with a bar counter located just behind the reception desk. The staff in the lounge eagerly offers you drinks and would be happy to serve any type of drink.
Aside from the bar, guests have plenty of seats to choose from and this includes sofa style seats around a coffee table for lounging and relaxing with families.
I had the chance to partake in the complimentary snacks and drinks served in the lounge in the evening before dinner. The spread in the club lounge was very good and could easily be a light dinner for travellers to tired to leave the hotel after a day of sightseeing. Though that would be a pity since the range of great Thai food in the capital is one of the highlights of visiting Bangkok for me. With dishes ranging from meatball canapes, to the classic Pandan-wrapped chicken, at least there was some Thai food for travellers to savour.
Guests looking to fill themselves up could go for puff pastries filled with chicken, a pasta choice, and they even have cheese quesadillas prepared by the staff with guacamole and salsa. The variety of international food here sure would satisfy even picky guests.
Other normal club lounge snacks like cookies, macaroons and assorted small cakes can be found as well. A variety of fruits are provided as well including some tropical fruits depending on seasonality. As a guideline, mangosteens and rambutans can be found in the middle and end of the year in Thailand and they would be the usual classic favourite for travellers to South-east Asia.
For breakfast the selection was slightly more mediocre though still adequate. Since much of the food here are the classic breakfast types, I would not list out everything. On top of the egg station which was serving poached eggs or boiled eggs, there was fried noodles, grilled tomatoes, sausages and bacon on the hot buffet section.
The buffet includes a section for congee with a range of condiments (shallots, green onions, pickled radish etc) to choose from. And there was dishes like fruit cocktails, mixed salad, granola and yogurt on the cold buffet in addition to supplies of butter and vegemite for your toast.
Guests could make their own salad bowl or choose from several different kinds of bread and pastries as well. Though in my case, I helped myself to toast with the poached eggs and topped it off with smoked salmon from their cold buffet to make a smoked salmon eggs benedict.
Like in the evening ‘happy hour’, tropical fruits was also provided and I loved the rambutan that they have!
For those staying here without club lounge access, breakfast is served in the Feast Restaurant on the ground floor. This is beside the lobby lounge and bar that seems to be filled up during the day as well. Aside from these 2 dining spots, there is a western Riverside Grill on the terrace by the riverfront for a prime dinner spot in the evening or a Thai restaurant on the second floor.
While the Royal Orchid Sheraton is a city hotel, they actually have 2 swimming pools. The first one is a standard rectangular shaped pool by the terrace outside the second floor, also overlooking the river. This pool seems to be suited more for adults with plenty of deck chairs around. The other pool is slightly more hidden as guests need to walk past the fitness center to a set of stairs that crosses into the neighbouring plot of land. Technically speaking this second pool is part of the Portuguese embassy though hotel guests are welcome any time at this landscaped garden style pool. It was more crowded with families when I visited.
A well equipped fitness centre is situated by the poolside for guests to get some exercise while staying in the hotel. The space is pretty neat too since it uses glass windows opening out to the terrace and pool area allowing lots of light in the day.
Other complimentary facilities provided by the hotel includes a shuttle service on the river front that guests can take at set timings to bring them to the Sathorn Pier where the Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain station is located at. This provides a convenient means for guests to use the public transport on the river front or to get to the city for shopping and business. Travellers can also board free shuttles to the Asiatique entertainment area on the river from the Sathorn Pier.
On the second floor of the hotel there are several tailors where guests could make suits along with a jewellery/art boutique. For those looking to shop for artwork, there is a connecting overhead bridge to the River City Mall next door. Guests could also conveniently find ATM machines in the hotel and at the neighbouring mall. Outside on the streets, those adventurous enough could also find hawker stalls selling delicacies like pork satay and mango with sticky rice.
To recap, the upgrade to the suite with the inclusion of an extra bed definitely started the stay in a great way. As this property is usually one of the cheaper full-service SPG Hotels (aloft and Four Points are deemed as limited service properties), staying here is indeed good value for money. For first time travellers to Bangkok, I highly recommend staying here as the riverfront transport can easily bring you to the top sights around town. The food in the club lounge and the wide range of amenities to guests inside the hotel are just really nice extras that makes this a great SPG property.