Megan and I took a two-week tour of Southeast Asia during our honeymoon in August/September of last year. Now it’s time to wrap up the trip report after a holiday break. Here’s the Trip Report Index:
- Booking the Honeymoon
- Asiana Airlines Business Class (SEA-ICN, HKG-ICN, and ICN-SEA)
- Seoul-Incheon Airport and Singapore Airlines Business Class (ICN-SIN)
- Singapore Zoo
- Singapore Airlines Business Class (SIN-DPS)
- St. Regis Bali – Part 1
- St. Regis Bali – Part 2
- Day Trip to Ubud
- Thai Airways Business Class (DPS-BKK and BKK-HKT)
- St. Regis Bangkok
- Westin Siray Bay Phuket
- Day Trip to Phi Phi Islands
- Thai Airways Business Class (HKT-HKG)
- Conrad Hong Kong
We weren’t originally planning on staying at the St. Regis Bangkok. In fact, I was excited about staying at the Grand Hyatt Erawan down the street. But renovations there didn’t seem to be progressing as quickly as I expected.
I recalled One Mile at a Time talking about staying at the St. Regis using a good rate through Fine Hotels & Resorts, a program available only to American Express Platinum cardholders. These rates typically offer 4 PM check-out, daily breakfast for two, upgrade based on availability, and some kind of amenity — usually a $100 credit toward the hotel restaurant or spa (in this case, the Elemis Spa).
All of these benefits, except the spa amenity, are regularly offered to SPG Platinum members, but at the time I was only a Gold member (something else you get with the Amex Platinum card). It effectively made it equal to what I was expecting at the Grand Hyatt as a Hyatt Diamond member. The spa credit helped offset the slightly higher rate. Besides, we had such a great time during our first St. Regis experience in Bali, and Megan was still upset she hadn’t been able to use the spa there.
Our taxi driver spoke poor English and didn’t seem too clear on where we were going, which reminds me that I should always bring a printout with the hotel name and address written in Thai when I visit Bangkok. I told him Erawan and he seemed to figure it out, though we drove in circles through a couple of shopping mall parking lots before finally arriving! Car service arranged through the hotel began to seem much more attractive after two weeks in Asia.
But everything was perfectly serene after arriving. The St. Regis has a two-story ground floor with little to catch your attention except some seating and a discrete coffee bar. We were escorted to the elevators and up to the hotel lobby on the 12th floor and seated at one of three desks off to the right to process our paperwork. While we sipped on complimentary lemongrass tea, we learned that we’d been upgraded to a Grande Deluxe room with a slightly better view. I didn’t particularly mind where we pointed as there were plenty of good views from the St. Regis Bar and the pool.
The room was just as plush and elegant as the room and villa we stayed at in Bali, but it was more refined to match the urban environment. It also wasn’t particularly large. I very much enjoyed the giant room I had at the Le Meridien Bangkok nearby, where I stayed last January and for half the price. Don’t get me wrong; I think the St. Regis is worth the extra cost — to a point. But most people will be satisfied with a less expensive property.
Our room still had a large bathroom with sliding walls like the Le Meridien, but the sitting area wasn’t much more than a chair and a desk.
Hopefully when I return here as an SPG Platinum member I’ll have better luck with a suite upgrade. I still got a bowl of fruit and some candies with a card welcoming us to the hotel, so clearly they were making an effort.
Megan began to develop a cold in Bali and spent much of our downtime between sightseeing relaxing in the room. I chose to spend my time reading at the St. Regis Bar, with two sides facing either the lobby or the view of Bangkok over the racetrack at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. There was an afternoon tea service we decided to pass on, but at sunset I did enjoy watching them chop the top off a Champagne bottle with a saber (their equivalent to the St. Regis Bali’s sunset torch-lighting ceremony).
Also like at the St. Regis Bali, we were provided with a certificate for two complimentary drinks at the bar, this time with no restrictions. The drinks and the snacks were excellent. Sometimes I’d go down there to read just for the dried coconut! But I was less impressed with the pool. I had to sign a liability waiver every day and had to pursue the attendant for towels and drinks. If you want service, stay at the St. Regis Bar.
The pool itself was very relaxing, with some trees and pottery between lounge chairs for added privacy. Attached to the side was a kind of hot tub, except it had the same cold water (actually very refreshing in Bangkok’s heat) and was shallow enough you could lie flat in the water. When it got too chilly, I’d hang out by the railing and watch the races.
We did the usual Bangkok stuff while there: a river taxi up to tour the Grand Palace, walking down side streets to Wat Po, a tour of the Jim Thompson House, and visiting the Patpong night market.
Wandering through the shopping malls nearby (the St. Regis is connected directly to the BTS train through a pedestrian walkway on the second floor) we also came across some amazing Thai food. I about died from the spiciness, which ranked 8 on a 1-5 scale, but it was good enough I returned the next day to eat there again even though no one spoke any English. Language barriers usually bother me when I travel internationally, but somehow food always overcomes my hesitation.
So lets move on to breakfast! The St. Regis Bangkok is not the St. Regis Bali, sadly, but their buffet was still pretty good. We could pick from a wide selection of juices, pastries, yogurts, and cold cuts. I especially liked that the juices were in individual glass bottles and appeared to include some Bloody Mary mix among them as if reminding us we were at a St. Regis.
The hot buffet was less impressive, but they have a cook-to-order menu that I took advantage of for egg dishes and the like. It was all pretty good, and I was willing to overlook the curdled hollandaise on my Benedict since the homemade English muffins more than compensated.
I’m forgetting something here … the spa! I don’t like spas, so you’ll probably never see me reviewing them in this blog when you read my hotel reviews. But Megan said she thoroughly enjoyed her massage. My only concern is that she didn’t get the facial she thought was included in the package she reserved, and at checkout the $100 spa credit turned out to be only 2,200 baht — a pretty awful conversion rate.
So maybe the St. Regis wasn’t the value we thought it would be, but it was still a very nice experience and worth the splurge on our honeymoon. I would book it again at rates around $200-250 a night, though you can certainly find nice accommodations elsewhere if you see it for more than that.