Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok, Thailand [Master Thread]

Old Oct 25, 2020, 6:01 am
  #1  
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Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok, Thailand [Master Thread]

Official Website of the Kimpton Maa-Lai, Bangkok at Pathumwan

After a rather long construction period this brand new 362 room hotel has finally opened during a very challenging time.

I was able to check in on opening day and have to say I'm pretty impressed, probably one of the best hotels in BKK and certainly the best IHG hotel as far as the overall property is concerned.

Property:

The hotel is located in Pathumwan which is right behind the U.S. Embassy / Wireless Road, near Lumphini Park. Utilizing the BTS it requires a little walk but Ratchadamri, Chit Lom and Ploen Chit are all possible.

I was the first official guest who checked in at this hotel and aside from the F/D casually mentioning it there was zero recognition of the fact. I didn't check in early to be the first guest but I found it very strange that there was nothing at all to welcome the first guest of the hotel on opening day and the hotel staff were more busy with arranging their own opening photo op. Never experienced this at the other six or so hotels in the recent years where I stayed as #1 on opening day.

I booked the hotel on points (22,500 right now vs ~ $200 revenue rate) and received what they call a Premium Room which ended up having several defects that were only apparent at night.

Food & Beverage

The hotels f&b outlets have been open for some time at this point and are very popular with the locals, especially the rooftop bar.
  • Bar.Yard Rooftop bar - Casual bar and restaurant with a nice view of Bangkok and a BBQ themed menu (prices very reasonable IMHO)
  • Craft Coffee Bar and Patisserie in the Lobby - Very popular, nice lounge, people can bring their pets and a lot of them do
  • Ms. Jigger Cocktail Bar & Restaurant on the ground floor - Pretty posh and well decorated, didn't end up going there this time
  • Stock.Room - Think of a stylish food court with various stalls and stands, I didn't end up going there
I also wasn't able to go for breakfast as I was told it closes at 9:30 during the week (at least when I stayed there during opening) which I consider to be a joke.

Rooms:

The rooms are spacious and well finished. The design is excellent as is the hotel overall as far as construction and hard product is concerned.

Problem was that the room suffered plenty of electrical malfunctions. In the middle of the night the lights went on and off all the time, likely due to a short circuit in the control panel (lights behind the panel were flickering as well). The window curtain motor moved every 15 minutes and drove me crazy, Air condition control panel is far away from the bed and it was either too hot or too cold in the room. I couldn't sleep for more than maybe 5 hours.

The beds (mattress) are excellent.

Elite treatment:

They do have the wine hour at the Bar.Yard Rooftop Bar which is nice but I didn't receive any information about this until I went back down and specifically asked for it.

I'm Spire Ambassador and yes - IHG Rewards Club hasn't properly integrated Kimpton in the program. It's more than time for that because honestly I'm not putting up with this any longer considering there are pretty much no benefits.

I got an upgrade to the Premium King room and a small welcome amenity (Snack & Mineral Water) in the room. The hotel didn't have a welcome letter ready for guests to outline benefits and details of the hotel.

Here are a few images:















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Last edited by skywalkerLAX; Oct 25, 2020 at 6:08 am
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Old Nov 29, 2020, 10:28 pm
  #2  
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The creative hour (Wine Hour) is no longer at the rooftop bar but has been relocated to the pool.

Very quiet, I think there were only two people there who made use of this including myself.
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Old Nov 30, 2020, 10:41 pm
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Thanks for the review.

I have been eyeing this property for a little while but wont spend 5K+ BHT for a hotel in BKK
I do have points and 22.5 points (now 25k points) feels a bit high. the IC is only 20K and the indigo is 12.5K
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Old Dec 12, 2020, 12:06 pm
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I share your opinion of this property - great hardware but staff is more preoccupied with themselves (e.g. actually having food at the reception area), not knowledgeable (even sales) and no recognition (spire royal ambassador - even CP always upgrades me where they don't have to) as you mentioned.

Won't stay there again for maybe a year or two.
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Old Jan 9, 2021, 7:40 am
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A nice review by the op...but I'm surely not hip enough to stay at a hotel where the room amenities include in-room yoga matts.
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Old Feb 8, 2021, 6:52 pm
  #6  
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Went on a tour of the property on a Sunday (January 30th) and was shown two types of rooms by the duty manager (with limited English speaking abilities) - Deluxe (48 SQM) and Premier (77 SQM). The place was packed with very elegant Thai crowds enjoying the place on the Travel Together promo for Thai nationals and all the suites were occupied by them. Many had their pets with them. I love animals but personally allergic to them and I inquired about the animals and was told that the property have both non-pet and pet-friendly rooms. IHG Platinums and Aspire members get one category upgrade at this property and it's possible to upgrade with cash to Club Access, Suite, and/or breakfast. It's also possible to book on points and get further upgraded with cash. Elegant designs and amazing views of the Sindhorn Kempinski next door. Nice and clean new property that shows lots of potential as an alternative to other IHG properties in Bangkok.











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Old Feb 22, 2021, 3:23 am
  #7  
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Thanks for the review. I am curious why you say it is the best in Bangkok, given you had a few negative comments. Timing of breakfast, not sleeping for 5 hours. Does not make it sound that great. Thanks.
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Old Feb 22, 2021, 5:52 pm
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Can somebody report on the breakfast quality; perhaps in comparison to the Intercontinental?
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Old Mar 9, 2021, 12:54 am
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Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok = Great Hotel Which Overcomes Weaker Loyalty Benefits

Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok

2 Reviews | 50% Recommended

Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok

78 SOI TONSON LUMPINI PATHUMWAN BANGKOK, TH 10330

Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok = Great Hotel Which Overcomes Weaker Loyalty Benefits (33 Photos)

Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok

I am generally not a big fan of the IHG hotel chain because the elite loyalty benefits are weak relative to other chains such as Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, and in Asia specifically, Accor as well.  Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok opened back in October and I was curious to try it despite the uncompetitive elite benefits.  Our stay turned out to be a very pleasant surprise and I am glad I gave this hotel a chance: service was excellent and dare I say, better than at the new Four Seasons Bangkok, and the room I ended up with was quite nice and bigger than what many other hotels call suites.  The fact that I normally have a negative slant on IHG hotels and yet I am writing a glowing review of this property should be quite telling.  

Location

Kimpton is in a fairly convenient part of the city, in a new development shared with Sindhorn Kempinski, in fact both hotels have the same owner.  It’s on a small street between Ratchadamri Road (Grand Hyatt, Waldorf Astoria, Anantara Siam, and St.Regis) and Wittayu Road (Athenee, Indigo, and Conrad) so a heavy area filled with 5-star hotels.  Kimpton is about a 10-minute walk from the Chit Lom BTS sky train station.

Room

From memory at the time I booked my reservation, I think the rate was the same for the entry level room (King Deluxe) and the 1-Bedroom Apartment so I chose the latter.  I am a bit confused because now when I look at future room rates on the website, the 1-bdr apt no longer seems to be listed.  I got upgraded as Platinum Ambassador to the Grand Premium room; because of my confusion about my original room type I cannot say for sure whether this was in fact a 1-category upgrade or a 2-category upgrade.  The entry level room is 48 sqm which is already quite big for a standard room, and interestingly the second room type (Premium) is much bigger at 77 sqm yet cash rates are only marginally higher.  The same can be said for the Grand Premium room which I got: 87 sqm but only a small extra over the standard room.  So my upgrade was material space-wise, but not cash-wise.  

Many other hotel chains are generous with suite upgrades and at Kimpton I did not get a suite: the Grand Premium room is one short of the junior suite (108 sqm).  That said, this is only semantics: my room would be called a suite by almost every other hotel because the living room was completely separate from the bedroom and bathroom.  In addition, in most other hotels the standard suites are in the range 60-80 sqm and therefore smaller than our room at Kimpton.  I will not get hung up on the naming conventions and whether my upgrade was stingy or not: bottom line is I had a bigger and newer room than what generous hotel chains give me, so the typically more modest IHG upgrades ended up being a complete non-issue for me.  

The room was a fairly good quality build, one step above Park Hyatt which normally does not impress with hardware (except their bathroom) and one step below Waldorf Astoria.  Comparing to St.Regis is a bit more difficult, I would say Kimpton is lower than StR used to be when StR was a brand new hotel but since StR now has some wear & tear I would pick the room at Kimpton now compared to standard suites at StR.

To be balanced in my review, I must highlight a few points which make me rate this room good but not great: (1) I wish it had hardwood floors rather than carpet,  (2) Water pressure in the hand shower was fine but from the rain shower it was weak, and (3) To be considered a top notch suite I am generally looking for 1.5 bath but this room only has the main bathroom.  I am assuming that some of the larger rooms (which they call suites) have 1.5 bath.  

Otherwise I did not have much to complain about, the air conditioning was strong, the bed was comfortable and they delivered a special pillow order to our room before our arrival as per my e-mail exchange with staff before we arrived at the hotel.  

This hotel is pet-friendly and since we do not have a pet I was not sure it would be a good fit for us, but they limit pet owners to rooms on floors 7 and 8 only.  This is a high-rise building and we had a room on a high floor so there were no sanitary concerns in our room and obviously no noise issues either since any potential barking dogs were not anywhere near our room.  

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Service

I had never stayed in a Kimpton brand hotel before – somehow I thought the hotel would be competing with W and Sofitel SO, perhaps because of the style.  However, in large part due to service levels, I think Kimpton is far more akin to Park Hyatt, St.Regis, and Waldorf Astoria.  For newer hotels I tend to excuse service hiccups such as those we had at Four Seasons one week prior to our stay at Kimpton, but the service at Kimpton was thoroughly excellent at every interaction with staff.  Not only it started on the right foot before our arrival with the e-mail exchange mentioned above, but also at the hotel the service was great with staff at the front door and reception addressing us by name regularly, and similarly service was excellent by the pool during happy hour and in the restaurant during breakfast.  The high level of service was not because the hotel was almost empty and staff not busy, in fact Saturday and Sunday mornings the restaurant was fairly crowded (unlike during week days).  Not only it was impressive that staff remembered our names and room number as soon as we stepped off the elevator as early as the second morning (we are not regulars at this hotel!), but it was clear that staff were always trying to anticipate guest needs and address them proactively rather than wait for requests.  I could make a long list of how staff were client-centric, for example at the noodle soup station in almost every hotel when you order you have to wait for your bowl to be ready but instead at Kimpton staff informed us that we could go back to our table and they would bring our order.  Once they saw my pregnant wife a bit uncomfortable on her chair they brought a cushion to support her back.  Staff made the rounds in the restaurant to ask clients if they were happy with their stay.  When guests were leaving the restaurant, staff at the entrance would step ahead to open and hold the elevator door for customers.  During happy hour the refills kept coming without us having to ask for anything.  Our next destination after Kimpton was Kempinski next door and I wanted to check-in there before we checked out from Kimpton.  When staff saw me heading to Kempinski they insisted on walking with me and my suitcase next door to their close cousin hotel.  I could go on and on, all these little details were non-stop during our stay.  To conclude on service the GM paid us a visit during happy hour on the day we arrived to introduce himself.  Since he is making himself visible and available for guests, he is probably setting the right tone for the staff.  

Dining

Regarding breakfast itself it was a combo of buffet and a la carte.  There were a few interesting dishes and drinks with a good balance of western and Asian choices, there was even a mini Arabic station.  To mitigate the risk of covid at the buffet with many guests sharing spoons and tongs, the hotel made plastic gloves available for all guests.  The design of the restaurant was quite inviting and attractive as well.  Breakfast was supposed to end at 10:30am but they were not rushing guests at all, many times food was still available after 11am unlike hotels which take food away on the dot.

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Happy hour was 5-6pm with free-flow drinks near the pool.  It was available to all guests (not limited to Platinum Ambassador guests) but surprisingly it was fairly quiet even though the hotel was not low occupancy on weekends.  There will also be a Club Lounge on the 30th floor but it’s not open at the moment and it is not clear what access rules will be, in fact I am not seeing Club rooms for sale on the website yet.  Hotels in other chains provide free executive lounge access which is usually not the case at IHG, but on this aspect once again since I had decent drinks in a location which was not overcrowded, I don’t feel like I was missing out on the elite treatment.  

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We ordered room service a couple of times and while the dishes were good, what was the most remarkable was how generous the portions were – bigger than most hotel room service choices offered by competitors. 

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Gym

This being a new hotel the gym had new and modern equipment as can be expected.  I liked the bright red machines which were in contrast with the more sober looking equipment at other hotels.  

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Wifi

As if I did not have enough positive points to mention about this hotel already, wifi worked great and was one of the fastest I have seen in Bangkok with speeds of almost 150 Mbps both download and upload.  

Overall

Overall it’s safe to say that Kimpton easily exceeded my expectations and I can highly recommend it.  Since I have stayed and reviewed almost 40 different hotels in Bangkok in the last few years, I would like to think that I am a decent judge of the local market, however opinions seem to have been mixed so far regarding this hotel, so take it for what it’s worth but in my opinion Kimpton punches well above its weight and any service or hardware issues they might have experienced in the first couple of months seem to be far in the rearview mirror, at least based on my experience from our stay.  This hotel has been a revelation for me and seems to be a well-kept secret at least for now.  The IHG program can make hotels less competitive for people who stay at many chains, but at least this time I was able to take advantage of the current third night free promotion and IHG Luxury Collection benefits (100 USD credit and free breakfast) which mitigated some drawbacks and made our stay good value for the money.  Perhaps in different circumstances the deals will not be the same but at least for this stay I had very little to complain about.  It will be hard for me to overlook Kimpton as a good option in Bangkok for my future stays despite the high level of competition in the city.

Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok = Great Hotel Which Overcomes Weaker Loyalty Benefits

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Old Mar 9, 2021, 4:04 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by escape4
To mitigate the risk of covid at the buffet with many guests sharing spoons and thongs, the hotel made plastic gloves available for all guests.
Thoughtful of them to provide surgical gloves, but I was shocked to hear about thong-sharing, especially at breakfast-time. I hope participation is voluntary.
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Old Mar 9, 2021, 5:58 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by IAN-UK
Thoughtful of them to provide surgical gloves, but I was shocked to hear about thong-sharing, especially at breakfast-time. I hope participation is voluntary.
With only a handful of daily cases in a city of 8m people I was not particularly disturbed, and all guests in the restaurant were disciplined and good hygiene as far as I can see. Generally speaking, hotel crowds do not behave the same regarding covid in Thailand than in Europe and North America based on my observations from 2020...
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Old Mar 9, 2021, 7:07 pm
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Originally Posted by IAN-UK
Thoughtful of them to provide surgical gloves, but I was shocked to hear about thong-sharing, especially at breakfast-time. I hope participation is voluntary.

Ian, not sure I want to share a "Thong" with you anytime
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Old May 30, 2021, 2:12 am
  #13  
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Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok = Rare Luxury Hotel in Bangkok with Residence Style Rooms

Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok

2 Reviews | 50% Recommended

Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok

78 SOI TONSON LUMPINI PATHUMWAN BANGKOK, TH 10330

Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok = Rare Luxury Hotel in Bangkok with Residence Style Rooms (34 Photos)

Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok

I stayed at Kimpton Maa-Lai in March and wrote a detailed review back then.  I have returned this month and I thought I could add a brief update because this time I stayed in a different room type and because this time I took some pictures of the future lounge.

Room

For this stay I booked a junior suite and received a 2-category upgrade to the 2-bedroom residence which the hotel thought would be most convenient for us since we now have a newborn baby less than one month old at time of check-in.  The residence had a fully equiped kitchen, a washer and dryer, and they were thoughtful enough to include all kinds of special amenities which were very useful with a baby for example cleaning supplies for milk bottles, an air purifier in the master bedroom, a baby bath tub, baby shampoo and lotion, etc.  We could not possibly have been treated better in the circumstances.  Regarding the room itself I noted that the finishes were a bit more upscale and more to my liking, for example there was mostly no carpet in the residence – hardwood floors and tiles were quite prevalent whereas the room we had in March was mostly carpet.  In addition, the main bathroom had horizontal blinds rather than curtains.  This room type is excellent to host a large family and even to invite guests because it has a powder room near the entrance in addition to the two full bathrooms, each one being accessible via one of the bedrooms.  

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Dining

Given the new government covid restrictions there was no more breakfast buffet; it was replaced with a more extensive a la carte menu than in the past with a small section which changed weekly to get some variety. They also allowed us to order some dishes off the menu which was great.  

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There is currently an alcohol ban in Bangkok but rather than entirely cut it, Kimpton now provides drinks from 5-6pm served in the room.  

One morning I stopped by the area where the future lounge will be to take a few pictures.  It seems the area will look very nice with some seating indoors and outdoors in addition to a quiet section on one part of the floor.  The lounge will give an edge to Kimpton over the luxury options from other hotel chains which do not have a lounge.  

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Service

Service was as excellent as before although I noted there were fewer staff on site given the much lower occupancy than in our previous stay because of the covid outbreak.  Among other things, they provided a lovely personalized welcome gift in the room and in addition, on the morning of departure they gave me a nice birthday card and cake even though my birthday was still two days away.  They did not want to miss it so they made it early! 

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Overall

Overall we had another great stay at Kimpton.  We will continue to return to this property and I can recommend it despite my lack of love for the IHG loyalty program.

Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok = Rare Luxury Hotel in Bangkok with Residence Style Rooms

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Old Dec 28, 2021, 7:17 pm
  #14  
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Checked in yesterday to burn an expiring cert, and here are my impressions:

- Great upgrade to a vast tidy room (67 SQM), but the view of a nearby rooftop!
- The Secret Password Experience is ridiculous - dry Christmas cookie - see that thread for a photo! The Aspire gift looks great.
- Offered breakfast for a whopping THB 750++ per person. Requested a discount and was given 15% customary to memebrs which does not cover the ++ portion (17.7%)!
- The lobby, as usual, full of beautiful people parading their yapping dogs!

Gave the room to a longtime friend and his SO, took some photos, and left









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Old Dec 29, 2021, 10:14 am
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Man, I hate dogs.
I'm also allergic so does this mean this property is a nogo?

Do they keep all the dogs on 1 floor like they used to keep the smokers?
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