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Bangkok, First Time, For a Day: Pen or MO?

Bangkok, First Time, For a Day: Pen or MO?

Old Aug 19, 07, 3:08 pm
  #16  
 
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I stayed at the Pen and loved it. The spa is amazing and practically brand new. Its very easy to cross the river via the river taxi. The Pen has a nice pool and lots of nice sitting areas/ restuarants right on the river. I agree you probably can't go wrong at either place. I'm 33.
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Old Aug 19, 07, 3:27 pm
  #17  
 
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I've never stayed at the MO, but the Peninsula suits me just fine--my kind of ambiance. I have been impressed with both the rooms and the public spaces, and like another poster very much enjoy dining at Thiptara. The staff have been pleasant and helpful. I doubt that what's available at the MO is so remarkably different or superior as to warrant a change (from my perspective only).
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Old Aug 19, 07, 3:39 pm
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by MegatopLover View Post
[snip]
I've written about my problem at The O before, but it would probably be hard to find with a search, so I'll just re-post it here. It comes down to a problem I and several friends of mine have experienced at a number of other MO hotels around the world: if you're a guest at the hotel, you get the red carpet treatment, but if you're not, they'd rather not have you around and treat you quite poorly.
I don't know if it is a pattern, but I have the same issue with the MO NYC - except that its service to guests isn't even that great. I mean, given how much food and beverage from nonresidents contributes to the bottom line, you'd think they would pay more attention. Having said that, I pick the Oriental Bangkok over the Pen every time - I prefer the crowd and the service there (and no, I'm not in my 50s).
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Old Aug 19, 07, 3:53 pm
  #19  
 
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The Pen is nice if you want rest and luxury. The Oriental is an institution and gives you a flavor of the old Bangkok of the elite. It's unlike any other hotel in these parts, MO or otherwise. The rooms are comfortable enough and I never had a problem with the service here, but it is old and needs refurbishing in some places. Some rooms too can be oddly shaped although that's probably part of the charm. I love the split-level River view rooms in the old wing, which have a sitting room and huge picture windows onto the pool and the river on one level and the bedroom on the upper level. I have always chosen to stay here over the Pen, as it's just such a special hotel in terms of atmosphere and history; although I would probably choose the Pen if I wanted a truly indulgent weekend.

PS: No, I'm not in my 50s. And I've been staying at the Oriental ever since I was in my 20s.
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Old Aug 19, 07, 5:38 pm
  #20  
 
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we stayed again recently with two friends at the oriental (early 30's and mid 30's) . neither of them had stayed at the oriental before. They too found the hotel somewhat stuffy and the whole experience 'old'.
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Old Aug 19, 07, 6:56 pm
  #21  
 
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I might get in trouble for this one, but:

If you're Asian, stay away from the MO. You'll be treated (typically) like crap. The Pen, on the other hand, will always welcome everyone -- as any great hotel should.

If you're White, most places will kiss your butt...ESPECIALLY the MO.
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Old Aug 20, 07, 1:03 am
  #22  
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Originally Posted by grumbler View Post
I don't know if it is a pattern, but I have the same issue with the MO NYC - except that its service to guests isn't even that great.
I was underwhelmed (actually disappointed) by my experience at Asiate.


Originally Posted by HUGE AL View Post
I might get in trouble for this one, but:

If you're Asian, stay away from the MO. You'll be treated (typically) like crap. The Pen, on the other hand, will always welcome everyone -- as any great hotel should.

If you're White, most places will kiss your butt...ESPECIALLY the MO.
I've stayted at the Oriental, have had a massage at the spa, and have eaten at Le Normandie, the Verandah, Lord Jim, Sala Rim Nam, and had tea at Authors Lounge. I'm Chinese and I've always been treated like an emperor at the Oriental.
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Old Aug 20, 07, 4:47 am
  #23  
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Originally Posted by MegatopLover View Post
I've written about my problem at The O before, but it would probably be hard to find with a search, so I'll just re-post it here. It comes down to a problem I and several friends of mine have experienced at a number of other MO hotels around the world: if you're a guest at the hotel, you get the red carpet treatment, but if you're not, they'd rather not have you around and treat you quite poorly. In my case, this was six years ago and I was quite young at the time (mid-20's). Mr. Megatop and I had a confirmed booking for dinner at La Normandie and, earlier that day wanted to stop in to the concierge desk to have a peak at the menu before going out for shopping. As we came up to the entrance, the doorman physically stood in our way and refused to let us enter the hotel. He would not explain why. I asked several times, in English, what the problem was, and he just waved us away without explanation. I told him that we wanted to go to the concierge desk or front desk to see the menu for La Normandie because we had a reservation for dinner that night. The doorman refused to let us enter and never gave us an explanation of any sort, pretending he did not understand and giving the impression that he couldn't be bothered to deal with us. I asked to see a manager or someone who could explain what was going on. A gentlemen in a suit of some sort (more likely a security manager than a real hotel staff member) came and said that we were not permitted inside the lobby. I asked, again, why. He finally produced from a cabinet underneath an ashtray a laminated form of some sort stating policy that people wearing shorts were not permitted inside the hotel. As if this place were the Grand Palace. Meanwhile, streams of apparently hotel guests are coming out in shorts or milling around the lobby in shorts because, after all, it's August in Bangkok. I told him that now we wanted to cancel our reservation for dinner. He said he would have a hotel staff member come out to talk with us in order to accept the cancelation. I would have none of it and told him that he would have to report the cancelation and that the reason was how rudely he and the doorman had treated us. IIRC, at this point he may have even said we could go inside to the front desk and speak with someone there. I turned to leave. Tehn Mr. Megatop, who had let me endure all of this on my own, stepped forward and very calmly but firmly lit into the security man and the doorman in Thai, telling them that they should not treat foreigners like this and he knows very well they speak English and shouldn't pretend they don't just to get rid of us.
Well, that's a passion killer. I've stayed at the MO many times, and I notice that they are very good at scoping out who's "in" and who's "out", no matter what you are dressed like. Once you're "in", you can be wearing a toga and Elton John glasses, and they'll welcome you with open arms. The problem is signaling that you're "in", which I do by usually taking their car from the airport. Once I showed up covered in vomit (literally, Mrs. Pickles got sick on the plane, and decided to unload her concerns on me), and they treated me like the King's grandson. In your case, it seems that you were "in" but they completely dropped the radar on that one, and now you're a brand assassin. Don't blame you.
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Old Aug 20, 07, 5:02 am
  #24  
 
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For a hotel that pretends to be tradition-bound, claiming to cultivate relationships measured in generations, the Oriental should really be, well, for lack of a better word, less obnoxious, particularly to those who are young. I think I was nine when I last stayed there, vowed would never go back, and have kept my word. I don't remember the exact details, but I was a bit lost trying to get back to my room from the pool, and the only place I recognized was the lobby. Needless to say I was not in proper lobby attire, and was scolded by somebody wearing a suit rather than being helped in a discreet manner.
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Old Aug 20, 07, 6:46 am
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by Pickles View Post
... In your case, it seems that you were "in" but they completely dropped the radar on that one, and now you're a brand assassin. Don't blame you.
'Appreciate that. Never heard the term "brand assassin" before, but it's apt.

This example just points up the tremendous risk businesses run in prejudging people and shooing them away. The great service we enjoyed across the river, which subsequently improved with each stay and is now stellar, quickly turned us into lifelong devotees of the Pen. Considering the at least ten years (of increasingly frequent stays, sometimes with friends and family coming along) that will elapse between that first stay and the time I finally buy a place in Bangkok, it's a serious loss for MO.

For the record, however, I'll note that I have had good experiences at the MOSF. I must be part of the "in crowd" there.
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Old Aug 20, 07, 9:14 am
  #26  
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Originally Posted by MegatopLover View Post
This example just points up the tremendous risk businesses run in prejudging people and shooing them away. The great service we enjoyed across the river, which subsequently improved with each stay and is now stellar, quickly turned us into lifelong devotees of the Pen. Considering the at least ten years (of increasingly frequent stays, sometimes with friends and family coming along) that will elapse between that first stay and the time I finally buy a place in Bangkok, it's a serious loss for MO.
Agreed. I've never stayed at these two hotels. But have visited them both - perhaps 7 times or so to the MO. I'm originally Thai and find that Thailand is very class-oriented. During all my visits to the MO (except for the one time that I was staying at Shangri-La with my partner when we just walked over), I arrived in a car with a driver (usually for lunch) and was always warmly greeted - our driver usually also waited in the lobby. On the same trip with my partner, we also took the shuttle boat over to the Pen and felt the staff less welcoming than at the MO. I also agree that if you use public transport, the location makes less of a difference, but if you're not using the public transport, I wouldn't deal with the issue of crossing the bridge constantly.
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Old Aug 20, 07, 11:39 am
  #27  
 
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IMO - The oriental does not seem to take tour groups, discounts its rooms more discretely, and is more expensive overall - therefore the customers are more the formal/high-level types. I do think it is the hotel in Bkk to beat.
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Old Aug 20, 07, 1:25 pm
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by erik123 View Post
IMO - The oriental does not seem to take tour groups...
The tour buses (nice ones, but tour buses all the same) ocassionally jammed into the tight parking area at the end of Soi Oriental indicate otherwise. Not passin' judgment, just sayin' what I've seen.
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Old Aug 20, 07, 7:14 pm
  #29  
 
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I had a similar experience as MegaTopLover at the Oriental back in 1999. We stayed at Pen and decided to hotel hop. We made it to The Oriental but were refused entry. The reason? My 2 friends were wearing shorts and carrying back-packs. I somehow managed to get in (I was wearing long pants) and asked for a brochure at the Front Desk. I thought the whole situation bizzare -- they refuse customers to enter their hotel wearing shorts, but just off the lobby, you can practically see the tourists in their dental floss swimsuit mingling at the pool.

I've been to BKK 8 to 9 times after that and I have never set foot at The Oriental. Come to think of it, I don't think I ever will.

BTW, not to steer off-topic, but why is it always Pen vs MO? Is Sukhothai not well regarded here at all? I'll be staying there for 2 nights next month.
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Old Aug 20, 07, 8:31 pm
  #30  
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Sukhothai and FS are also regarded fairly well, but less popular

there have been a few reports from Shangri La Krungthep Wing

and the Metropolitan receives very mixed reviews
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