Athenee Bangkok (Luxury Collection) = Great Lounge, F&B, but Not Perfect

100   Recommended

Athenee Room
September 1, 2018 by
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Athenee Room

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Athenee Room

I had my first stay at Athenee hotel in a few months, after the hiccup I experienced last time (more on that below) and because I am generally treated well.  I found a BRG for a quick 1-night stay for 4.4k THB and took the 2k Starpoints which based on my personal valuation of the points, it brought the net cost of my stay to less than 3k THB which is hard to pass up for this property.  We arrived at 1pm and asked if we could get early check-in, in addition to asking for 4pm check-out the next day and they said no problem, which was appreciated.  They also allowed us to wait in the lounge on the day of departure until 8pm when our car to the airport was scheduled so we ended up having two happy hours on a one-night stay, which was quite generous.  

Room

On the day of arrival I checked spg.com and saw that there were no suites available so I did not expect a suite upgrade.  However there were three room categories available online between the basic room which I booked (Athenee Room, 38 sq m) and the suites: Royal Club (44 sq m), Prestige (46 sq m), and Royal Club Prestige (55 sq m). We were upgraded to…. nothing! Given that it was a low rate + BRG and that they granted early check-in, 4pm check-out, and allowed us to go to the lounge for the second evening before our departure, for sure I did not intend to mention the lack of upgrade and we took the basic room, no questions asked.  But I am noting the facts here nonetheless. I am now 0/5 this year for suite upgrades and I can see they can be stingy with upgrades, even upgrades below the suites depending on circumstances for example if the paid rate is quite low (BRG?), Ambassador status or not.  We can read in this thread that they sometimes give suite upgrades to Platinums, but I wonder if it is for people paying a rate which is average or higher than average, and/or for people booking above the Athenee Room, especially since they would not even give me a one-category upgrade for a short one-night stay when there was availability.  Oh well, no big deal and I think in the aggregate what I got for the price was excellent.  However it’s useful to know before booking that they are not the most generous in town for upgrades.  

Anyway, the Athenee Room is ok but obviously is a different experience than other hotels who upgrade more liberally to better rooms including suites, such as Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Le Meridien, Royal Orchid Sheraton, and Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, to name a few within Starriott where we got upgrades before.  At least for us, Athenee has been the most stingy besides perhaps Westin.  There is nothing wrong with the basic room at Athenee but it’s not new and modern.  The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom is functional and maximizes the space.  However the shower door would not close completely and water was leaking on the floor.  As far as non-upgraded rooms go, I would say Athenee has one of the best in Bangkok, but for many stays where I care about space, I would prefer an upgraded room elsewhere than this room at Athenee.  

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Cockroach

During the night, my wife went to the toilet and saw and killed a cockroach in the bathroom.  Of course this is Bangkok so due to the climate, a cockroach is not unheard of, but given the number of hotel nights we have spent in different Bangkok hotels for us it’s a first and I am confident to say it’s not a common occurrence for 5-star hotels.  The first thing that came into my mind was our incident the last time we stayed at Athenee a few months ago.  We were forced to change rooms just one night before we were supposed to check out because they were closing the entire floor to have chemicals sprayed.  Not only have I never been forced to change rooms in a hotel of this caliber, but now in my subsequent stay we find a cockroach?  I do not think those are isolated incidents and it tempers my enthusiasm about this property.

Dining

The Club Lounge and Food & Beverage in general is the strength of the hotel and for this stay once again it did not disappoint. During happy hour, the quality of the dishes is excellent and the drinks menu is better than the norm for hotel lounges. There is enough food in quantity and variety to make it a dinner.  

20180831_062402.jpg20180831_062423.jpgUnfortunately we were advised at check-in that August 31stwas the last day the lounge was open for the next two months.  Starting September 1stthe entire 26th floor will be closed for renovations and there will be a temporary lounge on the 2ndfloor.  For this reason we were told we could have breakfast in the restaurant AND have the 1k welcome points because for September 1stonly, the make-shift lounge would not be entirely ready in the morning so we had to have breakfast in the restaurant.  Post Marriott integration, the norm is that Platinums can choose between 1k pts OR breakfast in the restaurant, in line with the slip of paper with the choices that @2lovelife reported about a few days ago in this thread.  In any event, Platinums will continue to have lounge access (including breakfast) even though in theory any Luxury Collection hotel is no longer required to give lounge access to Plats as per the new Marriott Terms & Conditions.  The old lounge on the 26thfloor did not look like it needed renovations at all in my eyes and I always thought it was excellent.  They told me it’s getting old (!) and they will change the furniture in addition to improving the bar area and food area.  That’s good to know and I am looking forward to see how it will be once finished, but I might not return to Athenee in September-October due to the lounge situation and I would rather wait until November.  The atmosphere in the temporary lounge on the 2ndfloor is not nearly as nice as the real lounge, but they did their best to make the area private with small trees surrounding the entire area.  They also asked for my feedback about the temporary lounge and it was clear they wanted to make it as good as possible in the circumstances.  

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Breakfast in the restaurant at Athenee is fantastic, and a close competitor to SGS. There is a wide selection of dishes: Indian, Thai, Japanese, Western, etc.  Similar to the food in the lounge in the evening, the quality is excellent.  The chef remembered us by name from a stay several months ago where the hotel took great care of my mother’s dietary requirements. Service continues to be excellent particularly from restaurant and lounge staff.  

Overall

Overall it is one of my favorite hotels in Bangkok but unfortunately as described here, the hotel is not perfect.  With so many other good Marriott/Starwood options in Bangkok, I am interested to return to other properties I like as well, and to discover new Marriott properties I did not try before since I am an ex-Starwood guest. None of my incidents at Athenee are deal breakers, but the chemical spray and changing rooms, the cockroach, now the lounge closing for a couple of months, the lack of room upgrades (although can be explained and/or excused), those things add up.  I will return, but possibly not until November, to enjoy the new Club Lounge which should be improved from what was already one of the best.  

 

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