Swissotel Bangkok = Great Executive Lounge and 5-Star Service

100   Recommended

Crest Suite
April 23, 2019 by
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Crest Suite

Liked:
Location
Service
Food
Amenities
Room

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Room
Crest Suite

I stayed at Swissotel Bangkok a few times in the past, usually on short 1-night stays and one of the main draws was that it provided easy progress towards Fairmont Platinum status via 10 stays.  However this feature is now gone, and I stopped staying at Swissotel Bangkok due to the subpar Platinum benefits at this property in the past as outlined in my previous review.  There was (1) no free breakfast, (2) no lounge access, and (3) I only received very modest room upgrades or no upgrade at all.  I came to the conclusion that grass was greener elsewhere particularly with Marriott/Starwood, Hilton, and Hyatt hotels in Bangkok where you get far better elite benefits.  However sometimes it is good to keep an open mind because when changes are made a hotel that was not recommended might turn things around.  Once I found out that Platinum guests would start getting lounge access at the Swissotel brand under Accor, it raised my interest.  Also Accor extended free breakfast in Asia-Pacific so it was no longer a competitive disadvantage compared to other hotel chains.  It was time for me to give another chance to Swissotel Bangkok and revaluate especially since I had never seen the lounge so I needed to refresh my assessment of the hotel.  I am glad I did because it turns out the lounge is the strong point of this hotel and I was missing the best part of it in my previous stays.

I found a Best Rate Guarantee for a bit above 4.3k THB for the executive suite.  While I normally avoid Accor BRG because feedback on FT is quite negative, at least with Fairmont BRG I know I am getting reasonable agents on the phone.  Swissotels are still under the Fairmont umbrella for BRG purposes for the moment, so I knew I could get a helpful agent on the phone for a BRG request at this hotel.  It was successful.   

There are not that many chain hotels in Bangkok where you can guarantee having a suite for about 4k THB and not have to gamble on whether you get a suite upgrade at check-in or not.  Millenium Hilton is one of them but for others generally you can have good odds of an upgrade but it’s not guaranteed at the time of booking. With 4.3k THB for the exec suite (55 sq m) I was confident that even if other aspects of my stay were not great, at least I would not overpay.

Upon arrival the reception area is impressive with high ceiling and painting. 

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We stopped by reception and we were escorted to the lounge for check-in.   I was curious to know if they would upgrade me as a Platinum guest to a premium suite room type or not.  Good news: they did.  I got an upgrade to the crest suite (93 sq m) which is significantly larger than the exec suite and sells for almost double the cash rate so it was not a minor upgrade by any means.  I did not even ask for anything – it was done proactively which I always appreciate.  This was in contrast with my experience at Banyan Tree Bangkok a couple weeks earlier where the policy is that if you book a suite then you do not get a Platinum upgrade.

Room

My room was on the same floor as the executive lounge (21st) which is convenient, while being at the very end of the hallway so there was no disturbing foot traffic outside the room. Now the bad news: the room is aging relative to other more modern hotels in Bangkok particularly in the Sukhumvit area, although Swissotel is fairly well maintained.  The other Bangkok hotels that I have seen before which are similar in terms of aging rooms are the Royal Orchid Sheraton and the JW Marriott, although the latter is currently renovating its rooms.  Almost every other hotel I have visited in Bangkok has more modern rooms so travellers who are looking for new and shiny rooms should look elsewhere because Swissotel won’t be a good fit, but if you value having lots of space then keep in mind that booking the exec suite you have good chances of an upgrade to the crest suite which is expansive.  

The crest suite has a large half bathroom near the entrance in addition to the full bathroom off the bedroom.  The bathrooms were possibly renovated more recently than the rest of the room and I found them to be in good condition.  The one drawback was that water in the shower was lukewarm and never hot.  There is a living area separate from a dining area plus a small kitchen which is not that common in Bangkok so it might be useful to some guests.  We did not watch TV so we did not mind, but I should note that the TV in the living room is unusually small as they probably want to fit it in the wall unit.  In the bedroom the TV is right on the wall so they could easily have a big TV but over there too it is fairly small.  

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Location

The location of the hotel is the other feature which might make Swissotel a no-go for some guests.  Most travelers to Bangkok prefer the Sukhumvit area or a hotel near the river.  I might not recommend the Swissotel location for a first time visitor in Bangkok, however personally in Bangkok I do not care much about which part of the city my hotel is located and I am less willing to pay a premium for a top location, unlike in other cities of the world where I sometimes want to be in the middle of the action especially if I have never been there.  Swissotel’s location is not optimal but it’s decent.  The hotel is located right next to the MRT subway station Huai Khwang which is only 4 stops away from Sukhumvit station so it’s not like you are completely in the middle of nowhere. 

Dining

Ironically by booking the exec suite for this trip we were going to get lounge access regardless of the new access policy for Platinums.  I thought since they opened the floodgates to Plats maybe lots of Accor Plat guests would invade the lounge, but fortunately I was wrong.  Maybe because Swissotel is away from the Sukhumvit area it does not attract so many elite Accor guests and there might not be lots of Platinums staying here.  Happy hour is 17:30-20:00 so more generous than the standard 2 hours for many hotels.  For me a lounge has value not only for food & beverage but also if it is a nice place to relax and have a good time; lounges which are overcrowded and loud are a liability in my opinion.  At Swissotel Bangkok F&B was good in terms of quality and average in terms of quantity, but the exclusivity and privacy of the lounge was second to none. At no time during 4 evenings for happy hour were there more than 5 guests in the lounge including ourselves, and on the first night we were alone for the entire duration of happy hour. Talk about having a quiet and private place to ourselves – absolutely lovely.  As you can imagine, with more staff than guests in the lounge at times, the service could not have been better. This was a complete contrast to our experience in Banyan Tree Bangkok were the lounge was crowded and loud.  It might be that the lounge was unusually quiet at Swissotel because it was shortly after the Songkran holiday and business travel might have been lighter than usual, plus the fact that we stayed from Friday to Monday and maybe weekends are less busy in the lounge too. We’ll have to return later this year to see the difference.  

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As mentioned, food offered in the lounge was good quality.  There were several cold small appetizer size portions available but more limited hot food: some pork skewers, salmon, gyozas, etc.  One evening they had oysters which shows the focus on quality – very few lounges offer oysters during happy hour.  Also there was a chef who prepared shrimp dim sum (first night) and salmon salad (last night), but no chef on weekends.  I guess given how few guests go to this lounge it would be unfair to expect the same extensive spread as offered in some more busy lounges, for example Marriott Marquis has a very big buffet but the lounge is crowded and chaotic. Regarding drinks, I did not find it to be the strength of Swissotel: only one white and one red wine, both from Chile, and they were nothing to write home about.  On the plus side there was sparkling wine from Australia which not all lounges have.  If you value top notch drinks perhaps this lounge won’t be your favorite, but considering the privacy and exclusivity of the lounge then it ranks significantly higher than I would have expected.  Opening up the lounge to Accor Platinums does not seem to have been as much of an issue as Banyan Tree Bangkok.

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Breakfast in the lounge was also a stand out.  In almost all hotels we need to make a compromise between a wider choice in the restaurant or a calmer environment in the lounge.  At Swissotel there is not a lot more available in the restaurant than in the lounge, in fact what struck me is that offerings in the lounge are different than in the restaurant rather than a sub-set, and everything is higher quality in the lounge.  For example in the restaurant you can find vegetable fried rice, but in the lounge it was shrimp fried rice.  In the lounge we had seafood or beef with peppercorn sauce but no such thing in the restaurant where choices were more basic like potatoes in curry sauce.  The omelet station in the lounge also had choices not available in the restaurant for example the eggs benedicts were excellent, and same for the Asian pan eggs as shown in the pictures.  That combined with once again having fantastic privacy in the lounge like in the evening, there was no reason whatsoever to have breakfast in the restaurant.  

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Service

In the past perhaps service was great in this hotel but we could not experience the full extent of it by not having access to the lounge and not having paid for it.  But on this stay it was very clear; staff went out of their way to be attentive and friendly.  My wife was sick when we arrived and the next day when I was alone for breakfast in the lounge staff asked me if my wife wanted soup to be delivered to our room. They also sent a get well flower bouquet to our room along with hot water, lime, and honey – a very nice touch.  On the second evening in the lounge they offered us a Platinum gift: Le Club Accor luggage tag.  We also had a welcome gift in our room upon arrival, and on Easter we got a chocolate bunny and eggs delivered to our room.  Also one nice perk offered by the hotel to guests booking a suite is that we can have 3 pieces of laundry for free every day.  Most hotels do not offer free laundry, and some of them give 2 free pieces. Having 3 is on the generous end of the scale and we took maximum advantage of the benefit since we were on a long trip.  At check-in I was asked if we needed late check-out and I was a bit embarrassed to say that we had a flight at 11pm so a taxi was booked to pick us up at 8pm.  They said no problem, you can have late check out from the room at 5pm and stay in the lounge for happy hour until 8pm. Once again, all done proactively without me asking anything.  So it makes me chuckle when I read reports of Platinum guests in other Bangkok hotels who have to pull teeth to get 2pm check-out.  Bottom line the service was way beyond expectations, to be honest I dare say perhaps St.Regis Bangkok level kind of service and I do not think it would be much of an exaggeration.  

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Wifi

Internet worked well during our stay: 40 Mbps download and 25 Mbps upload.

Overall

Overall I might not recommend this hotel if you care about prime location in Bangkok as a first time visitor, if you want a new and modern room, or if you will not get lounge access either because you are not Accor Plat or because you won’t pay for lounge access.  However if you enjoy a good lounge and top notch service, this is the strength of the hotel so you will be happy at Swissotel.  Also it should be noted that they won’t hesitate to give a Platinum room upgrades if available and since they do not have many Plats staying there then you will have limited competition and good odds for such upgrade.  In the past this hotel had become a no-go for me, and now because of the quality of the lounge and because of the generous room upgrade I can highly recommend it and I will be back for sure.  

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