Thursday, April 19, 2012

Accommodation, Part 18: The Dusit Thani, Bangkok

The two wings of the hotel from the edge of Lumphini Park

Most of the posts here about accommodations in Thailand have been of the more economical and middle-range guest houses and hotels, but I do sometimes splurge and allow myself the luxury of a higher priced place.  Not necessarily nicer overall, but better equipped with the accouterments and trained staff to cater to your whims. Let's just say "nicer" in a different way.

I myself tend to enjoy the more casual and simple places so I haven't written about any of the higher priced hotels I've visited yet, but if I'm going to present a balanced selection I suppose I need to - and here's one today.  There are a couple of others I'll post about in the future, but since the Dusit Thani has been bandied about on at least one forum by someone who may or may not ever have set foot in the place it seemed the most appropriate to begin with.

Lumphini Park from my balcony on the 16th floor. You can see the  sign atop the other wing on the right

Practically connected to the Sala Daeng MRT station and less than a five minute stroll via covered elevated walkway to the Sala Daeng BTS station the Dusit Thani is smack dab between what one farang friend there calls "the sacred and the profane", with the lush expanse of Lumphini Park on one side and the nightlife of Patpong and all that it entails on the other.  It's also worth mentioning that if you go diagonally across the intersection from the hotel you'll be on the Red Cross grounds, on which you'll find the snake farm from the June 23rd and 24th posts last year.

Nothing against those who do, but I've never felt the need to stay in a suite any more than I've felt a need to fly first class. Even if I had the disposable income to do so I'd personally choose an additional trip on a less costly basis than to go all out with hotels and air cabin expenses, but again, that's just me.

When I can honestly say I've enjoyed my trip to Thailand on my budget as much as my friend who did things more lavishly - including sitting up in first class and staying at the top of the Le Bua - I have no regrets about my choice whatsoever, albeit a beautiful view from up that high. If you haven't already seen it there's a video clip of that view here.  But back to the Dusit Thani...

On the 16th floor you don't have to worry about leaving the drapes open after dark, and it's a great view.

With over 500 rooms the Dusit Thani has been serving travelers for four decades. Not having stayed there back in the 70s or 80s I can't say how they served their guests then, but they're most gracious and accommodating now. As an example, I'd set down my notes and pen on the reception counter and forgotten them when I turned to head up to the room, and before I'd even finished taking my first room photos * and as my bags were arriving the man from the desk showed up at my door with them.  He was nice enough to stop with another employee for a photo before going back to his station downstairs.

The reception clerk is in the gold jacket. Nice uniform!

At 60sq meters the "Grand" room was far more space than I needed, and although I didn't strew junk around the room too  much in my couple of nights I did find it took a little longer to "check for anything [I] may have left behind," as the stewardesses say near the end of a flight.

The sitting and TV area. The desk was just to my right.

Nevertheless, it was in excellent repair, clean, well stocked and the internet was fast.  The breakfast on offer was of a higher quality than most places, too; both in preparation and variety. They must have a carefully trained kitchen staff.

Lumphini Park is perhaps a 10 minute walk from the lobby, and it would be about the same to the base of the Sala Daeng BTS station.  As far as getting around goes, the location is nearly ideal.

The vanity & tub/shower area. The shaving mirror was handy.

I was sort of on the run and out and about the time I was there so other than breakfast I didn't dine in any of the other spots of the hotel.  They were, as you'd expect, somewhat pricey. The lounge on the top floor had a magnificent view and a wide variety of call liquor and champagne.

Security was observant and attentive, too, but not intrusive.  I didn't try waltzing in with a go-go dancer, but none of my friends were challenged when I met them in the lobby or came through the front doors with them.  Shorts, rubber slippers and tank tops aren't allowed in the nicer dining places, so I suppose bringing in a guest who wasn't "properly" attired might get a comment, but I can't say.

This isn't the most expensive place in Bangkok you could stay in by any means, but it's decent dollar value for the service, the amenities, the wonderful bed, the staff overall and the food.  Add at least a handful of extra points for where it's located, too, naturally.

A room will run you about $150 a night, around $250 a night for a room like the one today, and there are suites for close to $600.  I got a discounted rate - and they do run some specials, too - but it still made me cringe a bit.

[* Since someone asked - I either quickly take room photos for these write-ups before my bags arrive, or after room service has tidied up. Saves you seeing my clutter.]


Anonymous said...

so would you recommend the Dusit Thani then?

khunbaobao said...

If a more upscale level of lodging is what you're after on holiday I'd say yes. As I mentioned, there are many special touches to the place, but you pay for them.

I'm not a philistine... I'm able to recognize and appreciate a fine establishment, but as long as a place is clean, safe and is easy to navigate from I'm actually happier in a hotel at 50% or less of what the DT costs.

As I hinted, though, if you're in the habit of bringing a variety of colorful guests back to your room at night it's probably not the best place for it.