The Banyan Tree group of hotels and resorts have a strong brand name, with most of its lodges concentrated in Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and China. Despite its lack of Western exposure, the Banyan Tree brand is well-known for its quality service and luxurious accommodations. After all, it is a brand with slightly over 30 years of history, with its core values based on the structure and purpose of a banyan tree in the past – to provide comfort, relief and shelter to travelers. Having received outstanding review across various websites and forums, we now bring you a professional take on the ever so popular Banyan Tree Bangkok Hotel.
Date of stay: February 2012
Banyan Tree Bangkok is a 40 minute drive fromÂ Suvarnabhumi International Airport, making it a rather convenient location to be in. Not only that, it is located in the central business district (CBD) of Bangkok, with close proximity to several company offices. Several foreign embassies are also just minutes walk away, making the hotel a good location for international tourists. Transport wise, most travelers visiting the bustling city of Bangkok will do fine travelling on their efficient and reliable train system, also called the MRT. Banyan Tree Bangkok is a mere 10 minutes walk from Lumpini MRT station, which takes you easily to numerous tourist attractions all across Bangkok. To add on to the convenience of guests, the hotel provides its own transportation services albeit at a small fee. For instance, limousine and van airport transfers are available, payable on a per trip basis, and the friendly concierge are kenn to assist guests on booking a taxi.
The prime location of Banyan Tree Bangkok makes it favorite choice of lodging for guests who want a cultural immersion in Thailand but not forsake the favorite tourist activities of shopping and relaxing. For those who wish to experience Thai culture, the Lumpinee Stadium – famous for Muay Thai boxing matches and Muay Boran demonstrations is just less than a kilometer away from the hotel. Approach the friendly and hospitable staff and they will be quick to dish out recommendations and give advice on directions to attractions such as the Thai Grand Palace. For those who enjoy admiring scenery, Bangkok is full of experiences that will not fail to satisfy. Lumpini Park is just one kilometer away from the hotel and it is ever so easy to hop on a Klong Tour, Tuk Tuk tour or a Bangkok Bike Tour or just pay a visit to the renowned Floating Market.
Finally, one cannot end a trip to Thailand without having a share of the nations unique street food. However, guests of Banyan Tree Bangkok will definitely not miss out as the boundaries of the hotel is lined with street hawkers selling local delights such as fresh young coconuts, red ruby desert and many more.
On hindsight, the location of the hotel is only lacking in one area, which is shopping.Of course, Bangkok’s popular malls are accessible by MRT and it is not inconvenient for guests to make a quick trip via train. However, shopping fanatics will surely prefer one of the countless hotels located in Bangkok’s shopping districts. After all, many of those hotels are directly connected to shopping malls or are located just a street away from markets. However, Banyan Tree Bangkok has a located that would serve just fine for travelers who want a little of everything and are not visiting the city solely for shopping.
Before even steeping into the hotel lobby, take a tour of its compound and you’ll immediately see the theme Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok is modelled after.Â The lush greenery and beautiful water features only emphasize the nature oriented name of the hotel and gives you more of what to expect. I was pleasantly greeted by the amazing compound and it definitely oozed the essence of a luxury resort.
Stepping into the lobby, I was greeted with an expansive and luxurious area fit for royalty. The thick wooden pillars, plush looking seats and a grand piano all added up to make the lobby look extremely luxurious and also exudes an oriental feel. The sides of the lobby were all floor to ceiling windows, inviting natural sunlight in and at the same time, giving guests a clear unblocked view of the “gardens” surrounding the hotel compound. I feel that Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok did a flawless job of fusing nature and luxury – something that is not always easy to excel at.
While waiting to check in, guests can lounge around the lobby and are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing an area to rest at. Seats by the side provide a somewhat “zen” atmosphere overlooking the water features and greenery while seats at the heart of the lobby provides a chance to thoroughly enjoy soothing piano pieces. The hotel staff are all quick and efficient, making guests’ enjoyment at the lounge a short-lived one. For my check in, I was quickly served by a friendly and amiable staff, who thankfully did not have a strong and hard to understand accent. The whole procedure was smooth as butter – something that tired guests would appreciate. However, what I noticed was that some staff could have been friendlier and more generous with their smiles. This slight inconsistency in front desk service standards was definitely not what I would expect from a renowned luxury hotel but even so, this is just nitpicking and there was absolutely nothing unpleasant about the hotel lobby or the check in procedure.
The rooms offered at Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok are all very generously sized and they all take after a natural Zen kind of theme. With the smallest room in the hotel starting at 44 meters square, even the most basic room at Banyan Tree Bangkok would be more than sufficient for a private retreat for two. For those seeking a more luxurious choice of rooms or for larger families, the suites offer a wonderful sanctuary to retreat into. The smallest one-room suite starts at around 67 meters square and that is easily larger than a small up-scale apartment in New York! Talk about affordable luxury!
For my stay, I booked an Oasis Retreat Room and the name of the room surely gave an apt insight to what my stay there was like.
Upon entering the room, I fell in love with the the amazing abode. There was much use of wood which made me feel very connected to nature. The use of plush, high quality furniture and solid wooden fixtures gave the room a rustic and cozy touch, but also successfully maintained a modern and luxurious feel to it. I believe Banyan Tree Hotel wanted to give their rooms the ambience of a homely, classy resort where guests can have a good rest after exploring the city and I sure felt that they have exceeded that goal. One think that will surely strike guests is the gargantuan wooden framed doors that are one of the kind. It was the first time I have seen the use of such doors in a hotel room and those spectacular doors made the the room feel a little like a mini palace fit for royalty.
To add on to the royal treatment of guests, I was welcomed with a platter of fresh fruits on the coffee table upon entering the room – a truly pampering gesture only found in top notch hotels.
The very same coffee table was well complemented with a light coloured couch which was as comfortable as it looked welcoming. With a television console set in front of the couch, this made for one of the most spacious and proper living areas I have seen in a hotel room.
What complemented this set up to a greater extent was the amazingly well appointed pantry and mini bar area.
The pantry was not overcrowded, yet it offered a bottle of red wine, a decent selection for teas and a coffee machine – perfect for the busy businessman who just needs to get a coffee fix before starting the day. The mini bar was also stocked with a selection of soft drinks and juices and it even contained several chocolate bars which were perfect for a quick energy fix. The best part of all was that all the non-alcoholic drinks in the mini bar were all complimentary and were restocked on a daily basis. I suppose now you can see why Banyan Tree Hotel’s core values are to provide comfort, relief and shelter to travellers and I am sure that they have succeeded in doing much more than that.
The work desk came with a nice view out of the room which provided an excellent source of natural light. Look up straight ahead and guests can take an instant breather from work and rest the tired eyes – something that busy businessmen will surely appreciate. However, one issue with the location of the work desk is that the natural lighting is out of the control of guests and those who prefer working in a darker environment will have to draw the curtains and forsake the relaxing view. Even for those who love the natural light, the sun does sometimes get a tad too strong and bright, turning the Â work haven into an overÂ exposed station. Nonetheless, I thought that a work desk with a nice view makes for an excellent combination and the boons definitely outweigh the banes.
I would urge guests to keep in mind that the Banyan Tree Hotel gravitates towards housing tourists to a larger extent than businessmen and so, do not expect much to be provided at the work desk. Simple stationeries are available, such as a pen and some paper but other than those basic necessities, the work desk is rather sparse. Furthermore, power sockets were not as easily accessible as I hoped they would be. Relative to other some other hotels that I have lodged in, Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok definitely has some work to do in terms of improving the work stations in each room. Still, there was one thing about the desk that I truly enjoyed and that was its size. It is undeniable that the desk was one of the largest I have seen in a non-suite room. Compared to most other hotels, the desk in Banyan Tree Bangkok was certainly way above average in size and I found it especially useful. Not only did I have ample space to place all my belongings, I also could open up a large map to plan my journey for the next day without having to clear the entire desk – a point which often goes unappreciated.
The main bedroom area is located separately from the living and working area, albeit the room not being a suite and I thought that such a layout made the room feel much more luxurious and guests feel more special. Also, it made the room seem to be larger than what it really was, even though it was already a rather spacious room.
From the first moment in the bedroom, I noticed how much I liked the design and furnishing of it. The wood veneers and soft touch backing made the bed look like the bed in a holiday resort of a noble – cozy and special. The use of natural materials and the colour scheme of the entire area gave the bedroom a somewhat rustic feel which I enjoyed. Unlike many other luxury hotels that choose expensive looking materials such as marble or gold, I felt that the design cues used by Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok made the room feel much more like a home away from home – something that guests will enjoy and feel comfortable in. This surely adds abundantly to their success in providing comfort, relief and shelter to guests.
As expected, an alarm clock and telephone can be found on the bedside table just as all other hotels. However, the alarm clock was rather dated and I felt that it did not blend in well with the overall image of the room . Furthermore, with and abundance of modern technology, I would expect Banyan Tree Hotel to provide a more modern alarm clock with more features such as in iPod docking system, an in built radio and more. Also, I noticed that the bedside lamps were affixed slightly further to the bed than I would prefer and it made reading while sitting in the middle of the large bed a strenuous chore for my eyes. Other than these minor issues, the bedroom was greatly to my liking and I thoroughly enjoyed my time resting in that room. The bed was plush and the sheets clean, and guests have a choice of 2 pillows of different size and softness. Bangkok, being known for being a bargain shopping paradise and sweltering heat promises tourists sore legs and tired bodies but with all these goodness in the room, a good night’s rest can certainly be expected when staying at the Banyan Â Tree Hotel in Bangkok.