Tuesday 5 January 2010

Travelling and Living: Centara Grand Bangkok @ CentralWorld

Centara Grand @ Central World
Image from centarahotelsresorts
Centara Grand @ Central World Hotel, Bangkok

This time round I went to Bangkok, I stayed in the Centara Grand @ Central World Hotel instead of the Millenium Hilton because I wanted a more relaxing trip, which means I could skip all those taxi rides, thus the traffic jams, the bargaining with the drivers for using the taxi metres and the watch-out for taxi fare cheats, yet get to most of my favourite shopping malls and restaurants.

Located right next to the largest shopping mall in Asia, this hotel is one of the newest in town. I always have a taste for new hotels, and the hotel rooms of this hotel are definitely impressive!

Superior World
Image from centarahotelsresorts
I like the simplicity in the overall design of the Deluxe World room as well as the little little designers’ secrets. One of the most exciting features of this room is the sliding windows on the bathroom-living room wall. Once the windows are opened, the bathroom and the living room feel like one. The view of the room is extended even further by the presence of numerous mirrors on the bathroom walls. The living room also has about 4 mirrors which serve the same purpose, thus making the room seems much larger than it is. The bathroom comes with a bath tub big enough for 2 people and a cylindrical glass-walled shower cubicle with overhead shower head.

The designer also added a romantic touch by placing a Thai-style chaise lounge just outside that sliding window in the living room, so that while the husband is having his bubble bath, he can still talk to his wife who is sitting on that chaise lounge, or vice versa.

A secret touch was unveiled on my 3rd day of the trip when I discovered that the huge Panasonic plasma/LCD TV was actually mounted on a extendable metal arm such that the TV could be pulled out (with strength and care) for about 50 cm from the shelf and the angle can be adjusted such that your bathing/defecating hubby can still watch CNN without any blocking. (My only worry was who will pay for the TV if the metal mount broke.)

Other caring touches consist of a cool transparent weighing scale, a bottle of mouthwash, a ball of bath salt, a bottle of bath gel, two bottles of complimentary water and a hair dryer in the bathroom.

On the other hand, you might have many complaints about the use of mediocre quality materials for the interior design, but you might have to be Sherlock Holmes or an interior designer to spot the faults.

Now, let’s move on to the hotel facilities. Bottom-up!

Check-in on 23rd floor
Image from bangkokpost.
The ground lobby has nothing much except a few staff, that is because the Sky Lobby / check-in counters are on the 23rd floor. It is not stunning, but it is cool enough for me. You can take a few pictures at the wooden staircase while you wait for the check in, but my advice is you should take a few more at night because it looks much prettier when the lights were on. Restaurant Globe is on this floor too, but I haven't tried, so I have nothing to say about it apart from its huge wooden main door. The Sky lobby is connected to the Exhibition Centre, where you will find a few lifts that can take you to 7th floor, which is directly connected to the Central World Shopping mall Food Hall and supermarket (took me 2 days to discover this path). Real convenient because you don’t need to go out from the hotel front door and then back into the Exhibition Centre on the ground floor.

Image from  centarahotelsresorts
The Ginger and the World are on the 24th floor, and guess what? Breakfast and dinner are served across two restaurants. Interesting, but not clever. This is because the restaurants are separated by a large lift lobby. What it means is that if you want to eat everything available, you need to walk from one restaurant to another with your plates and bump into lift-takers all the time. As for the food quality, don’t expect too much. They offer a wide range of variety of food but the cooking skill is highly disappointing. The food wasn’t hot enough and the service was poor – they forget your requests immediately. I learnt on my 3rd day that I would only eat vegetables and drink orange juice and reserve the quota of my stomach for better food on the 7th Floor of the Central World mall.

Swimming Pool
Image from  centarahotelsresorts
Located on the 26th floor, the swimming pool has one of the most balanced view and tropical design among all the hotels in the city centre. It is not a standard pool, but the length of it is enough for most unprofessional swimmers. What you can see from the sun bathing terrace and the swimming pool pictures below is exactly 100% to scale of the actual beauty. I spent a few pleasant hours there warmed by sunshine (best after 11am) and cooled by the breezes. Real comfy! Must try! Right next to the swimming pool is the tennis courts and a green garden for banquet.

Also on the same floor are the gym, sauna rooms, spa and the outdoor Jacuzzis. However, I didn’t try any of them so that’s all I have to say about them.

World Executive Suite
Image from centarahotelsresorts
The Superior and deluxe rooms are located on floors from the 26th to the 45th (I think), and then the executives are from 46th (I think) to the 54th and you will need to use the door key card of your executive room in the lift to reach these floors (I stayed on the 48th floor). The Executive Lounge is on the 51st floor. And on the 55th floor, the unbelievable Red Sky bar.

If you like the view on the Sirocco on Le Bua at State Tower, then you cannot miss the Red Sky as it is the only comparable open sky bar with similar stunning view in Bangkok! In Sirocco, you can't find seats if you are drinking, here in Red Sky, you have stuffed cushions on wooden couch. It has non-smoking area which has an even better view than the smoking side, great for non-smokers like me. Ladies do not need to worry about their hair as the direct wind is blocked by the glass walls and only soft breezes get through. The inverted V shape changes colours every now and then and there are twinkling star-like LED lightings on the solid walls, so you can definitely get some really nice shots with your cameras.
Red Sky
Image from  centarahotelsresorts
Drinks comes with a large variety at an unbelievably acceptable price! I ordered two alcoholic drinks each at 320 baht (less than $80) and get one free! Before I visited Red Sky, I wanted to visit Sirocco for one night and then Red Sky another. After I have visited Red Sky first, I decided not to visit Sirocco anymore because it is just as stunning but so much more convenient and cheaper!

Overall, the hotel itself is absolutely great! But the services are terrible:
  1. Room service usually comes 20 mins after requesting.
  2. Waiters / waitresses brings you warm tea when you asked for hot.
  3. At free breakfast time, they hardly ever showed any signs of politeness; at paid dinner time, they smiled without ever closing their mouth.
  4. Newspaper only came on the 4th day (2nd last of the trip) despite requesting on the 2nd.
  5. The check-in staff didn't let me know about the 4-day closure of the Jacuzzi that would happen on my day 2, thus I missed the entire chance to use the facility.
  6. Check-in staff didn't teach me how to get to Central World through the Exhibition Centre and I had to get out from the main entrance, past the hot dusty car park and back to the mall on ground floor, which was time-wasting.
  7. Check-in staff didn't let me know about any promotions in the hotel either, so I was happy about the sudden promotional offer (discount of 999 baht) in Red Sky, and upset because I could have spent more money on drinks had I known about it earlier.
  8. On the last day when I asked for a taxi, the staff helped the taxi driver negotiated a 500 baht trip to the airport when in fact it only took 300 baht to get to the hotel. I didn't take the offer, I asked for at most 400 baht and I got it.
On the check-out day, I wrote an evaluation card and I asked them to learn from Hilton in terms of services. I hope they take that as an advice.

PS: Sorry about the late posting, it takes a long time to write this article.

Bangkok Thailand Centara Hotels and Resorts: Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld (โรงแรมเซ็นทาราแกรนด์ และบางกอกคอนเวนชันเซ็นเตอร์ เซ็นทรัลเวิลด์) - Home Page

Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld @ Agoda

曼谷自由行住宿篇-Centara Grand at Central World @ 我的旅遊日記 :: 隨意窩 Xuite日誌

Centara Grand at Central World, Bangkok accommodation @ Travel Online