hotel help

Sep 7th, 2004, 12:51 PM
  #1  
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hotel help

hi .... a few questions on hotel preferences:

1. Phuket -- Amanpuri vs Banyan Tree vs Cheddi .. i know the amanpuri is "the" hotel to go to but is it really so superior that it deserves its rich price tag? if not, would you lean toward the cheddi or the banyan tree, which appears to be off the beach (keep in mind this is a honeymoon)

2. Bangkok -- Peninsula vs Oriental vs Shangri-la ..what's the most luxurious place to stay?

3. Siem Riep -- Raffles vs Sofitel Royal Angokor .. which is nicer/higher end

many thanks!!
mikeNY2 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 03:37 AM
  #2  
 
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OK here are my subjective comments:

1. Chedi vs Aman - The rooms are not nearly as luxurious as the Aman, and neither are the public spaces. Some of the rooms at the Chedi do not have a bathtub, which I consider fairly necessary on a relaxing vacation (not to mention a honeymoon. . . ) The room which I stayed in and other rooms which I saw seemed to be a bit dark in terms of lack of natural light. The rooms at the Chedi are generally smaller than the Aman. I believe the Aman's rooms/villas are all at least 45 square meters. I believe most of the Chedi's are smaller than that. The property is VERY hilly, and there is a lot of up and down on longish flights of stairs. (Although the property is next door to the Aman, the Aman has fewer hills or at least it seems that way.) This could be ameliorated a bit by staying in a beach front room, but then you have a long walk up to the lobby and the parking area for taxis, etc.

I don't believe any of the Banyan Tree's villas have a beach view, as there is a dune between it and the beach. Some have a lagoon view. The property is quite spread out, and you could have a long walk to the beach or the lobby. The beach is nice, it is long and sweeping, but it is not private, so laying out on it will entail a bit of annoyance from hawkers and massage ladies. You can avoid this by staying in your villa, but then you don?t get the beach. The beach at the Aman is more private because there are rocky points at either end and the hawkers can't get around them and aren?t allowed onto the Aman property to get to the beach. (There are no private beaches in Thailand, some are just more private by luck of geography.) I don't think you would be unhappy at the Banyan, it is just a different experience than the smaller, more intimate Aman. If you want to play a lot of golf, the Banyan would be a better choice as there is a course right there.

2. Shang vs Oriental vs Penn - this really has been done to death. Run a search here. You won't be unhappy with any, although do watch some of the garden wing rooms at the Shang (often called the new wing) as some of them are quite close to a highway bridge over the river. My personal choice is the Penn, but it really IS a personal choice.


Cicerone is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 03:40 AM
  #3  
 
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Sorry, with regard to Siem Riep, I assume you know that there is a brand new Aman there, the Amansara, you might consider it as well. (I'd love to hear a report on it.)

Cicerone is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 05:38 AM
  #4  
 
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Bangkok-- as others have said everyone has their own favorite and feels strongly about it. Personally, I would not stay anywhere other than the Oriental but all are superb. Here's my take on some of the differences.

Penn -- across the river so location not quite as convenient. Very luxurious. The newest of the group and has the most high-tech amenities -- tvs in bathroom that go on and off when you take a shower etc. Excellent restaurants. I found it a tad "cold" but that could be because I wasn't known there and am at the Oriental where I am treated like a friend.

Shangri-la -- I find this to be the most commercial, biggest and most impersonal. A luxurious hotel but I don't think in any way as good as either the Penn or Oriental.

Oriental -- my favorite. More intimate, warmer, the one with the history and incredible personalized service (although again I don't know how it is for a first timer). Pool is on the small size so if you want a pool don't stay here. Great people watching and absolutely fabulous restaurants. I'd say it's the most romantic but then I love history.

Kathie loves the Royal Orchid. I've never stayed there but the location is terrific.

Unfortunately (for me) I was in Siem Reap before there were any decent hotels -- mine had at least an inch of water in the rooms the whole stay. So I envy your choises.
glorialf is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 06:59 AM
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OK... the hotel question...I've been to Bangkok several times and just got back a few days ago. I stayed at the following hotels...Chateau de Bangkok by Sofitel...serviced apartment-style room with kitchenette...$34.00 a night for a Jr. Suite. Very nice.Also for luxury... I stayed at the Peninsula, The Royal Orchid, The Four Seasons...my all-time favorite BY FAR...it's home-away-from-home for me...and the new high-tech and modern Metropolitan Hotel. As for the Peninsula...the rooms are GREAT...however I don't agree on it being voted as number 1 in Travel and Leisure.I wonder how many other hotels the voters had stayed in in Bangkok to compare it with. I stay at a lot of different hotels in order to really be able to compare one with the other. The check-out service at the Pen was horrendous...30 minutes in line with only one person ahead of me...and then when I thought it was my turn to be helped, the desk clerk walked away from the counter to take the guest in front of me to her room...and never said that she would be back shortly...just left...totally not acknowledging my presence.Plus it was awful having to wait, out in the heat, 15 minutes for a table for breakfast.It was very crowded at breakfast. At the Four Seasons when one diningroom/restaurant is full, then guests are put into an overflow diningroom/restaurant. I've never had to wait. Anyhow, the downside to the Peninsula for me is the location...the other side of the river and the private boat only going across the river to the River City Shopping Mall(attached to the Royal Orchid Sheraton)once an HOUR! Plus the Pen is 37 floors tall...I was on number 16 and felt as if I was looking out of an airplane window...the Four Seasons is 9 floors tall and the non-smoking rooms are on floors 4/5/6...it's a smaller more intimate kind of hotel with terrific, friendly,efficient service. I found the Pen quite STIFF...but the rooms huge and the bathrooms huge,too. As for the Royal Orchid Sheraton...not impressed AT ALL. I was even taken around to see other rooms as I hit it off with the receptionist and she took me all over the hotel. Toured the TOWERS and was not impressed...Clostophobic-sized rooms priced at $170.low season. My room was a standard room at $140. and I'm glad I was booked only for one night...quite depressing and terrible plumbing. Both my Thai friend, who was visiting me, and I could hardly flush the toilet.We had to put our whole body weight on the flush button to push it in. I only stayed there out of curiosity and to be next to the River City Shopping Mall where I shop.I was also at the Metropolitan which was fabulous and Thai modern style very hip...a breath of fresh air... and had a cafe with very healthy western-style food along with healthy Asian-style food. It was great to see a veggie burger on the menu and light dishes.Plus the Met reportedly has one of the top...if not the top...spas in town. The hotel is located next door to the Sukothai Hotel.If you have at 5 days or more in Bangkok, I would suggest that you stay at more than one hotel. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 07:31 AM
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Guenmai -- I agree that the service at the Penn is stiff but at least when I was there it was good. Now it was also half empty which could be the reason.

For MikeNY2 -- I have NEVER had to wait to check in, check out, or have a meal or drink at the Oriental since that was one of your choices.

glorialf is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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Our stay at the Penn was fantastic- most people ask for a high floor so I'm a bit puzzled by the earlier comment about an airplane view????
Check out was fine - the other commenter maybe had a bad day there- it happens at all hotels.
Never had a problem at breakfast. No matter what you say it did rank as number 1 in Travel and Leisure mag. The trip across the river in the hotel boats is part of the fun and my wife loved it each time we rode the boat- there you now have another point of view!
BillT is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 08:32 AM
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We all have our own favorites! I've been staying in the Towers at the Royal Orchid Sheraton for 20+ years, so for me it's like the Oriental is for gloria - like going home. I've never stayed in a regular room at the Royal Orchid, and actually, it's been quite a few years since I've stayed in a regular Towers rooms. I book a Towers suite (lovely, large suites on the top floor with a nice jetted tub) for the price of a regular room at the Pen. The service in the Towers is excellent and personalized. You get breakfast and evening cocktails and canapes served in the Club room as well as free internet access in the Club and free laundry (6 pieces per person per day) included in the price of your room. So while I believe that the regular rooms in the Towers are the same size as the regular rooms in teh main part of the hotel, there are lots of extra amenities. I've never had any problems with the plumbing. Also, I like being on a high floor, as I love the panoramic view over the river. There is no question for me that I stay by the river. I've looked at rooms at several excellent hotels not on the river (Grand Hyatt, Four Seasons) and while they are nice, they feel like just another luxury hotel in an Asian city. Staying on the river feels like Bangkok to me.

So you now have reviews from people who have had good experiences (and bad)at a number of places. Frankly, while we all have our favorites, I don't think you can go wrong with one of the hotels on the river. And if you book a suite, you'll always get better service.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 09:38 AM
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Well...MikeNY2...now you are probably really confused. You can see that we are all VERY passionate about our hotels in Bangkok and what part of town we stay in. Happy Travels to all!
Guenmai is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 10:08 AM
  #10  
 
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But the bottom line is that while we all have our favorites the deluxe hotels in Bangkok are really in a class of their own. You'll have a wonderful time.

glorialf is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 10:38 AM
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MikeNY2-do you have Starwood points?

Gpanda is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 07:37 AM
  #12  
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thanks so much for all of your help. i don't have starwood points...and i think i'm gonig to go for the oriental in bangkok having read your notes, and others. still not sure about the Chedi which i heard better things about, but now you've got me nervous. the aman would be ideal, but it's so expensive, not sure if it's worth it....thanks again
mikeNY2 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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The Amanpuri is a better hotel than the Chedi, but is it $300 per night better? We stayed at the Chedi and thought it was very nice. We're a little frugal. It's a pretty simple cost-benefit question. Is very nice enough or do you want exquisite? Whichever you choose, be sure you tour Phang Nga Bay. We used Seatours.com. Have fun.
Gpanda is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 11:40 AM
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OOPs! that should be Seacanoe.com. Too much reading of JamesA and Rhkkmk.
Gpanda is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 11:51 AM
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Have fun wherever you decide to stay! Bangkok has, in my opinion, a selection of the best hotels of anywhere I've traveled to in the world...and I've spent 30 years...since I was a teen... traveling regularly to all of the continents...but Bangkok always sparks a special passion in me and it has such a high concentration of great hotels in one city that it really brings out the passion in us all! Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 04:55 PM
  #16  
CFW
 
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Cicerone, Is the new wing that you referred to the Krung Thup wing (I think that's what it's called). That seems to be the more beautiful of the two wings, with slightly smaller more personal lobby, nicer larger rooms, and lovely garden areas. Do all of the rooms have views blocked by the bridge? We were planning on staying at the Marriott Riverside when we arrive in BKK & at the Shang after we return from the the rest of our travels in Thailand before leaving to go home. One of the things that appealed to us was the late (6 p.m.) check-out which is great if you have a mid-night flight back to the U.S. as we do.
CFW is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 09:40 AM
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Phuket - For 5 star luxury at an intimate hotel with a bit of privacy and at a very reasonable price I'd suggest taking a look at Royal Merdidien Phuket Yacht Club - It has a very good and long-standing reputation. All rooms are v large - balconys are huge and face the sea - Only about 110 rooms.


Penn / Shangri La / Oriental I'd plump for the- Shangri La Krungthep wing (IF the hotel refurbishment in that wing is completed); otherwise I'd say teh Peninsula. Shangri La has IMO the best mix of Luxury, service, facilities and location and the Krungthep wing is like a totally separate boutique hotel with its own check in, pool, lobby etc. All rooms in the Krungthep Wing have their own river facing balcony's. I find the service at the Shangri La very friendly.
Walter_Walltotti is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 12:38 PM
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I've also had a good experience at the Phuket Yacht Club. It was made even better by the fact that the crown prince, his children, "wife" and entourage were also staying there.
glorialf is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 04:17 PM
  #19  
dlh
 
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Thought I might just weigh in on Siem Reap. We definitely prefer the Raffles Hotel over the Sofitel. The service is both better than and more intimate than the Sofitel. While the Sofitel is lovely it is very much a large generic hotel (I really would not consider it to be in the luxury hotel category) while the Raffles/Grand Hotel is charming and luxurious. So, it would just depend on what you are looking for in your hotel. The Amansara is also an option if you are looking for a luxury hotel. It is a bit more spare in style but in keeping with the architecture of the structure, and it is worth noting that the services of a guide and scooter are included in your room rate. Also, of note is that when we have stayed at the Raffles/ Grand Hotel and the Amansara both breakfast and dinner were included in the room rate so it is always a good idea to ask if meals are included in the room rate.

To chime in on Phuket - yes, the Amanpuri is worth the extra$$ over the Chedi but the Chedi is a lovely hotel. I, personally, find Banyan Tree hotels overated in the luxury category and didn't find the Phuket BT to be an exception. I would rate the Chedi as value for money if you are working within a budget and rate the Amanpuri as the preferred hotel if budget is not a concern.

With regard to Bangkok we prefer the Oriental and having stayed at the Pen and the Sukhothai (sorry, we haven't stayed at the Shang) will only stay at the Oriental. We have never had a bad experience at the Oriental and now that the rooms have all been renovated you can't beat it. It simply has the best location and services in town.
Have a great holiday!!
dlh is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 02:44 PM
  #20  
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ok, you are all GREAT and a ton of help, so i'll ask one more question ...

i was going to stay at the 4 Seasons in Chaing Mai, but someone just told me i have to stay at the Regent .... opinions/thoughts??? thanks!
mikeNY2 is offline  

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