Other reports from this trip –
Introduction: Bangkok, not Shanghai!
Review: Qatar lounge, Heathrow Terminal 4
Review: Qatar A380 in F, London to Doha
Review: Waldorf Astoria, Bangkok
Review: Qatar lounge, Bangkok
Review: Qatar 777 Qsuite, Bangkok to Doha
Review: Al Sawafra (First) Lounge, Doha
I’ve wanted to stay at the Waldorf Astoria, Bangkok since it opened, back in September 2018. Having visited Bangkok a few times and tried some of the other hotels in the Hilton family, I found them to be a little dated and in need of some TLC so I was excited that Hilton had brought its luxury brand to the city. When my recently planned Shanghai flight was cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the opportunity for a Bangkok trip came up, I jumped at the chance and immediately started looking for a good deal at the Waldorf.
As a Hilton Honors Diamond member, I booked this stay directly on the Hilton website to ensure I received my loyalty benefits. Given the situation with Coronavirus and the impact it was having on global travel, I was expecting to see some reduced rates, but that was not to be the case. Prices were still high, particularly for Bangkok, coming in at 3-4 times the cost of other Hilton properties in the area. I was booking just a few days ahead of my travel date so figured that it may be down to the hotel being busy, but most room types still appeared to be available.
Despite the high price and the range of much cheaper options in the city, I decided to book a Deluxe Suite for 14,014 bhat per night, which came to 16,800 bhat (~£415) per night with service and taxes added, in the hope that I would be able to sweet talk my way into an upgrade to a One Bed Astoria Suite.
I could, incidentally, have booked a standard room using 80,000 Hilton points per night, which would have been reasonable value for a £300/night room, returning almost 0.4p per point, but I avoided this for two reasons –
1) I try to keep my points for really special tips, like the Conrad Koh Samui or the Waldorf Astoria, Maldives, where the return per point is higher and I generally stay for longer, allowing me to take advantage of Hilton’s fifth night free offer on points stays.
2) I didn’t want to book the base category room. I wanted to see what the higher category rooms were like in this property and those were a lot more expensive on points.
While it did pain my thrifty, Scottish nature to spend so much on a room, I figured it would be worth it for the experience and the review.
The Waldorf Astoria is located in the busy, upscale Phatum Wan district of Bangkok, surrounded by upmarket malls, high rise buildings, restaurants and cafes. With the Chit Lom Skytrain station just a 4 minute walk away, it’s a great location to base yourself in when you’re visiting the city.
To get to the hotel, I took a taxi directly from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. The meter price for this journey is normally around 400 bhat, but I always offer 500 when I get in the car. It saves me feeling ripped off when they switch the meter off and try to charge me 500 anyway!
I’ve seen many sites advising people to take the train from the airport to the city as traffic in Bangkok can be terrible, but I always take a taxi, with my longest ever journey being around an hour. On this trip, having landed at 6.30 on a Sunday morning, traffic was light so the journey took just 30 minutes. I arrived at the hotel shortly after 7.30am.
Arrival and check in
My driver was a little confused when we arrived at the hotel as the entrance is far from obvious, but I had the route on Google Maps so was able to point him in the right direction.
The hotel is in a ‘mixed use’ building, occupying the whole of the front section, which rises 17 floors. The main part of the building, rising 242m and 60 floors is designed to look like a magnolia flower and is primarily residential, with floors 55-57 occupied by bars and restaurants.
The drop off point in front of the hotel lobby sits just underneath the building, protecting it from Bangkok’s famous rain showers. As we pulled in outside, we were quickly met by two bell men, one of whom took my bags, while the other took a 2,000 bhat note from me and disappeared inside to get change so I could pay the driver.
As I walked up the stairs to the hotel entrance, the doors opened for me and I was welcomed in. From the moment I entered the building, something just felt right. There was an air of calm as I left Bangkok’s humid climate, already reaching 28 degrees before 8am, and entered the air conditioned luxury of the marble lobby. The surroundings felt strangely familiar, with styling cues taken from other Waldorf properties around the world.
Like many hotels in mixed use developments, the lobby is on the ground floor, but the main reception is further up the building, in this case on the 16th floor. I was quickly directed to the lifts and sent on my way to check in.
With no key card required to reach check in, the lift whisked me quickly to the 16th floor and I stepped out into a bright, spacious reception, dressed in similar tones to the lobby.
Floor to ceiling windows, running the full length of the building, offered wonderful views of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club.
As I approached the desk, I was welcomed once again to the hotel and invited take a seat while I was checked in. One of the team offered me a cold towel and a chilled, fruity drink, both of which were very welcome.
I had called the day before I arrived to advise that I would arrive very early and asked if it would be possible to have an early check in. I had also asked if there was any chance of an upgrade to a nicer suite. As I was being checked in I was advised that they had kept a room free for me so I was able to check in immediately. I was also told, however, that the hotel was full and that they were unable to upgrade me to the Astoria Suite. This was clearly nonsense as the suites were still available for sale on the website and, more importantly, somebody had foolishly left a sheet on the check in desk showing that occupancy rates were currently at 28%, which was not surprising, given that travel had dropped off as the Coronavirus pandemic had started to take hold. It also showed that suites were available during the two nights I would be at the hotel so I decided to push things a little further.
The check in agent went to speak to her manager and came back with a very apologetic offer of an upgrade to the Astoria Suite for an additional £175 / night. I found this to be a bit cheeky on two counts – first of all, it meant they did have availability after all and secondly, with rooms available, I should have been offered some kind of upgrade, according to the terms of the Honors programme.
The conversation at this point was still very pleasant. The check in agent was lovely and incredibly helpful and I got the feeling that she was very much on my side. She offered to go and speak to her manager again and finally came back with the good news that they would upgrade me to the One Bed Astoria Suite at no additional charge, although it would not be ready for a few hours as they wanted Housekeeping to check it. With that in mind, I suggested that I keep the Deluxe Suite today and move to the new room tomorrow, allowing me to review both room types. With everything agreed and a smile on my face, I was given my keys and headed to my room.
My first room was a Deluxe Suite, situated on the 15th floor of the hotel. I took the elevator down one floor from reception, exited into a stylish lobby and followed the corridor to my room, 1507.
The room keys are contactless so I simply touched the card against the reader by the door and heard the familiar click as the door unlocked itself.
Lounge / Bedroom
The entrance to the room brings you into a small entrance hall, which you can see behind the metal screen on the photo below. This area contains an impressive mini bar, housed in a tall cabinet, which we’ll come back to later. For now, let’s have a look around the room.
While sold as a deluxe suite, this is not a hotel suite in the generally accepted sense, which would include two interconnected rooms. This suite is just one, slightly larger room. If I’m honest, I found this quite disappointing. I often book a suite because I’m travelling with my partner, Danielle, and I want to be able to work late at night, while she’s sleeping. That wouldn’t really be possible in this room without disturbing her and that’s a wrath I’d like to avoid! That gripe aside, though, this suite is still very beautiful and luxurious. It felt spacious, particularly given the wall of windows in front of the bed, although perhaps not as spacious as its 75sqm size would suggest. I think that’s partly to do with the curvature of the room, being on the end of the building. The picture below, taken from the hotel’s website, shows the layout of the room.
The focal point of the room is, of course, the bed and, being typical Waldorf Astoria quality, it is incredibly comfortable, with a memory foam topped, Serta topped mattress and 400 thread count sheets.
The bedside tables at either side of the bed have buttons for controlling the lights and on one of them there is a tablet that can be used to control most room functions, including lighting, temperature, privacy and curtains. It is all thoughtfully designed to make your stay as effortless as possible.
On one side of the room there is a small lounge, with a corner sofa, arm chair and coffee table. I guess this is the ‘suite’ part of the room. It’s nicely laid out and there are local styling cues to complement the standard, Waldorf decor.
A large TV is positioned at the end of the bed, against the window, and is unimposing. I didn’t use it while I was there so can’t comment on the quality, but I’m sure, like everything else in the room, it was very good.
The view from this particular room is of the city. Being on the 15th floor, I was able to see over the buildings in front, but the rooms on the lower floors would be staring straight at them. Views are not the strongest feature of these rooms, although, I can’t deny, I did actually quite like this one.
Now, before we start looking beyond the bedroom, let’s go back to that cabinet by the entrance. This houses the room’s mini bar, with local beer, spirits, including small bottles from local brands, such as Chalong Bay and Iron Balls, and soft drinks, all available to purchase. There is also a Nespresso machine with a variety of capsules so you can make your own coffee, and a kettle for boiling water so you can enjoy some Chaidim Tea. Tea and coffee are both complimentary and fresh tea bags and coffee capsules can be supplied on request. I really like that they have integrated the mini bar into a stylish piece of furniture, rather than just the usual, nondescript, under-counter cupboard. It adds a lot of character to the room.
Mini bar prices are reasonable, at least by Western standards, with a bottle of Coke costing just under £3 and a Singha Beer around £5.
There is also an abundance of free water in the room, supplied in biodegradable cartons, rather than plastic bottles, in an effort to reduce waste. These can be found in the mini bar, on the bedside tables and in the bathroom, and are replaced regularly throughout the day so you rarely run dry.
A complimentary fruit bowl was left on the small dining table at the far end of the room, presumably as my ‘Diamond Amenity’, a benefit of being a Hilton Honors Diamond member. I’d like to think, though, given the price of the room, that everyone gets the fruit bowl. There was also a generic letter, welcoming me to the hotel.
Leaving the main room and heading towards the bathroom, there is a large, walk-in, dressing room, which includes a dressing table with make up mirror and plenty of closet space. I’m a sucker for a good walk-in wardrobe so this made me very happy. It’s nice to have somewhere to leave your suitcase, even when staying for a short time, where it’s out of the way, but you still have access to it.
Now, while we’re in the wardrobe, let’s talk about the hotel’s dressing gowns. In my humble opinion, this is very much an underrated feature of a hotel room, but one that I value highly, particularly in hotels with a spa / pool. They range from basic, thin fabric that feels awful and does nothing to wick away the water when your body is wet to something that you look forward to putting on in those moments after stepping out of the shower. So, where does this one sit? Well, I’ve been lucky enough to stay in some of the nicest hotels in the world and, in all my years of travelling, I can honestly say that this is the nicest dressing gown I’ve ever experienced. It is just so soft, plush and warm on the inside that you’ll put it on and never want to take it off again! If anyone from the hotel is reading this and would like to send me a couple, please feel free…
As with most decent hotels, there is a safe in the room for storing your valuables. This area of the closet also holds an iron and ironing board, as well as order forms for sending clothes for laundry or using the complementary shoe shine service.
Moving through to the bathroom, we come to one of my favourite features of the suite. The separate toilet room contains a toilet with a lid that opens automatically when you walk in, as well as a wonderfully heated seat. Having a lid that lifts for you is quite a treat, but until you’ve sat on a heated toilet seat, you haven’t known true luxury. It’s just one of those things that is so much more than the sum of its parts!
The actual bathroom is a lesson in pure, ostentatious luxury. The whole room is just marble and glass. The twin sinks provide plenty of room for two to get ready at the same time and there is no lack of amenities. Products come courtesy of Salvatore Ferragamo, although, unusually, they are provided in large, reusable containers, rather than smaller, individual tubes, in line with the hotel’s green policy. This obviously reduces the use of plastics, which is a great thing, and probably saves the hotel a fortune as guests can’t easily take ‘samples’ home with them. I can’t deny, I’m no stranger to leaving with a few bottles of posh shower gel in my bag. It’s one of the perks of staying in a nice hotel!
Amenities within the bathroom include tooth brushes, which are always welcome, mouth wash, vanity kits and bath salts, as well as additional bottles of water. Like everything else, these are replenished a couple of times each day to ensure that you never run out.
On the other side of the sink area, you will find a beautiful, round bath tub and a large, walk-in shower, as well as a television built into the wall. While I didn’t use the tub, I did try the shower. The pressure was wonderful and there was no shortage of hot water. The only problem was that, despite guttering on the edge, water from the shower flooded the bathroom floor when in use. This was not a huge problem as the whole area is, in effect, a large wet room, but it did mean that the bath mat quickly became soaked and useless. This is, of course, a minor issue. Overall the bathroom was a huge hit. Very luxurious and thoughtfully fitted out.
Flightguys verdict – Deluxe Suite
While this is not a suite in the true sense, it is a beautiful and spacious room. The bathroom, especially, is a real feature. Whether it’s worth the extra cost, particularly in a city where you can buy so much for your money, is a difficult one to judge and will come down to personal choice. If your budget can take it, we’d recommend spending the money for the extra space, but reign in your expectations as it’s unlikely to blow you way.
One Bedroom Astoria Suite
On the morning of day 2, I got my things together, full of excitement and ready to move to the One Bed Astoria Suite. The hotel offered to move my things for me, but with just one, small suitcase, which was still mostly packed, and a little rucksack, I gathered them up and made my way to reception to collect my new key. It was quickly handed to me with the minimum of fuss by the very pleasant young lady who had checked me in the previous day.
The Astoria Suite that was assigned to me was on the 9th floor of the hotel, so 6 floors lower than the Deluxe Suite I had just left. However, it was at the opposite end of the building so would have a very different view. New key card in hand, I took the elevator to the 9th floor and followed the corridor to my new room, 918.
The Astoria Suites are situated on the upper floors, at the tail end of the hotel. At a little over 1,500 sq ft and selling for over £700 / night, I was expecting something quite special. I wasn’t disappointed…
As you can see from the 3D image, below, the suite is vast. It has a large living room, with dining area, bedroom, make-up room, walk-in dressing room and bathroom. It may not be cheap, but it is most certainly not short on space!
The entrance to the suite has a real sense of occasion, with large, twin doors opening onto a beautiful, marble lobby. Looking at the picture below, I am still slightly disturbed that the flowers are not perfectly centred on the table, but I think that say more about me than the hotel!
The lounge of the suite is situated immediately off the reception hall.
The first thing I noticed as I walked in was just how bright and airy the lounge felt, with 50% of the wall space in the room made up of floor to ceiling windows. I love a sense of space in a room and this suite really provided that.
The room is split into two sections, with a small dining area to the right as you walk in, comfortably seating four.
This area also contains a large cabinet, which, like in the Deluxe Suite, contains the comprehensive mini bar, with free tea, coffee and water and a selection of drinks and snacks available to purchase.
In the main part of the lounge there is a large seating area, focussed around a wall mounted television. The decor is minimalist and contemporary, with hints of local culture.
To save you walking the full length of the suite, this room also has it’s own bathroom, adorned in marble and with the same, luxurious toilet found in the other suite, with heated seat and self raising lid, making every visit a pleasure!
As I mentioned above, the floor to ceiling windows in this room really give it a sense of space, with the outdoor world attracting your attention far more than the television. This particular suite does not have the best views, overlooking a building site, the railway and the city, but there is still plenty to look at.
Looking to the west, there are views of The Royal Bangkok Sports Club. The suite across the corridor, which is a mirror image of this one, would have views directly on to the Club, so that’s the one to go for if you want green space in your eyeline.
Looking to the north, you have views of the city, which really come alive at night. As the sun goes down, the city lights up!
The downside of all that window space is the hassle of opening and closing the curtains. Not so in the Waldorf! That is all taken care of by the control panel just inside the door, with options to close the nets or the full curtains, working independently across the side and back windows. This control panel also allows you to adjust the climate control and the lights to suit your mood.
Heading back across the hallway takes you to the bedroom and a complex collection of rooms!
The bedroom itself is a fairly standard, rectangular affair with full height windows directly in front of the bed. As with the lounge, the view is nothing spectacular, but it’s nice to be able to look out over the city.
The bed in this suite, as with all Waldorf beds, is very comfortable. The Serta mattress gives a good feeling of support, while allowing you to sink into the deep, memory foam topper. Despite the jet lag on this short trip, I slept really well.
The bedside table to the left of the bed has an alarm clock, a phone and a note pad on it, as well as controls for the room lights and privacy. The one on the right has a fabulous touch screen panel for controlling the same, as well as the climate control and curtains.
A small anteroom off the bedroom acts as an office / dressing room, as well as providing closet and drawer space.
The main closet, however, is to be found in the corridor running behind the bedroom. It is essentially one large wall of storage, with lots of shelves, hanging space and drawers.
This area also houses the safe and valet amenities, including the option to have your shoes shined for free. I left a pair by the front door, using the bag provided, and called to let reception know. They were quickly collected and returned to me within half an hour, perfectly cleaned and polished.
At the end of the storage corridor, there is a separate toilet and bathroom. Again, the toilet has that wonderful, self-lifting cover and heated seat, as well as a plethora of buttons that allow you to clean, and even dry, your undercarriage!
In the interests of journalism I did try one of the cleaning buttons and immediately felt a jet of hot water squirt upwards, hitting its target perfectly. I can’t deny, it felt a little strange! The less said about that, the better…
The main bathroom is well laid out, with his and hers sinks, a walk in shower and a lovely big tub to relax in. Overall, I’d say the bathroom in the Deluxe Suite was a little nicer, but the difference is minimal. With large mirrors, marble walls and high quality fittings, this is still a bathroom you won’t want to leave.
There were plenty of amenities left in the bathroom and replaced throughout the day so I never felt the need to call housekeeping to ask for anything. Service really was top notch.
The tub is definitely large enough for two, and very comfortable. I also like that the filler has a shower attachment, making it easy to rinse off before getting out. For those times when you want to clean yourself and get out quickly, there is a large, walk-in shower with a ceiling mounted rain head and a wall mounted handset. Both pressure and temperature from the shower were excellent.
Flight guys verdict – One bed Astoria Suite
This is not just a room; it’s a large, luxurious apartment, beautifully fitted out and tastefully decorated. In many of the major cities around the world this type of suite would set you back thousands of pounds per night so, while £700 is expensive for Bangkok, you’re buying a level of luxury that few people will ever experience. Having paid less than half that, I got a really great bargain thanks to the Hilton Honors programme and a little bit of negotiating. Upgrades, however, are never guaranteed, but one thing you can always be sure of is that there is another Hilton sale just around the corner so look out for a good deal ahead of your next trip and go pamper yourself!
Food and Beverage
One of the many things Bangkok does very well is food. From street vendors to Michelin Star restaurants (there are 8 of them!), there is no shortage of choice so I had high hopes for the food in the Waldorf, and I wasn’t disappointed!
There are six restaurants and bars within the hotel, serving a variety of food from finger snacks to tasting menus and from tea to champagne. While I wasn’t able to try them all, I have tried to cover as much information as I can in the section below.
In this section –
I rarely eat breakfast when I’m at home, so it’s one of the things I always look forward to when I’m staying in a hotel, and certainly one of the things I judge a hotel on. Breakfast in the Waldorf Astoria, Bangkok is served in the Brasserie and it is what can only be described as an ‘event’. In fact, I would actually go so far as to rate it right up there with the best hotel breakfasts I have ever had, and there have been many!
Having arrived bright and early at the hotel, I decided to have a quick breakfast after checking in and dropping my bags off in my room. Normally this would have cost me 1,125 Bhat, plus tax and service, which translates to a rather pricey £35, but it was included for me (and one registered guest, had I been staying with somebody else) as a Hilton Honors Diamond member, which is, in my opinion, one of the best value perks of the loyalty scheme.
The Brasserie is located on the 16th floor, just off the hotel’s main reception. To get to it you pass through a small bar area, set up for pre / post dinner drinks, before heading into the main restaurant.
The restaurant is positioned around the end of the building in a horseshoe shape, with tables set by the windows, meaning each has plenty of natural light and a real feeling of space.
On entering, I was immediately shown to my table and handed a menu, from which I could order various egg dishes and drinks. I went with a cheese and ham omelette and an orange juice, my staple breakfast order before I go and plunder the buffet! While I was waiting, I had a wander around
As I mentioned above, this restaurant follows the shape of the building, so it’s pretty big. On all three sides of the building there are various food stations, all with different choices of food.
The section nearest the entrance contains a Western-style breakfast buffet. Split across three counters, you will find some really delicious options to tempt your pallet.
The first table contains a selection of cheese, jam, bread, fresh honey and biscuits
Moving to the next counter, there is a selection of typical, English breakfast items, including bacon, multiple types of sausage, ham, beans and vegetables. Eggs, cooked to your liking, can also be ordered from this counter.
The last counter in this section is the one I loved the most! It contains various fresh meats, including Serrano and Iberico ham, freshly sliced in front of you, as well as foie gras, pate and many other delights.
Further round the corner, at the front of the building, Is the Continental breakfast section, with cereals and pastries. The pastry counter, especially, was an absolute joy to somebody like me, with an incredibly sweet tooth. It took every ounce of self control to stop myself from just diving in and eating everything.
As well as cereals, there are various yoghurts and toppings, which can be used to make your own granola pot.
The best part of this section for me, though, was, of course, the pastry counter. Breads, pastries, cakes and muffins are all made fresh, on-site, every morning. It‘s like having access to your very own bakery. My diet went waaaay out the window as I ordered fresh waffles, with cream and syrup, every day because, well, why not!?
Finally, on the other side of the building, sits the Asian food section, with a wide variety of options available to select from the buffet, as well as dishes made to order, positioned side by side with the fruit counter.
I sampled lots of different foods from the Asian section during my time in the hotel and they were all absolutely delicious. I just loved the flavours!
I didn’t spend too much time at the fruit section, I’m afraid, because there was just so much to eat elsewhere, but it did all look very tasty. I really do like those sweet little bananas!
As I mentioned above, I almost always order an omelette when I’m in a hotel. It’s one of the things I judge the kitchen on. You see, I like my omelettes to be really soft, especially on the inside, but it’s something that many kitchens don’t seem to get right. This one was okay, maybe a 7 out of 10. The orange juice, on the other hand, was a solid 10. Freshly squeezed, chilled and absolutely delicious. My favourite part of breakfast, though, was quite definitely the waffles. The picture below simply does not do them justice. They really were lovely!
Flight Guys verdict – Breakfast
As I mentioned above, breakfast in this hotel is a real event. It’s not just the sheer number of options available, but the quality of the food and the exceptional service that goes with it. At £35 in a London hotel, this would be incredible value, but in Bangkok it’s extortionate. However, it is, in my opinion, still well worth the money, as long as you take the time to sample the many delights on offer. There are, of course, ways to get it for less. First of all, booking a breakfast inclusive rate is almost always cheaper than paying for breakfast as you go. Better still, though, earn yourself Hilton Honors Gold or Diamond status and it’s absolutely free. Check out the Hotel Loyalty section, under the Benefits tab in the main menu for more information.
Another, lesser known, way to get free breakfast, as well as other benefits from your hotel, is to book through a Virtuoso approved agent, such as Propeller Travel. Have a look in the Benefits section on the menu bar for more information on Virtuoso.
Outside of breakfast times, the Brasserie operates as a normal restaurant, serving French-inspired cuisine throughout the day. Signature dishes include Sautéed Mussels, Baked Camembert, Steak Frites and Beef Bourguignon. There is also a Thai menu available, featuring popular local dishes.
I ate in here twice during my stay and I was really impressed with the Quality of the food and the polished service on both occasions. On my first evening I ordered a cheese burger (Don’t judge me!), which was absolutely delicious and then, shortly before I left for the airport on the final day of my stay, I had a glass of the house champagne, which was the excellent Billecart-Salmon Brut, and a charcuterie platter as I just couldn’t get enough of that delicious ham!
On the other side of the 16th floor, overlooking the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, sits Peacock Alley, a luxurious, overstated bar with comfortable seating, cozy lamps and delightful views.
Named after the 300m alleyway that was built to connect the original Waldorf and Astoria hotels in New York after their merger in 1897, Peacock Alley is now the signature bar that you will find in Waldorf Astoria properties around the world.
Like the rest of the hotel, the bar was very quiet during my stay. Apart from staff, I think I saw just two other people in there. I imagine, though, with a decent crowd it could have quite a lively and fun atmosphere in the evening.e
If you’re chasing the hair of the dog, the bar starts serving cocktails from 9am (yes, really!) and continues until well after midnight. Snacks are available all day and afternoon tea, including sandwiches, pastries and scones, can be enjoyed from 1pm-5pm for ~£30pp. The menu also includes tea based cocktails for an extra charge, should you wish to jazz things up a bit. It’s the perfect place for pre pre-dinner drink drinks, while watching one of Bangkok’s famous sunsets.
If you’re out for the night in Bangkok, whether you’re staying in the hotel or not, this bar is an absolute must! Set on the 56th floor of the building’s residential tower, and reachable in 60 seconds from the ground floor lobby, the plush surroundings of The Loft offer incredible views over the city while you drink delicious cocktails conjured up by Italian bartender, Michele. With Art Nouveau chandeliers, marble floors, a stunning, centerpiece bar and cosy corners for quiet, romantic interludes, The Loft has all the charm and decadence of the original Waldorf Astoria in New York.
Cocktails start at around 450 bhat (~£11), which is on the expensive side for Bangkok, but very reasonable for Western visitors, particularly for this level of bar, where the service is spot on and the surroundings are exquisite.
My visit to The Loft was one of the many times on this trip where I was kicking myself that I was alone. This is definitely the sort of place you want to share with friends.
The Bull and Bear
On the 55th floor of the residential tower sits the Bull and Bear, a Manhattan-style, steak and seafood restaurant. While you can take the lift straight to the restaurant, I’d recommend going to The Loft first for pre-dinner cocktails, and then walking one floor down via this beautiful double staircase for a real sense of occasion.
I suspect in years to come this staircase will be one of Bangkok’s top Instagram spots!
Unfortunately I didn’t eat here, but it is definitely something that will be high on my list the next time I visit. Price wise, there are no bargains to be had here, but the food did look delicious.
Situated on the ground floor of the hotel and serving an unusual fusion of Nordic and Thai cuisine, I was really looking forward to trying Front Room during my stay. Unfortunately it was was closed due to the impact of Covid-19 on tourism in the city so I was unable to eat there. This will definitely be on my list during my next visit.
Hidden away on the 57th floor of the residential tower, just above The Loft, and accessed via a marble staircase and secret door, this could well be Bangkok’s coolest venue. Sadly, like Front Room, the champagne bar was closed while I was there so I wasn’t able to experience it. It is somewhere I will definitely be heading to the next time I’m in the city.
One of the standout areas of this hotel for me was the level of service I received. Everywhere I went I was greeted with a “Sawasdee Krab”, the standard Thai greeting. Every door in the public areas of the hotel magically opened for me and the staff throughout the hotel were incredibly friendly and keen to help in any way they could, but all done without feeling like they were interfering. In restaurants, somebody was always there to show me to my seat, menus arrived instantaneously and the second I looked up, somebody was there to take my order.
Housekeeping was another area where the service really stood out. My room was always immaculate, with a full clean during the day and another tidy up during the turn down service. Toiletries were always fully stocked and I never had to ask for more water.
If the goal of this hotel is to make the guest feel like royalty, then they are doing a great job!
Services and amenities
Waldorf Astoria properties do not have executive lounges so there isn’t one in this hotel. A couple of hotels, such as the Rome Cavalieri and the Grand Wailea, Maui, do have lounges, but their accessibility criteria is based on room category, rather than status.
Leisure facilities and spa
Leisure facilities can be found on the top floor of the Hotel. These include a full service spa, a gym and a lovely, outdoor pool with views across the city.
You step into the marble reception area of the spa directly from the lift and then have the option of going outside to find the pool and bar or heading inside to use the gym and spa facilities.
To the right of the reception there is a comfortable waiting room, where you can relax before your spa treatment in one of the hotel’s three treatment rooms. I was tempted to have a massage, but it was far from cheap, at almost £100 for a one hour treatment. Instead, I went to the mall beside the hotel and found a lovely, local spa, where I had a one hour massage for just £7. While the hotel spa looked lovely and I’m sure the treatments were delightful, I’m still Scottish and Bangkok is definitely not a city where you have to pay over the odds for a massage!
The hotel gym is fairly small, but is reasonably well stocked, with a few cardio machines and some free weights. Chilled water and towels are available from a stand inside the room to help cool you down during your workout. With floor to ceiling windows, it has great views and feels a lot brighter than the photos suggest, but I feel they could have done a better job here. It doesn’t quite feel up to the level of the rest of the hotel.
The changing rooms are beautiful and fitted out in a similar style to the bathrooms of the hotel rooms. I especially like that they have plenty of the little things you need when you finish a workout or have had a shower after your treatment, such as deodorant, tooth brushes, combs, razors etc. There is also no shortage of towels.
Both the male and the female changing rooms have their own sauna and steam room. The sauna, at least in the male changing room, looks out directly over the city. Unfortunately neither was switched on when I was there as occupancy was so low, but the person I spoke with at the spa reception confirmed that they would be happy to switch them on with one hour’s notice.
Moving outside, we find the rooftop swimming pool, with panoramic views towards the city and the sports club. It is a lovely space to sit and relax in the sunshine, but the whole area is dominated by this tiled monstrosity in the centre. I suspect it serves some useful purpose (like holding the building up!), but it does take up an awful lot of space. Some effort has at least gone in to making it useful, providing shelter from the hot, Bangkok sunshine, and it does that very well.
The water in the pool, incidentally, is cold so don’t expect to feel like you’re jumping into a bath. While I do always hate getting into cold water, it countered the heat of the sun perfectly.
There are sun loungers and day beds all around the pool, some of which are positioned in the water, providing a perfect place to lie out and relax. It was rather windy when I was there and there was a lot of construction noise from the city below, but with my noise cancelling Airpods in and Spotify banging out some great (debatable!) tunes, I felt very happy lying there for a couple of hours.
The only thing that did disturb me was the barman coming to take my drinks order – Yes, there is a bar on this floor and at-seat service is provided, making it just about perfect!
You can also order snacks to your seat. I wasn’t too hungry, having eaten pretty much non-stop for two days, but I tried the chicken satay, purely in the interests of journalism, and it really was quit delicious.
I really enjoyed my stay at the Waldorf Astoria. It is a beautiful hotel and a welcome addition to the luxury scene in Bangkok, providing a huge step up in quality from the Conrad, previously the top Hilton branded hotel in the city. Things were rather subdued while I was there due to the early impact of the Covid-19 situation and the effect this had on tourism, but even at peak times I would still expect this to be a place of peace and quiet solitude. This is not a hotel where you come for a wild party; it’s a sophisticated oasis of calm where you come to relax and escape from the madness of the city. Lie by the pool during the day, enjoy pre-dinner drinks in Peacock Alley, dinner in The Bull and Bear, followed by late night cocktails as you take in the view from The Loft. Once the night is over, head to your suite for a soothing shower, before a long, relaxing sleep in a bed so comfortable that the only reason you’ll want to get up is to enjoy that amazing breakfast again!
The hotel is beautifully furnished, the location is great and service is exceptional. If your budget can stretch to it, we highly recommend putting this one on your short list.
Top tip: If you’re considering booking a suite, the Corner Suite is just a little more expensive than the Deluxe Suite we reviewed above. At 90sqm, it’s a whole lot more space for very little extra money. It’s also just one category down from the One Bed Astoria Suite, so your chances of an upgrade may be a little higher.