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Grand President – Bangkok

14, 16 Sukhumvit Soi 11
Klongtoey Nuea
Wattana
BANGKOK 10110
(BTS: Nana)

On our latest visit to Bangkok, for a change we booked ourselves in at a serviced apartment building in our usual haunt of Soi 11 on Sukhumvit Road. Kay was doubtful about being able to manage the stairs at our favourite home from home, Domino. Besides, we’d been impressed by our stay at Fraser Place in Kuala Lumpur and thought a serviced apartment rather than a hotel room might be a bit of a treat.

We booked a deluxe suite, smoking room, which was located in Tower II. (There are three towers; Towers I and II are on the east side of the street, Tower III on the west.) The size of accommodation was as we expected and plenty big enough for the two of us for a three-day stay. But the standard of furniture and furnishings was hit-and-miss, to say the least. We’d heard that Tower II had been renovated; the evidence from our room suggested they’d missed a bit.

The bedroom was pretty nice, with a comfortable bed – even if it was rather smaller than the king-size bed the website mentions – and plenty of cupboard and wardrobe space. A wall-mounted flat screen television was a nice touch.

The living room was OK. The telly was a fair bit bigger than the one in the bedroom. But the furniture was wood finished with black gloss, which looked rather heavy and made the room a bit depressing. There were not many power points available, so we were forced to unplug the standard lamp and table lamp to plug in our computers. Kay managed fine with her WiFi connection; Dave got an excellent signal but only patchy data transfer whenever Kay was online.

The kitchen, too, was OK at best. The fridge-freezer was large, but the fridge compartment didn’t work properly. At first we assumed it was because the power hadn’t been on; then we thought that maybe we hadn’t turned the temperature down enough. But by the second morning it was clear that it just wasn’t up to the task, and at that stage it wasn’t worth the hassle of getting housekeeping to fix it or bring a replacement. Even though it was unseasonably cold in Bangkok, our beers never made it below tepid.

We did at least manage to make ourselves tea in the mornings, once we’d figured out how to operate the water heater (the typical East Asian mini-urn with an electric pump to dispense the water). There was no hot water in the sink, but we managed to do the washing-up by heating water in a saucepan on the two-plate electric hob. Just as well we had that option; the tableware wasn’t as clean as it might have been.

The bathroom was awful. The toilet had a big crack which had been inexpertly mended and the bath was old and a bit grotty looking. Plus the shower was located inside the bath and had a three-panel screen rather than a curtain. The first panel of the screen, at the tap end, was fixed rather than sliding, which made it nigh on impossible to reach the taps to run a bath without clambering into the bath to do it.

Service was patchy. Checking in and out seemed to take a lot longer than they do at most places of a similar standard; and on our final departure the doorman virtually ignored us until Kay had to start struggling with the door with a bag in one hand and a walking-stick in the other. But towels and bottled water arrived promptly when we asked for them; the porters dealt with our luggage efficiently on arrival and departure; and we got a late check-out with no fuss.

We braved breakfast on the second day. It was pretty mediocre, offering a wide range of cuisines (Chinese, Indian, Thai, Western, halal) without really giving much choice in any of them. Bizarrely, one of the dishes available was shepherd’s pie.

Overall rating: 2 out of 5
The location is very convenient but we doubt if we would stay here again unless we could be sure of a better bathroom at the very least.

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1 Comment

Kay 03-05-2011, 09:16

We went back again in April 2011 to give this place a second try. After all, it’s in a superb location in Sukhumvit, Soi 11, where all our favourite pubs and restaurants are.

The room was better this time and did appear to have been renovated. However, the bathroom wasn’t very nice. There was some mould on tiles and the WC didn’t seem to be particularly clean. Also the bath had a totally stupid design which made it almost impossible for me to get in and out of it. After my first attempt, I decided, “Never again!” and subsequently used the showers at the hotel’s gym.

The showers at the gym were badly designed too. There was no shelf inside the shower cubicle where you could place your own toiletries if you chose not to use the wall-mounted shampoo and body wash which were provided.

Going back to the room. The kitchenette was fairly usable but they only provided one saucepan and one frying pan, so I had to be fairly innovative about what I cooked. I didn’t do much cooking anyway, but sometimes you just don’t feel like going out. The cutlery was adequate but there were old food particles welded to the tines of the forks.

The telephones in the living room and bedroom didn’t work (and the one in the bedroom emitted a painfully loud feedback squeal whenever you put it to your ear) although the one in the bathroom did.

On the plus side, both of us were able to go online at the same time without having to pay any more.

We were given a room on the 15th floor with superb views over the city.

All in all, if only they would pay a little bit more attention to detail this could be a really great place. As I mentioned before, the location is terrific. But they really do need to give the place a good scrub, fix the things which don’t work, and provide a little bit more kitchen equipment.

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