Bino is a banker, part-time wanderer and a sometime travel writer. He is the author of the Singapore-based travel blog, I Wander, which focuses on travel guides, hotel reviews and flight reports. He believes that Iran and North Korea are excellent places for a holiday but feels just as excited when visiting the United States and Japan. Feel free to say hi. You can reach him through his Instagram at @iwanderrr
Bangkok has no shortage of Marriott Hotels with around 9 to choose from – this is without even considering the ones that integrated from Starwood. A Marriott brand that has been mostly under the radar is Renaissance. It has been around for quite a while now but never seemed to have expanded significantly. Personally, I think there isn’t much room to position this brand – given that JW Marriott already caters to the high-end and there’s Marriott for the accessible luxury and business segment. The Renaissance website makes it clear that the positioning is centered on business travel but don’t the other Marriott brands already handle that effectively? Frankly, I had never stayed in a Renaissance prior to my most recent visit to Bangkok. A quick search revealed that only 7 countries in Asia have Renaissance-branded properties and most of them are in China. There is also one in JB, but I digress.
Anyway, for a hotel within a relatively under the radar brand, the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong has a surprisingly topnotch location. It is right in the heart of the Sukhumvit shopping strip. You can walk to the famous Erawan Shrine which is just a few meters away or take the skywalk to other shopping centers like Gaysorn or Centralworld. You can even walk all the way to MBK from the hotel.
The property has been around for some 8 years now but remains thoroughly modern with a dark and sultry interior. I took one of the morning flights on the 777-200 with Singapore Airlines and arrived at noon. It was still a couple of hours before the check-in time but the associates were kind enough to check me in early.
The Deluxe Double is the base level room category in Renaissance Ratchaprasong. At 37 square meters, the size is nothing to write home about. What struck me however, were the chic interiors. Think: bold colors (plenty of purple) which add a sense of vibrance and a bathroom which is fully enclosed by glass. That being said, certain parts of the room resembled more conventional hotel setups – such as the working desk so the room could easily suit business people as much as leisure travelers.
The bathroom is graced by a standalone tub, a nice fixture considering the room isn’t particularly big. There is also a separate shower area although the toilet is notably not separated.
Toiletries are from Tokyo Milk. Admittedly, it’s my first time to see this brand used in a hotel.
I was mostly in Bangkok for business so I didn’t get to use the facilities. That being said, I thought the indoor swimming pool was fantastic. It’s covered but had plenty of open windows from which guests could appreciate the skyline of Bangkok. I enjoyed coming up in the evening for a bird’s eye view of the city all lighted up.
Beside the pool there is a relatively spacious gym with plenty of equipments and cardio machines for those with time to go for a run (I didn’t!).
One of the highlights of the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong in my view is the breakfast buffet. It’s one of the more extensive morning spreads I’ve seen with a good emphasis on local food. I particularly loved the Eggs Benedict here which is served with Thai sausages and condiments. While not strictly breakfast food, I was pleased to see Thai Iced Tea served in the buffet.
The property likes to call itself a 5-star hotel. While I personally experienced no issues during my stay and found the room to be a welcome change from the usual business hotel, I did not think it offered enough to be at par with, for instance, Conrad Bangkok down the road or The Sukhothai Bangkok. That being said, I definitely though the location was a plus and the property had most of the creature comforts. The only thing lacking is perhaps a wow factor which one would come to expect in luxury hotels.