Tag Archives: bangkok

Aloft Bangkok Review: Starwood’s cheapest Bangkok option

Bangkok is one of the cheapest markets for hotels that I know of. You can easily find 4 or 5 Star properties below $150 a night, which is extremely good value any way you look at it. Service standards tend to be very high, rooms tend to be new or refurbished and I can say I’ve never had an issue finding a good hotel deal in this city.

There is absolutely no shortage of Starwood properties in Bangkok

The problem, however, is that ever since Starwood’s 2016 category聽adjustments, Bangkok has become a difficult market to redeem Starwood points. Why is that? Because the value you get is almost always going to be lower than 2 US cents per point, the minimum value you should be accepting.

Before the last set of category changes, you could get the Four Points for 3,000 points (now 7,000) and the Westin/ Le Meridien Bangkok for 7,000 points each (now 10,000).

Starwood-Hotel-Categories
Starwood Redemption Rates (First row: Weekday, Second row: Weekend)

However, there is still one bright spark on the Starwood roster in Bangkok, and that’s the Aloft. At 3,000 points per night (4,000 during weekday), it remains one of the better deals to be had.

Location wise, the Aloft is about a 8 minute walk from the Nana BTS station. Nana is, shall we say, a “lively” neighbourhood, and there’ll be no shortage of bars, nightclubs and massage places offering services of the joyful conclusion variety.

I think it’s a perfectly suitable place for young folks, but if you’re bringing the kids or your parents you might want to give this a bit more thought. As a bonus, you’re only 3 stops away from Siam (Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, Siam Center, Siam Square One) and one stop from Asok (Terminal 21…yes, we Singaporeans have a very limited range when we go to Bangkok. My Thai friend once complained to me that Singaporeans don’t do anything other than Roast and Siam Paragon/MBK when they come)

After landing at BKK and claiming my luggage, I called for an Uber. In the past I would have taken the Airport Rail Link to town but ever since they stopped the Express service (15 mins to Makassan) I’ve been indifferent between taxi/train because you don’t really save that much time taking the City Service (30 mins) + Taxi to your final destination. Plus, Uber drivers seem to have difficulty finding the pick up point at Makassan and I’ve had way too many dishonest taxi drivers with rigged meters hanging out around the station.

My Uber from BKK to the Aloft cost THB 325 (S$13), and with some moderate traffic took about 40 minutes. In case you’re worried about coordinating pick up with a driver who probably doesn’t speak the best of English, don’t worry because Uber will let you specify which pillar you want to be picked up on Level 2 (arrivals). The process was entirely painless. FYI, the Airport Rail Link will cost THB 35 to get from BKK to Makassan.

Image result for aloft bangkok

The Aloft is about 500m deep into Soi 11. There is a free tuk tuk service that takes you to Nana BTS (or Asok, if you so wish) but wait times can be long especially during rush hour traffic.

The lobby has high ceilings and the Christmas decorations were still up (I visited the day after Christmas)

Check-in was quick. The front desk staff asked me if I wanted 250 points or breakfast as my welcome gift (I opted for the breakfast), and told me I’d been “upgraded” to a high floor room.

This property doesn’t really do upgrades, and they’ve got a big sign at the front desk emphasizing that Aloft properties are exempt from the Starwood Platinum upgrade policy. I can’t decide if the sign is too passive aggressive or a good way of anticipating questions.

There was a priority Starwood elite member check in area, but I never saw it manned.

I’ve stayed in plenty of Alofts before, so by now I knew what to expect. The Aloft is basically a cheaper version of the W, trying to maintain the same young and with it vibe while charging rates closer to the US$100 mark (W’s price upwards of US$200 in my experience). So you can expect loud nightclub music (fortunately my room was fairly well insulated because I’m a light sleeper), a lobby with “fun” stuff in it and constant reminders at every turn that the brand is hip and young.

Like this, on the back of the lift doors. Hey everyone, we are young and hip because we use the聽emoji (what happened to the good old days of calling them emoticons) for our room service menu lol! rotflol! #hashtag instantgram!

I swear, my generation is going to be remembered as the one that finally killed the written language in favour of poorly drawn hieroglyphics. I mean, I’m not asking people to write in iambic pentameter, but if you’re the sort who use emoji on a regular basis we will probably not get along 馃檪

Where was I?

My room was on the 31st floor (32 floors in total).

It seems from this omni-review thread on Flyertalk (and other comments on the hotel’s Tripadvisor page) that the property has a serious problem with mildew in some rooms. Fortunately, my room wasn’t one of them, and didn’t really smell of anything.

Technically, the Aloft Bangkok only has 2 types of rooms- standard and suite. Not so technically, the standard rooms are further subdivided into Chic, Urban and Breezy. My understanding is that the internal hierarchy is chic–>urban–>breezy. Chic rooms are on the lowest floors and will have a splendid side-street view. Urban rooms are on the midfloors and Breezy rooms are at the top. So technically I did get an upgrade, he said, if only to reassure his desperate status anxiety (There’s an interesting discussion on this FT thread聽(see post 619) about why there’s a need to make these small distinctions among otherwise very similar room types. If you ask me it sounds like someone’s playing with award inventory)

My Breezy room was ~30-33 sqm, with a keycard already inserted into the power switch and the A/C at full blast when I entered.

My room was a King room. The bed was as good as any bed I ever had in a Westin, or any other hotel for that matter.

The room is sizable enough to fit an L-shaped couch in the corner. It felt dirty.

There is, fortunately, a full sized work desk. Ben over at OMAAT has a pet peeve of hotels removing desks聽in the name of catering to millennials (the same millennials who would rather use emoji to order room service), and I tend to agree with him here. I don’t care what generation you’re born in, a desk is a useful piece of equipment to have in any hotel room.

There was an overpriced minibar with 2 individually wrapped prophylactics. How overpriced? Said prophylactics cost $7 each.聽I have limited (ok, zero) experience in this area,聽but I’ll hazard a guess that $7 is northwards of reasonable. But I guess when you gotta go…

Fortunately, there is an abundance of mini marts around the Aloft where you can stock up on snacks and water for cheap.

Free聽coffee and tea in the room come standard. Ice requires a trip down to the lobby. One of the nice things that happened during the stay was when my friends and I wanted to chill a bottle of champagne. We were discussing the best way of jury rigging an ice bucket (take the trash can to the lobby? fill the bathtub with ice (and remove someone’s kidney later)? When I went down with my puny ice bucket, the lady at the bar gave me a full sized ice bucket piled high with ice.

The bathroom is sizeable and has 2 bottles of complimentary water. In practice, there’s really no problem calling down and getting additional bottles for free.

The last time I was here, the聽hotel had mini bottles of Bliss body lotion and Bliss soapy bars. They’ve since replaced those with generic Aloft branded toiletries, which was a disappointment

Fortunately, Bliss body wash聽and shampoo is still available is still available in the shower, albeit in dorm-like (I’m sorry, eco friendly) pump dispensers.

The throne room.

By the bedside there is a gentle reminder of how doomed we all are.

Breakfast is served at Crave Restaurant. The quality of breakfast was disappointing compared to that which you can find at many Asia Starwood properties

There was juice, milk and water stations (the juice isn’t fresh)

A limited choice of cereals

A salad bar (really, who eats salad at breakfast?)

A selection of cut fruit

Stale pastries

The hot food selection had a mixture of Thai and Western options

And thankfully there was a made-to-order egg station

Plus a noodle bar

Here’s my plates over two days. I was saving room for Roast, as you can see.

I explored the lobby after breakfast. There was a mini-mart of sorts within the hotel (with prices to match). I can’t imagine who would be willing to pay these prices, given that you could walk 30m outside to a 7-11 selling the same thing at half price, but hey, tourists.

The lobby is meant to be the social hub of the property, so you’ll find a foosball table, a pool table, a PS4 and a Pac Man arcade case here too.

If you feel in the mood for swimming, there’s a pool. It was somewhat full when I visited.

On the same floor as the pool you’ll find a gym. I am glad that Bangkok properties aren’t following the (ridiculous) trend that hotels elsewhere have started of charging for gym access.

So long as the Aloft stays at 3,000/4,000 points per night it’ll definitely remain a go-to place for me. The location is a bit dodgy but it’s central enough for Bangkok, the breakfast isn’t great but Bangkok has such an amazing abundance of cafes it seems a waste to eat breakfast in the hotel, and if you get rooms on the higher floors the usual Bangkok noise shouldn’t be an issue. Don’t expect much in the way of Platinum recognition/elite benefits and you’ll be fine.

How Singapore-based flyers can get cheap(er) premium cabin tickets

Singapore is number one in a lot of things. Unfortunately, that also includes cost of living. The good folks at the EIU have been telling us as much for a long while now.

Even more unfortunately, it seems that airfares are not immune from the high cost environment we have here either- the relative wealth in Singapore means that airlines consider it to be a “premium” market. Therefore, you don’t see very good fare deals in premium cabins originating from Singapore.

As much as we talk about redeeming 聽miles and never having to pay聽for premium cabin travel, there are some times where you simply can’t get your awards to clear and may want to consider looking at revenue fares. What then?

Starting your journey from outside Singapore

If flying from Singapore in premium cabins is too expensive, why not position ourselves elsewhere to start our trip? There are certain cities that are well-known for cheap premium cabin fares.

Qatar Airways, for example, is known to offer great fare deals for flights originating from Cairo and Colombo.

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Qatar business class. YMMV may vary though- as their 777 aircraft have 2-2-2 full flat configurations. This is the configuration you’ll find on the A350s and 787s.

Some examples of recent great fare deals from Cairo include (all fares round trip)

  • US$1,150 Cairo to New York in Qatar Business Class
  • US$1,070 Cairo to Los Angeles in Qatar Business Class
  • US$1,150 Cairo to Bangkok in Qatar Business Class
  • US$2,660 Cairo to Sydney in Qatar Business Class

And from Colombo (all fares round trip)

  • US$4,700 聽Colombo to Los Angeles in Etihad and BA First Class (+ 1 leg in Sri Lankan Business)
  • US$1,105 Colombo to Boston in Qatar Business Class
  • US$600 Colombo to Casablanca in Qatar Business Class

Source: One Mile at a Time

I realise that for most Singaporeans it’s difficult to position yourself to Cairo (especially since SQ has terminated its Cairo route for quite a while now). Colombo is somewhat more do-able (~4 hours flight) especially if you’re going onwards to Europe or the East Coast of the US, but are there any closer starting points if you’re in Singapore (and headed in the opposite direction, say Australia?)

Flying from Bangkok and KL

If you’re not able to position yourself to Colombo or Cairo to take advantage of premium cabin deals聽deals (I don’t know about you but I’d sure as heck buy a cheap ticket to Colombo to get to Boston in business class for $1.1K…), then consider 2 of our neighbour cities, Bangkok and KL.

Bangkok and KL are easily accessible by budget airlines.聽I am not saying that you will definitely find better deals ex-BK/ex-KUL than ex-SIN. What I am saying is that if you’re paying out of pocket for premium cabins and have the time,聽聽you could potentially save a lot of money by buying a cheap budget flight to Bangkok or KL and starting from there.

Let’s look at some examples for round trip business class travel to key destinations in the USA, Europe and Australia.

Non Stop 1 Stop 2 Stops
SIN-FRA S$6,641 S$2,779 S$4,380
BKK-FRA S$5,188 S$2,898 S$3,304
KUL-FRA N/A S$3,406 S$3,488
SIN-LHR S$5,839 S$3,103 S$3,736
BKK-LHR S$4,690 S$3,240 S$3,815
KUL-LHR S$3,871 S$3,030 S$4,086
SIN-JFK N/A S$4,500 S$5,142
BKK-JFK N/A S$3,541 S$3,545
KUL-JFK N/A S$5,663 S$5,079
SIN-SFO S$8,668 S$4,035 S$4,220
BKK-SFO N/A S$2,930 S$2,616
KUL-SFO N/A S$4,910 S$4,296
SIN-SYD S$4,097 S$2,351 S$2,724
BKK-SYD S$3,580 S$2,193 S$2,044
KUL-SYD S$2,779 S$2,157 S$1,950
SIN-MEL S$4,084 S$2,581 S$2,710
BKK-MEL S$3,079 S$2,903 S$2,881
KUL-MEL S$3,287 S$2,146 S$2,815

A few caveats about the above analysis-

(1) I simply plugged in two random dates and looked at the prices for flights originating from Singapore, Bangkok and KL respectively. There may be other dates on which the fare differential is higher/lower.

(2) It is obviously not possible to do an apples to apples comparison as we are not comparing the same flights and the premium cabin product among airlines can differ dramatically. That said, I did remove budget carriers like Jetstar and Scoot from this analysis because although they do have a business class product, it’s certainly not in the same league as a full service carrier.

(3) The fares mentioned above are regular fares. I imagine the price differences will become bigger when there are sales ongoing. 聽(For example, we saw some great deals in the recent Malaysia Airlines sale)

(4)聽Do remember that when you’re flying out of KUL/BKK the 1 stop in flight effectively becomes 2 stops, since you need to fly SIN-KUL/BKK-Stopover-Destination.

Observation 1: Cheap premium cabin fares from Singapore are possible if you don’t mind long layovers

My first observation is that it is still possible to get some good fares out of Singapore (i.e. no positioning needed)聽provided聽you are willing to do a long-ish layover. This means you will fly on one ticket the whole way and no separate budget ticket needs to be bought.

For example, It is possible to fly SIN-HAN-FRA on Vietnam Airlines business class for S$2.8K, if you’re willing to do a 5 hour layover in Hanoi. Vietnam Airlines may not be a world class airline, but you’ll get to fly on their newest cabin product on the 787 from HAN-FRA,聽which is a reverse herringbone product that could give SQ business a run for its money. At S$2.8K this is much cheaper than the S$6.6K SQ wants for a direct flight. Heck, it’s cheaper than flying SQ premium economy (S$3.5K- and they wonder why they can’t fill the cabin…)

Image result for vietnam airlines business class 787

Similarly, if you’re willing to fly China Eastern and take a 10 hour (!) layover in Shanghai (get out and enjoy the city) then you can fly from SIN-PVG-SFO for S$4K, less than half the price of flying direct. For PVG-SFO you’ll be flying on China Eastern’s 777-300 aircraft.聽I don’t know about you, but this cabin seating arrangement looks pretty decent to me…

Image result for china eastern 777-300 business class
photo credit: OMAAT

And if you want to go from Singapore to Melbourne and are ok with a 3.5 hour layover in KUL, you can buy a S$2.6K ticket with Malaysia Airlines that will first send you to KL on an unmemorable MAS flight, then onwards to Melbourne on Malaysia Airlines’ new business class on their A330. This is another excellent looking full flat product where the majority of seats (but not all) boast full aisle access. Have a read of a trip report here.

Observation 2: Positioning yourself to BKK/KL can also yield some attractive deals

If you’re not keen on a long layover, it is possible to position yourself to BKK/KL via a budget flight and do a non-stop flight onwards to your final destination. But be warned- budget airlines are unlikely to offer through check-in and this means you may, in a worst case scenario, need to budget time to clear immigration and collect your bags before checking in for your onward flight. All that takes time.

For example, Singapore to Frankfurt direct on SQ will set you back S$6.6K, but flying from Bangkok will cost S$5.2K. TG operates the A380 from BKK-FRA, where you can enjoy the 1-2-1 full flat Thai Business Class. 聽I think Thai’s business class product is inferior to SQ’s, but it’s still a 聽full flat and all aisle arrangement (plus, you’ll get to use the Royal Orchid Spa in Bangkok). I think that’s worth saving S$1.4K, provided you can arrange a quick transit in Bangkok.

Image result for thai a380 business class

Similarly, KL to LHR costs S$3,871 direct on Malaysia Airlines (versus S$5,839 on SQ). This is the only route where MAS operates its A380s, and although the business class product here has very little privacy, it’s still a full flat bed.

Image result for malaysia airlines a380 business class

Observation 3:聽Positioning + 1 stop can yield 聽some very good deals

You can get to Melbourne in business class for S$2,146 or S$2,245 with Royal Brunei and Thai Airways respectively if you fly out of KL.

Royal Brunei operates its 787 on the route to Melbourne and, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the business class cabin looks pretty good too. You will have a 5.5 hour layover in Bandar Seri Begawan. I’ve never been there but I think it’s safe to say it isn’t exactly the entertainment capital of the world. Also, Royal Brunei is a dry airline, so be warned. You won’t be popping bottles in the aisles. Here’s a trip report if you’re curious.

Image result for royal brunei 787 business class

Image result for royal brunei 787 business class

The Thai option seems better in the sense that the layover is only 2 hours. So you’ll find your own way to KL, then go KUL-BKK-MEL for a total flight time of 11 hours (+ 2 hour layover). Sure you’ll need to budget in some time for transit but it’s not that much worse than flying from SIN direct. And S$2.2K for round trip business class is a good deal in my book. Thai operates a 777-300 on this route with a similar product to that on the A380.

Sydney can also be reached from KL and BKK for聽roughly the same price with 1 stop as well.

Conclusion

I think there’s something to be said here about the comfort vs time trade off. Your leave is precious, and I can understand why people would rather take a 10 hour direct flight in economy than spend 20 hours聽with connections and layovers. If you’re the sort of person for whom the destination is the point, by all means book economy and enjoy more time on the ground.

I guess I’m weird that way in that the getting there is the highlight of my trip. And if you take it from the point of view that you’re getting an additional stopover in another city while travelling in a better cabin class and paying less,聽then the equation certainly changes. For example, even if I were ultimately heading to San Francisco, I could certainly make a case for a 10 hour stopover in Shanghai just to take in some sights and food en route (I think the difficulty comes in when the layover is neither here nor there. 5 hours in Hanoi, for example, is a bit too short to do anything meaningful in the city but too long to just wait in the airport)

Are there any other closeby cities to Singapore with good options for premium cabin revenue fares?

The Long Way to New York: Thai Airways First Class Spa & Lounge BKK

Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge, Singapore
Singapore Airlines Business Class SIN-BKK
Thai Airways First Class Lounge & Spa,聽BKK
Thai Airways First Class BKK-HND
Getting from HND to NRT
ANA First Class Lounge,聽NRT
ANA First Class NRT-ORD
United Club ORD
United Economy ORD-EWR
Visiting the US Open
Sheraton New York Times Square
Hilton New York Midtown
Wingtips Lounge JFK & Delta to DC
Exploring Washington DC
Element New York Times Square West
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, JFK
Singapore Airlines Suites JFK-FRA
Lufthansa Senator Lounge FRA
Singapore Airlines Suites FRA-SIN


It’s been said many times before but it’s always worth repeating- SQ still hasn’t quite mastered the ground experience yet. Although its hard product is unrivaled in the air, on the ground its lounges and other amenities leave a lot to be desired.

It doesn’t have Etihad’s chauffer service, for example, which picks up and drops off first and business class passengers to and from the airport. Singapore is so small; if Etihad can offer this service throughout聽the entire UAE (that is, you can be picked up at the airport and dropped off anywhere in the UAE), why can’t Singapore at least offer this service in Singapore?

It doesn’t have Virgin Atlantic’s awe inspiring lounges which offer you haircuts while you watch planes take off.

It doesn’t have a separate terminal for First Class passengers like the awe-inspiring Lufthansa FCT in Frankfurt.

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And it doesn’t have the Thai Airways First Class spa (before anyone says that spa services are disproportionately cheap to run in Thailand because of supply, that’s true but there are a lot of other airlines which offer complimentary spa treatments to passengers eg British Airways and Elemis)

Of course聽all these carriers聽all don’t have anything close to SQ’s quality in the air.聽I’m just asking why we can’t have the best of all worlds.

I digress.

SQ 979聽had landed on time in BKK at around 2000 and I had until 2245 to get a spa treatment, dine and take lots of photos.聽I heard conflicting accounts about whether Thai does pick up transiting F passengers at the gate so I didn’t expect anything, but was nonetheless delighted to see a staff member with my name on a sign as I moved quickly down the jetway after disembarking.

“Are you Mr Wong?”

I giggled coyly and conceded聽that I was.

“Please to come with me to First Class lounge”

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I got on the cart and we headed off. For those of you familiar with the layout of Suvarnabhumi Airport, you’ll know that the walking time between gates can be quite long as the airport is laid out in a sprawling fashion. There are numerous travelators laid out but even so you can still spend up to 10-15 mins just getting to immigration from your plane, depending where you taxi to. Anyway that wasn’t a concern today.

As the cart picked up speed and we drove past other transiting passengers, I mocked them in my mind. Those bipedal perambulating savages. From now on I would only cart places. Walking was so beneath me.

It was at this point that my hubris proved fatal as the cart came to an abrupt stop at an escalator. Apparently we have not developed stair climbing carts yet so we had to get off and go up the stairs to clear security.

After security it was still a good 5 minute walk to the lounge.聽As we walked she took out a roster and asked to check my baggage tags, mentioning that there seemed to be some discrepancy in their system.聽Ruh roh, I thought. It turned out this was all down to that incident back in SIN where the counter staff told me she could tag my bag all the way through to ORD, HND-NRT transfer notwithstanding. The tag was eventually corrected in Singapore,聽but apparently the first tag was what went through to the TG system in BKK.

The TG lady was extremely helpful. She took a photo of my luggage tag and told me not to worry and they would sort everything out. And sure enough my bag came out at HND with no problems.

She dropped me off at the lounge and left, and I asked the staff if an immediate appointment was available at the spa and surprisingly, despite it being the evening prime time rush, there was no wait.

They escorted me out of the lounge and 10 steps away to the First Class Spa. As per the TG website, the spa is open from 6am to 1130pm every day. The spa is divided into two zones based on class of travel-

聽First Class Zone Facilities:

  • 3 Touch Of Silk Suites (Body Massage)
    路 6 Neck & Shoulder or Relaxing Foot Massage Corners
    路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 2 Steam Rooms
    路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 2 Sauna Rooms
    路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 4 Shower Rooms
    路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Toilets

Silk Class (Business) Zone Facility:

  • 聽8 Neck & Shoulder or Relaxing Foot Massage Corners

Before anyone asks, no, you have to be flying on TG to access the spa. First and Business class passengers on Star partners do not get access. You can read the full FAQ on this FT thread.聽

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Another bucket list item checked, I thought as I surveyed the treatment list.聽First Class passengers get a complimentary 60 minute treatment, Business Class get 30 minutes

Touch of Silk聽(Full Body Oil聽Massage 鈥 60 minutes for First Class only)

Start your journey with a relaxing Touch of Silk, full-body oil massage. Performed with the unique ‘Thai touch’, this massage will help to prepare your body for your onward flight by increasing blood circulation as well as relieving muscular tension and helping to provide necessary hydration for your skin. On completion of your Touch of Silk massage, you will be left with an overall sense of well-being and total relaxation.

Royal Thai Massage聽(Full Body Massage聽– 60 minutes for First Class only)

Thai massage is perceived as one of the most precious of Thai traditional therapies. Royal Thai Massage helps to stimulate blood circulation, reduces edema caused by travelling and reduces body fatigue. With its unique acupressure techniques, expertly applied to your body, you will find your mind relaxed and muscles relieved, following the stress of your journey.

Neck & Shoulder Massage聽(30 minutes)

The Neck & Shoulder Massage is a great way to relieve stress which has built up from the rigors of everyday life from working long hours at your computer. Using specific techniques the therapist will work to loosen tight muscles around the neck and shoulders whilst simultaneously assessing how much tension is held in the body and how best to release it. You will board your flight feeling more relaxed and a little lighter around the shoulders.

Foot Massage聽(30 minutes)

Let’s help prepare you for your onward journey, by taking the weight off your feet and giving them a relaxing massage, which they truly deserve. Foot massage is a well-known relaxation therapy to help take care of tired feet. The gentle touch of the therapists hands and the deeper pressure from their fingers, create a sense of overall relaxation and will help to stimulate your vital organs.

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The waiting area is pleasant enough, but it was completely deserted. There were some packaged snacks, water and a selection of teas available. All the real food is over in the lounge.

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In no time at all聽I was invited to the treatment room.聽The treatment room was ridiculously large. I mean, I’ve been to luxury spas in downtown BKK that were half this size.

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There was a separate walk in wardrobe to hang your clothes.

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And there was a full-sized shower room as well as a toilet. Toilet amenities were L’occitane branded.

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As for the massage- let’s just say that I don’t think I’m perceptive enough to know a good spa treatment聽from a bad one. All I know is that I had a relaxing massage in an international airport in a huge spa suite for free. And there’s very little more awesome than that.

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After the treatment I headed back to the main lounge and made a beeline for the dining room area. There are buffet stations scattered around the lounge but from what I gather the dining room is their equivalent of SQ’s private room- a sit down area with made to order items.

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Where it’s dissimilar from The Private Room is that the menu selections are decidedly Thai comfort food based. No lobster, no steak. All options are local perhaps with the odd addition of a mushroom cream soup.聽And that’s not a bad thing per se, I suppose. But it’s definitely aimed at the locals more than international travellers.

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I ordered the pad thai and the grilled pork. Pad thai was alright, if not really small. They serve you bite sized portions here, perhaps to encourage you to order more variety of dishes. I thought the portions would be full sized so only ordered two dishes. The dishes took about 15 minutes to prepare and by then it was too late to order anything else.

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The grilled pork was probably the stand out of the two dishes. I also tried ordering prawn cakes but they were out. Had I more time, I would probably have sampled other dishes but time was running out and I still had photos to take of the lounge.

Similarly, the drinks menu didn’t really have anything special. The champagne wasn’t anything near what you find in The Private Room. Non vintage, Moet quality stuff (Mumm was unavailable that day).

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Here’s an idea of the buffet spread outside the dining room- nothing hot, just a selection of pre-prepared items

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None of them were very memorable, and I was suspicious of the fried rice plates they left out given they were stone cold.

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The rest of the lounge had computer working terminals and TV rooms. No slumber rooms聽were available.

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I was also surprised that you couldn’t directly connect to the wifi, you had to go a terminal to generate a code with your boarding pass.

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They had a few pop up displays of local handicrafts

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So if I were to sum up the TG First Class lounge, I’d say their catering was disappointing for a place with such awesome food as Thailand. Their drinks selection was similarly nothing special.聽The spa is really the saving grace, because otherwise the lounge would more or less be a writeoff. That spa suite was luxuriously聽furnished and I understand other suites have jacuzzis too.

One thing that wasn’t made clear upon arrival would be that we’d get escorted to our gate when the time came. They should probably have mentioned that upfront, because when I started to head out a staff member called me back and said the flight wasn’t ready to board yet.

When the time came to board a staff member came to find me.聽As we stepped out of the lounge these two vehicles pulled up. They looked absolutely awesome but unfortunately they weren’t for us. Imagine riding one of those down the hallways. Haters gonna hate.

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In the absence of any carts it was time to take a long walk to the departure gate and see how Thai’s 747s have been holding up.