Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.
I recently enjoyed a FABULOUS holiday in Thailand, including a stay at my favorite hotel in the world, Soneva Kiri. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport
- Review: Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class from Frankfurt to Bangkok
- Review: Soneva Kiri, my favorite hotel in the world
- Review: Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
- Review: The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection resort & spa, Phuket
- Review: Park Hyatt Hotel Bangkok
- Review: Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok (today)
- Review: Thai Airways Boeing B747 First Class from Bangkok to Munich
Today (July 25, 2018): Review of Banyan Tree Bangkok (Thailand).
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: Banyan Tree Bangkok
- Tip: get free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso
Banyan Tree Bangkok is conveniently located in the Thai capital’s Sathon/Silom area. The city’s only 5-star all-suite hotel offers some of Bangkok’s largest luxurious accommodation, with world-class dining experiences, meeting and event spaces, and an award-winning spa. Banyan Tree Bangkok is a vertical resort, towering 61 floors above the city providing some of the best views of Bangkok. The most spectacular panoramas can be enjoyed from the famous Vertigo/Moon Bar on the 61st floor, one of the most amazing hotel rooftops in the world.
Banyan Tree Bangkok features in my top 10 lists of the best hotels in Bangkok, the world’s best restaurants with a view, and the best rooftops in the world.
In this review (more info below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
*** Get the most out of your (luxury) trip to Thailand with my online Thailand travel guide ***
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Banyan Tree Bangkok enjoys a central location just off Sathorn Road, one of Bangkok’s busiest thoroughfares. The hotel building sits down a small alley, which keeps the accommodations insulated from the noise and chaos outside. The location is convenient for business travelers as it’s only a short taxi drive to Bangkok’s Central Business District. There’s an MRT Subway station only five-minutes away at Lumpini park and the nearest BTS Skytrain is in Silom. For guest’s convenience, the hotel runs a free hourly tuk-tuk shuttle service to transport hubs.
- The hotel – which describes itself as a sanctuary of the senses and an oasis in the city – is one of the highest hotels in Bangok since it is housed in a 61-story, 198 m (650 ft) tall skyscraper, whose narrow, gray, Lego blocks alike look has been a fixture of the city’s skyline since it opened in 2002. Consequently, all of the hotel’s stately accommodations come with spectacular urban panoramas of their own, making Banyan Tree Bangkok a great pick for stays in Thailand’s capital, especially for those that get excited about a room with a view.
- The hotel decor fuses traditional Thai aesthetics with contemporary design elements. The lobby – with its wooden panels, flower arrangements and marble black/white floors – has a classic and chic feel in an understated sort of way. The space comprises a concierge desk at the entrance which gives way to a large check-in area, a few seating areas with leather chairs, and a small boutique shop. The lobby is quite dark, although one wall features large windows looking out onto a tropical courtyard garden with waterfall. In the back, several sets of elevators take guests up to the rooms and stunning rooftop.
- The hotel’s 327 rooms are the largest luxury accommodations in Bangkok starting at 48 m2 (516 sq ft). In fact, all rooms, many recently refurbished, are mini-suites featuring a generous separate living area with at least a 3-seater couch and armchair giving way to a decent-sized bedroom with attached bathroom. Each room has a fragrant oil burner with daily changing aromas. During my visit, I stayed in the lowest room category, a horizon room. The room, which came with a fabulous view through the floor-to-ceiling windows, was tastefully designed to showcase the essence of Thai heritage fused with modern amenities to pamper the senses. The bathroom was decked out in gray, spotted marble with a raised sink and a freestanding bathtub.
- The hotel is probably most well-known for its spectacular 61st floor rooftop, which features the fine dining restaurant Vertigo and the stylish and sophisticated Moon Bar. Each evening, you can dine at Vertigo under the stars and delight in a succulent seafood grill and delicious steaks while you enjoy the breathtaking and panoramic views of the glittering cityscape of Bangkok. Moon Bar offers premium drinks, such as the classic Vertigo Sunset, a melody of pineapple, cranberry and lime juices blended with just the right amount of Malibu. It’s the best places in town to catch a tropical sunset but be prepared though to pay premium prices, both at the restaurant and the bar!
- Foodies won’t be disappointed at the Banyan Tree Hotel, since the hotel features 7 other bars & restaurants besides Vertigo and Moon Bar.
- Romsai on the lower-lobby level serves international cuisine buffet-style during breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- On the 52nd floor, the smart Saffron serves Thai signature dishes, which include seared Tasmanian salmon with crisp pork crackling and a spicy citrus dressing, banana blossom salad with perfectly grilled and marinated prawns served with a coconut dressing and fried banana flowers.
- Next door, the Saffron Sky Garden Bar is Bangkok’s highest outdoor sky garden, enjoying spectacular views of the Bangkok skyline and the Chao Phraya River, and offering a casual Thai street-food inspired menu.
- With a contemporary ambience on the 59th floor, Bai Yun is the place for Chinese cuisine, serving modern twists on classic Cantonese recipes and a wonderful tea list.
- The Japanese restaurant Taihei is located on the 53rd and 54th floors and comes with private tatami and teppanyaki, and features signatures including grilled snowfish with miso sauce, a decadent spread of incredibly fresh sashimi and excellent tonkatsu
- One floor below Vertigo and Moon Bar, on the 60th floor, is Vertigo Too, a lounge bar with live music, arched ceilings and loungers fronting large windows.
- Converted from a vintage rice barge, Apsara is the hotel’s private dinner cruise boat on the Chao Praya river.
- Shimmering under open sky, with an outdoor rooftop deck on the 21st floor, the outdoor pool is flanked by green plants to create a tropical pool experience with the skyline of Bangkok as a backdrop. A sundeck features a few sets of parasol-shaded lounge chairs, while a juice bar provides refreshments and complimentary poolside service include neck and shoulder massages, water and fruit. The pool is open from 6 am to 9 pm daily.
- The indoor, state-of-the-art health club is located besides the pool deck, and represents a professionally designed facility with natural lighting. With yoga, aerobics, Pilates, daily Muay Thai (kick-boxing) classes, stretching and step lessons, steam and sauna rooms (gender segregated), the club is open from 6 am to 9 pm daily and is the perfect retreat for the health-conscious.
- Integrated within the health club is the holistic Banyan Tree spa. Entering the wonderful spa facility feels like another world as you pass the lit bamboo art display and head down narrow, black-stone corridors towards one of the 16 treatment rooms. Spa treatments are specially concocted with fresh and natural ingredients to replenish your body with the best of nature’s gifts.
- Located on the 19th floor, the Club Lounge is reserved for the exclusive use of guests who reserve one of the higher-category rooms and suites, either a Serenity Club, One Bedroom Suite, Spa Sanctuary, or Two Bedroom Suite. The Lounge, open from 7 am to 10 pm is one of Bangkok’s largest, providing generous benefits:
- Welcome herbal drinks
- Buffet breakfast served at the Club Lounge from 7:00 to 11:00am
- Beverages (soft drinks, coffee & tea) and light snacks from 07:00am to 08:00pm
- Free flow local beer from 10:00am to 08:00pm
- Happy hour and canapés from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
- Complimentary laundry or pressing (2 pieces per day)
- Use of boardroom for up to 3 hours per stay (maximum 8 persons)
- The hotel has two boutique shops, one located in the lobby area behind the check-in desks and one located on the 21th floor within the health club. They offer a collection of Banyan Tree branded handicrafts, resort apparel and signature spa amenities, so that those who don’t mind paying a premium price can relive the Banyan Tree experience at home.
- The hotel is especially well equipped for business travelers. Located on the 19th floor, there’s a business center that provides a comprehensive range of services and facilities to serve every professional requirement including secretarial service, equipment rental, internet access, and computer usage. There are also 12 meeting rooms, offering state-of-the-art equipment. Business meetings and corporate functions are hosted smoothly and professionally. For a larger business (or private) event, the hotel features a high-ceilinged ballroom on the 10th floor, seating up to 400 people.
- The hotel is managed by the Banyan Tree hotel group, one of the best global luxury hotel brands. The Banyan Tree hospitality company, which was established in 1994, has its roots in Singapore and provides naturally luxurious, ecologically sensitive, and culture-aware experiences for the discerning traveler. I have previously reviewed the equally superb Banyan Tree properties in the Seychelles (my favorite!), Koh Samui, Phuket, the Riviera Maya, and Vietnam.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
The Banyan Tree Bangkok represents an urban oasis of tranquility within the heart of the Thai capital. The best features of the hotel are the epic rooftop and the vistas from the all-suite accommodations. In addition, the service is sublime, the spa is world-class, and the dining scene is impressive. Yet, there are some things you need to know when considering a stay here:
- Although located in an upscale neighbourhood, the Banyan Tree is a little out of the way, and not exactly next door to restaurants, bars or shopping. The good news is that the hotel runs a free hourly tuk-tuk shuttle service to the Lumpini underground station and to Sala Daeng skytrain station, from where you can connect to the city’s more lively neighbourhoods. Alternatively, you can always take a taxi to visit Bangkok’s main historical sites and nightlife areas, although taxi rides can take up to an hour depending on the (often jammed) traffic.
- The open-air leisure patio on the 21st floor is a great feature, but the pool is on the small side for a hotel of this size and it can get crowded at times of high occupancy.
- The Banyan Tree Bangkok is an older hotel, as it opened in 2002. Although the property has undergone several refurbishments in the rooms, the interiors of the public areas – with their marble tables, dark wood and carpet – look a bit dated and lack daylight (making an overall dark impression), although everything is in excellent condition.
- A dinner on the rooftop restaurant Vertigo is a must, but be prepared to pay premium prices for the food as the dining venue soaks up your cash whilst you soak up the views. Food is excellent (but not exceptional) and you clearly pay more for the views than the food. That said, I would have another dinner if I were to return to Bangkok, simply because the views are to die for.
- Location: 7/10
- Design: 7/10
- Pool: 8/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 8/10
- Breakfast: 9/10
- Spa: 8/10
- Service: 9/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall experience: very good: 8/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Banyan Tree Bangkok (and/or receive many free perks).
- Save money: get free VIP amenities at Banyan Tree Bangkok when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and one complimentary Thai set dinner for two at -Saffron restaurant on 52nd Floor)
- Save money: book your room with an additional 10% off making use of Banyan Tree’s Best Rate Guarantee.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The weather in Bangkok is dominated by a tropical monsoon climate which means there are three main seasons: a cool, dry season between November and February (which is the best period to visit the city); a hot, dry season from March to June, and a rainy season from July to October. As Bangkok holds claim to being the hottest city in the world, expect daytime temperatures to be in excess of 30 degrees centigrade throughout the year (with the possible exception of late December and early January). The two periods April to May and September to October are characterised by high, almost untolerable humidity. The southwest monsoons arrive between May and October bringing unsettled, cloudy conditions and, for many, this is a welcome respite.
HOW TO GET THERE
Bangkok is served by 2 airports:
- Suvarnabhumi International Airport is located 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of downtown Bangkok and is a major hub in Asia. Check the Wikipedia page of Suvarnabhumi International Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to this airport. The hotel is located 35 km (22 mi) from the main Bangkok airport. Travel by car, van or hotel limousine takes between 45 and 60 minutes, depending on traffic.
- Don Mueang Airport is Bangkok’s regional commuter flight hub and the de facto low-cost airline hub. Check the Wikipedia page of Don Mueang Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to this airport. Don Mueang Airport is located 28 km (17 mi) from the hotel. Travel by car, van or hotel limousine takes between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on traffic.
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I agree with your rating. We liked our stay, but would try another hotel, next time we are in Bangkok. Our room was just like yours except, it had no divider between the living and bedroom areas. Our furniture was a light color so it made the room feel bigger. We actually loved the room. Our breakfast in Romsai was ok. Too many children. We hated the pool. Loaded with kids and very crowded. For a business hotel, there were too many children. I wanted this hotel to be better, but was just so put off by the children. I don’t hate children, just parents need to exercise some control. We left wishing we had stayed at the Sukhothai, next door….