Like a Bad Third Date: A Review of the Park Hyatt Bangkok
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Staying at the Park Hyatt Bangkok was a little bit like going out with someone beautiful but shallow. The first date was perfect: I was immediately impressed by the high ceilings, chic decor and intimate feel. But throughout my stay, there were several ups and downs, just like those second and third dates, which really made me wonder: Did I want to continue my love affair with the Park Hyatt Bangkok?
Read on to find out whether I found true love or not.
As a Hyatt Globalist member, I was tempted to book online directly through Hyatt's website using my Chase Sapphire Reserve to get 3x points per dollar. But I decided to book through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts using my Amex Platinum, knowing I'd get all of my Globalist benefits as well as other added perks through FHR, which I'll detail below.
I originally booked a Park Deluxe King room for $378 per night for two nights, which was the cheapest room available when I booked. While that was on the high side for Bangkok, I'd heard a lot of buzz about the hotel and really wanted to try it out. I would have booked using points (just 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night), but award nights weren't available during our stay.
A week before our stay, I noticed that the lowest level Park King room had opened up for $312 per night, so I promptly called FHR to update my booking. Thanks to FHR, we were able to get perks like a $100 amenity, which in this case was a free lunch or dinner. Another thing I love about FHR is that the concierge alerts the hotel to your arrival and departure times, which is really convenient with international travel and time changes. We ended up getting upgraded thanks to my Globalist status (you only get moved up one level with FHR, but Globalist gives you upgrades to the best room available, including suites). We were now in a Park Deluxe Suite, which would have cost $580 per night. Although I only earned one Membership Rewards point per dollar spent, the FHR benefits more than made up for it, and I also earned 5x Hyatt points for our stay plus a 30% bonus thanks to my Globalist status.
Getting from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to the hotel was simple: You could order an Uber, take a taxi or go via the Skytrain service to Phaya Thai, where you could change to the BTS Sukhumvit line (light green on the map) and get out at Phloen Chit, right by the hotel. We used KiwiTaxi.com, which cost a total of $36. We were greeted by a Kiwi representative right outside the airport, and he escorted us to our driver and car. At the end of the trip, heading back to the airport, we ordered an Uber.
The hotel was steps away from anything we might've needed — luxury shopping and restaurants, local street food or the nearby Lumpini Park. The American embassy was also close by.
We used Uber and taxis to get around. If you use taxis in Bangkok, make sure the hotel transport desk tells the taxi drivers to put their meters on so you get a fair rate. Although we didn't test it out, I've also heard the Grab app is useful for motorcycle taxis — TPG international contributor Lori Zaino swears by this service when she's in Thailand, though they certainly aren't for the faint of heart (ask the driver for a helmet).
I was immediately intrigued by the hotel because the building was unique, and no two rooms were the same. The first lobby was on the main floor, but we needed to take the elevator up to the 10th floor to get to the main lobby to check in.
As I mentioned in the intro, it was love at first sight for me. The high ceilings and modern art attracted me right away, and the hotel somehow seemed intimate for such a large property, with cozy nooks with bookshelves, armchairs and tables perfect for holding your cocktail.
Despite my immediate admiration, and thanks to our 2:30am arrival, we were also completely exhausted and wanted to check in ASAP. Luckily, we could check in from inside the suite, so we didn't have to wait in the lobby.
I was a little nervous when we go to our suite on the 28th floor because it was right next to the elevator. But thanks to the way the suite was laid out, it was fairly quiet. The bedroom was all the way in the back, meaning we couldn't hear any noise from the elevators while sleeping, which was the most important part.
A staff member quickly explained all the usual info and checked us in right in the living room. There was both a Hyatt Globalist and FHR welcome letter in the room, which was enough to confuse our guide, who had apparently never seen a customer with both.
We entered through the living room and then walked through a hallway — really a walk-in closet — and then into the bedroom and bathroom. Although we didn't have any friends over, it's worth noting that they would've needed to walk through the bedroom to get from the living room to the bathroom.
The website said the suites were 63 to 80 square meters (680 to 800 square feet), but each one was different, and ours was on the higher end of that range. The welcome gift of chocolate-covered mangoes was a nice touch.
The suite came with two televisions, two air-conditioning controls and two phones. We may have had two separate phone lines, too, which could've been useful if we'd both been working.
At first, I really liked the sleek decor, but after spending a bit of time in the suite, it all seemed beige and bland. The second-date realization that maybe things weren't as lovely as you previously thought was starting to sink in.
Despite the yawn-inducing neutral tones, I appreciated how the room had no sharp angles and admired its high ceilings and gorgeous wood floors. Plus, the floor-to-ceiling windows offered a fantastic view of the Bangkok skyline.
When we wanted to sleep, we could use the blackout electric shades as well as the sheer ones. In fact, controls and multiple-country outlets were all over the suite, which made it easy to charge all our devices and control the lighting, shades and temperature. A Nespresso machine ensured we were fully caffeinated during our stay. A minibar and free bottled water rounded out the beverage offerings.
A desk and chair workspace was useful, since I was actually doing some work there. The Wi-Fi speed was sufficient, and I was able to get my work done, but I've seen hotels with much better speeds.
The bed was large and comfortable, and the closets were spacious, coming with a safe, bathrobe, slippers, ironing board and iron.
The bathroom was big, and the shower passed the TPG shower test, but I was mildly annoyed you couldn't use both the overhead shower head and handheld shower head at the same time.
There was a huge tub calling my name, but with so much to do and see in Bangkok, I didn't find time for a solid soak. The Le Labo amenities smelled delicious, and there many useful items available, like cotton pads, a nail file, shower cap, dental kit and more.
Food and Beverage
Daily breakfast was available for free, thanks to both my Globalist status and FHR.
The selection was limited (especially the fruit), but the hot food was delicious. I liked the fact they had both Asian and Western options. You could also order off the menu (e.g., eggs Benedict, pad thai), which was also included.
Things started to go downhill after breakfast, though: The third-date disaster was upon us.
We headed out around 9:30am to explore Bangkok and put the sign on the door for the room to be serviced. We also called down for them to service the room — I knew I'd need a nap later and wanted to be sure the room would be cleaned and ready by then. When we returned at 2:00pm, though, the room had not been made up.
My jet lag had taken a serious turn for the worse, and we were exhausted — I seriously needed that nap. I complained sternly to the front desk, and they promised immediate service. In the meantime, we decided we'd use that time to eat lunch at the Penthouse Bar and Grill on the 34th floor, a trendy restaurant with impressive views of Bangkok.
I was immediately annoyed, though, because the first two wines we asked for were not available (of course, the last one, the most expensive, was). I ordered a medium-rare lamb burger, but my burger came well-done. When the bill arrived, we were mistakenly charged for two glasses of wine instead of one.
To make matters worse, when we went back down at 3:00pm, the room was still not serviced. On the verge of a food coma on top of the jet lag. I complained again by phone, asking to speak with the general manager. The head of food and beverage met with us and promised to have it made up immediately. This was my third request for the room to be cleaned (not counting the sign we left on the door). It eventually was cleaned, but I'll talk more about what happened after later in this review.
That night, we decided to take advantage of our FHR benefit for a free dinner, which was available in the downstairs restaurant, the Embassy Room. I was ambivalent because it was a prix fixe menu, and went in with low expectations, especially after the lunch disaster. The pricing seemed to be on par with FHR's offerings — dinner for two was around $100 for a three-course meal.
But dinner ended up being fantastic. I savored the Australian lamb chops, which were some of the best I'd ever had (who would've thought I'd find the best lamp chops in the world in Bangkok?).
That evening, we had drinks at the secret speakeasy-style whiskey bar, tucked away on the 35th floor with intimate sofas and jazz music.
The views were amazing, and the bar served 147 different varieties of whiskey, as well as other spirits, but when we entered the bar area, which was partially hidden, we waited for several minutes to be served — we were the only people in the bar, and not a single staff member was there. We passed the time by taking pictures behind the bar — if someone hadn't come to serve us soon, we were going to tend bar ourselves!
Luckily, a bartender showed up, in no hurry, to take our drink orders. The drinks were well-made and delicious, though we ended up ordering wine and mojitos instead of whiskey. While the drinks were great, the bar situation reflected my stay in general: a beautiful space that left much to be desired when it came to paying attention to you.
While the staff finally tended to our unmade room that afternoon, we sat by the pool for 45 minutes. Under other circumstances, the infinity pool would have been relaxing, but since I was cranky, I couldn't fully enjoy it. Still, the pool attendants were helpful and friendly, immediately providing us with chairs and towels, though that might've been because the pool area was mostly empty during our visit.
Finally, when we went back inside at 3:45pm, our room was clean, and I settled in for that much-needed nap.
After the nap, I spoke with the GM and voiced my concerns about the cleaning, the bait-and-switch wine experience, being charged double for drinks, and the poorly cooked food. The apologetic GM not only comped our meal but one of the nights of our stay — I felt that was a very nice gesture. Maybe a fourth date wasn't out of the question, after all.
Though I didn't have time to try them out, the property also offered a spa and gym.
But with so many low-cost and amazing places to get massages, the Park Hyatt spa would definitely have been a splurge compared to anywhere else, especially when you can get $6 Thai massages elsewhere in Bangkok.
The hotel definitely had service issues and quirks to fix, and these hiccups should have been worked out by now. But because the GM handled things well, and because the property is so beautiful, the hotel still has the potential to be an incredible place to stay.
I would consider taking the Park Hyatt Bangkok out again for another date, if the price were right, but I also wouldn't mind trying a riverfront property — there are plenty of fish in the sea, as they say. So instead of my true love, let's call this a serious infatuation.