Five Nights in Bangkok Thailand
Our family had four days to spend in Bangkok, Thailand, and we decided to divide our trip between two hotels. As always, we did a little research, but like always, we also got a little lucky. Our first four nights were spent in the Feung Nakorn Balcony Rooms and Cafe in the Rattanakosin District. On our final night before our departure, we stayed at the Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn in the Sathorn District. Our visit showed how two family hotels can provide two completely different but mutually exceptional experiences. This review will compare the two hotels.
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Our Review of Two Bangkok Hotels.
We were in Bangkok for three reasons. The first reason was that we had to get out of China. We are here on a ten year tourist visa, and we must get our visa stamped every sixty days or be in violation. The second reason was to celebrate our 6 year wedding anniversary in a fun setting. And finally, if we had to be out of the country anyway, we wanted to do a little exploration and photography while we were at it.
We chose Bangkok hotels that we thought would make our trip fun, productive, comfortable. We wanted it to be fun for our two year old daughter Lisa, and romantic for us (though not necessarily at the same time). We stayed in Feung Nakorn Balcony to put us in the heart of Bangkok at a reasonable price and to give Lisa a taste of the city. We stayed in the Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn for a luxurious evening together before we got back on a plane for China.
Feung Nakorn Balcony Review
Our Stay At Feung Nakorn Balcony
The Feung Nakorn Balcony Hotel and Cafe is an old school building that has been remodeled into a Hotel. The rooms are on four levels, and open up onto a balcony that overlooks the courtyard and open air restaurant. It’s located in the Rattanakosin District of Bangkok, near many of the popular attractions, but because it is off the main strip the price is greatly reduced. We were honestly shocked by how much more value we felt like we got there than at some of the other places we were considering.
The building had a very old aesthetic to it, but I mean old-fashioned, not run down. It was clean and comfortable with modern facilities. You could tell that it wasn’t built to be a hotel, but the owners did a fantastic job remaking it, and the result was an experience that felt very out of the ordinary.
The Feung Nakorn Balcony was within walking distance of both the Grand Palace (Google Maps) and Wat Pho (Google Maps). There was also a big park nearby called Saranrom Park where we relaxed on our way home from touring. In the other direction we had fun seeing the nightlife on Khaosan Road (Google Maps).
What We Liked
Like I said, a lot of the value of this hotel is that it is in a great location at a reasonable price. Dannie and I love exploring on foot whenever we can, and the fact that we could do that from a safe and quiet neighborhood was a real bonus for us. Nothing we walked to took more than thirty minutes, even pushing our travel stroller, so we were very happy. Just outside the hotel there were a couple of cafes and restaurants, and a number of street food vendors less than a hundred feet south (and way more if you walked a few minutes north).
There was also a 7-11 just up the road for supplies (except diapers!!), and we went there to buy bottled water before some of our outings.
The bedroom had a very big, comfy bed that we shared with our daughter. The air conditioner kept us cool in the hot, humid July weather. Maybe it’s just that our mattress in China isn’t very soft, but this bed felt extra nice to us. There were big windows that let in plenty of light when the shades were open, but once they were closed we could make it nice and dark. There was a television, which we put on for Lisa once in a while when we just wanted to chill out after a day in the sun.
Everything was very clean, and we didn’t see any bugs.
The staff were friendly and professional, always helping us with a smile, even when they were very busy. Maybe it’s just another instance of having been in China for too long, but Thai people seem to speak very softly and soothingly. We just felt very comfortable around everyone we met during our stay.
The room was cleaned thoroughly when we put out the sign, and they respected our privacy when we didn’t. The concierge also helped us to extend our stay by a few hours so that Lisa could have her nap before we switched hotels for our last night.
In the mornings, we usually ate the breakfast buffet, which started at 7:00. There were many dishes available. Some of the dishes were Thai (noodles, curry, rice w/vegetables) and others were western (fried and scrambled eggs, toast, cereal, coffee). There was also fresh fruit. As vegetarians, we had to ignore a few of the more delicious looking options, but we’ve gotten used to that when eating at buffets. The breakfast wasn’t included in the price of the room, but at 200 Baht (about $6) we thought it was worth the convenience and variety.
The courtyard in the center of the hotel somehow contained a multitude of relaxing spaces without feeling cluttered. In the center was the outdoor restaurant where we ate our breakfasts. There was also a lovely garden with numerous fountains. There was a kiddie pool, ball pit, and rocking horses for Lisa, and a huge koi pond full of huge fish that Lisa loved to feed (the staff gave her a big bowl of pellets, which kept her busy for a good long time. Oh, and there was another play area near the kitchen, which was sheltered and had board games, puzzles, dolls, blocks and other toys for when it was raining outside.
What We Didn’t Like
Each time they cleaned our room they restocked us with free water and some chips. But there were no toothbrushes and no hand soap. I always thought those things were sort of a given for hotels, and considering how nice the place was, it seemed like a weird place to cut corners. Luckily, we had toothbrushes in our bags that we kept from our layover in Kunming. They did provide shampoo, however, and body wash that we used as hand soap.
Lunch (for Vegetarians)
We were excited to try the restaurant since it had a big menu and we were looking forward to trying something other than noodles, which we’d been eating a lot of. We were even more excited to see that the menu had an entire page of vegetarian options. Unfortunately, it was just noodles and salads. I would have liked some curry. I know that most Thai curries have meat in them, but I’ve also had really good ones without, so it can be done. If you aren’t a vegetarian, there are a lot more options.
Asian Style Shower
Even though we’ve been in Asia for a long time now, I’m still disappointed whenever I see that there is no shower enclosure. I hate walking on a wet floor, and a shower curtain without an enclosure just doesn’t cut it for me. I should point out that our own bathroom in our house in Dali has an asian style shower, so obviously I can tolerate it, but I was kind of looking forward to a break from it. On the plus side, the toilet wasn’t a squatter.
We really enjoyed our stay here. The fact that it was quiet, safe, child friendly and close to the attractions we wanted to see made Feung Nakorn Balcony an ideal place for us to relax while we weren’t outside exploring.
Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Review
Our Stay at Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn
This was the hotel we chose for our “romantic” night in Bangkok as part of our anniversary celebration. Obviously true romance is hard to pull off when you are sharing a room with a two year old, but ambiance does make a difference. The hotel must have known that it was a special night for us, because when we arrived we were told that they had overbooked and that we were being upgraded to a fancier room for free. I scoured their website trying to find pictures that matched our room so I could recommend it, but I didn’t see one that matched. It was really nice though.
(I just found our receipt, it was room 1520. Ask for it!)
What We Liked
The bedroom was beautifully decorated with a view of the city. Our bed was soft and they supplied a crib for Lisa to sleep in. She doesn’t usually sleep in cribs anymore, but we weren’t going to share a bed with her on our anniversary. We used to carry her travel tent with us everywhere we went, and even though she might still fit inside, we really wanted to pack light this time.
There was a desk for working, free wifi, a sofa, and a counter that we used as a table when we ordered room service. Possibly the best part: it was right next to the playroom, so we didn’t have to worry about how to keep Lisa occupied. Actually, no. The best part was the bathroom.
The bathroom was huge and well stocked with soaps, lotions and bath salts (and toothbrushes!), including special bath products for children that arrived with the crib. The centerpiece of the bathroom was a huge standalone tub (separate from the shower enclosure, which was also quite nice).
The tub stood in front of floor to ceiling wrap-around windows with a 15th floor view of the Bangkok high-rises. With the lights off at night, Dannie enjoyed soaking in the tub and looking out at the city lights.
Our stay at the Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn was Lisa’s first time swimming in a real pool. And what a pool! Next to the outdoor bar, there was a big infinity pool that overlooked the city. We decided that we had to take some photos, so I made sure to bring our camera with me when we went for a swim. We weren’t the only ones there, but even on a Sunday evening it wasn’t so crowded that we felt uncomfortable.
I intended to bring the camera back to our room before joining Dannie and Lisa in the water, but Dannie offered to climb out and take my picture too. I felt like an Instagram Girl.
Right outside our bedroom there was a children’s play area. It had padded floors, a tunnel, all kinds of puzzles, games and blocks, and even a game system and tv for older kids. There was a staff member permanently on duty, keeping things clean and making sure everything was on the up and up. I brought the room service menu in so that Dannie and I could look it over while Lisa played, and the attendant played with her so we could concentrate.
The Room Service
We don’t usually order food to our room, but we really didn’t feel like dealing with our daughter in a hotel restaurant, so we decided to do it this time. The prices weren’t outrageous like in some hotels (at least by American standards). For three meals, we spent 1030 baht ($31). The food was pretty good, except that my veggie burger wasn’t actually a veggie burger. It was just a grilled vegetable sandwich. Dannie had an Indian stew of some kind, and Lisa had pizza.
What We Didn’t Like
Check-In and Check-Out
At check in, the bellhop grabbed my bags before I had a chance to object, which left me scrambling on my cell phone to look up whether you tip bellhops in Thailand (you do!). Checkout went smoothly, except that as we were waiting for our Grab car, the concierge came out and told us that the cleaning service said a bottle of Avian was missing from the mini bar. We explained that we didn’t take one – in fact we hadn’t even noticed that there was a minibar – and the concierge apologetically returned to the hotel without charging us.
Our stay at the Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn was exactly what we were looking for. It was luxurious and comfortable, and they really exceeded our expectations regarding child friendliness. We got a great night’s sleep before our early flight the next day, and we even took some great pictures while we were at it. If you want your hotel to be one of the highlights of your trip, as a couple or with family, this one’s a safe bet.
We didn’t tour like crazy while we were in Bangkok – we almost never do – but we made sure to get a feel for the city at our own pace. We know we’ll be back again some day, and we’ll see more of it then. Our hotels, the Feung Nakorn Balcony Hotel and Cafe and the Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn were both what we were hoping they would be. We never stay in the same place twice, but we’d definitely feel comfortable recommending either one, though they each provided very different experiences for us.
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