The Citrus is located on Sukhumvit Soi 22. The hotel made a tiny better impression on me than Arcadia Suites. At least the rooms aren’t noisy, but there isn’t a real view outside of the windows. The staff was alright. The room is functional, nothing negative to mention. The pool is poor.
Arcadia Suites is a new hotel, located on a small soi, off from Wireless road. The hotel belongs to Compass Hospitality, they got 26 properties in Bangkok. The Citrus also belongs to them. Compass Hospitality is strong in the lower Sukhumvit among the budget hotels. They pretty much rule up the popular Sukhumvit Soi 11 with their hotels.
I didn’t expect much for this hotel. The websites from Compass often use strongly edited pictures, so it’s completely no use looking at them, only the ones from Tripdadvisor guests are helpful. The hotel is alright in terms of look, the pool is very nice and can also be seen in the Milky shoot. A massive problem about Arcadia Suites are noises, the walls are thin, really thin.
The room itself and the interior design are fine. The staff was ok, offering free tuk tuk shuttle services as well.
Phothalai Wellness Center, a 16-acre complex is affiliated with Wat Pho Medical School. The spa is operating since 8 years (since 2004) inheriting the teachings from Dr. Chivagagomarathat. The complex is owned by a rich Thai family in 4th generation.
I have visited the spa 10 times now since April 2006 and always loved it. It takes about an hour to get there from downtown Bangkok but it is very much worth it. A little shocking on my recent visit was to see that the foot massage row in a beautiful ground flor room disappeared and became some sort of meeting room. I just hope that they don’t continue to push their massage focus in the back for more profitable convention&event services.
Over the years I always wondered how Phothalai is making money anyway. On all of my 10 visits I never saw more than a handful of guests. Don’t get me wrong I really don’t want to see the spa crowded like at Healthland&Spa but I just worried about them and thought it was a shame that not more visitors make the distance to them. It’s not only the distance but also the price that keeps, especially Thais away from them. Still a 2 hours Thai Touch massage priced at THB 2900++ I consider to be very, very cheap for what you get there.
Negative to mention is that the range of treatments is not very broad, Let’s Relax and Rarinjinda are superior in terms of treatments offers and in terms of massage quality itself also.
But at Phothalai the staff really has time, there is no rush and they don’t clock you down to your exact paid times. They employ a small army of well-trained therapists, probably far too many for the amount of guests, but I see that of course very positive. The staff is friendly/helpful in a way that I feel that they probably get treated well by their boss and guests in addition. The architecture/design is the most beautiful and original one I ever saw for spas in Thailand. It reminds me of the Sukhothai Historical Park, the heart of Thailand. For me, Phothalai is the most perfect and most presentable, authentic Thai spa, that’s why I chose to take my broad video Spa guide picture at Phothalai.
I would recommend them to renovate their treatment rooms and the changing (+steam/jacuzi) room, after 8 years they start to look a bit older and it could be made better.
The rise of their Phothalai Leisure Park will hopefully bring more positive than negative future developments to their Wellness Center. I would rank Phothalai #1 for Thailand, hell, #1 worldwide, for spas.
Phothalai I Convention & Event Center + Golf & Leisure Park – Bangkok
Phothalai’s Leisure Park is set in more than 130,000 square meters. The Convention and Event center is Thailand’s new MICE benchmark.
When I visited the place mid of February, only the Convention & Event Center was almost finished. There was too much construction going on at the Golf Park so I just zoomed in from a certain distance getting an overview. Moreover I had a taxi waiting for me and didn’t want to stretch the driver’s patience to a limit.
The 6-star golf & dining consists of a 250 yard driving range, the latest driving range equipment, 90 Tee boxes with touch-screen computerized, some of Asia’s best PGA Golf Academy with top of the range Pros from around the world, Asia’s first Short Game Arena with four full-sized greens, Golf Mega store, Thailand’s first permanent F1 Motion simulator center and a Fitness club, 4 zones of restaurants and a luxury wine bar including Massage Nail Spa and Beauty Salon.
The Short Game Arena has areas for putting, chipping, pitching and bunker shots.
So basically this is a super-luxurious business meeting place where you can let your company pay for lots of fun, i.e. “leisure” like practicing your drive at those hi-tech luxury tee boxes. Even Japan does not have yet such cool driving ranges. And when you get tired of golf, you can take a seat in a Formula One simulator. If you dislike those games, at least the 8 restaurants might entertain ? And if you get tired of all, hey, there is maybe one of the world’s best spas just around the corner…
This baby might has deeper significance for Thailand than the opening (end of 2013 ?) of the USD 300 million Central Embassy shopping mall for example. I wonder how high the investment for Phothalai Leisure Park was and who financed it ?
Since I started this website and the video guides+ranks, there was 1 position never changing for 5 years. The Let’s Relax/Siam Wellness group had always been at the top of my spa guide list. They are maybe Thailand’s best day spa and got an excellent price/value relation. They are often working together with Centre Point hotels in Bangkok which is one of the only Thai-owned hotel chains and they are pretty ok. These guys know very well whom they chose for cooperation there.
I put them on #2 position behind Phothalai now, not because they are behind them in terms of massage quality or price/value, it’s mainly the design, affiliation and overall brand that I like to see it at the top of the list, representing Thai massage values maybe the very best.
The Let’s Relax on Koh Samui just recently opened. The design and structure is very similar to the other 5 spas across Thailand. Don’t expect a super-high degree of luxury but it is enough to feel comfortable and the price/value, especially of the signatures is insane. Moreover I believe that the Let’s Relax group got the most comfortable foot massage chairs I ever tested.
Here you see now 2 of Thailand’s very finest spas. Aehm, sorry, I mean 2 of the world’s best spas/groups. Thailand, Thailand, Thailand, you know what people abroad mostly first get into mind when hearing that word ?? It might be Thai food or Thai beaches, but…come on. Thai food is certainly among the best foods/cuisines of the world. The beaches are good but cannot match the Maldives or the Philippines. But massage, Thai massage is what most people first get into mind. Good, it’s one of the finest strenghts of the country. In terms of massage, Thailand is THE chairman of the board. I personally believe that visiting Thai massage places in combination with a healthy eating lifestyle will prevent lots of diseases and will give you some additional years before age-related stuff will make it neccessary taking medicine…says a person who made his money with (legal) drugs….
The Lit was the big surprise among the boutique hotels on the recent trip. They show it again that it is possible to be better than lots of big brand hotels with plenty of capital in the back.
The hotel is located close to BTS National Stadium and MBK. The area is really nice and peaceful, I enjoyed their little outside, terrace restaurant, Fiesta Steppe, especially in the early evening it is a good spot for a beer. They got a cool style and design. The Bangkok Art and Culture Center is also close, so it might attract some interesting guests as well. The staff is super-friendly and everything worked out well for me. I loved the coloring of the full spectrum suite.
The pool, restaurant and spa is ok, it’s nothing fantastic. What I enjoy most about the hotel is the easy-going feel that lots of big brand hotels are missing. Things at the Lit are down-to-earth, I believe that you get to know much more about Thai culture and local people in such boutique hotels anyway and the LIT is a quite luxurious one for its price. There are better price/value ones around and places with larger rooms, but from its style, the LIT is really one of its kind.
In an upcoming post more video/photo footage of the LIT will be released.
It’s rather strange that it took so long until I checked out the Landmark hotel. In 2008 and 2009 I was still almost only staying in Sukhumvit hotels, somehow the Landmark never came on my list until now. It’s a very decent hotel for lower Sukhumvit and got a prime location near BTS Nana station.
The hotel is a bit older, but some of the rooms recently got completely modernized like the room I had. I really didn’t pay much for my room, maybe THB 5000 (?) ++ and I believe the price/value to be very good for that. The staff was overall friendly, especially the male staff is super-friendly to the farangs, hey of course, we are talking about lower Sukhumvit here, hehe.
I had just arrived from Hat Yai (nasty flight times back and forth) in the evening, so you only see the ok pool during the night. I also had no time checking out their steakhouse RR&B which you see in the video. I had to fly out again to Koh Samui the next day.
The Landmark should update their website, this old-school design isn’t cool.
At least I checked out “The Terrace” which, for me, is the highlight of the hotel. I tried it together with a Kasetsart student. They advertise it like : “Enjoy Bangkok’s legendary street life from the shaded comfort of the Landmark’s Terrace. Absorb the swirling colours and the city’s carnival spirit, while relishing a tasty treat from our special al fresco Terrace menu.” Carnival spirit ?? Haha, funny expression, but the people walking around are a real show, it’s not only the bargirls, freelancers, “black hoes” that are a sight, watching the guys passing is entertaining as well, generalizing it in a common way : from proud Arabs, over Cheap Charlie Indians, to dirty bastard farangs. You get to see it all and it got more busy over the years on the sidewalk of lower Sukhumvit, increasingly leading to racial, verbal attacks of every group. The show is still better to be watched from Big Dogs or Golden Bar directly at Nana Plaza. Consider the Terrace to be the upscale version of such voyeur places.
The Hilton dissapointed me in the beginning that they first of all appear so business-like at the Chao Phraya river, lacking Thai charms and having had no porter to accompany me to the room although I had booked their most expensive room category. This gives you an unpersonal starting feel into a hotel. Even budget hotels in Bangkok have porters, so I don’t know why they save money on that ? Talking of money and price/value, I consider the Hilton to be excellent.
I have to say that the Hilton Millennium got the best panoramic views over Chao Phraya from the inside of suites. Check the video and this amazing view, boy, I never had a better in-room dining view over the river than there for Bangkok. They beat the Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La hotel for views inside their suites.
Their pool also got an amazing view, still the cut is a little strange and it doesn’t motivate me much for swimming, but more for lounging.
Their steakhouse Prime got a great view as well, you see it in the video. Breakfast is good at the Hilton Millennium, I had it at their club lounge but also checked it on the ground flor. Their spa looks fine but it appeared too ordinary to me from its treatments that I didn’t wanted to “sacrifice” my time for a try. I simply start to get a pretty good feeling of if it is worth to try out a hotel spa or not, often I give them a miss, it is mostly a very standard massage in a nice setting. It’s just good to use it when you are bound to a certain hotel location.
The design and coloring itself of the hotel, interior and rooms I found to be rather strange. I see them about equally strong as the Anantara riverside, both hotels are also great for their price/value relation. I like the Anantara a tiny tick (1%) more because mainly for the original Thai charms atmosphere.
The driver I had at Mandarin Oriental was working before for the Hilton Millennium, being responsable for the GM’s drives.
The Hilton group got 6 properties in Thailand and is getting 3 more : the Hilton on Sukhumvit is about to open, the DoubleTree is coming and the Walldorf Astoria is scheduled for 2015 on Ratchadamri road. It won’t get boring in Thailand in terms of hospitality.
This was my second visit of the hotel. My first time I wasn’t too impressed, this time I could feel how they tried much harder to please me. The service was much better and staff explained me a lot, the friendly, female guest relations manager I especially liked. They went up 4 points on my score ranking because of an overall improved/faster service and some facilities got renovated like the gym which you see in the video with this very cool, new, large jacuzi.
Still I see the location of the Shangri-La hotel to be a problem being located right at a bridge with very heavy traffic. Check the noise level of the video on the balcony. The newer Krung Thep wing is more noisy than the old wing, but the rooms and facilities are more modern. I still prefer staying in the Krung Thep wing. Only the pool is really much better in the old wing.
Both pools are pretty good, but expect it to be full of tourists. The tourists were well behaving. I just love Bangkok so much more than the islands, the guests also behave much better than what I just recently experienced from Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Lipe. Bangkok always gives you the option to easily escape from a place once you don’t like it anymore, it’s hard to “trap” people.
F&B is ok, nothing really to venture out to their hotel unless you are a guest. Managing such a huge Bangkok hotel isn’t easy, I think they do it pretty well.