Novotel Bangkok Ploenchit Sukhumvit Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Filed Under (hotels, travel) by rinnah on 06-06-2013

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For my previous work trips to Bangkok, I stayed in the serviced residences booked by my Thai counterparts in the Sathorn area. While it was truly convenient for work (almost next door to the office building!), I wanted a hotel that was more centrally located for my first ever Thailand vacation.

I ended up selecting the Novotel Bangkok Ploenchit Sukhumvit based on reviews I read on Agoda and Trip Advisor – the hotel was located near a BTS station (Phloen Chit) and was comfortably within my budget.

Novotel Ploen Chit Hotel 01
View of Novotel Ploenchit from the Phloen Chit BTS station

I booked a stay of 4 nights in total for my week long vacation through Agoda. Upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised that they allowed me both an early check-in (before 11am) and extended my check out (1pm) at my request to accommodate my flight.

The location of the hotel was just right for my recent visit. The Phloen Chit BTS station was just a short 2 minute walk from the doorstep of the hotel (turn left from the hotel entrance to access the BTS station via the upriding escalator). If you’re the more outdoorsy type, you can even walk up the road all the way past Central and Siam to MBK.

Novotel Ploen Chit Hotel 02
View of the deluxe room from the door

Novotel Ploen Chit Hotel 03
Touches of blue and green decor

The Novotel Ploenchit’s rooms are relatively well appointed with touches of blue and green decor on the neutral colour palette. I very much liked the thoughtful ideas like having additional power points next to the beds and built-in USB port that allowed me to charge my multiple electronic devices with ease. The room came with complimentary wifi, but I preferred to rely on my mobile data connection as the wifi signal was a bit weak and tended to drop out occasionally.

Novotel Ploen Chit Hotel 04
Desk and flatscreen television

I booked a deluxe room with twin beds for my stay. Beds are sufficiently comfortable, with a relatively firm level of support and two pillows. I would have preferred a different (softer) type or choice of pillow but it was alright in the end. The deluxe room also came with a daybed that was nice for napping and drinking coffee.

Novotel Ploen Chit Hotel 05
See-through bathroom

The deluxe room does not come with a bath tub but that wasn’t a priority for me. Novotel Phloenchit follows the recent trend of having a see through bathroom window (nice for couples), with privacy screen (if you’re travelling with friends). Modern yes, and super convenient if you’re alone and want to watch television while you shower. The room I was in had a slight problem with slow sink drainage but this was rectified by housekeeping before my stay was up.

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Sink and vanity area

Novotel subscribes to the recent trend of hotel chains that try to cut down on wastage by not providing toothbrushes up front but on demand. I also felt that the complimentary refreshments (tea, coffee sachets) could be more speedily replenished as it wad only replenished every other day despite the fact that we had used up the refreshments. The minibar was well stocked but tiny and didn’t allow for storing much items (we were enjoying local fruits in the room everyday).

I would peg the Novotel Phloenchit as more of a business hotel relatively close to the shopping district of Siam and would not mind a return visit if I were to return to Bangkok. Perhaps either the Novotel located at Siam Square or next to Platinum Mall would be equally or more convenient if shopping was an integral part of your trip.

A tale of two Fullertons

Filed Under (branding, customer service, hotels) by rinnah on 01-06-2011

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Did you know that there are two Fullerton Hotels in Singapore? I didn’t.

First there’s The Fullerton Hotel.

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And then there’s The Fullerton Bay Hotel.

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And while they look nothing like each other, both hotels are run by the same group and are situated near to each other, just a 5 minute walk either way.

My learning adventure took place last night when I arranged to meet up with a friend for drinks around 9.30pm. While I was on the way, I called up The Fullerton Hotel and asked to be put through to my friend’s room. As luck would have had it, she had already left her room and was waiting for me in the lobby downstairs.

Now, as I left Raffles Place MRT station, I followed the signs to The Fullerton Hotel (note that I did not spot any signs for The Fullerton Bay Hotel then). When I exited, I got disoriented as there were no more signs to follow, so I headed out in the general direction of where I assumed The Fullerton Hotel would be.

Instead of The Fullerton Hotel, I saw The Fullerton Bay Hotel ahead of me. I naturally assumed that the name Fullerton Bay was a recent name change and that the signs had yet to be updated. So confidently, I walked straight into The Fullerton Bay Hotel and asked the concierge to ring up my friend’s room.

You can imagine the shock I had when the concierge told me that the room was listed in the system as unoccupied!

I’ll admit that the concierge did do her best to help me track down my friend by checking for her name in their database only to tell me in the end that there was no guest registered under my friend’s name.

Long waiting story short, I managed to get through to my friend and we soon sorted out that I was waiting for her at the wrong hotel.

However, in hindsight I found it very ironic that the concierge at The Fullerton Bay Hotel did not gently suggest to me that I might have ended up at the wrong hotel. Surely I’m not the first guest to mistake The Fullerton Hotel and The Fullerton Bay Hotel based on their names alone?

It also added to my confusion that the concierge welcomed me to the hotel by saying ‘The Fullerton Hotel’ rather than ‘The Fullerton Bay Hotel’ which was where I was actually at.

I also found out from my friend later that night that guests at either hotel are welcome to patronize the F&B outlets at both places and can have it charged to their room bills, which suggests an integrated database or at the very least the ability to access the other hotel’s guest database. Now how come the concierge did not take the initiative to check with the other side to see if I had accidentally gotten the wrong hotel?

I can easily imagine taxi drivers and foreign guests running into the same confusing scenario that I found myself in last night.

Would I go back to either Fullerton based on this experience? I’m afraid not.

A poor experience at Cititel Hotel, Mid Valley

Filed Under (events, hotels) by rinnah on 09-05-2009

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Recently, I attended a wedding function at Cititel Hotel, Mid Valley.

With no offense intended to the bride and groom, I personally do not fancy Cititel as a suitable venue for a wedding reception. My reason? Cititel is a hotel that caters primarily to business travelers and tourists looking for a centrally located hotel between KL and PJ. Also, I am not a big fan of Mid Valley Megamall and its surrounding areas. However, I was prepared to give Cititel the benefit of the doubt when I received the wedding invitation card.

Cititel Hotel, Mid Valley
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My poor experience with Cititel began the moment I drove up to Mid Valley. Following the directions to the hotel’s main lobby, I attempted to locate the entrance to the hotel’s parking. For reasons known only to the hotel management, the signages directed me instead straight into Mid Valley Megamall’s basement parking. This meant that I would not be able to get my parking ticket stamped for a flat single entry rate (MYR 6.00, I believe) and instead would have to pay Mid Valley Megamall’s hourly rates. And it was not because the hotel’s section of the basement parking was full, as I saw a number of empty spots available.

The poor experience continued at Cititel’s lobby. You know how most hotels have a little signboard telling you what kind of functions are going on for that day? Well, again I couldn’t locate one to tell me at which floor the wedding reception would be held at. Not very visitor-friendly, I have to say.

The final thing that sealed the deal for me was the poorly installed backdrop on the stage. You know how there normally is styrofoam lettering on a curtained backdrop telling you the nature of the function? Well, less than half way through the function, one of the styrofoam letters fell off into the foliage below because it was not stuck on properly. Less than half an hour later, the whole styrofoam board on which the date was printed, followed suit. So you have a bare backdrop to the stage because the sign fell off. I think it was a case of shoddy preparation on the hotel’s part.

Would I hold a function (of any sort) at Cititel, Mid Valley? If I had a choice, no.

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