Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cambodia April 2012 - Aloft Bangkok - Sukhumvit 11

***This post is part 12 of a full trip report. The index can be found here***

Getting from Suvarnabhumi Aiport to the city is actually quite simple. The Airport Rail Link Express Line goes directly from the terminal all the way to Makkasan Station near central Bangkok. While the station itself isn't in a particularly popular part of town, it is conveniently located next to the Metro Blue Line's Petchaburi Station, which also connects with the BTS Skytrain. These lines can get you to many of the more interesting destinations within Bangkok.

To get to the Aloft Bangkok, take the Metro Blue Line south one stop from Petchaburi Station to Sukhumvit Station. Then follow the signs up to the BTS Skytrain Asok Station. Once there, take the Skytrain one stop west and get off at Nana Station. After exiting and heading downstairs, you will be standing at the intersection of Sukhumvit Road and Sukhumvit Soi 11. Head north on Sukhumvit Soi 11 by foot for about 10 minutes, and the Aloft Bangkok is on your left. While these directions seemed technically straightforward to me, it still ended up being quite a trek, especially in the muggy heat of the day. If you have a lot of luggage with you, a taxi from the airport might still be the best way to go.

The Aloft brand follows in the footsteps of its pricier sibling, the W Hotels chain. However, it does seem to be a lot less pretentious in attitude, and has a bit more of a boutique feel to it. The lobby was loud and flashy, but the attendants were very friendly as I checked in. I had booked my stay using the Starwood Preferred Guest cash + points option, which was a great value since the Aloft Bangkok had recently been lowered to Category 1, costing just $25 and 1,200 Starpoints per night. It is important to note that taxes and fees on the cash portion is charged at the discretion of the hotel. Many, including the Aloft Bangkok, do tack on taxes and fees separately, while others don't.

I was given a room on the 18th floor with a king bed and a nice view of the city. While it wasn't particularly large, I really grew to like the overall design and smart space allocation. There was a cozy sitting area next to the large window, which I took advantage of while doing some reading. A simple work desk shared space with the flat-screen television, while the mini-bar was tucked directly underneath. The bed was very comfortable, as were the sheets and duvet.

Unlike the bedroom, the bathroom was actually quite large, with plenty of counter space, a large sink, and a separate shower/toilet area. The coffee maker and safe were also located inside the bathroom, along with complimentary bottles of water. I really liked the design of the super-sized shower, with colorful tiles on one wall and frosted glass against the bedroom. Soap and shampoo/conditioner dispensers were included.

I had a chance to check out the pool and gym on the 10th floor. The pool was rather small, but had a nice view overlooking Sukhumvit Soi 11 and the city below. There were plenty of lounge chairs, and even a bar area set up near the entrance. The gym was just inside, and actually had a lot more equipment than I would have expected for a hotel of this size and caliber. The set of free weights were a nice addition. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to take any pictures of the pool. However, some good pictures of it can be seen in this review.

Sukhumvit Soi 11 is a small but rather busy street filled with restaurants, bars, and hotels. The Bed Supperclub is located directly across the street, and I was given a free entry ticket when I checked in at the Aloft Bangkok. The place wasn't really my scene though, so I didn't bother going, but supposedly it's a pretty popular place with locals and tourists alike.

There are tons of hotel options in Bangkok, especially with Starwood Preferred Guest, so I don't know if I would necessarily recommend the Aloft as my top choice. However, if you are looking for a cheap option with a little bit of style, you really can't beat the redemption value here.

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