There is something about an established hotel that is akin to one’s favourite Golden Goose shoes, Louis Vuitton bag or Rimowa wheelie, all of which become an extension of the luxury traveller. The gal might go in and out of cities and distant rural areas but the belongings that go along too are part of what could be called a mobile home. Look at the pool of InterContinental Bangkok, above, it feels so welcoming (and, bliss, it is right next to the 24/7 gym so those who work-out can get the necessary breath of real fresh air that medics prescribe). Downstairs, in the lobby of the 381-room hotel, the florist changing an orchid display gives a big smile.
Those making the hotel work seem to smile a lot. There are a staggering 842 of them in all, as they also look after the adjacent 379-room Holiday Inn, conjoined below ground so that, unseen by guests (about 45% of whom are from the Middle East) many departments work both hotels, and team members can come and go as necessary. I did look across to the other hotel from my bedroom, 3307 at the InterCon, which I must say is one of the most thoughtful spaces I remember for a long time. Everything was where I would have expected it to be, with easy-work switches and shower, with instant hot water – and for those who do not travel as much as I do, let me say that should be a given but it is remarkable how often I have tepid or cold showers (and sometimes cannot turn the shower on at all).
This is a truly international operation. Apparently many of the 75-plus big weddings that it arranges are Indian, though predominantly from the estimated-65,000-plus Indian community in Bangkok. Hotel guests, and others, at all times have access to Italian dining, by Theo Randall from London InterContinental Park Lane, and there is also half-century dining. WHAT? Well, Fireplace Grill & Bar, underneath one of the hotels (who knows, or cares, which?) has been a favourite of the Srivikorn family, which has owned this complex since it was put up in 1966, from the start. There is a charming Living Room to one side, for pre-meal drinks, and a very-private PDR (private dining room) is booked by local VIPs. I dined with a French-Brit and a Ukrainian and we drank French, Dme de Mus Pinot Pays D’Oc and ate Thai tuna, lightly grilled. Another dining alternative, by the way, is the 37th floor club lounge, a splendid room that offers copious edibles and potables.
Just as at some other luxury InterContinental hotels, notably London, Budapest, Hong Kong and Sydney, here the lounge offers so much at cocktail hour that, judging by the fact that every table was taken at 6.30 p.m, many guests were making dinner here. With three choices of white wine, Caliterra and two other red wines, and three bubblies, plus a lot of Thai and other beers, and masses of snacks and full-scale main courses, why move? Well, said Dani Demerjian, from Kiev, and Gregory Preslier, from Norway, this exuberant club lounge hospitality is now InterContinental policy, thanks to a brand experience director whom I must congratulate at some point. But, honestly, hospitality is in the blood here – when I was leaving for the Chit Lom Sky Train station, a mere three minutes’ walk away, I was handed a rabbit card (the equivalent of an oyster, in UK) and someone insisted on escorting me right to the turnstile. This is added value to today’s travel experience. AND NOW SEE VIDEOS FIRST OF MY ROOM, AND THEN THE CLUB LOUNGE BREAKFAST