Sometimes when you travel with colleagues, you have to make sacrifices. Last week my sacrifice was staying at a Hilton property in Bangkok instead of staying at one of the many amazing Starwood Properties. We stayed at the Conrad Residences which are connected to the Conrad hotel. The hotel is located next to the American Embassy and caters to diplomats, Embassy visitors and large groups.
When I arrived at the hotel, the driver pulled the car up to the back of the hotel, where the residence entrance is located. Because this is not the primary hotel entrance, there are no bellmen or other staff to greet you. The driver unloaded my bags out of the car and I wheeled them in. Apparently, if you need assistance with bags, you have to go inside and request it. Then, the hotel will call a bellman from the front to come with a luggage cart. I had pre-arranged an early check-in since my flight from Germany arrived at 6:30 a.m. and the hotel was happy to accommodate that request as they weren’t full.
At check-in I was informed that the residences don’t honor Hilton Honors Gold benefits. I was quite surprised because that was not advertised on the website and I’m sure my colleagues wouldn’t have picked the hotel had they known. We stayed at a Hilton property so they could use their benefits. So, I gave up all my Starwood benefits to stay at the one Hilton property in Bangkok that doesn’t offer Hilton Honors benefits – jokes on me!
Conrad Bangkok Residences Website 1
Conrad Bangkok Residences Website 2
After getting to my room, I decided to tweet @HiltonHelp to see what they could do about the lack of benefits. That was when I discovered that I couldn’t connect to wifi using my room # and password. I called the front desk to inquire and was told that I wouldn’t be able to use my room # and password until regular check-in time. I used my 3G connection to tweet @HiltonHelp and given the 11 hour time difference hoped I’d have an answer that evening. The end result was that Drew with Hiltons Guest Relations team agreed that since the website did not state that benefits would not be honored he would work with the hotel to get breakfast covered (internet was included in our room rate, so that wasn’t an issue.) I asked that the same be done for my colleagues, but was informed that they had to email and complain separately to have theirs covered. They did and by the end of the week, they were informed that theirs would be taken care of as well. It’s great that the Hilton Social Media team is so responsive and able to help when needed, but it’s disappointing that the hotel doesn’t inform guests that they don’t provide Hilton Honors benefits. As of today, the website still doesn’t inform people that there are no benefits at the Residences.
The room was different from a standard hotel room in that it had a mini-kitchenette that consisted of a sink, two-burner stove-top, pots & pans, dishes & utensils. The concept is nice, if you’re on an extended stay you can “cook” in your room, however, the one thing that was missing was a fridge. The room did have a mini-bar but it was full and really only had room for 2 extra cans/bottles and I couldn’t really see how someone would use that to store food that would be cooked.
The bathroom was large and included a shower and separate tub. For the first day, the water in the sink and toilet had a yellow tint which led me to believe the room hadn’t been used in a while. Additionally, the water pressure was pretty weak. Compared to most Thai hotels, the amenities in the bathroom were minimal and I have to imagine the actual Conrad Hotel offered more/different amenities. The amenities consisted of soap, shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion and emery board. The towels in the bathroom were very nice – large and fluffy.
The room itself was nice sized and included a king sized bed, a long desk and dresser combination, and large screen TV. The bed was very low to the ground and sat on a metal bed frame. The bed felt like it could collapse at any time. I’m used to hard mattresses now, but my colleagues commented that they found the beds quite hard. I didn’t particularly notice the bed being hard, but I did think it felt flimsy. The room was quite simple, nothing special. It was clean, which is very important and all but one night, was very quiet (one night I had very noisy neighbors!)
Once I had internet access, I found the wifi speed fair. My colleague couldn’t access wifi at all from her room and had to connect via a hard wired connection. One day there was no internet access at all which was a pretty big inconvenience when you’re on a business trip.
The Conrad Residences lobby is quite small and only has one long bench for seating. There is no access to wifi in the Residences lobby. When I inquired about that, I was told it was too far from the router. The Residences are connected to the Conrad Hotel and the hotel itself had a very lovely and large lobby with wifi access. Connected to the hotel was All Seasons Place, a large complex of retail shops, restaurants, offices and residences called the Mansions at All Seasons Place. Inside the complex there was a full-service Starbucks, a small grocery store, pharmacy and several salons/spas. We tried a few of the restaurants and they were okay, but nothing to write home about.
The Conrad Hotel Spa is very nice. I had a foot massage and what they call tension massage which includes a neck and shoulder massage. It was expensive, but the service was great and I really liked the atmosphere.
The hotel itself had several restaurants and all of them were quite expensive. The only one I tried was the deli by Conrad which served sandwiches, salads & soups. I had a traditional Caesar salad and tuna, artichoke and black olive Panini. It was good.
For the most part, the checkout process was easy. Like the hotel’s policy of not honoring Hilton Gold benefits, I found the late checkout poclity a bit strange. I was told I could check out as late as 4pm with no charge. If I checked out between 4-6pm I would be charged a ½ day charge and if I checked out after 6pm it would be a full day charge. It seemed incredibly odd that you could stay until 4pm with no charge, but that the window for a ½ day charge was only form 4-6pm.
The only other time I’ve stayed at a residence was also in Bangkok at the St. Regis Residences, so that’s what I set my expectations by. Given that Conrad is Hilton’s top-end property, I would have expected the residences to meet those standards just as the St Regis Residences reflected the St Regis standards. The Conrad Residences fell quite short of reflecting the Conrad standards. I was not impressed with the Conrad Residences Bankgok and would not stay there again.