Having to clock a few more stays this year to qualify for Hilton Honors Diamond Elite, I did what I always resisted doing: mattress runs.
After staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton Sukhumvit the previous night, I leisurely made my way to DoubleTree by Hilton Bangkok Ploenchit, which was about 15 minutes away by car.
A little bit more about the hotel first: if you haven’t seen the property on Hilton’s list in Bangkok over the past couple of years, you are not mistaken. DoubleTree by Hilton Bangkok Ploenchit only opened earlier this year in September 2019.
Before you get too excited, the property is not a brand new one. The hotel was previously Majestic Grande Hotel, and the deal for Hilton to manage the hotel under the DoubleTree brand was announced back in 2018. The hotel remains owned by Majestic Grande, who also runs other properties in Bangkok such as their same name property in Sukhumvit.
DoubleTree by Hilton Bangkok Ploenchit has 251 rooms across 25 floors, although it doesn’t have an executive lounge. The hotel is also located about a 7-minute walk away from the nearest BTS station (Ploenchit), which is only two stops away from Siam and Asoke, both being popular places for tourists.
However, note that given the hotel’s proximity to Sukhumvit Road which is perpetually crawling, be sure to cater extra time if you are travelling by taxi to and from the hotel.
I got into the hotel at about noon. The first impressions were pretty good, I had to say. Right from the moment I arrived, the porter spring into action and swiftly took over my bags and gave me a tag. I proceeded to check in, which was pretty fuss free. As usual, the agent gave me the signature DoubleTree cookie to dig in while she checked me in.
I took the time to check out the lobby as well. While not the largest, the lobby was decked out in fresh and modern fittings, coupled with a very clean reception, giving the impression of a newly renovated hotel. Adjacent to the lobby was also the restaurant, which looked pretty chic.
The agent then told me that unfortunately, my room wasn’t going to be ready until 2pm, which was pretty common in Bangkok given the high occupancy levels across most city centre hotels. I asked if my bags will be moved into the room when I get back later, and she confirmed it.
As a Hilton Honors Gold member I had a choice of either bonus points or free breakfast. If you haven’t figured, it is often better value to take the breakfast over the points, if your room didn’t come with breakfast. If you are a diamond member, you get both.
Given I had about two hours to spare, I decided to go do a little shopping and grab a massage before coming back to the room in the evening.
When I got back, that was when everything started going downhill.
DoubleTree Ploenchit has 251 rooms across 8 room types, including three suite types. For this trip, I was invested in only the entry level room, which was a King Guest Room. Unfortunately I didn’t get an upgrade even as a gold elite member.
The room categories can be a little confusing: across the basic rooms, there are Deluxe, Guest, Premium and Superior rooms. The Premium and Superior rooms are significantly larger, the only difference between Deluxe and Guest is the state of renovation. Deluxe are newly refurbished rooms while the Guest rooms are inherited from Majestic Grande.
The hotel is still in the midst of progressively renovating the rooms, so I will expect that at some point, all rooms will be minimally “Deluxe”.
When I first stepped into the room, the staleness of the room hit me – you could literally smell the age of the room. Adorned in dark wood and warm tones, the controls for the lights was my first challenge. After switching on all the lights, I went, “that’s all?!” The room is clearly in need of more lights.
At 28 square metres, the room was adequately sized, although it didn’t feel that spacious compared to similar rooms I have had in Bangkok. There was a standard sized work desk, as well as other standard amenities including bathrobes, bedroom slippers, complimentary coffee and tea, and bottled water.
On the bedside table, there was also a set of room controls which have clearly seen better days. The room phone was also placed beside the bed.
The room was pretty well stocked out in the food department. There was a full minibar, as well as an in-room dining menu with food available round the clock if you are hungry. Only problem with the minibar? The fridge was hardly doing its job of keeping the contents cold.
Complimentary water in the room comes in glass bottles, which are cleaned and reused (yay for the environment!). If you do stay in a DoubleTree property in Bangkok, please be careful when you consume the complimentary in-room water. There are some bottles, such as the Evian and Badoit bottles on the countertop, which are chargeable. The free ones are clearly marked.
The bathroom is where the signs of age was the most obvious. It was laid out in the classic manner, with the vanity running one side of the toilet, the toilet seat across from it and the bathtub opposite the door. There was no shower stall, so you are expected to shower in the bathtub, which some people may find it cumbersome given you need to climb in and out of the tub.
Amenities remain the same set from Crabtree and Evelyn, as with all other Hilton and DoubleTree properties I have been to.
Given that the hotel was newly taken over by Hilton, most of the facilities were inherited from Majestic Grande. There was a fitness centre, which can be accessed with your key card. However, note that the fitness centre is only opened between 6am and 8.30pm, which again, is a very strange timing.
While the hotel states it has a pool, the swimming pool was undergoing rebuilding during the time I was there.
While the former Majestic Grande had a spa, DoubleTree Ploenchit didn’t cater for one, and that also means there are no relaxation facilities such as a steam room or sauna within its premises.
Also, the hotel does not have an executive lounge, so if you are a Diamond elite member and was looking for an exclusive space to rest during the day (why though?!), this may be a point of consideration.
In terms of dining, there is only one all-day dining restaurant at the lobby, as well as a bar adjacent to it. The restaurant doubles up as the breakfast venue for all guests.
Dining & Happy Hour
For guests who has breakfast as part of their room rate, breakfast is available daily at OPEN, the ground floor restaurant, between 6.30am and 10.30am. Breakfast is provided for guests who has booked a bed and breakfast rate, as well as complimentary for Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond elite members.
The breakfast spread at DoubleTree Ploenchit is pretty standard fare. Beyond the usual American breakfast offerings, there are also some Asian offers, including a live noodle station, along with a buffet spread of rice and stir-fried dishes.
Honestly, the food wasn’t all that great, so if you have to pay for breakfast, I’ll strongly suggest that you skip it and head out for breakfast instead. After all, you are in the land of good food.
Given that the property didn’t have an executive lounge, DoubleTree by Hilton Ploenchit offers its members complimentary drinks at the lobby bar daily between 7 to 8pm.
When I got down at 7pm, there was already a handful of people waiting for drinks, with only two staff tending to everyone. Within 15 minutes, all the seats were taken up, so all other guests had to stand around to enjoy their drinks during the hour. The staff were very attentive though, constantly topping up the drinks proactively even without asking.
While DoubleTree by Hilton Bangkok Ploenchit is relatively new to Hilton’s portfolio, the property is relatively dated. Having stayed in both DoubleTree properties (this and the one at Sukhumvit), the other one is definitely superior, both in terms of comfort as well as location.
The hotel is in a dire need of an upgrade, as shown by the state of the room I was in as well as some of the facilities. I believe this is in progress, given how new the lobby looked. The lack of facilities may not be a major issue for most people, but if you are the type that likes to spend plenty of time in the hotel to work out or relax in the pool, you may want to avoid this property for a while.
The happy hour is a nice touch for Hilton’s loyalty members, but the space needs to be better thought given the number of guests who were eligible for it. I believe the spillover crowd usually goes to the restaurant, but unfortunately during the evening I was there, there was a private function happening at the restaurant.
At a glance:
• Room type: King Guest Room
• Room rate: THB2,548 + 17.7% taxes (Hilton Honors rate as of November 2019)
• Executive lounge: No
• On-site restaurants: Yes (one)
• On-site parking: Yes, complimentary
• Fitness centre: 24 hours
• Swimming pool: Under refurbishment
• Spa: No