Since this is the first Four Points by Sheraton that I'm reviewing, I thought I'd give it a background check before I do so. It is not the first Four Points I've stayed nor is it the first Bangkok hotels I've stayed in. Neither is it the best Four Points by Sheraton hotels in the world! My best Four Points hotel experience was in Beijing. Nonetheless, this is the first Four Points which I've stayed in its 1st month of operation.
Four Points by Sheraton is a Starwood Hotels & Resorts hotel brand. That I know even before visiting. That's one of the reasons why I chose the hotel. Another is because it's brand new (a mere 2 weeks of openings) and is giving its customers great bargain while the hotel staff learns their "crafts".
Let's take a closer look at what the Four Points in Bangkok offers.
Location Located just a few steps from the other 2 Starwood hotels, namely Westin Bangkok and Grand Sheraton Sukhumvit, it is well poised to take advantage of the convenience of Sukhumvit area. Robinson (shopping mall) is next door and Times Square is just opposite. Four Points is on the side street (ie. Sol 15) of Sukhumvit Road and is between Sofitel and the Westin. That translates to top notch location as we all know that big hotel brands won't set up their hotels out in nowhere or in areas that is questionable.
As for the horrible traffic jam in Bangkok, Four Points is about 5-7 mins walk from Nana BTS Skytrain station. Alternatively, one can also walk back from Asok Skytrain station or Sukhumvit subway station.
There are many hotels located on Sukhumvit and hence restaurants and bars are found almost everywhere. To my surprise though, a restaurant by the name "Cabbages and Condoms" (I bet you'd remember this name thereafter and whenever you visit Bangkok!) is located right opposite the hotel, on Sol 12. I read about this restaurant a few years back when I was active on VirtualTourist.com. However, I had never been there the last few times. On this visit though, after checking with the Concierge and was pleasantly surprised to find that it is actually just 5 mins walk from the hotel (on the street opposite), I went ahead and checked it out (twice, in fact). It is indeed worth visiting the restaurant. I'd write a review on it after this. Do check that out if you're even "vaguely" interested! :-)
Pricing Yes, indeed. A hotel is only as good as it is if it falls within our budget, isn't it? For now, the introductory offer is 1900 Thai Baht + 10% service charge & 7% VAT. For 3 nights, I paid some 6700 thai baht (about US$222). That translates to US$74 inclusive per night (Room rate does not include breakfast though). Not a bad deal, eh? As for how long the offer lasts, I've no idea. All I know is that it is a practice for hotels to increase the rates as soon as they've got good businesses! The same happened before for Courtyard by Marriott in Hong Kong. Hence, do make your reservation while the offer is still on!
For a 4* hotel rating, Four Points is adequate. The beds are the same for all of Starwood hotels. Hence, that's the bargain. On the other hand, you might have to put up with some disturbances since this particular hotel is still not fully operational. In fact, on one early morning (9 am is early for me ;p) I could hear renovation work done on the 7th floor. By the way, this hotel is no skyscraper. So, if you want a view that's unbeatable, this is not the one for you. Also, I forgot to check out the swimming pool so I'm not sure if it's any good. I did ask for Spa and was told there is none. The hotel that's next to it has one though, just in case if you're interested in one nearby. I didn't visit it. I've appointments with Oasis Spa which I visit every time I'm in Bangkok. I did visit another new spa which is just next to Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant for a foot massage. It's across from the hotel so that's a good one to go if you merely want to stay in the area. Alternatively, Westin, Grand Sheraton and Sofitel should all have their own spas.
Check-in & Check-out Check-in was a tad slow. I was told the rooms were not ready yet since many of the guests left late that day! It took more than 30 mins to check in. What a drag! I won't be surprised since I was allowed for a late check-out of 4 pm 3 days later. That's the benefit of being a Starwood member!
Hotel Lobby & Reception Area
Nice and chic decor give it an art deco feel to the hotel lobby. I like the high ceiling and the spacious lobby with nice comfortable & colorful sofas and sitting areas. There is also a corner with some Mac machines for those who'd like to use the facility to go online. Extra charges apply.
Room Amenities Safety box, ironing board and most of the usual basic amenities are available. My only complaint is that housekeeping is not consistent. One day there is shampoo, conditioner and bath gel. Another day, there is none but a mouthwash is given instead (it could be she guessed I don't need it since I had some of my own, but even after asking her to supply before she cleaned the room the next day, they weren't supplied and I've to call guest services to send over instead). As for toothbrush, you have to ask for it. Otherwise, it won't be supplied.
One other problem with the bathroom is the washing basin. There is design flaw and you'd find water splashed all over. In no time, the hotel will need another renovation in this regard!
Light is sufficient so no complaint in that regard.
LCD TV is a little too small, imho. The writing area is also not sufficient. One wonders if this is a business hotel or a leisure hotel! In any case, I see mostly business travelers and solo travelers.
The hotel charges for internet access of some 530 (+17%) thai baht. This seems to be the trend for Starwood, Marriott and other American brands of hotels operating in China, Hong Kong and Thailand. Note that other local hotels do NOT charge for internet access and the room rates are lower too (for the same grade of hotels). I suppose if one is charging the bill to the company and is a business traveler, no big deal. For individuals who are traveling for vacation, the only recourse is to use free wifi in the lobby area!
Oh, by the way, something weird I found in this particular Four Points! A condom packet on its mini-bar!!! That is not a sight one would expect from a Starwood Hotel. I can understand their intention but hey, it is not of good taste as far as I'm concerned. No matter what one thinks of Bangkok and no matter what the other Bangkok's hotels are practising, I simply think Starwood group of hotels shouldn't do it! As a matter of fact, it is surprising considering that their GM is an Australian lady. So, what to make out of it? That it's guests would bring prostitutes back to the room?!!! That's yucky for other guests and one wonders about the safety of the hotel in that regard. I surely hope they will take a closer look on this matter. In fact, I'm planning on forwarding this review to the hotel as soon as I'm done!
Restaurant/s I didn't visit any although I did think of having lunch one afternoon. However, I was told there's only buffet and yet I didn't see many people eating there (that's about 1 pm). That makes me wonder how fresh the food is! On second thought, why would a newly opened hotel simply offer buffet? That just doesn't make sense to me!
I did check on room service prices. They are pretty reasonable for a hotel but about twice the price in a restaurant. There are many restaurants around Sukhumvit so I'm not sure if anyone will eat in, unless one is not well or too late in the evening.
Customer Service Staff are friendly and helpful although not highly productive! On the other hand, concierge took the effort to make reservation for my spa appointments. When I asked about tours to Sukothai (an ancient city some 400+ km from Bangkok), he wasn't able to help and suggested instead of private tour. That's something I'd never do. Private tours are hyper-expensive if you booked through the hotel.
Taxi From the airport, there are 2 types of taxis you could take. One is more or less the limousine type (aka private car, not exactly limousine as in Vegas) which charges some 500 thai baht (that was a few years ago when I took it, not sure if the price has increased) and another is metered taxi. For the last few visits, I took the metered taxi since I'm already familiar with the city. However if you are arriving late night, I suggest you take the limousine ones. It's safer that way. From the airport, there is a 50 baht service charge on top of the meter fare and also a 25+45 baht toll fee. All in all, it's about 330 baht to Four Points.
What I'd like to point out is this. Due to the recent oil hikes and also traffic jams, many taxis are not willing to go by the meter during peak hours. As I was leaving the hotel on a friday afternoon (4 pm), despite the hotel's porter who got me the taxi telling the driver to go by meter, I was told by the taxi driver after driving a block from the hotel that he wanted a flat rate. Of course I told him to go back to the hotel. He then told me he wanted some 300 baht (including the toll fee which he'd pay) after he realised that I know the meter will be some 220 baht. That's blackmail on his part (even if it's just a mere 30 baht more; would have been more if he thought I didn't know about the prices!)!
Anyhow, it's about some 30 baht more than I'd have to pay by meter I reckon and since it's true that traffic can potentially be extremely bad on a friday afternoon, it's no big deal and I don't want to have a huge argument with him. That's not the point though. Be very careful esp. if in the night and if you're alone. Taxis in Bangkok are not the safest and honest! If you suspect something is wrong, make sure you get off at the earliest possible when in a busy road or area in the city. Do not ever allow him to drive far from where you boarded.
I took down the guy's plate no. E7795 and thought of launching a complaint. I do believe one can call 1584 for complaints. I didn't on this occasion since I did arrive at the airport without much event and all the guy wants is a better income. Alternatively, if you do not have much baggages, you might want to take the Skytrain to the airport instead or call the hotel at the earliest possible time should you suspect something is amiss!
I'm lucky in that this is the 3rd time it happened to me throughout my years of travel. First time was in Madrid, 2nd time in Zagreb and this is the third. All of them involved trips either to or from the airport!!! So, these guys do try to take advantage of tourists! In all respects, I was also able to get away without paying a lot more since they know that I know the market prices in each case. However, if you're not well traveled, you might have to part with a lot more than you should. In any case, it is best policy to check with your hotel prior to arrival how much each trip would roughly cost. That way, the taxi driver won't have the pleasure of knowing that you know nothing and hence he can easily overcharged!
A brand new hotel which I'm currently checking in for 3 nights. Great promotional rates for the opening. A mere 1900 thai baht (plus taxes of 17%) per night. Rooms are nice and spacious. Great and friendly staff. Some rooms for improvement with regard to toiletries. Housekeeping forgot to supply shampoo, conditioner and bath gel (or perhaps she thought I have that of my own so no need to replenish). Nice lobby with playful colors. Look chic! Also, apple computers are available in the lobby at a … more