Monday 2 August 2010

Ramada Hotel & Suites & Gardens & Great Feeling

The taxi driver is a little unsure, and so am I. I'm positive the new Ramada Hotel & Suites hotel we're looking for was, IS, in Sukhumvit Soi 12, but we're already quite deep into the road all cabbies know as 'Soi Darling', and now it seems a very un-commercial sort of neighbourhood with many apartment blocks and old houses behind high walls.

We're about to turn around when we spy the medium-rise block and shiny new driveway of black painted stones.Aha!

And therein lies the charm of this hotel. Lying around the pool on swinging suspended double-bed sized mattresses, or on the bubbling jacuzzi sunken daybeds, it is hard to believe the hubbub of Sukhumvit Road is just a few hundred metres away. Or that the Skytrain is around the corner. The open landscaped garden beyond the pool -- an extravagance in Bangkok -- is more in keeping with a remote resort on one of Thailand's many fabled islands.

This charming outdoor area, lush with frangipani and wild ginger, is really the centrepiece and point of difference for this 97 room boutique-style hotel.

The attraction is equal for business as it is for leisure. The hotel has its own 'Board Room' meeting facility, and offers high-speed wireless internet in the rooms and throughout the hotel FOR FREE. When are other hoteliers going to learn that internet access is now a staple requirement, not a luxury? Jing jing! And people don't want to muck about with logging on and passwords. They just want to get on with their work.

The rooms range from studios to executive suites, the latter wonderfully appointed with lounge area with TV, kitchen with fridge, dining table/work desk. The furniture is stylish and solid, even the doors have a reassuring thickness to them to give an overall vibe of substance. A big flat-screen also lords over the really comfortable bed. And a nice spacious bath-tub within a spacious bathroom -- always high on my list of priorities.

The gym, too, is well appointed and inspiringly located overlooking the pool.

I am sure Ramada will attract a lot of long-term guests here with this agreeable presentation. Especially with the option of indoor-outdoor dining at the appropriately-named Choices cafe (small critique: the breakfast buffet selection was minimal and lacking in healthier cereal options, but the eggs/bacon/sausage meals were not only huge and well presented but deliciously prepared too.)

Overall this is a friendly, fashionable and functional addition to Bangkok's inventory. But you'd have to go a long way in this price range -- from 2800 up to 4950 baht -- to find one that's as good for your peace of mind.

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