Category Archives: THAILAND

Thailand

Rooftop Pool at the Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok Hotel

Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok

Hotel Review of the Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, Thailand

The Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok was the last stop on our recent trip to Thailand and we were really looking forward to our first ever stay at this fairly new hotel which has only been open for three years. Unfortunately we found that they were still experiencing quite a few teething issues that have not yet been addressed and this turned out to be our least favourite hotel of the trip.

Upon arrival we were warmly greeted and as Hilton HHonors Diamond members were taken up to the executive lounge for check-in. Check-in however was quite a long drawn out process which involved three different staff members and a great deal of time. While they were apologetic and kept serving us refreshments, it took way too long and once they had finished we were not even allocated inter-connecting rooms as requested. While the two rooms were on the same level, they were at opposite ends of the hall which makes it hard when you are travelling with a young family (kids aged 9 & 10).

The rooms were quite comfortable and modern and we were delivered little birdcages containing chocolates when we arrived which was a nice touch. There is a good sized work desk with plenty of universal power outlets. The bathroom was a good size which comes complete with bath tub and a nice big separate shower. There is a turn down service but we found it quite varied each night. Usually only one of our two rooms received a turn down each night which we found a bit odd. You can view our you tube Hilton Sukhumvit room walk through video here.

We had access to the executive lounge which is situated on level 4 here at the Hilton Sukhumvit. This is quite a comfortable spacious lounge with plenty of seating (also some outside seating available). Breakfast is available from 6.00am to 10.30am (weekdays) and 11.00am (weekends). Afternoon Tea is served between 2.00pm and 4.00pm and the Evening Canapés and Drinks are available from 6.00pm to 8.00pm. There were two hot dishes and some cold canapés each night which varied daily. We found there was a good selection of breads but unfortunately no cheese or meats to put with them. They have a big salad bar which hardly seemed to be touched most nights so in our opinion we would cut back the salad bar a little and add some cold cuts and a selection of cheeses. They did however have a nice selection of desserts there. The drinks are self serve with juices, soft drinks, white wines, spirits and Chang beer available. Staff however were quite slow to re-stock the fridge and quite a few times we had to ask them to bring out more drinks.

We did not try out breakfast in the lounge as we had the option of the buffet breakfast at Scalini Restaurant which we opted for instead. This is not a huge buffet and we found the options a bit limited.

The other main restaurant/cafe at the Hilton Sukhumvit is Mondo which is located at lobby level and provides a more casual dining option. This area is based around the theme of this hotel which is the love story of Jay & Daisy who are two lovers that met while travelling the world. Here you will see lots of suitcases used as part of the decor as well as passport menus. While it is a nice little area and has a lot of potential, there was just no atmosphere here and we hardly ever saw anyone dining or even having a drink at the bar.

You will find statues of Jay & Daisy (as well as their dog) all about the Hilton Sukhumvit, with the main ones in the lobby and the pool area. It is a nice theme for the hotel to work with but just needs to be utilised a bit better by management.

The rooftop pool here on level 26 is a nice little chill out area, especially on a hot Bangkok afternoon. There is plenty of shaded areas as well as Lapse pool bar which also serves meals. There was no kids menu however so it was rather expensive to eat here for us as the kids had to eat adult meals. You can view our Hilton Sukhumvit Pool Area Video here.

There is also a 24 hour Fitness Center on level 26 which is not huge but has a nice view overlooking the pool and Sukhumvit skyline.

We found the concierge staff here really friendly and very helpful is assisting us on where and how to get around the City of Bangkok.

The Hilton Sukhumvit is situated in the heart of Sukhumvit’s business, shopping and entertainment district. Right across the road is the Emporium Mall and just a few minutes walk up the street is the Phrom Phong BTS Skytrain station where you can catch the train to Siam where the big shopping centres are (MBK, Central World and Siam Paragon). If you are in Bangkok on a weekend then would recommend going to Chatuchack Weekend Market which is also on the same train line – get off at Mo Chit which is the end of the line and just follow the crowds.

For Hilton HHonors members deciding which Hilton property to stay at while in Bangkok, we have also previously stayed at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok (review here) and the Conrad Bangkok (review here) and have to say that we would definitely return to those two again but probably not this hotel. We also did not receive any Hilton HHonors points when we checked out and had to wait two weeks before we could get the Hilton HHonors desk to follow up and award us our points, which was quite frustrating.

For more information on the Hilton Sukhumvit Hotel go to www.hilton.com

Drift Restaurant at the Hilton Pattaya Hotel, Thailand

Hilton Pattaya

Hotel Review of the Hilton Pattaya, Thailand

We arrived at the Hilton Pattaya Hotel after spending a few days at the very family friendly Centara Grand Mirage Pattaya Resort (read review here) so we weren’t too sure how suitable this hotel would be for us travelling with our two boys (aged 9 & 10).  We needn’t have worried however as we ended up loving our family stay at the Hilton Pattaya.

Lobby at the Hilton Pattaya Hotel, Thailand

Lobby

On arrival you need to take the elevator up to the stunning lobby which is located on the 16th level. As we are Hilton HHonors Diamond status we were whisked up by staff to the Executive Lounge on the 33rd level to complete our check-in.

We were allocated two interconnecting rooms on the 32nd level – a king room and a twin room and both were good sized with lovely big bathrooms. The bathrooms had separate bath and shower with a TV to watch while enjoying a soak in the tub. The rooms here at the the Hilton Pattaya are quite stylish with a very modern feel to them.

The rooms had smallish sized balconies, with only one chair outside which made it hard when we wanted to sit out on the balcony once the boys went to bed. The views over the beach and North Pattaya however were fabulous.

You can also find these amazing views at the Horizon Rooftop Bar  on the 34th level as well as the Executive Lounge on level 33. The Hilton Pattaya Executive Lounge is nicely set up with inside seating as well as a couple of tables and lounges on the outside balcony. It is definitely worth sitting outside during the evening canapés to watch the sunset and then to see how the city of Pattaya comes to life at night.

The evening cocktails and canapés are served from 5.30pm until 7.30pm. There is a good selection of hot and cold canapés, we were here for a few nights and the dishes varied each night. There is self pour beer, wine and spirits and the staff here were excellent, always coming around to top up drinks.

Afternoon Tea is served from 3.00pm to 5.30pm and breakfast is from 6.30am until 10.30am (weekdays) or 11.00am (weekends). We didn’t try the breakfast in the Executive Lounge as we also had the option of dining at Edge Restaurant which is the full buffet breakfast.

Hilton Pattaya Hotel, Thailand

The buffet breakfast at Edge is simply outstanding. The food here was superb, with a  variety of cuisines to choose from. There is inside seating available, however we preferred to sit outside and enjoy the ocean views while dining.

Edge Restaurant is also open for themed lunches and dinner. Other dining options at the Hilton Pattaya includes, Flare (Thai Restaurant), Horizon (rooftop dining), Shore (pool dining) and Drift (casual dining). It is worth having a bite to eat at Drift just to enjoying the amazing outdoor lounges. They have a high tea available in the afternoon which is quite delicious.

One thing that was not very kid friendly was when we went to Drift for some cocktails one night and just ordered the boys a glass of water each but they ended up with two very expensive bottles of Evian water, so just be careful with what you order there!

The infinity pool area on the other hand was definitely more kid friendly that we had hoped for. The pool staff here really went above and beyond to make sure our boys were kept entertained (even retrieving lost balls that went over the pool edge). There are plenty of sun lounges and little cocoons to lay in that were actually quite comfortable. The Shore Bar has a good menu to enjoy a few drinks or a bite to eat by the pool (kids meals were excellent). They also had a little craft table in the area to keep the younger kids occupied which was a great idea.

If you are looking for some pampering, there is an Eforea Spa here as well as a hair and nail salon which have a good range of treatments available. It was nice to enjoy a relaxation massage and then chill out afterwards and enjoy some cake and refreshing ginger tea.

There is a business centre here at the Hilton Pattaya but please note that they do charge 100 baht per 30 minutes to use the computers in there.

This Hilton is also part of the Central Festival Shopping Centre so there is no shortage of shops, restaurants, bars and massage options available nearby. It’s also just a ten minute walk to Pattaya’s biggest attraction, Walking Street – which is a real eye opener! Located across the the road from the beach, the Hilton Pattaya really is in the perfect location when staying in this city and we wouldn’t hesitate to return here.

For more information go to www.hilton.com or you can watch our Youtube room tour here.

Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya, Thailand

Centara Grand Mirage Pattaya

Hotel Review of the Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort in Pattaya, Thailand

The Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort certainly dispels the myth that the city of Pattaya in Thailand is no place to travel with kids. This “Lost World” themed resort is an ideal place to stay when travelling with a young family. Located on the sands of Wong Amat Beach in North Pattaya, the Centara Grand Mirage Resort is just a 10 minute drive away from the hustle and bustle of Central Pattaya.

On our recent trip here we chose to stay in a Club Mirage Ocean Facing Room and upon check-in were given a room on the 16th level. The room was a good size for the four of us (we travelled with our two boys aged 9 & 10). There was a balcony which gave expansive views down to Central Pattaya and overlooked the beach and whole resort pool area.

The bath here is certainly different, looks a bit like you are in prison! There is a separate shower as well as plenty of Centara Lotus Flower bathroom amenities which included 20+ sun lotion and after sun hydrating gel which is a nice touch.

The pool area at the Centara Grand Mirage is the real highlight of this resort. It includes pools, waterslides, a lazy river, waterfalls, rope bridges, rock jumping and pool basketball.

The younger kids will also love Monsoon Island which is a water fun play park.

There are 5 Cabanas available for rental in the pool area. Numbers one and two are right by the main pool, three and four are by the toddler area and five is a little bit away from any pool. We reserved one for the day by the toddler area as the main pool ones were already taken. It turned out to be a good location as it was a little quieter than those by the main pool. Costs were 900 baht for the full day from 8.00am – 6.00pm (they also have half day rental available for 600 baht).

The pool area opens at 8.00am but you can’t use the waterslides or Monsoon Island until 9.00am. When you check in you are given a pool towel card for each person so you need to exchange the card for a pool towel at one of the towel huts each day. There is also a pool shop in the pool area that sells goggles, floaties, waterproof phone covers and other pool accessories. Please note that you cannot charge purchases from the pool shop to your room, cash or card only.

There is also a swim-up pool bar for those that like to relax with a cocktail by the pool, happy hour is from 3.00pm to 5.00pm (buy one get one free – including cocktails).

For those adults that want a bit of quiet pool time without being surrounded by kids, there is an adults only infinity pool that overlooks the beach area.

There is also an adults only lap pool outside the fitness centre. The fitness centre is a good size with quite a few fitness classes available to take throughout the day.

Right across the hall from the fitness centre is Camp Safari (kids club) as well as the E-Zone for kids a bit older like ours who were happy to go along and play for a while on their own (do need coins to play games here).

As we were staying in a Club Mirage Room we had access to the two club lounges here at the Centara Grand Mirage. They have an adults only club lounge on the 12th level or the Zulu Family Club Lounge on the lobby level. The club lounges are open daily from 7.00am until 10.00pm. Guests can enjoy coffee, teas, soft drinks and juices any time throughout those times as well as the following features;

  • Breakfast is from 7.00am – 11.00am
  • Refreshments served between 12.00pm – 2.00pm
  • Afternoon Tea between 3.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Evening Cocktails & Canapés served between 5.30pm – 7.00pm
  • Cordials from 8.30pm – 9.30pm

The Zulu Family Lounge comes complete with kids play area, mini theatre and games room. It was nice to be able to use a club lounge without worrying about whether they are being quiet and behaving as they were always busy in the theatre or games room.

The accommodation package we booked included the buffet breakfast which is served in Oasis Restaurant and serves a huge variety of international foods. There were plenty of choices which varied daily and seating is available both inside and outside.

The Oasis Restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner with A La Carte Dining. There are quite a few other restaurants at Centara Grand Mirage with a variety of cuisines including;

  • Aqua Italian Restaurant
  • Flames BBQ Grill
  • Ginger & Lime Thai and Asian
  • Coast Beach Bar & Grill
  • Vista Lobby Bar which serves light refreshments & drinks

The Centara Gand Mirage always has plenty of activities on throughout the day led by the Carpe Diem entertainment crew. Whether it was Aqua Aerobics, Pool Games, Water Volleyball, Beach Volleyball or Kids Disco, there is plenty to keep the kids entertained throughout the day. We also stayed over Easter and the Centara Grand Mirage held an Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Activities including cookie making, games and inflatable slides.

We certainly wouldn’t hesitate to return to the Centara Grand Mirage Resort in Pattaya when travelling with kids as we loved our stay here and would highly recommend it for families of all ages.

You can view our Centara Grand Mirage room tour you tube video here.

For more information on Centara Grand Mirage go to www.centarahotelsresorts.com

While in Pattaya we also stayed at the Hilton Pattaya – read review here.

Pool area at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok Hotel, Thailand

Millennium Hilton Bangkok Review

Review of the Millennium Hilton Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand

We recently stayed at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok for the second time (first time was April 2014) with our two boys aged 9 and 10. With both trips to Bangkok we have started our stay at the Millennium Hilton by using the hotel airport pick-up service which has been hassle-free both times. While it is more expensive than getting a cab, we like the convenience when travelling with kids.

We had booked two standard rooms but due to our Hilton HHonors Diamond status we were upgraded to two interconnecting executive rooms on level 29 which had fantastic views of the Chao Phraya river. The rooms were clean and spacious (although no desk in the room which we thought was odd). The bathroom was nice and a good size with both bath and a separate shower. We received two little soft elephant toys which the kids loved.

The pool area on level 4 at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok is called “the Beach” and it is definitely one of the features of this hotel. There are sun lounges that are situated in the water overlooking the river as well as some undercover in the shade. There is a good-sized beach area that also has some private little areas with sun lounges. There are hammocks available and even little private spas with lounges hidden around the corner from the pool. Our kids used the pool but it was definitely more aimed at adults rather than children. There were always plenty of sun lounges available in all the different locations while we were there. Food and drinks are available around the pool so it was nice to kick back and enjoy a few cocktails while the kids enjoyed some pool time in the hot Bangkok weather (happy hour is from 4.00pm-5.00pm). There is also a massage area at The Beach if you feel like a bit of pampering – they even have a Spa Bar menu where you  can combine a massage with a cocktail!

Next to the pool area is a good-sized Fitness Centre, complete with a circuit training and boxing studio.

For those that enjoy some pampering in a nice relaxing environment then look no further than the Eforea Spa located next to the Lobby. This was a very nice day spa, loved that they provided a lovely welcome drink with nice cold refreshing towel beforehand and after the treatment was some ginger tea and sorbet.

The Millennium Hilton Executive Lounge on level 31 is definitely one of the better lounges we have ever been to. The views are amazing and there is plenty of room (seating outside available as well). The pre-evening cocktails are available from 5.30-7.30pm and all the staff really look after you. They have a nice selection of canapés and pretty much any drink that you like (cocktails included). The drinks are not self pour, you just go up to the drink station and order whatever you like with the staff. It is also worth going for afternoon tea in the executive lounge as they serve a high tea stand of sweet goodies. They have I-Pads that can be borrowed for use in the lounge but there isn’t a computer with printer, you need to go down to the business centre on level 30 for that.

Just up the stairs from the Executive Lounge is 360 Rooftop Bar and we would definitely recommend going up to have a look. It is worth going up for at least one drink (prices are pretty steep though) at night to just enjoy the amazing views of Bangkok. The bar opens at 5.00pm and closes at 1.00am.

The buffet breakfast at Flow Restaurant was fabulous. There is an extensive range of food options available here with a variety of cuisines. You have the choice of eating indoors or outdoors with the river views. This is definitely one of the best hotel breakfasts that we have experienced.

If you prefer a light breakfast rather than a buffet, there is a little cafe called The Lantern where you can grab snacks and refreshments.

Have read that others don’t like the location of the Millennium Hilton as it’s away from the main area of Bangkok but we really love the location. They have a free shuttle boat that will take you to BTS Saphan Taksin Station on the opposite side of the river. From there you can hop on the BTS skytrain or grab a local boat from the pier to explore the river. We also grabbed a tuk-tuk from there that took us around the main shopping areas. At night there is another free shuttle that will take you to Asiatique The Riverfront which our kids loved as they got to go on the big wheel and see the city of Bangkok at night.

If staying at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok our one tip would be to get a room with executive floor access, totally worth it for the amazing views!

For more information go to www.hilton.com

You can also view our youtube video of the Hilton Millennium king room and the pool area.

While in Bangkok we have also stayed at the Conrad Bangkok – you can read our review here.