With an eye towards the value-conscious traveler, the Holiday Inn Express chain has chosen to open its first hotel in Asia in Bangkok, Thailand. Conveniently located very near a major Skytrain station (National Stadium), the new hotel with the familiar bright green sign is poised to make an impact on the mid-range budget scene in the Thai capital.
As befits a prime downtown location in a metropolis where construction is non-stop, the 300-room Holiday Inn Express Bangkok-Siam is an architecturally interesting building. Once inside the lobby, though, the no-frills functionality of the hotel takes center stage.
There are no doormen or bellmen in evidence, but the elevators are just steps away from the front desk. Two desktop computers offering complimentary Internet access are also stationed in the small lobby. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel, including in the guest rooms.
The rooms themselves are not large, but they are cleverly designed to make maximal use of the space. For example, the same door opens to the bathroom and closes the shower stall — which is actually roomier than one might expect, and features a massage showerhead. The main room contains a queen-sized bed (or twin beds), an ergonomic desk chair and work space, a 32-inch LCD television, iPod docking station, in-room safe, coffeemaker and small refrigerator. The beds are extremely comfortable, covered by duck down duvets and offering a choice of firm or soft pillows.
The hotel boasts the usual international Holiday Inn facilities, including a meeting room, self-service business center and fitness room with 24-hour access. Of course, the one thing every guest will enjoy is the complimentary Express Start breakfast: something in between a continental breakfast and a full breakfast buffet, it offers hot dishes representing Western and Asian cuisine, cold cereals, pastries, toast, juice and coffee. There is also the Holiday Inn’s Grab & Go take-away option.
No meal service is available in the hotel after breakfast, although vending machines provide limited snack options 24 hours a day. Continuing the self-service theme, there is no on-site laundry service; instead, there is a laundry room equipped with automatic washing machines and dryers operated by tokens purchased at reception.
The existence of a convenience like the laundry room makes the Holiday Inn Express ideal not only for travelers seeking to save some money but also for families — who would also doubtless appreciate the availability of connecting guest rooms.
The Holiday Inn Express Bangkok-Siam is celebrating its grand opening with a rate of 1999 Thai baht (plus tax) per room (just under $70). Next on the agenda for the brand in Thailand: a Holiday Inn Express in Phuket, the popular resort island in the south.
Opening Special Rates (valid until 15 September 2012) are THB 1999++.
Text by Buzzy Gordon, who was hosted by Holiday Inn Express for purposes of review. Photos courtesy of Holiday Inn Express.