Since Hyatt matched my Platinum Status with Starwood by making me a Hyatt Diamond for 2016, on this trip to Bangkok I decided to see what the diamond experience would like by staying at the Grand Hyatt Erawan. (Read below regarding the Erawan Shrine bombing in August 2015.)
Getting to the Grand Hyatt from Suvarnabhumi Airport
Most travelers arrive in Bangkok at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. From there the best transportation options are a taxi or the Airport Express train. Taxis are relatively inexpensive. A 30 to 40 minute ride to the hotel runs about 250 to 300 baht (less than $10) including tolls. Do not pay a flat rate. Have the driver use the meter. Taxis are on level 2 of the terminal building.
For solo travelers with a roller suitcase and backpack or less, I recommend the Airport Express train. It is clean, modern, safe and operates from 6:00am to midnight. Trains run every 12 to 15 minutes. The fare to Phaya Thai station where you transfer to the BTS Skytrain is 45 baht or just over $1. The BTS fare to Chit Lom station right next to the Grand Hyatt is 28 baht. The transportation options will be covered in greater detail in a separate post.
Grand Hyatt Lobby
The hotel lobby is located one floor up from street level. Taxis drop off there. If walking from the BTS, you can enter on the street level and take an elevator to the lobby.
The lobby is large and very well decorated. It is a popular spot for guests to relax and converse.
When I presented my passport, the lobby reservation agent pulled up my reservation and noted my Diamond status. She then escorted me to the Club Lounge on the 17th floor for check in. There were two agents sitting just outside the lounge with computers at a long desk who were ready to check me in. I was assigned a very nice Grand Club Room a few doors down from the lounge. Hyatt Diamonds are entitled to the best available room at check in other than suites. To get a complimentary upgrade to a suite, Hyatt Diamonds can reserve them at booking four times per year for up to seven nights per stay.
While a suite is always nice, when I’m travelling alone a regular hotel room serves quite nicely. the size of this room was 40 square meters. Upon entering, the phrase “satisfactory, most satisfactory” as Dr. Beaker from the Supercar series would say, came to mind.
There was a welcome note from the manager on the desk. The large bed with four pillows of varying softness dominated the room.
There was a large glass desk with a curved seating area next to the windows.
Across from the bed was a large flat-screen TV. The TV sat on table with drawers and a pull out bench. Next to that was a minibar behind a mirrored cabinet.
The bathroom had a separate tub and shower.
The tub had a hand held shower attachment as did the shower. I find these more useful than a fixed shower head. The shower of course had a hand held attachment and a rain shower shower head.
The bathroom amenities included shower gel, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner, mouthwash, and dental and shaving kits. There was also a sewing kit, facial pads, Q tips and a comb. Housekeeping refreshed any used amenities each day.
Being close to the lounge , I was a little worried about noise. That was not a problem as I never heard noise from outside the room.
The room had great lighting that could be varied for mood or work. Electrical outlets were plentiful and in the right places to make it easy to use a laptop in bed. Wifi was fast and easy to connect to.
Diamonds have access to the lounge for breakfast and evening appetizers and drinks. This lounge was very large and consisted of several rooms for serving food, table seating, and seating for relaxing, reading and working.
Being my first time in a Grand Hyatt lounge, I was unsure of the way things were to work. None of the attendants offered to help or explain the process for ordering drinks, getting food etc. I relied on my experience with SPG lounges and got by without too much difficulty.
The lounge was very elegant. As far as food and drink, the quality was excellent although the small size of the dishes and the way the serving area was divided into several small spaces made it necessary to make several trips to for one meal. With lounges like this, I have no need to purchase more than one meal per day.
The Erawan Shrine
Thailand is an overwhelmingly Buddhist country, but the Erawan Shrine is a Hindu shrine to Lord Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. The shrine was erected in 1956 when a construction project nearby had a series of accidents. After the shrine was built the accidents ceased. Why the Thais built a Hindu shrine I do not know.
In August 2015, the Erawan shrine was the target of the deadliest (and one of the very few) terrorist attacks in Thailand. A bomb killed 20 worshippers and tourists.
The Erawan Shrine is popular with Chinese tourists. It sits right next to the Grand Hyatt. The shrine was always busy whenever I passed by.
Contributions from the worshippers pay for local dance troupes to perform at the shrine.
Next to the shrine was another area were performances were constantly taking place.
When I was there, this area was being used by multiple youth dance groups. The audience was filled with proud parents and enthralled onlookers. I also had to stop and watch for a while. Thais have some of the most colorful traditional costumes.
One night I was returning to the hotel and came across some dancers who were involved in a production in one of the meeting rooms.
This hotel is in a good location with transportation options, shopping and restaurants close by. It is located between the Sukhumvit prime tourist area and the large Siam shopping mall complex. The Central World mall is just across the intersection.
The Grand Hyatt was slightly more expensive than some of the Starwood competitors in the area such as the Westin Grande, Sheraton Grande or Le Royal Meridien Plaza Athenee hotels. The standard club rooms are fairly comparable at these hotels, but the Grand Hyatt comes off as somewhat more luxurious thanks to the elegant lobby.
In sum, I found my stay at the Grand Hyatt Erawan and the benefits it offered to a Diamond Hyatt Gold Passport member to be well worth a return visit at some point.