Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit in Bangkok.
We are currently running this reader-written feature to provide some positivity and inspiration to Head for Points. We hope to run one review per day for the next few weeks. There will be a deliberate mix of European and worldwide properties, super luxury and mid market, branded and independent. You can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews so far by clicking here.
Today’s hotel is the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit in Bangkok. It is reader Michael’s favourite hotel and here is his review:
The Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is one of no fewer than 20 (!) Marriott Bonvoy hotels in Bangkok.
Don’t be fooled by the Sheraton name. This hotel is actually part of Marriott’s ‘The Luxury Collection’ and as a Category 5 is at the same level as the JW Marriott, the Athenee and the St Regis.
With such a vast array of choices in a massive city, and with incredible levels of hospitality and hard product at generally decent prices, choosing a hotel in Bangkok can be a highly pleasurable but somewhat overwhelming task.
For some background, I’m approaching this review from what I believe to be an increasingly large niche sector: a couple (in our case, two dads) with a child still wanting to stay in fabulous places without wanting to feel out of place (fully understanding that, say, certain smaller quite boutique places just aren’t for us).
As a slight disclaimer, I can completely understand why first-time visitors to Bangkok might prefer a riverside location which the Sheraton Grande does not have. The river is incredibly scenic, with easy access to some of the main temples by boat (avoiding the infamous traffic), and hosts the world-famous Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental. On one trip between river and city, we stayed at the Shangri-La, which we were delighted with.
However, while not matching the timeless traditional luxury of the others, the Sheraton Grande is a very fine hotel with a whole slew of advantages.
Arriving at Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit
The reception is tucked away to one side, off a gorgeous open area and the Living Room for jazz and happy hour cocktails (more of them later). The welcome is universally warm, as you’d hope for, with due fuss made over the smallest family member.
For the three of us, we’ve always gone for a “club” room, a.k.a. Luxury Room, with two double beds (ensuring we all have a decent sleep).
This level of room includes the aforementioned happy hour and two pieces of laundry a day. Although many people seem to choose the park view, I actually prefer the city, especially at night or during a massive downpour.
Rooms are around 45m2, with luxury touches such as fresh orchids and fruit and Thai overtones, especially in the beautiful bathrooms.
Turquoise tiles from the north add a pop of colour, and there is separate shower and bathtub (score!), with very pleasant Thann products, including rice soap and bath salts.
I’m not sure if it’s the “best” in the city but it’s certainly original and great for families (NB not for lap swimmers).
The pool is based on a tropical garden style (think Ubud) with nooks and crannies.
A bar runs along the back, included in the happy hour, with a short but really decent and reasonable menu: even the basics such as pizzas are great.
The spa is stunning as you might expect, and of course more expensive than some neighbourhood places. We’ve often found packages / vouchers included in the room for great discounts and found it to be well worth the price.
Would anyone really choose a hotel just because of their Happy Hour? Maybe … if it’s from 4pm to 8pm (!) across three bars (BarSu, Sala – the pool – and Living Room: see below). This means, for example, while you’re having your late afternoon swim, the “club” bar suddenly kicks into action. Just as a point of comparison for families, children under 8 are only allowed in the lounge 9am-5pm, and no drinks are allowed by the pool at any time.
No main dishes of food are included, “only” some delicious hors d’oeuvres brought to your table in the Living Room, along with stunning cocktails. (NB I believe all this is included for Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite members and above – not my case, sadly!).
The nearby atmospheric Hemingway bar has sadly gone, and not that you would, but you could almost not leave the hotel and still have an amazing dining experience on your trip:
DID (Dine in the Dark): far more than a gimmick, and offering Bonvoy discounts, this restaurant is rated as one of Bangkok’s best
Bar Su: consistently appearing in many Top 10 lists, this is a sumptuous bar with outdoor terrace which also provides food that is a cut above (not one for the kids!).
Basil – modern Thai, with great jazz brunch and also offering cooking classes
The Living Room – following on with the jazz theme, there is always a pianist/band playing here in the evening. As mentioned, it’s also one of the fabulous places to relax for happy hour, and Richard the long-term GM will often be strolling round to sit down for a chat
Orchid Café: mainly for the standard and more than decent buffet breakfast.
Rossini’s: Italian, as you’d guess, but also the home of a more formal breakfast for the elite members; with a smaller buffet and an à la carte item. (For those of you interested, there was a “Sock-gate” debate on Flyertalk some time ago regarding the more formal attire required compare to the Orchid Café!). Nice quiet place to do a bit of morning work if needed.
The Sala – basically, the pool bar.
Where is Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit?
This for me is where the hotel comes into its own. Whether for first-timers or (perhaps especially) repeat visitors, for me the location is unbeatable.
While classic sights such as Wat Pho (reclining Buddha) are less than 40 mins by MRT (still not bad by Bangkok standards), there is a lot more to see closer to home.
Via a covered walkway – great for those 6pm downpours – you can access Terminal 21 mall. Whether or not shopping is on your itinerary, this is an incredibly handy place to have next door. It’s a shopping centre with a difference, with each floor being based on a different country. More importantly, it has essentials such as a food court, Boots, cinema, mobile phone shops that will set you up with a sim card on the spot, and a very large supermarket.
Also attached to the hotel by a walk way is the BTS (Skytrain) station of Asok, taking you in 20 minutes to Patpong night market and the bars around Sala Daeng (the slightly more dubious but entertaining Soi Cowboy is a 5-minute stroll away). The massive weekend market at Chatuchak is only just over half an hour by BTS although, armed down with bags on the way back, I’d just succumb to the traffic in an air-con cab.
Between enjoying downtime in the hotel itself, its covered walkways, and the access it provides to the rest of the city, it’s our number one choice in Bangkok.
How to book
The Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit website is here if you want to find out more. As a Marriott Bonvoy redemption, it costs between 30,000 and 40,000 points per night depending on the date.
For cash bookings, you may want to use our luxury hotel booking partner Bon Vivant. Bon Vivant can access Marriott’s STARS programme for premium travel agents, and all bookings made through them come with:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Complimentary Breakfast for two daily for duration of the stay
- $100 USD equivalent hotel credit
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (October 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Until 2nd November 2021, The Platinum Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points. This converts into 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)