Birthday surprises, who doesn’t love it?

Sneaky Thais. I never picked up a scent of what the Novotel Siam team was brewing. (Photo by Jinggoy I. Salvador)
Sneaky Thais. I never picked up a scent of what the Novotel Siam team was brewing. (Photo by Jinggoy I. Salvador)

FROM the first time I visited Bangkok, I knew I was going to be back again—and again. Work plus leisure gave me good reason to do so. I was in the city four times a year, then brought it down to three, then two. It was never less than twice a year and always May and November.

November. For years now, I’ve always spent my birthday in Bangkok. A couple of times in Hong Kong but Bangkok is always first choice. It’s my birthday escape. Escape from work in the city and from the “obligation” to hold parties. LOL. Yes, I’m stingy, and me-time abroad is always a good excuse. I can wake up late, eat anything I want as often as I want and when I want, and shop for something I like, like a couple of Jim Thompson silk throw pillow cases.

Some of the birthday celebrations were made special by my hosts. Treats came in many forms, like feasting in a Michelin-starred restaurant, degustation dinner curated by a popular chef, or a birthday cake and wine sent to the room.

Each time it was special, but the recent one took the cake (oh, they gave me one, too).

Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square was my address for this year’s escape. Like all the hotels, a hotel tour was scheduled. Normally, the host would ask for my convenient time but this time my host set the time. “I would like to give you a quick tour of the hotel before you check in,” she said. I had to cancel a lunch date with a friend for it. Duty came first.

Pla Sungcharoen, the hotel’s DOSM, had me sample the delicious specials of the lobby bar, filled me in on the property’s details and the 2017 renovation that gave the hotel a new and exciting look that can lure in the social media-savvy market, and a quick tour of the facility before leading up to my floor to show me the new look of the deluxe room.

As soon as the door opens—surprise! A chorus sang a happy birthday song with one bearing a cake with lighted candles. They showed me a room specially made for the occasion—food and wine on the table with a hand-written note (I’m always impressed by this detail), a photo wall with must-visit sites within walking distance or a train ride away from the hotel and a birthday greeting on the TV screen. The effort was heart-warming. I had goosebumps and was grinning for hours after.

Sneaky, that hotel team was. But it worked. I never had an inkling what was brewing. It’s the best birthday surprise by a hotel to date. It will be marked as most memorable. Thank you for being a generous host Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square!

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