“MAAYONG hapon,” said the foreigner, smiling.
To hear a “good afternoon” greeting spoken in a Philippine dialect with almost 3,000 kilometers from my homeland has an instant effect of good vibes.
It will make you grin, if not laugh excitedly. The connection will put you at ease and yes, make you feel like you’re home.
The Visayan greeting were the first words uttered by Simon Ramsay, the Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit’s general manager, when he welcomed me to his hotel, my home for the five-day Bangkok sojourn.
The Big Mango is a regular destination for work and leisure. With each visit the excitement escalates. That’s how dynamic Bangkok is. In fact, the Thai capital has been likened to New York City, the city that never sleeps.
This tired soul, on the other hand, needs sleep. It was a long journey and I had little sleep in the past 24 hours. And entering my generously appointed, apartment-style one-bedroom suite with everything I need to feel at home, I knew I would get the rest I needed.
And I did. (The almost massage-like relaxing dip at the Jacuzzi also did wonders.)
Over a hearty breakfast the next day, I sat with the Simon and Khun Saranchana, the DOSM, and we shared stories on travel and cuisine of Thailand and the Philippines.
Apparently, Simon's stint as resident manager in Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu was the reason why he knew how to speak Visayan.
He even made it to Davao as the officer-in-charge whenever the late Park Inn by Radisson general manager Pavan Kakar was on vacation. (It was Pavan who generously initiated this Bangkok hosting).
Flying to Bangkok regularly for the past 10 years, I always seek the unique in each of the hotel I stay in, including this current address I was in—Sukhumvit 13, an area shared with other renowned hotels.
The 150-room Radisson Suites Bangkok has everything the business and leisure travellers would want in a hotel: well-appointed guestrooms and suites, complimentary WiFi, specialty food outlets, spacious meeting rooms, well-equipped fitness center by the outdoor pool and Jacuzzi.
But what makes the hotel unique? I asked Simon.
“The Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit is a well-established international hotel located between Sukhumvit MRT and Nana BTS stations. We have been operating for 6 years and have a tremendous repeat and loyal guest base who use us each time due to our location, ‘Yes, I can’ service (always positive, always smiling and always professional mindset of the Radisson people) and our guest loyalty program, Club Carlson,” he shared.
“The hotel is unique in the sense that it is a suite property offering suite rooms at hotel prices in the center of Bangkok. We pride ourselves in offering a warm Thai hospitality in everything that we do here in the hotel. We are in a central location with restaurants, bars and shopping malls all within walking distance and of course if you don’t want to walk, then our complimentary tuk-tuk service will drop you off and pick you up in the local area.”
From the hotel, my destinations, be it sightseeing, shopping or dining, were a tuk-tuk plus a BTS train rides away. How convenient is that?
It is a fact that competition is stiff when it comes to the hospitality business in Bangkok. I asked the GM how the hotel stays on top of the game.
“The hotel is always evolving. We recently opened our newest outlet in February this year, the Punjab Grill, to rave reviews from our guests and the local Bangkok residents. The bar area is now trending with its signature Indian cocktails and mocktails, while the Punjab Grill menu caters for all dietary restrictions from vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and Jain. We had seen an opportunity in the market to offer Fine Dining Indian Cuisine with an emphasis on Punjab cuisines so we designed a new restaurant in an under-utilized area of the hotel.”
The 130-seater Indian restaurant is the fifth dining and entertainment outlet of the hotel, adding to Mauve, a casual dining space that features an interactive show kitchen offering signature dishes from western grill to exotic Indian fare; Asqu (askew), chic coffee space by day and chill-out spot at night serving signature cocktails and tapas; Aromas, a bakeshop & a deli; and, The Rooftop Bar, an al fresco casual dining spot by the pool.
“We are also in the process of looking at other F&B options within the hotel to develop during 2016 and into 2017 so watch this space as we continue to evolve.”
Like a boss, I arrived and departed the hotel on board the hotel’s limo service, a special treatment from my host. It was a great way to start and end of what I consider as my most remarkable stay at the Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit.
Daghang salamat, Khobkhunkrap, Simon, Surachana, and to the rest of your team.
Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit is at 23/2-3 Sukhumvit 13, Sukhumvit Road, KlongtoeyNua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 Thailand. Visit their website at www.radisson.com/bangkokth_sukhumvit.
Email me at email@example.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com and http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com.