When you’re already splurging for a stay at a five-star hotel, sometimes it might make sense to splurge a little bit more.
Last weekend I spent two nights celebrating in a massive cabana at the posh Four Seasons Bangkok on Rajdamri Road. It was a great experience, and somewhat of an odd one, too, since I live just down the street in Pratunam, and have often walked by the hotel during early-evening walks to Lumpini Park, then found myself playing the role of a well-heeled North American tourist in my own neighborhood… though I’m afraid my flip-flops and camoflauge shorts may have outed me as a fraud in the well-heeled department.
During our stay we used Four Seasons’ “Executive Package”, an upgrade available for all guest rooms (for an extra 2,000 baht per night, as of July 2011) that includes business-friendly amenities such as use of an executive board room for 1 hour, in-room Internet access, unlimited garment pressing, and free calls to land lines in Bangkok. We had no use for any of those things, but a few food & drink luxuries came in quite handy.
The Executive package also includes an impressive buffet breakfast served at the first-floor Madison restaurant, which all guests have access to, or at the seventh-floor Executive Club, which all guests do not have access to. Though the lavish spread at the Madison included a few more options than the one upstairs, it was much more crowded than the Club: crowded as in kids, and crowded as in nearly every table there and at Aqua, the adjacent patio bar, was taken on Sunday morning.
Other people are just a fact of hotel life, but in contrast, we had the entire Club to ourselves on Saturday. There’s something to be said for enjoying fresh coffee, ready-made omelettes, buttery croissants, heaping plates of fresh fruit, and the morning edition of the Bangkok Post in peace and quiet.
Another bonus: the Club offers a buffet of light hors d’oeuvres from 5:30 – 8pm daily. Better bonus: unlimited, help-yourself beer (bottles of Asahi, Heineken, and Singha), wine (red and white), and liquor (whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, etc.), which means one could theoretically eat and drink their fill without paying another dime in or outside of the hotel.
Additionally, since the Club is technically private and for paying members only, alcohol can still be legally served during those times when sales are restricted elsewhere in the city, such as on Buddhist holidays or, in our case, national elections: all city bars and restaurants were dry from 6pm Saturday until midnight Sunday that weekend. Something to keep in mind if a potential stay at the Four Seasons happens to coincide with such an event.
Is the Executive Package worth it?
A visit to Bangkok can be as affordable as you want it to be, so if the Package’s main appeal is the food and drink, it’s probably not worth the extra expense: there’s tons of incredible food and cheap drinks nearby.
However, business travelers (especially those with expense accounts) on a short working trip could find this to be a good value: along with the other practical services, inclusive breakfast, snacks, and drinks are certainly convenient, and depending on how much you consume, this is potentially more cost-effective than going ad hoc at the hotel’s bars and restaurants. The peace and quiet factor for breakfast and evening cocktails is also worth considering, particularly if you’re arriving after a long flight or on a romantic getaway.
Rates and more information about the Executive Package can be found at the official Four Seasons Bangkok website.
Note: I’m neither an executive with a business expenses account, nor a well-heeled North American tourist. As is common in the travel industry, some services were provided as a compliment for the purpose of experiencing them and potentially covering them. While that has not influenced this piece, I (along with Perceptive Travel) believe in full disclosure.
Executive Club photo taken by author