REGAL RESIDENCE BY THE RIVER OF KINGS
Iwoke to 54 by the River of Kings. The sight was as amazing as the last time it greeted each morning me a few months back. This time though, the greeting was meaningful. I roused from a restful sleep with sunlight streaming into my room and the view of the Chao Phraya River through large picture window. It was a good way to start my new year.
The view of the river is one of the features of 28-storey Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers, a five-star hotel Bangkok. It’s impressive how the 1980s-built Y-shaped structure was designed to have all 726 guest rooms frame the Chao Phraya sans obstruction, a creative move way ahead of its time. The iconic river view is just one of the many features the rooms share. The orchid, another Thai symbol, is perennially present in all corners of the interior, which makes sense, hotel is named after it.
True, the hotel is more than three decades old. With the highly competitive hospitality arena in Bangkok today, how has
this hotel remained successful in retaining its popularity for so long? For one, the banks of Chao Phraya River is a much sought-after address in the city and Royal Orchid Sheraton is one of the few that has established its roots by it. Who wouldn’t want to live by a Thai icon? Second, the management is diligent in keeping the hotel in prime condition. Upgrading is constant and major renovations are implemented every ten years. “It’s pretty much looking after our own home,” said the chairman of the board.
If there’s one detail I admire in structures of the past it is the generous space to move around. Everything else is upgraded, the appointments current, which will make any modern business or leisure traveler nod in admiration.
Beyond the comfortable rooms are facilities that will sate anyone’s appetite for good food and healthy living. There’s an array of restaurants offering varies cuisines— Italian at Giorgio’s, Thai at Thara Thong, grilled specialties at Riverside Grill, and international cuisine at Feast and the other food outlets—while the health buffs can burn off the calories at the well-equipped gym or get rejuvenated at the spa, and the verdant garden makes for a perfect venue for yoga classes.
Above all these upgrades and offerings, the success of Royal Orchid Sheraton lies in its real treasure-- the hotel’s work force, the “real pillars of strength that have made the hotel what it is today” as management refers to them.
“About 60% to 70% of the original staff is still working for the hotel,” shared Sirithorn Viravat, the hotels’ marketing communications manager. It comes to no surprise that guests loyal to Sheraton would be greeted by their names by the long-time staff. It’s like home and family in this place.
The hotel may have hosted Thailand’s most glamorous affairs in its expansive pillar-less ballroom, but perhaps none can stand comparable to the celebration on opening day. It was an illustrious start for the hotel with the presence of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, who presided over the hotel’s opening on July 22, 1983. With the queen were the princesses Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Chulabhorn and Soamsawali.
The glory of the River of Kings, the exquisiteness of the orchid and the lingering aura of the eminent beginnings of the Royal Orchid Sheraton, I basked in it all.
Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers is at 2 Charoen Krung Road Soi 30 (Captain Bush Lane), Siphya, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500 Thailand.
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The Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers along the Chao Phraya River
Comfortable bed in a spacious, well-appointed room guarantees a good night’s sleep
The garden pool
This view over breakfast at the Sheraton Club Lounge
Chao Phraya at night seen from the comforts of my room
The hotel lobby
The executive chef on his regular breakfast routine offering freshly baked goods at the Executive Lounge
Thai cultural shows held nightly at the Thara Thong, the hotel’s Thai restaurant
There’s always a greeting with a beaming smile from Naree everyday