RE­GAL RES­I­DENCE BY THE RIVER OF KINGS

Sun.Star Davao - - CHILL! - BY JING­GOY I. SAL­VADOR jing­goysal­[email protected]­hoo.com

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.

For more travel sto­ries, visit www.jeepneyjinggoy.com.

For lifestyle fea­tures, visit www.ofap­ple­san­dle­mons.com

Email me at jing­goysal­[email protected]­hoo.com

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

Wel­come treats

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

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