Had I written this review while in Thailand it would have been 5, or at least 4 stars. The hotel itself is lovely. One thing I didn't realize is that it is set in the red light district. A man walking alone through the market is deluged by offers from girls (and girlie boys), and guys with laminated cards with pics of women being thrust into your hands, and bars with girls in g-strings, every few feet. But, hey, that's not something the hotel can do much about.
Where I am disappointed today is that I am only now finding out that my wife and I fell for a rather elaborate, but apparently common scam. We had only a few hours to spend in Bangkok. The helpful clerk suggested that we take a boat on the river and visit Wat Arun, cross the river and visit the Imperial Palace and Wat Pho. Great suggestion, except he didn't warn us, at all, about what was to come.
Leaving the hotel with my wife I was relieved to find the redlight stuff had disappeared overnight. A few blocks down the street a friendly Thai on the street chatted us up as we headed to the Skytrain. The regular boats don't run on Sunday, he told us. We should go to the tourist pier instead. At that moment a tuk tuk just "happened" to be driving by, our "friend" flagged him down, gave him directions for us, and off we went.
We ended up spending more than anticipated for the river transportation--which we did by longtail boat, rather than the public ferry. But our adventure had only begun. After a great, but quick, tour of Wat Arun, we crossed the river and headed to the imperial palace. But again, we were intercepted by a "helpful english speaking Thai man" who told us that the temple and palace had just closed for an hour for lunch for the monks--he suggested a nearby alternative "imperial temple" in the meantime--just a short walk away--or he could flag me a tuk tuk to run us there for only 20 baht.
It ended up being a long tuk tuk ride to a very cool small temple complex. To make a long story short, we ended up bumping into a very nice man there. He told us all about the temple. He showed us all the great shots for taking pictures. He made some recommendations about where to go. My wife indicated an interest in jewelry, and he immediately told us that we must visit the "Royal Lapidary"--where unlike street vendors the quality of the merchandise is certified by the government. He again, helped us get a tuktuk. Thai people are so helpful!
We ended up buying jewelry at this place--a bit over $500 worth. It was an impulse buy, by inexperienced jewelry shoppers--in particular, by a husband wanting to buy something nice for his wife on her first day in Thailand.
So, 10 days later I'm back home thinking about all of this. I search "Royal Lapidary" only to find a long thread here on trip advisor with almost every bit of our adventure described by others who fell for the same routine--same misdirection to the small temple, with the amazing, friendly guy, who sends them on to the Royal Lapidary. Turns out, its all a common scam. I haven't had our jewelry appraised yet, but I have little doubt after reading that thread that I paid a whole lot more than it was worth.
Sorry for my long post--what's this to do with the hotel? Well, I wish that I had been warned about this sort of thing when I set out on our little tour (I was helpfully warned about the red light situation in advance). Just a word of warning about this sort of thing would have done the trick.
More importantly, when we came back, and told the desk clerk how our day had gone--the clerk told us that we didn't do that bad. The price I negotiated for the longtail boat was more than the public boat--but a good price for the longtail--which we had to ourselves.
But he said nothing about the rest of our visit. I just wish he would have warned us that we probably overpaid by quite a bit at the Royal Lapidary--apparently (given the long thread) a rather common Bangkok scam. A simple "heads up" would have saved us a few hundred wasted dollars. Had he said something, I read in the thread that we could have gone back and gotten our money back. Now that we are back in the States its hard to do anything at this distance.
I chalk all of this up as a lesson learned. I'll certainly be much more careful on my next visit.
I just wish the hotel had helped an obviously inexperienced couple avoid this sort of thing in the first place.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
July 16, 2013
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Thank you very much for choosing to stay with us and for taking the time to share your thoughts on this forum.
It is a great pleasure to read that you had enjoyed our provided facilities and for mentioning that our hotel is lovely.
On the other hand, thank you for bringing your negative impressions to our attention, as well as to the awareness of other travelers.
Once again, we thank you for your valuable comments and look forward to welcoming you back.
With kind wishes,
Director – Sales + Marketing
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.