Wednesday, February 13, 2013

W Bangkok

Hotel Stay Details 
Hotel: W Bangkok 
Dates: February 12-15, 2013 
Rate Paid: $174 / night 
Total $ Savings: $0
Points Earned: 3,132 SPG Points

After a great trip and my intro to Thailand in Chiang Mai, we arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Bangkok around Tuesday 6PM.

After doing some research online, my father found out that the local Thai people get a taxi from the Airport by going upstairs to Departures where passengers are dropped off.

By doing that, he saved time and money because there was no line and no 50 THB airport taxi surcharge.  So yes, folks, my father saved us a whopping $1.67.  And I thought my mother was the... never mind.

At first, the taxi driver said he knew where the W Hotel was.  My father was a bit surprised since the W only opened a month ago and there are hundreds of popular hotels in Bangkok.  But after we got in, the taxi driver said (in broken English), "W Marriot".  Because my father's a hotel loyalty program nerd, he realized the taxi driver was referring to the JW Marriott Hotel and not the W Hotel.  I don't know my ABC's yet, but I can imagine how that could be confusing.

My father corrected him and then struggled to communicate the exact address.  Fortunately, our driver was resourceful and asked to call the W hotel for directions.  Luckily, my father stored all his travel itinerary into his Blackberry Travel app.  After our driver spoke with the hotel, we were on our way!

Upon arrival, my lame parents were amazed with the W cool factor.  I thought it was OK.  Unlike many other W Hotels in the US that took old hotels and remodeled them into W Hotels, the W Bangkok was built from scratch so everything was customized to be very stylish.

The design and layout were very modern and sleek like somewhere you'd see models and rock stars hanging out.  My beautiful mother could probably pass for a stylish fashionista, but my father looked like he got hit by the Fugly Tuk Tuk.  Nevertheless, when people saw he was with an adorable baby, they treated him like royalty.

We were checked into a King bedroom and the Front Desk welcomed my father and thanked him for being a loyal Starwood Gold.  We were offered free internet (accepted) and a late check out (3PM would be just fine!).  This time, however, my father booked a cash rate (instead of using SPG points).  Since he booked months ago before they were open, he locked in a special discounted rate of 5,200 THB / night ($174 USD) that would earn double Starpoints (so 6 SPG points / dollar spent).

Now, for $174 USD, you can get a lot in Thailand -- 29 hour long massages or 35 restaurant meals or 174 street food meals or a lot of diapers and candy!  But the hotel was a Starwood Category 4, meaning it would cost 10,000 SPG points for a Free Night Award or $60 + 4,000 SPG Points for a Cash & Points redemption.  At those prices, my father would only get 1.7 cents/pt or 2.9 cents/pt of value for his beloved SPG points.  He can usually redeem closer to 3.5-5.0 cents/pt so he was better off spending cash this time around.

But since $175 in Bangkok during peak season got you a lot more than whatever we could get in New York City (think Best Western by Newark Airport in May), I definitely think the hotel was worth it.

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