Branding Bangkok

Hilton makes a name for itself with the debut of the Millennium Hilton Bangkok

By: Eleanor M. Wilson

With the March opening of the five-star, $50 million Millennium Hilton Bangkok, Hilton stamps its brand name on the burgeoning hotel scene in Thailand’s capital city, joining sister property, the Conrad Bangkok hotel. Like the Conrad, the Millennium is luxury all the way, catering to leisure sightseers, business executives and convention attendees.

“Millennium Hilton Bangkok is destined to become one of the city’s landmarks as guests and residents gravitate to its dining and entertainment spots,” said Koos Klein, president of Hilton International Middle East/Asia Pacific.

The Millennium Hilton Bangkok looms 32 stories above the Chao Phraya River. All 543 rooms have views of the “River of Kings” and beyond to Bangkok and the Grand Palace’s ornate roofs and spires.

An Insider’s Look

Check-in takes place at Hilton Crossings, the hotel’s reception pavilion on one side of the Chao Phraya River with easier access from the airport. Guests are then taken by boat to the hotel on the Thonburi side. Free shuttle boats to Central Pier and the Skytrain run continually from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Upon entering the hotel, clients will first see the open-plan foyer and its soaring 12-story atrium. The hotel’s seven room categories range from deluxe accommodations to suites and executive rooms to one Royal suite. While facilities vary a bit, all guestrooms have tubs and a separate shower, satellite TV, personal safe, broadband Internet access and tea and coffee brewer. Executive rooms are equipped with a small office alcove between the bedroom and bath.

To keep guests from feeling cooped up, the Millennium offers plenty to do. Clients can breakfast at Flow on the river’s edge or spend teatime at the Lantern, a glittering glass riverside tearoom. At night, guests move up to Three Sixty on the 32nd floor for cool drinks, hot jazz and a 360-degree look at Bangkok by night. But for a truly outdoor experience, a must-see is the Beach, the drink/snack bar creating a complete surprise with its fourth-floor location on a white-sand beach next to the pool deck.

Indoor chic is equally prevalent, especially at Prime steakhouse, featuring a private dining wine cellar and an exclusive Chef’s Table. The Millennium’s ultra-contemporary look was designed by Australian BARstudio, under the guidance of renowned interior designer Tony Chi.

Chi’s love of nature extends to the Spa, a stunning sanctuary just off the lobby, surrounding two sacred Banyan trees. Here, 10 treatment rooms (two doubles) are secluded within walled gardens and plunge pools. The full Spa menu includes the signature Equilibrium therapy along with traditional Thai massages. A nail and hair salon round out the Spa offerings.

In addition, two ballrooms (the largest holds 700) and several smaller meeting rooms are located on the Hilton Meetings floor away from leisure guests. Events and meetings managers are on staff, along with multi-language team members.

Boosting Bangkok

“Hilton’s rapid growth in Thailand has been triggered by the government’s ability to continue building the right infrastructure to attract international tourists,” said Klein.

The state-of-the-art Suvarnabhumi Airport, supposedly slated for a late-summer opening, defines that growth. Its new location, between Bangkok and Pattaya, cuts travel time to the hotel to 40 minutes, while a planned overhead rail link will take 15 minutes. On grounds five times larger than the present airport, the passenger terminal will be the world’s largest single-building structure.

With an increase in available flight and passenger capacity, Bangkok hopes to become an even bigger hub for international travel to Southeast Asia.


Millennium Hilton Bangkok

Hits: Relaxing indoor/outdoor feel. Styled after Hilton’s hip award-winner in London, the Zeta Bar becomes an after-hours club when a DJ, sound system and fiber-optic lighting take over.

Misses: Guestrooms don’t offer balconies. In-room decor is stark but will improve soon after opening.

Be Aware: Traveling to sights is much shorter from across the river. Tell clients to take the hotel’s free boat to Central Pier for the SkyTrain trips.

Plugging In: Rooms include broadband Internet access and dual-line, direct-dial telephones with data port and voicemail. The hotel also offers a full-service business center and built-in LCD projectors in meeting rooms.

Clientele: Couples, families, business executives and meetings attendees.

Rates: Until June 30, rates start at $115 for Deluxe River View Room to $175 for the Executive Suite, including Executive Lounge benefits. Hilton Triple Dip applies until June 30.

Commission: 10 percent