The RarinJinda Wellness Spa at the Grande Centre Point Hotel, Bangkok // © 2011 RarinJinda Wellness Spa
Bangkok is known for its warmth with its smiling people, spicy food and temperate climate. But it is also very sophisticated, especially with its selection of five-star luxury hotels. Enter the Grande Centre Pointe Hotel and Residences in midtown Bangkok's Ratchadamri district. The property features an expansive marble lobby where visitors enter via a red carpet adorned with gold. The gold theme continues into the hotel's guestrooms, which showcase black panels decorated with gold temples, Buddhas and gods positioned over the beds and in the living rooms. It's always a pleasure to see local artwork in a hotel, and the Grande Centre Point displays local arts and crafts throughout.
The room offerings include studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, and special rates are offered for long stays. The studios begin at approximately $105 per night, including a breakfast buffet. The buffet features international cuisine, with American, Japanese, Chinese and Thai treats. During my recent visit, it felt exotic to breakfast on Thai noodles, Chinese buns, Japanese sushi and American bacon and eggs.
While the international buffet is noteworthy, the property's modern conveniences are what make a visit most memorable. The first thing clients will notice upon entering their room is the spaciousness and the small kitchenette. The obvious appliances are included: a microwave, a refrigerator, a toaster and a hot pot, but rooms also include a washer and dryer. This is a great convenience in the hot, humid city since clothes can be refreshed easily while clients relax on the king-size bed and watch wide-screen television or use the in-room Wi-Fi access.
The property's large swimming pool offers another good way to relax after a day of sightseeing. Other hotel facilities include a resident lounge, a fitness center, a Jacuzzi, a children's play room and a conference and business center.
Probably the best way to relax, however, is through a visit to the Rarinjinda Wellness Spa located in the hotel. Since clients are in Bangkok, a Classical Thai massage provides the perfect way to unwind after their plane rides. The treatment begins with a foot massage in a tranquil room with lotus blossoms and incense aromas. Then, it's into the massage room to change into a two-piece silk outfit with a wrap-around blouse and wide-leg pants. True Thai massages do not involve bare skin or oils, although those types of massages are also available.
Thai massage grew out of the need for relief from the back-breaking farm work most Thai people perform. Boys as young as eight are taught Thai massage so that they can give massages to their parents and grandparents after a hard day's work in the fields. Today's massages include aromatherapy as a modern addition.
The two-hour massage involves the masseuse bending over just about every body part in a gentle manner. However, anyone with medical problems should make them known because this massage style can be intense at times. Those who do have a Thai massage here will probably remember it as one of the highlights of the trip, and the feeling afterward is a bit like walking on air. The cost is around $33.
From the hotel, guests can also walk a short distance to the Sky Train to explore Bangkok. The train is cheap and easy to use and gives visitors a bird's-eye view of the city. Also within walking distance of the hotel is the Central World Plaza shopping center, the Siam Discovery Center and nighttime shopping markets. The concierge at the hotel can also book city tours, river cruises or a visit to the "Siam Niramit Show" with its capsulated history of Bangkok.