Ian and Janice go to the Chateau de Bangkok
Our intrepid global nomads, Ian and Janice, review this central Bangkok Hotel
Ian and Janice contribute to various websites about their travels and experiences.
Their claim to fame is producing the very first internet travel site in the UK.
Since those heady days of internet pioneering, they spend their time being on a permanent "gap year" with an ever growing love affair with the culture of the Middle East and Far East.
Loves: Bangkok for its food; Hong Kong for its vibrancy; London for its interest factor; the Spanish; Marbella in winter; Formula 1 and fishing (only Ian).
This is a hotel we have been wanting to try for several years and during a 4 week Far East visit we managed to slot in a one week stay. Tripadvisor only rates this as 220 ish out of 700 hotels and has very little input about the hotel in its Bangkok forums.
Do not let this put you off, they have a natural bias towards chain hotels. Booking.com score this as an 8.1 and Agoda as an 8, these reviews are more personal as both companies only publish reviews from people who have booked and stayed there.
We had flown in from Hong Kong on the new Emirates A380 service (very cheap cost). It does not land until after 11pm but even so we were in the hotel by 1am having paid 450 baht for a taxi from the airport.
Check in was fast and simple.
Just 2 BTS stops from Siam Square, the location of the Chateau de Bangkok is superb. Handy access to the BTS at Phloen Chit means that you are minutes from all the major tourist haunts including the new Terminal 21 shopping mall.
The red light areas of Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza are less than 10 minutes away. The CDB is not "guest friendly" and is therefore a good choice for families.
The immediate area is a mix of office and residential and generally quite upmarket.
There is a wealth of bars and restaurants within a 5 minute walk. Street food is available down the side of the CDB and is of a good quality with some stalls having English menus.
Getting to the hotel
The chateau de Bangkok is located about a 10 minute walk from the BTS station at Phloen Chit on the Bearing Line running from Siam Square (2 stops).
The pavements on Soi Ruamrudee are very uneven and have many high kerbs and if arriving with heavy suitcases could potentially be a bit of a hassle. The road is busy throughout the day.
Around the hotel
The chateau de Bangkok is located on a busy road used by taxis and cars as a short cut around Siam Square. It's very rare to not be able to find a taxi almost immediately which is a real bonus given their cheap prices.
If you arrive at the BTS and are feeling lazy then just get one of the motorbike taxis to run you the last 400 metres to the hotel at a cost of 20 baht.
On the road almost opposite the hotel is a small precinct of restaurants and bars (Ruam Rudee Village) which are open until around 11pm. Bacchus serves drinks and food and has a really nice atmosphere with seating on a small terrace or indoors. Drinks are reasonably pricy with a Singha costing 200 baht. Service is attentive but unobtrusive. There are also 3 or 4 massage/ spa retail units for that refreshing and essential foot or back massage.
Further along the street, towards the BTS, is Tartine, this is a French themed bistro open early until around 8pm. Food is excellent, well above the average, we recommend that you try the salads which are made to order, you select the ingredients from a checklist. They also serve a set breakfast of croissant, coffee and orange juice for 99 Baht. Get here after 12 noon and you may have problems finding a table as its very popular with the local office workers. The wifi connection is excellent, just ask the waiters for the password.
Just 150 metres from the hotel is a 711 convenience store which apart from food and tobacco has a small pharmacy and a couple of ATMs.
We stayed in a Junior Suite on the 8th floor. It consisted of a large lounge with a comfortable two person sofa, king size bed, flat screen television with BBC World news and a kitchenette.
Off the room was a bathroom with a larger than average bath with overhead shower, wc and washbasin. There was also a separate dressing room where you could store your luggage.
There is a safe which is a metal drawer which takes a 4 digit code and will easily accommodate a laptop. I don't think too secure but at this hotel we felt no real threat.
The kitchenette had a large fridge, microwave and a sink. There a no hot rings in this room category but thats irrelevant with all the cheap food around. There is an electric kettle with tea, coffee, sugar and powdered milk sachets.
The air con was by efficient with three power settings, the highest setting really blasted out cold air.
The wifi is just about acceptable. We managed to watch some UK tv via the Internet with a small amount of buffering but not sufficient to be annoying.
The room and the bedding was quite clean. Fittings are a little dated with evidence of repairs quite common. The only fairly serious comment was the dubious staining on the couch. There is a daily maid service which does not include a full clean but does include towel changes and bed making.
Once inside, away from the road noise, its a very calm atmosphere. It never seems overcrowded and the staff always greet you warmly.
The staff are always ready to help but not in your face.
The corridors on the guest room floors are wide and airy and again very quiet. This being a fairly old building, the dividing walls are thick so we never heard any of our neighbours movements. That is apart from the first night when the next door couple arrived back in the hotel at 2am after clearly a party night!
The CDB has a cafe and a restaurant.
The Cafe Gourmand is located at the front of the hotel and offers a nice (but road noisy) veranda and smoking area. Prices are highish with a Club Sandwich being 250 Baht and a coffee 100 Baht. A Singha beer is 150 Baht.
We did not try the restaurant but it appeared to be very quiet and another guest that we spoke to said "average".
On the 12th floor is a lovely swimming pool with sun loungers and a large jacuzzi and was for the most time very quiet. There is also a spa and again we did not try it, opting for the one at the Banyan Tree. We are not gym users but it appeared to offer several high tech machines.
The 14th floor offers great panoramic views across the area and consists of a bar, the Paparazzi Restaurant and a terrace.
The foyer consists of very comfortable chairs and coffee tables with waiter service.
On the 3rd floor is a laundry room with washers and dryers. Tokens for the washing machine are obtained from Reception and cost 70 Baht.