ASIA Travel

Unlike our regular hotel reviews, we are going to do this one backwards. Start first with the summary / conclusion, then try to explain where this new hotel fits into Accor's global brand structure, and then offer a deeper review of the hotel.

There are those within the hotel industry that argue a boutique hotel must have no more than 50 rooms to be truly 'boutique'. Others say the number must be lower than 100. The VIE Hotel Bangkok has a total of 154 rooms and despite having a boutique feel, we feel it would be wrong to classify this as a boutique hotel.

The guest rooms are extremely comfortable and well laid out, the hotel facilities adequate, and it is in a good location with a skytrain station only a couple of minutes walk away. This pretty much sums up the hotel, it excels where it needs, and in the areas which are most important, being new it can also boast new hardware and design concepts - which should always guarantee a comfortable stay.

Unfortunately though, the hotel does not push the boundaries of in-room amenities or facilities sufficiently in our eyes, to pass from the upper four-star into the five-star category, which is where Accor wants to position it.

 The VIE Hotel Bangkok is an excellent choice for business and leisure travellers who are looking for a quality hotel in a very good central location. It ideally suits those travellers that are looking for a more intimate type of hotel, one that aims to provide more personalised service with a home away from home feel. The VIE Hotel Bangkok offers such travellers good design, very comfortable beds and quality bathrooms that feature separate showers, toilets and bathtubs. Overall an excellent choice.

So what is VIE Hotel and how does it fit into Accor's global branding? That is the question we were initially going to ask, but the more we think about it, does it really matter? From a consumer perspective, you do get points staying there if you are a member of  Accor's frequent guest programme, Accor Plus!, so do the inner workings of Accor's many, many brands really matter?

 For example, we could explain how VIE (meaning life) has the same owner as the very exclusive *V Villas in Hua Hin. We could also go on how, the VIE Hotel in Bangkok is part of Accor's MGallery, which according to Accor, is not a brand as such, but more a label, and within that label there are 4 sub-labels. Confused yet? We are! Anyway, the VIE Bangkok falls under MGallery's "Design" sub category, and each MGallery hotel will have a different name, and to some extent a different look and feel, but do you the consumer care? Probably not, so to avoid any more confusion as to what all the labelling and branding means, just remember you get points, and that really, is all that matters!

The 154 rooms of the VIE Hotel Bangkok are split into 4 different categories - Deluxe, Deluxe Suite, Duplex Suite and a couple of Penthouses.

The Deluxe rooms are well designed with the bathroom accessible from the bedroom rather than off the entrance which gives a refreshing and homely feel to the room. The bathrooms themselves are of excellent quality for a hotel of this category. All the bathroom amenities are Aigner except for in the Penthouses and Duplex Suites which offer guests even more luxurious Bvlgari products. Every bathroom features a private toilet area, large bathtub with jacuzzi function and hand held shower, as well as a spacious separate shower which comes complete with quality rain shower as well as a hand held shower head.

The rooms themselves are spacious enough measuring around around 30sqm in size. They have a 36" LCD TV with a good amount of international TV stations but only two sports channels (ESPN and Star Sports) which means that there is no coverage of the English Premier League if that is something which is important to you. There is a pretty standard working desk situated against the wall with plugs usefully located along the work surface. All the rooms have LAN and WiFi internet but it will depend on your package whether the internet access is free or not. As more and more international chains are beginning to offer complimentary internet throughout the hotel, regardless of the price paid for the room, then it is worth checking with the hotel on this as Accor is sure to follow suit eventually.

The rooms also feature all the standard amenities you would expect from an international hotel - voice mail, electronic safe, tea and coffee making facilities,  a number of complimentary bottles of water per day etc.

We do have to point out that most of the rooms offer nice views of Bangkok and the surrounds. However, roughly 52 of the 154 rooms at the hotel have had their windows almost entirely blocked off. This is because the hotel is extremely close to a Royal Palace and therefore all the windows that overlook this Palace have had mesh placed over them and wooden slats installed to completely block the view. 

Facilities at the hotel include a small gym which is open from 7am to 10pm. It features some free weights, a number of machines and a couple of compact aerobic rooms. The changing rooms feature lockers, showers, a small sauna and a jacuzzi. There is also a pool, which on our last visit left us wondering whether someone forgot to build the footbridge so that guests did not need to go through the lobby, cross the arrival area and enter the adjacent building to get to it.

All in all a very nice hotel, I just can't help wondering whether it is over-selling itself slightly.

*Note: While the owner of the VIE Hotel Bangkok and the V Villas is the same, there is NO comparison between the quality, nor style of the two properties. The full review of V Villas Hua Hin will be published soon.

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