Based in Bangkok
With a span of decades between our last trip to Bangkok and boarding our cruise ship there this spring (Oceania Nautica: Our Middle East Magic Carpet Ride) we gave ourselves extra time to explore this capital city of Thailand. We traded a week that we own at Marriott’s KoOlina in Hawaii for a stay at their Empire Place.
These trades are a benefit of timeshare ownership. By trading within the brand, you know what you are getting. Well, not quite in this case, as we were to learn. . .
|Morning traffic Bangkok Thailand|
After a long drive from the airport in early morning commute-hour traffic he pulled into an office complex. There he conferred with a security guard to sent us packing through the neighborhood, a mix of low-rise homes and towering skyscrapers.
|Our neighborhood - a mix of old and new|
Finally we all breathed a sigh of relief when some two hours (yet, only $25 taxi fare) after leaving the airport he pulled up to a towering edifice called, The Empire Place. However. . .there was nothing in the signage indicating it was a Marriott Vacation Club:
|Marriott's Empire Place - Bangkok, Thailand|
We entered a vast – very clean and empty – lobby. There was no reception desk, with its usual line of guests; instead we were directed to a small office to the side of the lobby where the three staff members conferred, flipped through a notebook, and confirmed we were scheduled to stay there.
One of them showed us to our ‘home away from home’. We were to use a security key to access the elevators and our room key to make the elevator work. In our condo, there were face cloths and a large pitcher of Bale fruit juice (looks and tastes like sweetened ice tea) chilling in the refrigerator – both adding to a refreshing welcome.
For those of you who’ve shied away from timeshares because they are too ‘cookie cutter and all look alike’ – this place is for you. Because it was a real-life condominium, the kind people live in 24/7 and quite a nice one at that – it wasn’t the traditional ‘timeshare’ layout. We had two-bedrooms, two-baths, large living and dining room, kitchen and a laundry room. Daily maid service was provided at no extra cost (unlike our experiences at other Marriott Vacation Club properties).
|Timeshare condo - The Empire Place - Bangkok, Thailand|
|Views from our condo|
“The nearest grocery store?” we asked after unpacking the bags. Well, there really wasn’t one anywhere nearby, the staff told us. A small 7-11 convenience store a block away sold beverages and snacks but nothing like staples.
|Food cart near The Empire Place- Bangkok, Thailand|
|View from the Sky Train's screened windows - 'The Scout' on the train|
|Gourmet Market at Siam Paragon Shopping Center|
* There is no Marriott Marketplace on site.
*There are no bars, restaurants on site. Four blocks away, the Anantara, condo-hotel’s rooftop bar is open to the public. A great place to watch sunset and both drinks and food are served there, so children were welcome.
* The nearest Sky Train/Metro station, Chong Nonsri, is two long blocks from The Empire Place. You’ll need to climb a flight of stairs to access the station. Starbucks and numerous other coffee shops are found on the station’s street level. Taxis can be summoned by building staff and they are inexpensive.
* The office provided us a printed map, but not the ‘usual’ tip sheets or resource guides for finding local grocery stores and other amenities. We scouted them out on our own.
* Take note Marriott timeshares owners: this property does not participate in the Marriott rewards program; you will not earn points nor night credits towards your Elite Membership. (That isn’t explained on any of the Marriott web pages about this place. It is found on the Marriott Rewards page where, rules, item 11, lists all the Marriott properties that don’t participate in the rewards program.)
Off to the Chao Phraya
The accommodation was clean and comfortable - its major drawback, in our opinion, was its location some distance from that amazing Chao Phraya River that bisects the city. I’ll show you what I mean about amazing next time, when we move on to The Peninsula Hotel, on the riverside.
Thanks for joining us again today. If you are new to the blog, “Welcome! Hope you’ll be a regular here.” We are grateful to you all for the time you spend with us.
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