Disadvantages Pricey food
On three of my four visits to Bangkok I've stayed at the Royal Orchid Sheraton and it didn't break the bank. At a surprisingly low price of around £30 per person per night in a double/twin room in August 98 it was an outstanding bargain. This was booked through Kuoni, but although masquerading as a package tour, you can modify their holidays to choose which resorts you visit, which hotels you stay in, which days and flights you use for travel and so effectively they are arranging flights transfers and accommodation to your specification but charging you package holiday rates. Whether you can get those rates booking directly is another story but not one that I am familliar with. We got upgraded free to a deluxe room on each occasion by booking through Kuoni and the facilities were superb.There's a mini-bar that costs the earth, as usual, but there are free tea and coffee making facilities (thanks to a suggestion I made to the management on my first visit in 1992 - it was £1 a cup then if you used their makings). There are excellent river views from all of their rooms but I preferred the west side view to the east side that I had in 1998. Their breakfasts are not included in the price and are not as good as they were, but can be quite expensive, especially if booked in the UK - wait until you are there. We paid £6 in 92, £11 in 95 and £13 in 98 for breakfasts booked in advance (that's per person per night). On the other hand you could eat elsewhere much cheaper.
The location of the hotel is great for getting about. On the east side they have an express ferry terminal, with boats leaving every few minutes for all points along the river at incredibly low prices. Don't let them talk you into hiring a boat, you'll pay dearly and miss a great experience. Its about 15 or 20 baht to the Grand Palace and even less to Chinatown or Wat Pho. Right across the road from the hotel is an exchange kiosk and to the west is the River City shopping arcade and antique centre with a bridge link directly into the hotel. As you leave the hotel go left and then right for buses to Siam Square and all points north. There's an excellent bus map available in River City or any newsagent which will help you plan your route. For buses to other locations its worth getting the express boat to Wat Pho or the Grand Palace to connect with the services that depart from there. For Patpong or the Golden Buddah take a tuk-tuk from outside the hotel but be sure to barter.
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