I don’t say this lightly, but those three nights in Bangkok – it takes more than one night for me – felt as if I had been transported to a place which dispensed manna from heaven. Dramatics aside – and going back to plain talk – it means the food served here was, simply, a #foodgasm.
I’ve stayed in many hotels around the world and, to me, the buffet breakfast spread at the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park can’t be topped. How in heaven’s name can you try all the scrumptious offerings in one sitting? I silently gave thanks to the food gods for giving me three nights so that the enjoyment was spread out.
I might sound over-enthusiastic, but it is honest and sincere as it comes from places I trust, my palate and gut.
Breakfast is served at their main F&B “station”, Goji Kitchen + Bar, which operates throughout the day. The venue operates like a micro-restaurant: it is compartmentalised into stations and areas can be closed off or expanded, which is how their Japanese restaurant Soba Factory miraculously appears at night (more on that later).
Back to Goji. The options are extensive, many of which are prepared in front of you at individual stations. No cold, mass-produced dishes here.
There’s a noodle station that offers Thai-style and sometimes Chinese-style noodles, both freshly prepared and the selection changes every day. The rice station offers char siew, chicken rice and roasted duck – my favourite as it was done just right. If you don’t want to queue up at the egg station, there are freshly prepared variations.
There’s a Japanese station, a mini Indian station and a Chinese station, a meat station, a grill station, seafood station, and a massive salad bar. There’s even gluten-free, and extensive sausage/bacon/ham offerings. A vast array of fruits and fresh fruit juices. Ice-cream and dessert station. And all the fare you’d expect from a big international hotel.
So now you can see the pleasurable dilemma I faced every morning. And that’s just breakfast.
For lunch, tea and dinner, the options were no less impressive. Soba offers an izakaya-style casual dining, serving soba noodles (cold or hot – I’m one who prefers it hot) using buckwheat flour sourced from Hokkaido.
Chef Mizuho Nagao was raised on soba as his family ran a soba restaurant in Fukuoka. If that does not add to the authenticity, this should knock it out of the ballpark – his father was honoured as Japan’s top soba chef by the Japanese government.
I was pleased that besides the extensive soba menu, there was also yakitori – and the selection was delectable.
If you’re hankering for more local dishes, the Siam Tea Room won’t disappoint. Chef Akon uses his family recipes that have been passed down through the generations. I was very pleased with the Northern-style Kao Soi Poo Nim Sod Sai Moo (egg noodles in Chiang Rai-style coconut yellow curry with crispy soft shell crab and stuffed pork).
I finished my meal with the most Thai of desserts, thap thim krop – perfect! Not surprising that Siam Tea Room ranks No.15 on TripAdvisor’s list of Bangkok Restaurants (Goji ranks No.9).
If you fancy traditional Cantonese cooking, try the Pagoda Chinese Restaurant, filled with all the fancy goodness of Chinese fine dining. Chef Oscar Pun is a Hong Kong native, so it’s authentic, though I felt some of the dishes tended to be prepared for Western palates. If you’re lucky, you might be entertained by a kungfu tea master, as premium Chinese teas are served here.
A Bit Of R&R
All that feasting means you need to unwind at some point. There’s the Lobby Lounge to grab some mean cocktails.
If you’re staying in an M Club Suite, you have the option of relaxing at the M Club Lounge on the 27th floor of the South Tower, which is where you can do an express, private check-in too. You can also have your breakfast there, and partake of the complimentary snacks, beverages and non-alcoholic drinks all day long.
There is afternoon tea, hors d’oeuvres, desserts at certain times of the day, and an open bar in the evenings.
If you’re on a business trip, you’ll be pleased to know there are computer stations as well as complimentary printing, usage of meeting rooms (up to two hours), and pressing service of two items per day (a godsend for those who hate ironing).
My suite was perfect for chilling out, lying on the very comfortable and spacious bed, channel-surfing and munching on some complimentary snacks. It was hard to get out of bed for the various meals, functions and activities that were scheduled. The attached living room was spacious and great for entertaining guests.
The bathroom was huge. The shower enclosure could fit a bath tub and a football team. If there’s one thing I could quibble about, it’s the toilet being rather constrictive and lacking a bidet (five-star luxury hotels should come with one), and also a bin (as some of the women in the media group noted).
For those who need WiFi and connectivity, it’s super-fast and never lags. When you’re not staring at your phone or laptop, check out the view outside. The skyline is pretty impressive, and the hotel is located at the fringe of a lovely park.
For the active types, there’s a well-equipped gym and two very nice swimming pools at different locations. Or do like I do: opt for a very relaxing massage at Quan Spa. Let them do the work of making you look and feel better.
Did I say you might get lost in this hotel? Yes, it’s really a very big hotel. There’s also the North Tower, so do note which tower your room is in.
It’s no wonder that this is the first Marriott Marquis in Asia. This distinction is given to properties that are in a prime downtown location, have more than 1,000 rooms and 5,000 sq m of event space. This Marquis has 1,360 rooms and 40 individual event/meeting rooms of various sizes, and three ballrooms. They could even fit a concert (by Imagine Dragons) by the pool when I was there.
Location-wise, it’s smack in the heart of the city, in the Sukhumvit area. There’s a shortcut through the entrance at the park (open till 8pm) that takes you to the Phrom Phong BTS Skytrain station (the best way to get around Bangkok), and the entrance to the famous Emporium (a shopping mall) as well as its newer, hipper sister mall across the street, the Emquartier. Otherwise, taxis and Uber cars are available for that short distance to the station.
Most hotels have a taxi card (a card giving the driver the address of the hotel in Thai), but this hotel takes it a step further and has all the major tourist attractions also listed in Thai so you can pass it to your driver. Excellent!
Location-wise, it’s a pretty good deal. But another thing sets this hotel apart – the amazing and courteous service. As the hotel general manager Bob Fabiano notes, “It’s our people-first culture, not just with guests but among ourselves. When we interview people, this is one of the key aspects we look for in them. We tell them to be the person they were interviewed as, to be themselves, for that’s why they were chosen.”