Bangkok’s last hotels standing shift to accommodate the times

Many hotels and accommodations in Bangkok have temporarily closed in light of the coronavirus-induced travel restrictions that are keeping tourists at bay. However, a select few in Thailand’s capital city have opted to stay open, with some pushing out special medical packages or shifting their business models to cater to guests not of their usual targeted clientele.

Centrally located in the Ploenchit area, which is home to many of the city’s embassies and diplomacies, the 364-key The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok is still welcoming guests, especially those relocating from other hotels across other parts of the country that have temporarily suspended operations.

The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok is welcoming guests relocating from elsewhere

Its restaurants are still serving in-house guests, while offering full delivery and takeaway services for outside guests.

Some other hotels that remain open in the city are focusing on long-stay packages or serviced residence offerings. Sindhorn Midtown in nearby Langsuan, which opened its doors this March, is still servicing both hotel guests and long-stay guests at its serviced residence tower, offering a special rate of 45,000 baht (US$1,370) per month for its studio unit.

Its restaurant Tr.EAT has started catering through local delivery apps such as Line Man and foodpanda, while its on-site premium 7-11 outlet offers delivery-to-room for all its meals and grab-and-go options.

Elsewhere, Mövenpick BDMS wellness resort Bangkok has partnered Bangkok Hospital to launch a 14-day long stay “health watch” package, from now through end-May, that includes accommodation in a 74m2 Wellness Suite, and three meals per day delivered to the suite.

The Urban Wellness Retreat package, which costs 50,000 baht for a single room occupancy, starts with a visit from the doctors at Bangkok Hospital to assess if the guest has symptoms of Covid-19. Throughout the stay, a nurse will daily conduct temperature checks of the guest and run him or her through a health questionnaire. At the end of the stay, a final test is conducted to certify that the guest is coronavirus-free.

“This 14-day health watch package is for returning travellers who have to quarantine, or for someone who knows of somebody else who has contracted Covid-19, or someone who is working in a sector where they are exposed to a lot of people. It could also be for expats who are here alone for work,” shared general manager Bruno Huber.

Huber clarified that the wellness package is not for sick people, but those who may have third- or fourth-degree contact with confirmed Covid-19 patients, and want to know their health status for “peace of mind”.

Last month, Thai social activist Sanon Wangsrangboon, co-founder of Once Again Hostel in the old town, and local tour operator Trawell, announced that the hostel would be converted to a kitchen providing food delivery services, while his other property Luk Hostel would be transformed to a safe shelter for those who need a place to stay and work efficiently during the virus epidemic.

Gavin Vongkusolkit, a board director of The Erawan Group, one of Thailand’s largest hotel investment companies, told TTG Asia that almost all of their hotels, including the JW Marriott, are now closed, but that their Hop Inn hotel chain, located throughout Thailand, would be the last to shut as they host many domestic business travellers and salespeople that need to travel out to different provinces.

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