Staying in Bangkok often means paying a premium price for a super-fancy hotel or a high price for a place possibly described as a ‘hovel’. I’m happy to report I’ve found the best of both worlds – a reasonably-priced hotel offering plenty of comforts, while being a three-minute walk from Hua Lamphong train station and the Bangkok MRT subway system.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary stay and services at the Centra. All opinions remain my own.
Opened July 2013, Centra shouldn’t be confused with their parent company Centara or their five-star hotel. The hotel still has that ‘new hotel’ smell, so make your way to the 12th floor to check-in, then head to the ‘internal’ set of elevators to your room or around the hotel (tap your card, then push the floor button).
What’s the room look like? I forgot to snap a picture of the room before we quickly gave it that ‘lived in’ look, but the hotel website has a good representative standing by:
Complete with fridge and flat-screen TV, our 10th floor room was immaculately clean. Coffee, tea, hot water heater, and a few other niceties are around as well – in short, it’s a picture-perfect definition of a three-star hotel. It may ‘only’ be the 10th story, but there’s still a nice view of the surroundings:
OK, I cheated – I took this from the 12th floor lobby – but there’s almost no difference in the view.
The hotel is a three-minute walk from Hua Lamphong MRT, exit 1 – and that’s if you’re carrying a backpack. A supermarket’s in the basement of the same building, so no need to go far to stock the fridge. I’ll also note the Wi-Fi was good – not a spectacular speed, but it connects quickly and stays connected.
I’ll point out the exceptional treatments available in the 14th floor spa. It’s worth splurging a bit for a treat – it’s a completely first-world experience, and absolutely in line with what you’d expect from a massage or treatment in the Western world. Before starting, enjoy a small cup of tea and take a whiff of the three oils above (muscle pain, relaxing, and uplifting) – make your choice for your treatment.
Anyone that knows Laura and I knows we don’t do well in the morning… Neither of us are what you might call ‘morning people’, even when there’s a great continental breakfast standing by. We missed it as a result – and while it’s rare for me to kick myself about missing something at a hotel, this is one of those times. The same doesn’t go for the fitness room, which on the priority of things that matter when choosing a hotel comes pretty low. That said, I had a peek in – it’s nice and new is what I can tell you.
The only negative thing to say was that the standard-sized room was on the small side – consider an upgrade to a larger room if you’re bringing more than a suitcase. There’s also a fair bit of car traffic flowing between the subway station and the hotel, owing to the construction around the areas. Be careful when crossing the street.
Beyond those minor issues, it’s the very definition of a three-star hotel: classic comfort, clean, modern, and plenty of facilities.
And then there’s Chyna, the attached restaurant near the lobby. With contemporary Chinese food and a great view of Bangkok, it’s not just another hotel restaurant.
Since the set menu is better to eat than spend all day photographing, I’ll simply leave you with the appetizer – watermelon, banana, deep-fried shrimp, and wasabi, anyone? Not pictured is the black chicken soup (yep, it’s really black), soft shell crab, and plenty more. It’s plenty modern and classy – romantic too, if you’re into mushy stuff like that.
So it’s clear, I got this stay for free in exchange for reviewing it. That said, this is exactly the sort of place I’d pay to stay the next time we go to Bangkok. Great location, a taste of luxury and conveniences, and a cheaper-than-expected price. If you’re looking for a place to be comfortable – and certain of its cleanliness and quality – it’s well worth the consideration.
Unwatermarked pictures credit: the hotel website.
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Also published on Medium.