The Berkeley Pratunam Hotel, Bangkok

About two and a half years ago, a “new" hotel popped up on one of those hotel-booking sites, and since it was right in the neighbourhood I used to live, I jumped at the chance at checking it out. The images displayed at their presentation page showed a beautifully decorated and clean hotel - according to the site, and even better, they also claimed they were a full 5-star hotel.

The hotel is located next to one of the busiest intersections in the Pratunam-area of Bangkok, just a few hundred meters from where I used to live for a very long time. This area of Bangkok is excellent for shopping, espcially clothes at very reasonable prices, it’s famous for the many night markets, as well as reasonably priced and decent massage places not trying to rip off tourists (believe me, there are many of those). Naturally, I have my favourite place to go for various services and products throughout this area, and not only that, I also have my own favourite staff to contact. If these wonderful people which I have known for decades already is not available, there will be no shopping, no purchase. 

Anyway, back to the hotel - The Berkeley Pratunam Hotel at Pratuam. The hotel occupies two of the three towers located on top of the Palladium shopping mall in Bangkok. Palladium mall is relativeley unoccupied… with most open shops located on either the first or second floor. The floors above, are mainly dark, unlit and not open for business. The third tower is also left more or less unnused. The building is not brand new, it has been there for a long time, but was left unfinished and deserted for a very long time. I believe half a decade or so ago, new owners changed the name from Pratunam Center, and started opening the abandoned building as the Palladium. Also a hotel was added to the property.

The room was just about "OK", but sadly not much more than that. Similarly to many properties elsewhere in Bangkok, I could see mould in the shower, especially in the grouting area of tiles, and the room was not clean in accordance with being a 5-star hotel. The bed was covered in one of those ugly, and outdated - and probably unwashed - bedspread. These kinds of bedspreads are one of the worst things I see in hotels today - and should be completely banned from all decent hotels. If Anthony Melchiorri had seen this room, I just know that he would most likely have ripped it apart. 

The pool was great - and it had a swim up bar in the pool, though it was not open and appeared as it hadn’t been open at all in the past. 

Even though the hotel had “just opened” when I stayed there, I genuinely got the feeling that it was already worn in so many places - either due to lack of quality items or staff not having the right tools to do cleaning or maintenance. It appeared as the hotel was extremely popular with Chinese tourists, as opposed to Indian nationals at nearby Centara Watergate Hotel. 

There was one thing however I genuinely liked with this hotel, and for which I have returned many times afterwards: their lobby coffee shop. Strangely, it’s rarely full but the staff was truly wonderful and service minded, and are able to serve a really great cup Espresso. 

The offer I got for the two nights I stayed was so cheap that I didn’t think much of it - but for the current price of the rooms, I would not return. Since that time, they have also opted out of the particular hotel booking site that I was using. 

Comments on this entry, I’d love to hear from you! 

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