Life here has its ups and downs, of course, but after three years here I still very much love living in Thailand. My wife, Nathalie, and I now live in Sathorn – about a 20 minute drive from the hotel – and it’s good to have that life outside of the premises.
To have the hotel upgraded last year to five-star was fantastic, and I think well deserved. The hardware was always good when I first came here, but it was nice that I could really be involved with the software – shaping the service, listening to guests’ needs and reacting to them. I mean, it’s always satisfying when you do something and it works.
There is no switch that turns when you become five-star that changes the whole nature of the business, that makes you more popular. It’s a gradual process. After-all, there are many five-star properties opening in town which go into every detail of the five star experience – stunning designs, personalized service – so competition is fierce. We have to realize this and position ourselves to match, if not better, what they have to offer.
The hotel owner is a visionary and we’re always doing something new. Unlike some properties which run for years and then shut down for several months in order to renovate the whole property, we always do a bit at a time, that way returning guests always find something new and exciting to rave about.
One of our recent changes involves the refurbishment of our poolside Loop Italian Restaurant. This was totally refurbished and is now purely Italian with a focus on fine wines and authentic Italian food. The service is more informal, more communicative, and has interactive elements too, with dishes being prepared right at guests’ tables. We wanted to make it more like an independent restaurant, rather than simply a hotel outlet, and the response from diners has been very positive.
Our pool area has also been redesigned with new decking, sun loungers, changing rooms, and the addition of fibre optic lighting under the water which looks great at night, and adds plenty of romance to an alfresco evening dinner at Loop.
The company behind Indus restaurant will open a new Indian restaurant at the hotel by January next year. Indus has got a great reputation so we expect this restaurant to be a big hit with the Indian community, as well as Bangkok foodies who love top quality authentic Indian cuisine.
One of our key strengths is that we encourage our staff to be themselves. Of course we do give them some guidelines, but we don’t get them to operate strictly from a script like robots. This allows us to offer unique personalised service which makes every guest feel like a superstar.
I think Thailand has the best hospitality in the world in terms of natural friendliness. Yes, technically, there are sometimes some issues – but the positive attitude to service here is genuine, and this makes a world of difference to guests.
The hotel is quite well known – we have a great location next to the MBK center – and everyone should really just come and try it. Whether you become a member of the fitness club, eat a meal at Loop or Kongju Korean restaurant, come for a meeting, or opt to spend a weekend away from home, I think you’ll be very happy with what you find.
Pathumwan Princess Hotel, 444 MBK Center
Tel: 02 216 3700 www.pprincess.com