Of course, you’ve heard the expression, “What a difference a day makes,” but when in Thailand, that very well could be changed to “What a difference a few dollars makes.” That’s because a few dollars is the only thing separating the price tag on the last two airport hotels I stayed at in Bangkok, and yet they couldn’t be more different.
Let me backtrack. I fly in and out of Bangkok, Thailand several times a year. And when I do – especially on long flights or with early morning flights – I like to get an airport hotel the night before. That way, I can take the bus in from wherever I’m staying (usually visiting friends in Jomtien about 1.5 hours away), get a good night sleep and get some work done, and get to the airport fresh and without rushing the next morning. Airport hotels are so cheap, too – often just over $20 – so I figure why not?
So, there I was on Agoda.com, rushing to book a hotel by the airport for one night, and I just clicked and booked on one that looked familiar. Actually, I thought I was staying at the same hotel as last time, the Sinsuvarn Airport Hotel. Don’t blame me because they both look pretty similar in the photos, have names that start with “S,” are only a few kilometers from Suvarnabhumi International Airport, and both cost in the same price range – save for a few dollars difference.
So I was pretty surprised today when I pulled up at this place instead, the Silver Gold Garden Airport Hotel. Yeah, I’m not making that up, and the name should have been my first indication that something was seriously off. It’s almost like they took the 10 most cliché names of hotels and threw them in a hat and drew out three and combined them. While this place isn’t terrible or even bad, it’s definitely subpar and disappointing based on how amazing the Sinsuvarn Airport Hotel was last time.
Walking up, they don’t even have ramps so you have to carry your luggage up the stairs, and the porter conveniently didn’t show up until I was already at the front doors. Inside the hodgepodge tiny lobby were stacks of tourists’ suitcases everywhere, and a small desk tucked in the corner with no one working it. The porter managed to find the girl on duty and she did check me in efficiently and was friendly, although she informed me that my airport shuttle the next morning wasn’t included in the price and would cost extra (no big deal).
The same porter helped me to my room on the second floor, but had no luggage cart and there was no elevator so we got caught lugging my suitcases around together (still no big deal, except for my own sin of having a crazy amount of luggage with me). The hallways were dark and littered with minibar items and cleaning supplies, and inside the room was not much better. It was clean, and I haven’t been eaten by mosquitos or bed bugs yet, but that’s all I can say good about it!
The Wi-Fi is shoddy, the TV is 100 years old, the bed is a torture apparatus of springs and hard spots, and the bathroom looks like something you’d see in a prison (ok, a nice prison).
Going out to get some food wasn’t more successful, as they directed me to their restaurant in the back separate building. This building looked newer and nicer but the only problem was that there was no one working in there. Literally, I walked around almost the whole first floor and didn’t see one single person, traveler or hotel employee! I only found someone who could help me by following the music on their cell phone and ended up at the restaurant near the pool (it’s small but clean) in back. The girls ended up being super sweet and funny, but the food was pretty miserable by common Thai standards.
Maybe things will look up tonight, since they have a big outdoor market right in the lot across from the hotel, and I’ll double-remind them about a wake-up call and arranging my ride to the airport tomorrow morning.
I should have checked to make sure I was booking the airport hotel I wanted – and paid the few extra dollars!