As we had reported a few days ago, Intercontinental Bangkok has finally reopened its doors after a year-long closure for extensive renovations, and I decided to go and have a look as the hotel opened yesterday, June 1st 2023.
The hotel used the one-year downtime to renovate almost every area of the hotel, including guest rooms, the club lounge, restaurants, and public spaces, transforming the property into the modern age as it was visibly ailing in recent years.
This renovation was overdue, and in fact, the sister property Holiday Inn adjacent to it received its very own renovation several years ago, prioritizing it over the IC itself.
Then Covid hit, and rather than doing any work during the prolonged closure of Thailand the IC remained largely open, accepting guests and not doing any renovation work (unlike for example, the IC Grand Parnas in Seoul).
Of course, this could have multiple reasons, for one the economic uncertainty during the pandemic, a credit crunch, and possibly a lack of investment capital by the owners in times when no guests were filling the company’s coffers.
The hotel closed on May 22, 2022, and then this week, there was an email advising existing guests of the reopening, as John covered three days ago:
Reason enough for me to swing by the Intercontinental and have a look at how well they did with the renovation works.
I was able to take some pictures during my visit and I think those who are familiar with the property will be pleasantly surprised.
Here the redesigned public areas of the IC BKK:
The Espresso Restaurant where the breakfast is held was also redone:
The Club Lounge received a substantial facelift and was also rearranged:
The swimming pool area remained largely the same (rather limited space, very little they could have done here):
The most interesting part, however are the hallways and the guest rooms:
I was especially curious about what they had done with the bathrooms that were showing their age and just HAD to be ripped out and replaced:
A very positive surprise, at least for myself. The renovations went further than I expected, although a full year is an extensive period to shut down a business entirely.
The designs were handled by an architect of IHG corporate, and while the hotel retained some local design elements, it was not overpowering. I find it was very tastefully designed and decorated.
The hotel also received a new General Manager, Mr. Stephen Gould is leading the team of Intercontinental Bangkok into a new era as the hotel finally opens its doors to guests again. With sharply increased rates, I might add.
Last month, Destination Thailand published an interview with Mr. Gould and his vision for the hotel:
… Embracing “The InterContinental Life” as its guiding philosophy, InterContinental Bangkok believes that travel should always be enchanting. Stephen explains, “We are dedicated to those who appreciate and enjoy The InterContinental Life. With our 20-year heritage, prime location in the heart of Bangkok, and our esteemed network of internationally acclaimed concierges, who possess rich local knowledge, we offer guests an unparalleled opportunity to enhance their experience in one of the world’s most sought-after destinations.” …
Stephen expresses his confidence in the hotel’s exceptional team: “I am certain that our talented staff will establish a new standard of luxury in Bangkok, creating truly remarkable experiences and delivering moments that truly matter for our guests. Thailand boasts a rich history and shines as a beacon in global hospitality. Reopening the InterContinental Bangkok after this remarkable makeover is a highlight of my career.” …
Mr. Gould is no newcomer to the Bangkok hotel scene, having previously filled management positions with Conrad Bangkok and the Shangri-La Bangkok before heading to New Zealand as General Manager for Accors (Sofitels in Wellington and Auckland).
The Intercontinental Bangkok is finally open, and from what I can see, the team did a good job bringing the hotel back to the modern age where guests will feel comfortable staying. It comes with the “new car smell,” as I noted when touring the property (as a common guest and IHG member).
Currently, 29 floors are open, but specialty rooms and suites are not yet available. It also remains to be seen how the hotel manages to drive rates upwards of 8000 Thai Baht ++ in a competitive Bangkok hotel market.
John mentioned he would be staying at the Intercontinental in the coming weeks and give the hotel a thorough trial-by-stay.