[Airline Review] – Thai Airways B777-300ER (TG409) – Business Class, BKK-SIN (1 Oct 18)

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The refurbished Thai Airways B777-300ER

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I like the Thai Airways logo between the two sections of its Business Class cabins

On the Ground

Check-in

Thai Airways has a dedicated check-in row for Passengers flying on Business Class in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. The check-in counters are located on the left most of the terminal building, in Row B. The Business Class check-in is a sit-down experience, where chairs are available at the counters for passengers to rest their feet while the ground staff perform their check-in. The staff processed the check-in with efficiency and handed our boarding pass to us in no time. She also reminded us of the boarding time and the gate where our flight would depart. The ground staff also extended an invitation to us to the Royal Silk Lounge. One thing I like about flying out of Suvarnabhumi Airport on Thai Airways is the dedicated immigration counter for Business Class passengers. There is no queue at the immigration counter, which allowed us to clear immigration in no time.

Royal Silk Lounge

Passing the immigration counter, an escalator leads us one floor down to the Royal Silk Lounge. The Royal Silk Lounge at the bottom of the escalator (Concourse D) is the largest among the five lounges spreading across Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Business Class passengers can access any of the five lounges at the airport. The staffs at the Royal Silk Lounge welcomed us with a warm smile and gave us a printed slip with log in details to the lounge wifi. The lounge at Concourse D, with a floor area of 1,400m², is decked in dark brown colour scheme. There are several food stations spread across the massive lounge and no lack of sitting area. The food on offer at the lounge is mainly Thai food with a small mix of sandwiches. Business Class passengers are also treated with a huge selection of beverages. The lounge is a great place to relax and unwind while waiting for our flight. There is also a selection of magazines and newspapers for passengers to read at the lounge. Business Class passengers are also treated to a 30 min foot massage or head & shoulder massage at the Royal Orchid Spa across from the Royal Silk Lounge at Concourse D. Due to the shortage of time, we did not get to enjoy the massage in Royal Orchid Spa.

Departure Gate

TG409 departs from Gate C7, which is a relatively short walk from the Royal Silk Lounge at Concourse D. As Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is rather long, walking from gate to gate would require a substantial amount of time. My friends and I catered extra time to get to the boarding gate.

The Aircraft

The Cabin

Thai Airways uses its B777-300ER which is refitted with the new Business Class seats on this Bangkok to Singapore route. The refitted Business Class cabin is decked in its iconic purple hue and an earthy brown tone. The earthy brown tone makes the cabin feel cosy, and the purple seems to suggest Thai Airways is paying homage to the colour that most passengers would identify the company with. There are a total of 42 seats in the business class cabin, split into two sections with 24 seats in the forward section and 18 seats in the rear section. The cabin feels very comfortable and the use of mood lighting at different periods of the flight time allows passengers to adjust their body clock to the time of the day in the destination. I am sitting in the rear Business Class cabin, which is separated with Economy Class by a thin bulkhead. This part of the cabin is behind the door where Economy Class passengers boards the aircraft, there seem to be a tad livelier during boarding.

Two of the three lavatories in the Business Class cabin is situated between the two sections of the cabin, with one more next to the cockpit. The lavatory does not seem any bigger than those in Economy Class cabin, however, the use of wood-like materials and the clever use of light combined with mirrors eliminates any feeling of claustrophobic feel that one might experience in this tight space. There is a difference in terms of amenities in the Business Class cabin lavatory compared to that in Economy Class cabin. Other than the hand soap and cologne found in Economy Class lavatory, hand lotion and handkerchiefs are available in the Business Class cabin lavatory. These amenities are presented in white cloths, together with the orchid flowers, gave the lavatory a premium feel. I always like the use of sensor tap onboard Thai Airways lavatories which is more hygienic for its passengers.

The Seat

Business Class cabin onboard Thai Airways B777-300ER are refitted with the new generation staggered Solstys style seats that one will find onboard Thai Airways newer aircrafts such as Thai Airways A380 and A350. The staggered seats in Business Class cabin gave passengers direct aisle access. Business Class seats on Thai Airways B77-300ER has a pitch of 82″ and measures 20″ wide. It is capable of reclining 180º into a true flatbed. Other than the flatbed mode, the Business Class cabin seat has a lounge mode, which is somewhere between the upright take-off/landing mode and the flatbed mode. I find this mode to be the most comfortable when watching TV onboard. The Business Class cabin seats come with massage function, which is great for passengers sitting on them for an extended period of time. There is a button on the seat controls that allows passengers to move the Business Class seats forward and back. Business Class passengers will find a large size pillow and a quilt placed on their seat at the time of boarding.

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Business Class cabin seats on Thai Airways B777-300ER

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Seat control buttons and IFE controller

The legroom onboard Thai Airways B777-300ER is excellent. There is plenty of room for me to stretch my legs out onto the ottoman that comes in every seat. There is a small area below the ottoman where passengers can put their shoes in.

Each Business Class seat on the refurbished Thai Airways B777-300ER is fitted with a side table, which is perfect for passengers to stow their reading materials. This is also where the flight attendants placed drinks or snacks when served to the passengers. Above the side table is where one will find one of the two seat pockets holding in-flight magazines and the menu. A LED reading light is mounted in front of the seat pocket, which comes with a brightness adjustment function. I find the storage bin beneath the armrest very functional and is great for storing small items such as tablet PCs, passports and mobile phone. This storage bin is hidden out of sight, which makes it safe to store small items in. The headphone jack and a seat power socket are found on the side of the seat.

The Business Class seats come with a rather large table, clad in wooden furnishing that is coherent with the furnishing of the side table, giving the cabin a luxurious look. The table can be moved slightly forward to allow passengers to exit the seat without having to stow it back. When stowed away, the table is nicely flush with the bulkhead. There is also a coat hook next to the table. Beneath the stowed table is a small seat pocket where one can find the aircraft safety card and air sickness bag.

In-Flight Entertainment

Passengers on all Thai Airways flights are treated to on-demand audio and video In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system. Business Class passengers are equipped with a noise cancelling headphone, which is placed on the seat prior to boarding.  The refurbished Thai Airways B777-300ER Business Class seats come equipped with a 15″ TV screen which has a touchscreen function, which feels very responsive. There are two USB ports underneath the TV screen where passengers can use to charge their mobile devices as well. The IFE system onboard Thai Airways is packed a wide array of entertainment options. With more than 100 movies, including latest Hollywood blockbusters and latest Thai movies, 150 TV programmes and 500 CD albums, passengers are assured that they will be well entertained flying on Thai Airways.

The IFE is well organised in intuitive menus that passengers can control from the touchscreen on the TV. The same IFE menu is replicated on the IFE controller which also comes with a touchscreen function.

The Food

Business Class passengers were served pre-departure drinks as soon as we got settled in our seats. I recommend one to try out the Thai Airways signature drink, Violet Bliss, which is only available in Business Class. Violet Bliss is made with butterfly pea and is very refreshing. I had this drink throughout my time onboard this flight. Despite being a short 2-hour flight, flight attendants went around serving drinks and peanuts as soon as the seat belt light is turned off, while the meal is being heated up.

As this is a short flight, meals are served all at once instead of course by course. The crab meat and avocado timbale appetiser are delicious. I can taste the freshness of the generous amount of crab meat, which opened up my appetite for the main course. Business Class passengers are given three options for the main course: salmon, chicken or pork dish. I opted for the stir-fried pork fillet with noodles. The pork is very tender and flavourful and the Sha Cha sauce is delicious. However, I did not quite like the noodle as it is cold and tasteless, which I find does not complement the pork well. After the main meal, I had Thai pudding for dessert which is light and tasty.

The Service

The service in Business Class on this Thai Airways flight is nothing short of impeccable. Business Class passengers were welcomed onboard with the traditional Thai hand gesture and the warmest smile when we stepped into the aircraft. We were served the pre-departure drink and a hot towel as soon as we settled into our seat. The flight attendant showed us where to find the menu and returned to take our orders for the meal. Flight attendants swiftly sprung into action to heat up and serve meals to passengers as soon as the seat belt light is turned off.

The flight attendant serving this section of the aircraft is nothing short of excellent and knew what customer service is all about. She took the time to go around introducing herself to all the passengers under her charge. During her introduction, I am surprised to find out that the flight attendant took the initiative to memorise each passenger’s name and addressed us by our surname. This is the first time I encountered such treatment onboard Thai Airways Business Class! When my friend was not sure about what to have for the meal, the flight attendant took the time to explain how each dish is prepared and the ingredients that go into the meal. The flight attendant recommended my friend the salmon dish, which my friend remarked the meal was the best in-flight meal she had tasted. I remarked to the flight attendant how much I like the Thai Airways signature drink, Violet Bliss, and would always request for the drink whenever I fly in Business Class. The flight attendant took note of my liking and topped up the drink whenever she saw the glass is empty. The attention to details and her taking the time to listen and remember my preference for the drink is what makes flying on Business Class on this Thai Airways flight awesome.

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Flight attendant serving this section of the cabin introduced herself to the passengers prior to taking off

Afterthought

The Business Class seat on the refitted Thai Airways B777-300ER is very comfortable. I particularly like the seat in lounge mode, which I found most comfortable for resting and watching movies. The IFE system is packed with loads of entertainment options that removed the boredom of flying with Thai Airways. The food is tasty and flavourful and does not taste like your typical aircraft meal. The service I received on this flight is nothing but excellent. Just when I thought my last experience with Thai Airways on their A380 was the best, the service provided by the flight attendant on this flight tops it. Her attention to details and dedication to ensuring passengers have a great experience in Business Class is what makes this flight memorable for me.

[Accommodation Review] – Grande Centre Point Ploenchit (2 Bedroom Suite), Bangkok, Thailand (27 Sep – 1 Oct 18)

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Hotel Signage

Location

Grande Centre Point Ploenchit is very centrally located, very near to central shopping malls such as Central World and Siam Paragon in Central Bangkok. The hotel is located on the main street of Wireless Road and is a mere 5 mins walk away from Ploenchit BTS Station. Ploenchit BTS Station is two stops away from Siam Station where Siam Paragon and Siam Square is located, as well as two stops away from Asok Station, which is where Terminal 21 Shopping Mall is located. Nearer to the hotel is the newly opened upscale Central Embassy shopping mall, situated opposite Grande Centre Point Ploenchit. A 2-bedroom suite in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit and its relatively central location is a reason why I chose to stay at this hotel, I paid under S$1,200 for a three-night stay that comes bundled with daily breakfast for four guests. This provides very good value in staying in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit.

The Suite

The 2-bedroom suite has a total floor area of 96m². which modern Thai architecture resonating throughout the entire suite. White is the main colour with a touch of earthy brown, making the suite looks refreshing and clean.

Kitchenette

As soon as one enters the suite, the kitchenette is immediate to the left of the entrance. The space allocated to the open kitchenette is not big, however, it has all the amenities that allow guests to cook a simple meal. A full-size fridge that comes with 8 bottles of water and a can of coke, as well as a packet of fruit juice, is replenished every day in the fridge with compliments of the hotel. Next to the fridge, tucked nicely into the table top, is where one can find a 2-in-1 washer cum dryer. There is a sink as well as a single induction stove located next to it. Other kitchen appliances such as microwave oven and electric kettle are also found in the kitchenette. The kitchenette is also stocked with a complete set of dinnerware sets and cutlery for four persons. A small dining table, capable of sitting four adults comfortably is also found in the kitchenette. This dining table separates the kitchenette area from the living room area.

Living Room

The living room in the 2-bedroom suite of Grande Centre Point Ploenchit is located a little into the room from the entrance. The living room is decked in white with hues of brown that makes the living room look clean and cosy. The space allocated to the living room isn’t really that big, however, it is large enough for the occupants to hang around and interact. The living room is furnished with a 3-seater couch, placed by the wall and a single seat armchair. A coffee table is placed in the centre of the room. Opposite the couch is a large LED TV mounted on the wall. There is a table that runs along the wall where the TV is mounted. This table serves as a great place for us to put our shopping onto. The entire suite is equipped with power outlets that accept international plugs, there are four power outlets in the living room alone. I do find the living room a tad dark at one corner at night, due to the placement of the lighting. However, the living room is well lighted in most parts. The air conditioning in the living room seems to be malfunctioning. Most of the time the living room feels warm, as though the aircon is not working. We contacted front desk a few times to get it rectified, however, the problem seems to persist throughout our stay at Grande Centre Point Ploenchit.

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Living Room

Balcony

The balcony in this 2-bedroom suite is located at the furthest end of the room, right after the living room and is quite large. It runs the entire width of the suite, up to the second bedroom. A single wooden chair and a small coffee table are placed in the balcony, which makes it a great place to hang out and relax by. The view of Bangkok from the balcony is superb.

The Bedrooms

Master Bedroom

The entrance to the Master Bedroom in this 2-bedroom suite in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit is found after the dining table in the kitchenette area. Entering the Master Bedroom, one will find the entrance to the toilet to the left. As one walk past the wardrobe, tucked into the right side of the wall, the room opens up to a spacious sleeping area. The furnishing of the Master Bedroom is a tad weird. Instead of having a standard king bed, twin beds are found in the Master Bedroom. The hotel can configure the bedding in the room to the king bed (by simply pushing both beds together. The colour theme in the Master Bedroom is predominantly earthy, giving the room a very comfortable feel. The sleep quality on the bed is excellent as I was able to get a great night sleep every night. The pillows are of the right firmness for me (I will not be able to sleep on soft or flat pillows). On either side of the bed are a couple of side tables, where I found a couple of power outlets to charge my electronic devices. Other than the bedside lamps, there are reading lights mounted on the wall where the beds are placed. The large picture of a river in Thailand adds some Thai flare into the room. However, I find the distance between the bed and the bedside table a tad far when both beds are pushed together to form a king bed. Opposite the bed, mounted onto the wall is a LED TV. An open ledge and cabinets are found beneath the TV, which provides guests with more storage space. There is no other furniture such are writing desk in the Master Bedroom. Instead of using curtains, Grande Centre Point Ploenchit installed wooden blinds in the Master Bedroom, which is equally effective in blocking out sunlight.

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Bedding in the master bedroom

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TV and cabinet in master bedroom

There is only one wardrobe found in the Master Bedroom located beside the TV. which I find weird given that there are two wardrobes in the second bedroom. The wardrobe size is not large and I can only hang a limited amount of clothing. The presence of a two-tier cabinet inside the wardrobe does create additional space for guests to stow some more clothing. The only in-room safe is found inside the wardrobe in the Master Bedroom.

Second Bedroom

The entrance to the Second Bedroom is located next to the balcony doors. There is also an en-suite bathroom inside the Second Bedroom. Compared to the Master Bedroom, the Second Bedroom is a lot smaller, however, it feels cosier. The second bedroom is also decked out in earthy colours with white walls, giving the bedroom a cosy feel. The Second Bedroom is furnished with Queen size bed, with bedside tables on each side of the bed. Similar to the Master Bedroom, there are lamps and reading lights mounted onto the wall on each side of the bed. Power outlets are also found on the wall by the bedside tables on both sides. Opposite the bed is where a TV is found mounted on the wall. Beneath the TV is a small work desk.

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Queen size bed in the second bedroom

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TV and a small desk in the second bedroom

Unlike the Master Bedroom, there are two wardrobes in the Second Bedroom. The wardrobes are located next to the work desk and stretch to the entrance of the Second Bedroom. Despite having two wardrobes, only one and a half wardrobe space can be used by guests staying in this bedroom. The full wardrobe, located next to the work desk, is similar to that found in the Master Bedroom, which also comes with a two-tier cabinet space. The other wardrobe, by the entrance to the Second Bedroom, only have half the space allocated for clothing storage. There is also a two-tier cabinet inside this wardrobe. The other half of this wardrobe is where one can find the only iron and ironing board in this 2-bedroom suite as well two umbrellas.

Bathrooms

Master Bathroom

There are two bathrooms in the 2-bedroom suite at Grande Centre Point Ploenchit. The bathroom in the Master Bedroom is the larger of the two bathrooms. Decked in brown tiles and dark flooring, the bathroom feels a tad old school and is a glaring contrast compared to the rest of the suite. The Master bathroom is designed with the bathing area on the left and sink/toilet area on the right. Immediately after the door, a walk-in shower stall enclosed in glass panels is the first thing that greets guests. Further into the bathroom, on the left side is where the bathtub is located. The sink area is situated on the right side of the bathroom, opposite the shower stall. The sink area is large enough for both occupants of the Master Bedroom to stow their toiletries. Next to the sink area is the toilet, which comes with bidet function. Grande Centre Point Ploenchit provides its guests will full bath amenities including toothbrushes, which some hotels in Bangkok does not provide. However I find the quality of the shampoo and shower gel to be a tad poor, the amount provided (30ml bottles) seem to be insufficient for both occupants to utilities in a day.

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Shower stall and the bathtub is found on the left side of the bathroom

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Toilet and sink on the right side of the bathroom

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Bathroom Amenities

Second Bathroom

The Second bathroom is slightly smaller than the Master bathroom. This bathroom is also decked in the same colour scheme as with the Master bathroom. There are two entrances to the Second bathroom, one from the Second bedroom and one from the living room. I guess this design is to allow the suite’s occupants’ guests to use without accessing into either bedroom. The Second bathroom is also designed with the bathing area on one side and the sink/toilet area on the opposite side. There is no walk-in shower stall in this bathroom, guests using this bathroom would have to take their shower in the bathtub, where the shower head is mounted at a higher height compared to the one in the Master bathroom. The sink area in the Second bathroom is also a tad smaller compared to that in the Master bathroom. The toilet in this bathroom also comes with bidet function.

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The Second bathroom is smaller and is accessible from the living room

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Bathtub in the second bathroom

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Bathroom amenities

Breakfast

Breakfast is served at BlueSpice Restaurant, the only restaurant in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit. BlueSpice restaurant is located on the ground floor next to the reception. Guests are treated to a mix of Asian and Western cuisine for breakfast. There is also Thai food included in the buffet breakfast. The food served is delicious and I especially like the mango sticky rice, which is served at a limited quantity daily. The mango served was juicy and sweet. There is also an egg station where it is prepared ala-minute. The breakfast menu is adjusted slightly daily so that guests will not get bored with the food.

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Breakfast in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit

Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit is located on the second floor of the hotel. The main pool is large enough for guests to swim some decent laps in. The pool is a great place for guests who want to suntan as the deck chairs are not obstructed by trees or tall buildings. Other than the main pool, there is also a wading pool in the sheltered area of the pool area for children as well as a Jacuzzi pool.

Gym

Grande Centre Point Ploenchit has a small gym, located next to the swimming pool area. The gym is a tad small and is split into two separate rooms. The first room consists of weights, where one can find some decent weight equipment. The other room is where guests can do some running on the treadmills on or do some cycling on the stationary bike.

Service

The service rendered by the staff in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit is excellent. We were greeted with smiles wherever we go in the hotel. The great service started the moment we alighted our cab, where the porters readily received us and helped us with our luggage. The staffs at the reception welcomed us with a smile and processed our check-in swiftly. I approached one of the staffs at the reception regarding the aircon issue in the living room of my suite, the staff took note and the problem was resolved when we returned to our suite. The staff at the reception were seen wearing a smile every time. The staffs at BlueSpice restaurant were great too. We were always welcomed with a smile every day we patron the restaurant for breakfast. The diligent restaurant staff were seen patrolling the dining floor and ensured that no empty plates where left uncleared. The food was constantly replenished by the staff who checks the quantity level of the food on a regular basis. Even the housekeeping staff made us feel welcome. We bumped into them a few times and these heroines behind the scene will always smile and greet us. They did a fantastic job in keeping our suite clean.

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Complimentary refreshments in the hotel lobby

Overall

Grande Centre Point Ploenchit offers excellent value for money for the suite and the location it is in. Despite not being right smack centre of Bangkok, it is close enough to the city centre where all the buzz is. Being situated in this area of Bangkok does bring some tranquillity in busy Bangkok. The hotel is very close to BTS station, which makes it very accessible to other parts of Bangkok. The room is nicely decorated with modern Thai theme and is very clean. The sleep quality on the bed is excellent, provided me and my friends with excellent sleep quality. The staffs throughout the hotel made us feel welcome and are always seen with a smile. I had an excellent and comfortable stay in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit.