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Lately, I’ve been combing through old notes and photographs taken before I started this blog, to see if there is anything that I’ve missed and should write about. Hotel reviews are among the most valuable things I search for when planning a trip, and I have a new one (from a November 2014 stay) to share with you: the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit 57.
I spent three nights at the Bangkok, Thailand hotel, and in this blog post, I will review the wheelchair accessible accommodations and features available at the property. I will also offer some insight into what my experience was like, as a traveler using a power wheelchair.
The hotel is a nice property, located on the wildly diverse Sukhumvit Road. It is a bit “out of the way” from many of the main attractions on Sukhumvit Road, but I enjoyed rolling the streets of Bangkok. The city’s vibrant culture is on full display at every street corner. The sidewalks on Sukhumvit Road are generally accessible, but there are spots where wheelchairs will be forced to roll around an inaccessible curb.
The nearest wheelchair accessible BTS Skytrain station is Asok, which is a 2.7 kilometer (~1.7 mile) walk from the hotel. The distance is frustratingly long, but you do pass all manner of restaurants and street vendors along the way, as well as the beautiful (but small) Benchasiri Park. The Sukhumvit MRT (metro subway) station is also located next to the Asok Skytrain station. The subway is accessible at all stations, unlike the BTS.
Reservation & Check-in
I made my reservation online at the hotel website, 12 days before my stay. This late booking caused me to miss out on the lower rates available to those booking early, and my total rate (for all 3 nights) was 17,946.31 THB, which works out to ~$506 USD. I reserved a mobility accessible room with a king-size bed and roll-in shower.
Check-in at the hotel went smoothly, with one exception: I was assigned a smoking room. The hotel’s non-smoking accessible room was occupied during my stay, so I just dealt with it. It was a small mix-up on the part of the hotel, and I was later compensated 20,000 Marriott Rewards points for the inconvenience. I understand that many of my readers would not have been able to deal with the smoky room, and I am confident that the hotel would have re-accommodated me at another hotel if I had asked. I was excited to stay at this property, though, due to its beautiful rooftop bar (more on that in a bit).
My Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Room
Pictured above is the beautiful (and remarkably comfortable) king size bed in the room that I was assigned. The artwork over the headboard really set the tone for the room – It had an Asian feel, with all of the comforts of home. The room was spacious on both sides of the bed – plenty of room for my power wheelchair.
Power outlets were within reach on the right side of the bed. This is where I plugged in my wheelchair – using my own power transformer. Remember, when traveling abroad, to consider the voltage differences when charging your power wheelchair.
The room’s wheelchair accessible bathroom with roll-in shower was spectacular. It was covered in a marble-like tile from floor to ceiling – it actually glimmered in the light. Large windows encircled the shower, but the room was on a high enough floor to prevent peeping toms. The windows were also reflective on the outside, so I had no worries.
The roll-in shower had a nice bench along the window. The hotel didn’t have any portable shower chairs, so I had to make do with this. The handheld shower nozzle and water controls were barely within reach of the bench – and I have long arms (6’3″ before my accident). A grab bar was located along the wall, beneath the showerhead. If you travel with your own shower chair, it will come in handy. The size of the shower area seemed almost large enough for an elephant, so there will be space for whatever you need.
The sink area was set at a great height, and I was able to roll my chair underneath. The toilet (not pictured) was one of the main drawbacks of the room. There was no space to roll my wheelchair next to it, so I had to park my chair in front of the toilet for an awkward transfer. The toilet did have some cool push-button bidet features, though!
Rooftop Levels & Bar
The hotel’s spectacular rooftop is one of the main reasons I chose to stay at the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit 57. It looks fabulous in the photos (and in real life), and several of my friends had stayed here previously. There are three rooftop levels, which I have numbered in the photograph above.
Let me start with #1, the uppermost level and the true rooftop. As you can see in the photograph, it is reached via a staircase from level 2, and is this not wheelchair accessible. If I owned the hotel, I would outfit the staircase with a wheelchair lift, or replace it with an elevator. Oh well – bummer.
Level #2 is the middle level. There is a bar on this floor, along with tables and chairs alongside the glass wall surrounding the space. This level is accessible via elevator, but there is a 2- to 3-inch step you’ll have to go down (and come back up to exist). My power wheelchair was able to handle this, and the staff told me they have helped manual wheelchairs over this in the past. I spent quite a bit of time here, and had some great drinks/cocktails. Beware – liquor is expensive in Thailand!
Level #3 is the lower rooftop floor, and it is not accessible to power wheelchairs. There are several steps down to the main seating area, featuring tables and a bar. Many guests choose to dine here. If I had been using a manual wheelchair, the staff would have helped to carry me down the steps. During my time at the hotel, this is where the majority of the action was taking place. It was a shame, since there was plenty of space where a ramp could have been installed.
The smaller photo above is one that I took from Level 2. It shows the staircase up to level 3, the bar area, and a few of the tables shrouded in darkness. During my time in Bangkok, the city was covered with smog, making the views from this rooftop rather disappointing. Still, it was a neat experience to sit atop the city and drink some incredible cocktails.
Would I go back? Certainly! But, I might like to try a hotel that is closer to the main attractions, like the Chatuchak Weekend Market or Grand Palace. If you plan to spend more time in the hotel than touring the city, this was a comfortable place. If you plan to use public transportation to get around, I would definitely recommend you find a hotel closer to an accessible BTS or MRT station.
For more information on planning a trip to Thailand,
read my Bangkok Wheelchair Accessible Travel Guide.