Thai Airways has plenty of issues, but the experience before departure in Bangkok when in Royal First Class is hard to beat. An excellent lounge, plus an hour long massage in their spa is a great way to prepare for a flight. I’ve visited before, but routing via Bangkok in First Class is always in the back of my mind if I am on an award trip in this part of the world. In addition to this review, please see my past reviews of this experience (full review from 2013, my first visit in 2011) plus a nice report from James.
Actually, this visit to the lounge after my time in Cambodia was the second one in a week, as I was able to access this lounge as an arriving First Class passenger with on onward international flight. This first visit was after I arrived from Frankfurt. I was met at the gate by a buggy, taken through transfer security, then on to the lounge. Since my connection to Kuala Lumpur was in Business Class, I only received Business Class spa access, but was still able to use the First Class lounge. Today I was flying to Hong Kong in First Class, so I was able to enjoy full access both the Lounge and Spa.
The shuttle from the Best Western Amaranth dropped me off, and I walked to the end of the departure hall with Thai Royal First Check in. I was empty, but I waited for only a minute or 2 to get checked in.
Thai Royal First Check in seating area
I wasn’t offered a drink or a cool towel while I waited as usual, but it was pretty early (and still dark out), so I doubt they were fully staffed. It only took a few minutes before I had my boarding card, so I was quickly on my way with an escort to security. From there, I was met by a buggy driver to take me to the Royal First Lounge. The ride from check in and security is on a unique vehicle, in that it felt like a throne, a cart with a single seats facing each other. No, I did not do a princess wave during the ride. Its a little embarrassing zooming through the airport past people making their way on foot…
My ride to the Royal First lounge. Sadly the “Royal First” signage is no longer shown on cart.
Once back at the lounge, I checked in, inquired about a spa appointment, and then was shown to my own private room. Another example of the over the top service provided to First Class passengers. On a past trip I was with my wife, and it was extravagant for two of us. As a solo traveler, a private room is really extravagant. When I used this lounge earlier in this trip, (arriving in Thai F, departing in Thai C), I was seated in the main part of the lounge.
Smoothie in Thai Royal First Lounge
The lounge occasionally uses iPad menus, but each time I’ve visited, they had paper menus. Given the early hour, I had a little breakfast, but I did look at the whole menu, and was entertained by their cheese selection:
everyone’s favorite: chedda
I ordered some doughnuts which were served with vanilla sauce along with some tea. I didn’t want to eat too much before my massage.
Thai Royal First Lounge breakfast: doughnuts and tea
Soon it was time for my massage. I was told someone would get me, but no one did, so I headed across the way to the spa on my own. When I was departing in business, I was offered selection from the Business Class spa menu, which included 30 minute treatments. I was given the choice of 2 treatments. Not sure why this was offered, but I was happy to take it. I had both a foot massage and a neck/shoulder massage.
Slippers in spa changing room
When I was departing in First Class, I had the choice of any of the 30 or 60 minute options, and I went for the 60 minute Touch of Silk massage. While this spa is one of the best in-airport travel perks, it actually isn’t the best massage. I think any of the massages I got in Siem Reap were better. Granted, those were not free, but nearly so. Very much a “First World Problem”, but while most any massage is better than not having one, but it maybe lasted 50 minutes, presumably since the 60 minutes is the total time in the room. Oh well. Again, a much better pre-flight experience than I’m used to, that’s for sure.
Even the towels are presented in a special pouch.
More details of the experience can be seen in my previous report of the Royal First Lounge and Spa.
After the treatment, they provided some tea and asked for feedback. Nice way to relax before returning the lounge then to the flight. Looking back, I think I enjoyed the 2 30 minute treatments more than the 60 minutes. Maybe it was just due to expectations. I didn’t expect 2 30 minute treatments, which I enjoyed more than the ~50 minute massage where I knew more of what to expect.
Tea and survey after treatment in the Royal First Spa
Once back in the lounge, I had a little more food, and relaxed a bit longer until my flight. Now that it was a little later in the morning, some more newspapers had arrived, so I caught up on the news. My visit was during the summer of 2014, while the military takeover of the government was still fresh, and there were still curfews in Bangkok. Most local coverage was of the goings on of the military leadership. The photo below from the Bangkok Post made me laugh. Maybe some propaganda?
“Dancing with the junta”
Soon my time in the lounge was nearing its end. I was beginning to wonder if someone would get me to board. I was told someone would when I arrived, but no one showed for my spa appointment. I eventually asked, and they told me yes, someone was coming. They said it was a long way, so I expected to have a cart, but instead we walked. I certainly didn’t need to ride, but this was the longest walk in memory at BKK airport, since many times there, rides are provided even for short distances.
As we approached the gate for my flight to Bangkok, something didn’t look right. The plane had 4 engines, but it wasn’t the 747 I was expecting. Yep, our flight had been TG’d to a A340-600. Oh well. I was hoping for the new 747, product, but instead, it was the rather dated First Class of the A346. It was new to me, and for a short flight, it was more than sufficient. Stay tuned for my next segment about this flight.
Other posts in this series:
Around the world in a week
Air Canada to Toronto and The Maple Leaf Lounge
First Class all to myself: Lufthansa Inaugural Toronto to Munich
Munich Lufthansa First Class lounge then transiting Frankfurt
Thai Airways Royal First Class on the Airbus A380 Frankfurt to Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur
My time in Kuala Lumpur and at the Le Meridien
Malaysia Airlines economy from Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap
The Le Meridien Angkor, my home base in Siem Reap
A Picture Tour of the Angkor Wat Temples Around Siem Reap
Best Western Amaranth for a short layover in Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal First Class Lounge and Spa (this post)
Thai Airways Royal First Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounges in Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul
Hyatt Regency Incheon Airport
Asiana Airlines First Class lounge in Seoul
The only passenger in Asiana Airlines First Class Seoul to Frankfurt
The Le Meridien Parkhotel Frankfurt
The best lounge in the world? Back at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class with a seat and a bed Frankfurt to Toronto