Home in the Land of Smiles
Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor Bangkok’s Thai hospitality and attention to details make you feel right at home
Issue: Apr 2012
Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor Bangkok’s prime location may be a major draw but it is its warmth and friendliness that keep guests returning for more
When Eiko Ito’s husband, Masashi, was sent to work in Bangkok a year ago, she was naturally nervous.
“It was our first overseas posting and we didn’t know Thailand at all. We had never even been there for a holiday,” said Mrs Ito.
Their greatest concern was how they would adapt to life in Bangkok, given the language barrier and cultural differences. But the worries of this Japanese couple were unfounded because they soon found a place in Bangkok that made them feel right at home.
Their new home is at Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor Bangkok, an Ascott serviced residence located in Soi Thonglor, one of Bangkok’s most popular expatriate districts and a prime location for international executives, families and leisure travellers. Not only is the 262-unit serviced residence situated near to the financial and business districts, entertainment, night spots, shops and restaurants, it has also introduced the Itos to the unique Thai brand of hospitality – the very reason why Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles.
The happy Itos (pictured here with a a serviced residence staff) had adapted quickly to life in Bangkok, thanks to the hospitality of staff at Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor
“Everyone remembered our names almost immediately and always try their best to communicate with us. Kind gestures like these have made it so much easier for us to adjust to life in Bangkok. We appreciate it very much,” shared Mrs Ito.
“I do go back to Japan often but I consider the staff at Somerset our ‘Thai Family’. They make me want to come back to Bangkok as soon as possible.”
All the Comforts of Home
That warmth extends beyond the smiles. Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor offers a stylish contemporary décor with modern amenities and designer fittings that adds to the comfort of living and working in the vibrant city of Bangkok. Guests can choose between spacious studios, one- and two-bedroom layouts that feature separate living and dining areas. A splendid array of modern amenities also awaits the residents. This includes wireless internet access, a fully-equipped kitchen, home entertainment system in the apartments and facilities such as jacuzzi, gymnasium and a swimming pool that comes with an outdoor bar that overlooks Bangkok’s panorama city view.
While stylish contemporary décor makes Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor Bangkok a fine place to live in, it is welcoming staff that make this place home
But what gets the residents talking are the small touches that make living in Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor feel just like home. Like a returning member of the family, every guest is welcomed with a genuine smile and wai (a traditional Thai greeting with palms pressed together and a slight bow).
“It’s important that all our residents are greeted with a smile. After a long tiring day at work or after a flight, what better way is there for us to make them feel at home?” said Residence Manager, Hanae Yano.
Guests arriving are also treated to a taste of Thailand, literally. “We provide khanom or Thai desserts together with a description of the dessert. The Thais love their sweets and this is a great way to get to know the Thai culture,” quipped Yano.
All the comforts of home enhanced by the welcoming staff
Treated Just Like Family
“Our staff are genuinely friendly and attentive. We make it a point to understand the cultural and language backgrounds of our guests and to accommodate their needs where possible,” said Yano, “When they hear a familiar language, it never fails to bring a smile to our residents’ faces.”
Guest Service Supervisor, Supakorn Ritthikunwanich, is a fine example of such personalised service. She chats with the residents and helps those who are learning the Thai language to pick up conversational Thai. Even if she is busy, she never fails to make eye contact with the guests as a form of acknowledgement.
“I truly enjoy working here as I have the chance to meet people from all walks of life. As I would like our residents to feel at home and have a memorable stay at Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor, I treat them like my extended family not only customers,” said Ritthikunwanich.
From guest service staff to the Tuk-tuk driver (Khun Suriyon, pictured here), every staff at Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor Bangkok staff tries to make an effort to speak Japanese to their residents to let them feel welcomed
The residence provides complimentary tuk-tuk services to Thonglor Skytrain Station and nearby attractions such as J-Avenue and Villa Market. Tuk-tuk driver, Khun Suriyon, is another staff that exemplifies excellent service. He makes every ride a pleasure with his good cheer and positive attitude. He conscientiously carries a pocket-size Thai-Japanese dictionary so that he can communicate with the guests.
“Even though I may play only a small part, I am happy to be able to contribute to the day-to-day operations of Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor. Seeing our guests happy gives me the motivation to do better,” said Suriyon.
Inspired by the effort of everyone to learn the residents’ language, Mrs Ito said, “Now, I want to learn the Thai language so that I can better communicate with everyone.”
For this reason, residents would invite staff on outings with them. Even former residents at Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor will still drop by for a chat with the staff when they return to Bangkok.
Yano added, “We don’t end our relationship with our guests the moment they check out. This is the kind of warm hospitality that Thailand is famous for and we are proud of it.”
FGuests enjoyed a beguiling Thai dance during Loi Khatong
Bonding Over Caring Activities
Aware that residents are often curious about the exotic Thai culture, the team at Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor regularly organises resident activities to introduce them to local culture and cuisine.
Over Loi Krathong, the Thai festival usually celebrated in November, guests were treated to a Thai buffet dinner and a traditional Thai dance show. Loi Khatong was believed to have been observed to pay respect to the water spirits. But nowadays, it is just another reason to have fun. Lotus-shaped boats decorated with incense, candles and flowers are floated down rivers or into lakes and seas at night, symbolically carrying wishes of the people who sent them forth.
Trips such as the one to see Siam Niramit, an award-winning spectacular extravaganza showcasing Thailand arts and culture, also help residents understand the country better.
The gestures may seem small – a look in the eye, a warm smile, a genuine interest in the guests. But at Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor, it is the people who invest heart and soul into these acts to show the residents why they truly care in the Land of Smiles.
Come stay with us at …
Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor Bangkok
No 115 Sukhumvit 55 (Thonglor)
Klongton Nua, Wattana
Tel: (66 2) 365 7999
Fax: (66 2) 381 8923
Ascott Sathorn Bangkok
No 187 South Sathorn Road
Tel: (66 2) 676 6868
Fax: (66 2) 676 6888
Somerset Lake Point Bangkok
No 41 Sukhumvit 16
Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey
Tel: (66 2) 663 1234
Fax: (66 2) 663 1250
Somerset Park Suanplu Bangkok
No 39 Soi Suanplu
South Sathorn Road, Yannawa
Sathorn, Bangkok 10120
Tel: (66 2) 679 4444
Fax: (66 2) 679 4999
Citadines Sukhumvit 11 Bangkok
22/22 Sukhumvit 11
Klongtoey Nue, Wattana
Tel: (66 2) 264 6777
Fax: (66 2) 264 6799
Citadines Sukhumvit 16 Bangkok
38 Sukhumvit 16
Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey
Tel: (66 2) 663 8777
Fax: (66 2) 663 8799
Citadines Sukhumvit 23 Bangkok
37/7 Sukhumvit 23
Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey-nua
Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Tel: (66 2) 204 4777
Fax: (66 2) 204 4799
Citadines Sukhumvit 8 Bangkok
77/7 Sukhumvit 8
Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey
Tel: (66 2) 257 2277
Fax: (66 2) 257 2299