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"Scary hotel for women and children" Asia Hotel Bangkok Tip by TiredTourist

Asia Hotel Bangkok, Bangkok: 1,296 reviews and 57 photos

Management doesn't give a damn about the safety of guests. Or the F-word.

I wasn’t a guest here but I was a member of the gym and pool for five years. It was cheap and very convenient. Now I’m too scared of the proverbial gym bully and management’s disinterest in female guests’ safety. Female readers, especially small ones, am I over-reacting? Imagine that, shortly before closing time, you exited the gym and entered the women’s dressing/bathroom and were confronted by the chronic (male) gym bully coming out of the shower in a towel. He then came up to you and said, “F**k you” in your face. Is it to much to expect that be barred from the gym and even the hotel? The hotel management--well, there hasn't been a gm in a long time--doesn't think it's a big deal.

Maybe if you don’t plan to use Asia Hotel Bangkok's gym or pool or their shower rooms, none of this need concern you. OTOH, if you want a cheap, musty 70’s-era hotel and don’t mind if the staff’s nominal English rules out any tourism advice, why not go up the road a bit to First Hotel? The same dining amenities, better pool, closer to the Phyathai airport train line and almost across the street from Pantip Plaza, the computer mall. Even better is Evergreen Place. It is just a little more expensive than the 70's relics and is next door to Asia Hotel. It was probably built in the 1990's. A former apartment house, Evergreen Place has better health and pool facilities. Maybe for the same price, maybe for less than US $10 more.

Anyhow, my story. From the time I started going to the gym five years ago, the bully, Prakarn, was usually there—morning, afternoon, always in the evening. So it was hard for me to avoid him, although I only spent 3-4 hours a week there. You can see his name on the timesheet, not that he signs in every time. He’s about 30, big, Chinese-Thai, longish hair. He has a fleshy, snout-like face: Pig-Face. He only speaks a few words of English, mostly confined to the f-word. For all the time he spends in the gym, he strikes you as more fat than muscular.

If you go to a gym or any place often enough, especially in Thailand, you get to know the regulars and exchange a nod or a smile, right? The daytime and evening gym staffers, Tawatchai and Wut, who are in and out, were friendly enough. I quickly noticed that Pig-Face didn’t like women or foreigners. He would look back at me blankly. I averted my eyes. On the old premises, on the 4th floor, if there were 1 or 2 or 3 foreigners in the gym with the TV on an English channel, Pig-Face would frequently walk in, turn it to a Thai channel, and walk out again. He tended to leave towels and other belongings all over the place. It was HIS gym. Of course, the hotel guests assumed he was a guest as well. I’m a small wimpy woman who weighs 50 kilos on a good day; Pig-Face can lift my weight. I tried to avoid him. To spend so much time in the gym, I assumed he worked there—probably in housekeeping or some other drudge level. Definitely not interacting with foreign guests!

One time about a year ago, when Wut was absent, I moved one of his towels. Pig-face went ballistic, “F**k you! F**k you! You ask. No move!” I came in to the hotel the next day, dressed up (this is Thailand, after all) and asked for general manager. (Turns out there is no general manager and hasn’t been for a long time—only a sales director). I can’t now find his business card—I think he was an asst gm--but he seemed a little surprised and concerned. As expected, I had to tell the story over and over. He had no idea who this Prakarn could be. (Makes you wonder about security.) I requested that he speak to Pig-Face in person. He decided otherwise: he’d talk to the two gym staff (whose names he didn’t know either). I knew that wouldn’t help much. Pig-Face spends 3-5 hours in the gym everyday. Who is he spending hours every day with, after all?

Since the move to the more spacious premises near the pool, I’ve felt safer. One of the instructors is almost always around. I don't spend that much time there. But on the night in question, Wut wasn’t around before 10 pm closing time. I was the last to leave the gym at 9:50, although Pig-Face and several other male regulars were there shortly beforehand. I go into the women’s restroom and there’s Pig-Face, wrapped in a towel, coming out of the shower area. “F**K you” to my face. I gasp and say nothing. I was shaking and my heart was pounding. Of course I didn’t dare take a shower myself. I hurried downstairs and roused whoever is the suited guy in the office behind the desk. (He didn’t give me his name or card; I’ll admit I was too rattled to ask).

All too familiar scenario. Very marginal English. He and the desk ladies originally seemed shocked by “F**k you.” But when I go in the next day, I’m told by the same pseudo-manager, “Oh, he didn’t know that was the ladies room.” Right, he’s only been coming into these facilities every day for over a year, generally using the men’s dressing room next door--and just never noticed the well-marked Ladies Room next door? Of course, an honest mistake! And “F**k you”? This is what you can expect to hear in this hotel. Don’t ask for anything special, especially you women. A little girl in the bathroom. Hey, F**k off, kid.

And now that I think about it, shouldn't this sales manager or asst asst manager have contacted me after these incidents? It suggests that management staff haven't had the most basic training in customer service.

Thai friends say that Pig-Face must be related or connected to what they call “an influential person”—probably someone in the Techaruvichit family that owns the publicly-listed Asia Hotel company. maybe to Somsak A, the sales manager. A Thai male exercise nut suggests: must be steroids, which can easily touch off rages. In any case, I’m timid and not stupid. There are other reasonable exercise and pool packages (check out Ambassador Hotel!) but this was convenient.

Unique Qualities: Yes, you can exit the 2nd floor and take a walkway direct to the Ratchathewi Skytrain. But is that such an advantage? I've noticed that foreign men with prostitutes come in that route. The transsexual ones are quite big. If there were even a detective around (doubtful, the shopkeepers says) would he dare accost the kathooey? Wherever there are prostitutes, there are always theft problems.

Honestly, it's a 5-minute walk from Evergreen to the Skytrain. From 1st Hotel, it's probably a 10-minute was to either the Phayathai or Ratchathewi Skytrain stations.

Address: 296 Phayathai Road, Bangkok, 10400, Thailand
Price Comparison: less expensive than average
Phone: +66 2 217 0808
Price: US$20-40
Theme: Hotel

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  • Updated Oct 27, 2011
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