I have so many fond memories from our time in South East Asia, but there is one in particular which will forever be etched on my mind for all the wrong reasons. We were having lunch at a popular Chiang Mai restaurant, and all around us families, couples, and large groups of friends were all happily devouring the delicious food while drinking water from plastic bottles, poured into plastic cups, sipped through plastic straws. The ridiculousness of that sight is one I will never forget; what brief amusement it caused soon gave way to despair. Single-use plastic consumption is a hot topic right now. We can no longer deny the damage it is causing to our environment and I think we all have a responsibility to do something about it. A certain someone and I are slowly but surely reducing our plastic usage which means being more conscious about sustainability when it comes to making all sorts of consumer choices… and hotels are definitely one of them!
We have become those guests who leave some constructive feedback as to how a hotel might consider changing some of their habits to become more sustainable – we’re not evangelically demanding anything, merely planting the achievable seeds for change. We did, however, recently come across one hotel where no hints or suggestions were needed because they have already gone ahead and eliminated all single-use plastic from their property, the first hotel in Asia to do so. Let me introduce you to akyra TAS Sukhumvit, a five star boutique hotel which is the newest property in the akyra portfolio and the first to implement the company’s stance on being single-use plastic free…
Checking into a Junior Suite
There are only 50 rooms at this boutique property, ranging from a standard Superior Room to a One Bedroom Suite. We enjoyed something in the middle – the Junior Suite which consisted of small lounge and kitchenette, separate bedroom and small balcony. It’s one of the smaller suites we have stayed in, but all in all, was plenty of space for two… especially when you’re likely to be out and about most days! The neutral tones are sleek and inoffensive, and while our stay was comfortable enough, we felt like it lacked the luxury and generosity of its sister hotel in Thonglor. I might be holding it to a much higher than normal standard, but I expect a strong level of consistency for a boutique brand which is also a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
It was brand spanking new when we checked in a couple of months ago; that ‘just been unwrapped’ smell was still lingering in every corner and there were some teething niggles in service. But I hope they’ve overcome all that because this does have the makings of a great little hotel, trying to make a big difference! Staying true to their stance against single-use plastic means that all mineral water is provided in glass bottles with refillable stainless bottles available for purchase and water dispensers on every floor. All the shampoo, conditioner and body wash are provided in refillable containers, and the toiletries are wrapped in paper – there’s even a shower cap made from a cornstarch material!
Dining at akyra TAS Sukhumvit
Breakfast was served at Siam Soul Cafe, the hotel’s all day dining option on the ground floor, where all guests can choose from a fairly comprehensive a la carte menu. There were a few breads, cereals, and fruit on offer from the buffet bar but I did like that everything was cooked to order… though during some busy mornings it took a tad longer than we would’ve liked. There are some Thai-style dishes such as tom yum soup, and a rice porridge, but my personal favourites were the pancakes and French toast. Both were beautifully presented and the generous amount of fruit meant they were a surprisingly light way to start the day. We didn’t eat any other meals during our stay but did catch glimpses of the food when we came in and out of the hotel – they’ve got a good range of dishes to suit all tastes, and the portions always looked huge and vibrant!
This hotel is boutique in nature and size so as you can imagine, there isn’t a whole of space for extra facilities. There’s a small gym area, but the highlight is definitely the cosy rooftop pool and bar. Like the space in their Chiang Mai property, it’s sleek and a touch sparse… but is more than adequate for a quick dip to cool down after a day of mall-hopping or temple-touring. Rise Rooftop Bar serves a wide range of food and drinks, and even if the loungers by the pool are all taken, there’s plenty of space in the cushy bar area to sit back and relax.
Location, Location, Location
One of akyra TAS Sukhumvit’s best assets is its location – a short walk to Asok station gives access to both the Skytrain and the Sukhumvit Metro station. Either will get you across the city to some of the best markets and malls more efficiently than sitting in Bangkok traffic, and cost less than £1. If you don’t want to venture too far, the local neighbourhood has got two sprawling malls, the casual Terminal 21 and the more upmarket EmQuartier, and there are some great local restaurants such as Rung Rueng Pork Noodle and Saengchai Phochana less than fifteen minutes walk away!
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