The Narai was one of Bangkok’s finest hotels when it opened, in 1968, on Silom Road, with 500 rooms, one of the region’s earliest revolving restaurants (Manila and Kuala Lumpur got there first) and Thailand’s only pizzeria. In 1974, it hosted the cast and crew of James Bond movie The Man With the Golden Gun , when the film’s production company was headquartered there.
Half a century on, and the hotel – its revolving restaurant now closed – has obviously seen better days, and languishes in relative obscurity just outside the top 200 on TripAdvisor.
Parent company Narai Hotels Group, however, has adapted and seems to be doing well with its Lub D brand of upmarket hostels, or “poshtels”.
With two Bangkok locations, one in Phuket, one just opened in Siem Reap and another on the way in Manila, Lub D has received quite a bit of positive international media coverage. Lub D Phuket Patong, which opened in 2016, was even chosen as the world’s best new hostel at hostelworld.com’s 15th annual “Hoscar” awards this year.
Comfortable and secure double rooms and dormitories (female and mixed) are offered at each hostel, along with workspaces with free Wi-fi, all-day breakfast and laundry facilities. See lubd.com for more.
Moxy hotels reach Asia, finally
Launched in Milan, Italy, in 2014, and popping up in places as far afield as New Orleans and Frankfurt since then, Marriott’s painfully trendy Moxy brand will finally arrive in Asia in November, with two openings scheduled in Japan.
The 205-room Moxy Tokyo Kinshicho, it is claimed, will be “a little like the neighborhood it calls home: down-to-earth with a bit of an edge,” which is a nice way of saying that it’s on the wrong side of the Sumida River.
The 155-room Moxy Osaka Honmachi also offers a fairly so-so location (both properties are reportedly office block conversions), but either hotel should appeal to any poor repressed soul in search of “a free spirited place where you can do all that crazy fun stuff you’d never think of doing at home”. Whatever that might be.
Free-spirited guests should note, however, that although Moxy makes the rebellious claim that “we don’t make any excuses. Because we don’t make any rules”, check-in time is 3pm and checkout is at midday sharp.
See moxy-hotels.marriott.com for opening rates, reservations and a list of other hotels in the Moxy portfolio.
Crowdfunded ‘smart lock’ ships at last
Crowdfunding for the AirBolt – a Bluetooth-controlled luggage “smartlock” – began on Kickstarter and Indiegogo about two years ago, with a projected delivery date of August 2016. It finally started shipping last month, and can be found for sale at thegrommet.com.
If you would like your bag to be remotely locked and trackable with your smartphone, it might be worth a look. The best thing about the AirBolt, though – and the main reason it gets a mention here – is the amusing advertising video (above) that accompanied the 2015 crowdfunding launch.
For more details, visit theairbolt.com.
Hong Kong deal of the week
Farrington Vacations’ two-night Singapore package has plenty of hotels to choose from, with a starting price of HK$2,450 (US$313) per person (twin share) at the large and impersonal Hotel Boss. For only about HK$1,000 more, you can have a weekend stay at the Grand Hyatt or Hilton in the Orchard Road area, avoiding the midweek surcharges.
Marina Bay Sands is available for Sunday to Thursday arrival from HK$4,800, while over on Sentosa, prices start from HK$3,860 at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort. These prices, which will be available from October 9 until just before Christmas, include daily breakfast and flights with Cathay Pacific.
Full details and a longer list of hotels can be found at farringtonvacations.com.hk.