Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Vietnam 2010

A brief but stylish stopover

(Link to flight log in side panel)

Despite having previous experience of SWISS First Class at Bangkok, I had completely forgotten that the service does not end when you step out through the aircraft door. Just as well, then, that I was paying attention and spotted the Thai Airways agent at the top of the ramp, holding a board with my name on it. Having made myself known to her, I was ushered onto the rear-facing back seat of an electric buggy and driven right up to the entrance of the fast-track channel at Immigration. But it didn't end there. The agent had been allocated to me individually and she saw me through the entire process: not just immigration, but baggage collection, booking a transfer and seeing me safely aboard the car outside the terminal building. Absolutely amazing service!

Traffic proved to be fairly light and in no time at all the car was crossing the Chao Phraya river and driving down a few uninspiring side streets to reach the Millennium Hilton. (The main aspect of the hotel is on the river itself.) I was immediately impressed by the soaring height of the lobby area, the separate check-in lounge for HHonors members and the cold towel and mint-flavoured drink that I was offered. Apparently my room wasn't quite ready, so I was taken up to the 31st-floor Executive Lounge for ten minutes or so. I was told that I had been selected as 'guest of the day' and given a little card outlining what this meant.

I was soon taken down to my 23rd-floor room, a fabulous suite giving panoramic river views through the curved windows. I took some time to get settled in and photograph the views and then, in view of the fading light, I decided to go outside for a quick look around before freshening up. I had originally thought about doing a mini-river cruise on one of the two complimentary Hilton ferryboats, but in the event decided that I couldn't be bothered in the growing darkness. I returned to my room for a refreshing shower and change of clothes, then enjoyed Happy Hour at the Executive Lounge and finally a complimentary guest-of-the-day dinner at the hotel's Flow restaurant. I was then content to turn in and catch up on the previous night's short sleep, knowing that events would move on apace the next day.