Great rooms, terrible location, poor service: Mercure Bangkok Makkasan

Updated 2019: The Mercure Bangkok Makkasan is the latest Mercure hotel to open in Bangkok, located near the Airport Rail Link (ARL) Station Makkasan, one stop from Asoke/Sukhumvit. The Mercure has very nice, modern rooms, a nice pool and gym. But the location that sounded great on paper is terrible, forcing a long walk along a busy street next to open sewers to ARL or subway stations. On my most recent stay, the pool, gym and club lounge were all closed because the hotel chose to sell these services twice, to guests and for a private event. There are too many good, mid-range hotels in Bangkok to spend your money here. Read my review and places I recommend instead.

Location: The Mercure Bangkok Makkasan is located – you guessed it – near the Airport Rail Link  Station Makkasan to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. While it looks on a map like it is right next door (and it kinda is), the terrible station design makes it a 10 minute walk to the station along the main road.

ARL Makkasan – Close, but yet so far…

Petchaburi MRT station is about 15 minutes walk from the hotel along the same road. Unfortunately, the area along the train tracks is not the best: There are no sidewalks and you are walking on the street with traffic on one side and an open sewer on the other, making it an unpleasant walk. The Mercure has a tuk tuk that goes to the station every 30 minutes during the day on request, but due to the heavy traffic, it’s not much faster during rush hour. There is also a van to Central World Mall a few times a day, but it wasn’t running reliably during any of my stays. There are no stores or restaurants near the hotel, so you’ll have to head to the Sukhumvit area.

Service & Rewards: The front desk was friendly and had me checked in quickly each time. On my most recent visit, they had a sign that the Club Lounge was closed during my stay due to a private event and provided no alternative. It’s a pet peeve of mine when hotels sell the same service twice, it’s a shady way of doing business, I expressed my displeasure and asked for the GM to contact me. I never heard from him, but received the offer to come to the lobby bar for a free drink. I don’t consider a drink in the busy lobby an acceptable alternative to the privacy and exclusivity of a lounge.
On my last day in Bangkok, I wanted to get a workout and relax by the pool, just to find out that not only the lounge, but the pool and gym would also be closed due to the event, eliminating pretty much all the amenities of the hotel, without any advance notice or alternatives. Not offering promised services is bad enough, trying to hide it in the hopes that people don’t notice is just terrible management and customer service. The front desk manager refused to address the issue.
Housekeeping did better and my room was cleaned thoroughly and timely each day, with amenities restocked appropriately. The bell desk was nice enough and I took a ride to the MRT station once. Another time, the driver didn’t feel like driving in heavy traffic and I “volunteered” to walk. The van driver seemed to have received his training in the military or a public bus and was rude and unprofessional.
The restaurant staff was professional, but seemed a little disorganized and had trouble keeping up with clearing tables and restocking the buffet. The staff at the wine bar and lounge was professional and nice enough, but seemed disinterested – a stark contrast to the super-friendly and attentive lounge staff at other Mercure hotels in the city.

During my stay, there was a power outage for several hours – it wasn’t the hotels fault and they provided me with updates on request. It impacted the whole neighborhood and reflects poorly on the location – I’ve never experienced this in more central parts of Bangkok in over 15years of visiting…
Overall, service at the hotel was below par compared to the high standards in Thailand. While I can easily look past mistakes of staff or simple errors, I will not stay at or recommend hotels where management makes it a policy to cheat their guests. Whether it is not running shuttles to save a few pennies or double-selling amenities. It shows disrespect for customers and greed to make as much money for delivering as little as possible and makes it more likely to encounter even bigger problems, like an overbooking or double charges.

Room: My Privilege King room was beautiful, following the latest brand standards and a highlight of my stay. It has an open layout with the sink and vanity near the entrance and open to the bedroom making it feel very spacious. The King bed has a comfortable mattress and sheets and a padded headboard. It’s set against a wallpaper photo of Makkasan station –  a nice, local touch yet stylish.
The brand purple color is used for accents in the carpet, on the walls and furniture, giving it a modern feel. There is a chaise lounge under the window with a small table. A small desk with task chair is set against a purple wall, with a clever shelf with backlighting. It all looks a lot more upscale than the hotel category would suggest.

Near the entrance are the closet, a bar cabinet with mini-fridge, coffee/tea kettle and a pod coffee maker, as well as a large luggage shelf.
The sink and vanity is open to the bedroom and there is no way to achieve privacy. If you want that, this room won’t work for you. There is space for your toiletries around the vessel style sink, Mercure standard toiletries are provided as well as nice towels. Next to the sink is the shower cubicle with a frosted glass door and a rainfall shower head, and a toilet cubicle also with a frosted glass door, so you’ll have privacy in each of those. All of it was brand new, very clean and in new condition.

Restaurant & Amenities: The Mercure Makkasan has a beautiful upper level pool with an infinity edge and a view over the city. It’s fairly small and has a limited number of loungers around it. It’s a nice place to relax after a day out and about.

Next to the pool is an outdoor pool bar. It’s not permanently staffed, so depending on the time of day, you have to go into the winebar/lounge to order.

There’s also a small gym with cardio and weight equipment for a good workout away from home.

In the lobby is a small bar. It didn’t seem to have dedicated staff and I had to hunt down somebody in the next door restaurant to order a drink. It’s not a pleasant place to be, due to the constant flow of guests, people checking in and luggage being stored in plain sight.
The restaurant on the same level serves a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. The space is open and modern. The breakfast buffet offers a good selection of fruit, yogurt, pastries, as well as hot Asian and Western dishes and a make-to-order egg station. The selection and quality is comparable to other hotels in this price category. Staff had a hard time keeping up with the tour groups rushing the buffet – I’d recommend to come early or late to avoid the crowds.

The Mercure Makkasan advertises a Privilege Lounge and you can book a Priviliege Room with access to it or receive access as an elite benefit. The Mercure Makkasan utilizes the Wine bar that is open to all guests. The lounge is beautiful and consists of a front room with the bar and bistro style seating and a backroom that has a high-table and some lounge seating with the feeling of a nice library. The staff serves the bar, lounge and outside pool bar.

During the morning hours, a free breakfast is served, consisting of a small selection of bread and pastries, fruits and yogurt. You can also order make-to-order hot dishes from the staff. While the quality of the food is good, the selection is very limited compared to other lounges in Bangkok. The happy hour offers free soft drinks, house wine or beer and some canapees. “Some” is the operative word here as the selection was very small and there were literally less than 10 pieces of food on offer. The quality of what I tried was very good.
While the design of the space is beautiful and has the potential to be an excellent lounge, the management is poor. Because the lounge is open to all guests and guests in their swimwear are walking in and out to order from the pool bar, it lacks the privacy, exclusivity and peace & quiet I expect from a lounge. The offering is very poor compared to the excellent lounges at the Mercure Bangkok Siam or Mercure Bangkok Sukhumvit 11.

Value & Rewards: I have stayed at the Mercure Makkasan three times with an average rate of $51/night, making it the usually least expensive Mercure hotel in Bangkok. I booked the hotel through the Accor website and earned 8.7% in Accor LeClub rewards points. I paid with my Citi Prestige card and earned 3% in ThankYou points. Despite the slightly lower price, due to the terrible location and poor service, I consider the Mercure Makkasan poor value. You have much better choices for your money.
As an Accor LeClub Platinum member, I received an “upgrade” to a Privilege Room on each occasion. It’s the exact same room as the standard rooms, differentiated by the lounge access. As that is a separate benefit as a Platinum member, essentially no upgrade was provided. I did receive a nice welcome amenity of fruit and cookies on each stay as well as a welcome drink at the lobby bar. I only utilized it on one stay to try out the bar and didn’t return due to poor service and location. I also received a welcome letter, but it misrepresented the benefits and did not include the lounge access, lounge services or times. I consider the lounge access the key benefit of Platinum membership and it was another sign of poor management that the hotel is trying to “hide” the service, hoping that elite members won’t utilize the benefit. Overall, this was the worst elite treatment I’ve received at any Accor property in Bangkok, especially when compared to the excellent service at the Mercure Siam and Mercure Sukhumvit 11!

Bottomline: The Mercure Bangkok Makkasan offers nice, modern rooms – and that’s were the good news stops. The bad location, terrible management and service make it poor value despite the low price. The Mercure Siam and Mercure Sukhumvit 11 are much better choices for your money and worth a few extra minutes in travel time from the airport. Better management, better elite member treatment and more reliable transportation could make this a better choice, but until then I won’t stay and recommend you don’t either! You can find current prices for hotels in Bangkok here!

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