Bangkokians can rejoice as the North Wing of the iconic Montien Hotel Surawong Bangkok swings back into full operation following extensive renovation. The fresh new look reflects the hotel’s ethos ‘Revival of the Original’ and has been made possible by a collaboration between the original owner, the Tantakit family, and asset management company, Conduit House.
Much more than just an architectural facelift, the renovation represents a reinterpretation of one of Bangkok’s most iconic hotels, skilfully blending its rich cultural heritage with innovative interior features and technology, aimed firmly at a new generation of local and international visitors.
As part of its strategy to re-establish Montien as one of the leading hotels in the city and to coincide with the first phase of its reopening, a new dream team was recruited pairing a seasoned hotelier with more than 30 years’ experience with a local young-blood executive with invaluable knowledge of today’s Thai market. Together, they will convey the essence of ‘Montienness’ to both local and international clientele.
Pierre-André Pelletier, the new Area General Manager for Montien Hotel Surawong Bangkok and its sister hotel 56 Surawong Hotel, has more than 25 years’ experience overseeing leading properties in southern Thailand, Vietnam and The Maldives. He strongly believes that Thai hospitality and tourism will rise again. “What makes Thailand stand apart is its people. There is a reason why Thailand is called “The Land of Smiles”, and this has not changed. Service delivery here is exceptional and sincere. The country also provides a unique range of options from mountains to beaches to the cosmopolitan flavours of Bangkok. Thailand is constantly evolving and will continue to do so. Looking ahead to a post-COVID world, we will need to adjust to the new normal. Once again, Thailand will reinvent itself to attract visitors,” says Swiss hotelier Pelletier.
When the opportunity to join Montien Hotel arose, Pelletier didn’t hesitate. “As I learnt more about the history of Montien Hotel, I realized what a unique opportunity this was. The hotel has a wonderful and colourful history which spans over 50 years, during which time the hotel hosted everyone from Thai royalty to Hollywood stars. The building itself has a rich design heritage both in its architecture and interior design.”
“As Montien Hotel enters a new era based on the concept of ‘Revival of the Original’, the Tantakit family of Bangkok and Conduit House have undertaken a complete renovation of the hotel which celebrates the past but presents a thoroughly modern experience for a new generation of guests,” explains Pelletier, who is also the Vice President Asset Management of Conduit House. “Apart from those posed by the COVID situation, my biggest challenge is to ensure that the essence of the new Montien Hotel is fully brought to life for today’s guests. We are a hotel which celebrates our heritage and traditions but fully understands the needs of a new generation. Our aim is to reposition the Montien as one of the leading hotels in Bangkok and the region.”
On the local side, the team is bolstered by the presence of Suchanon Mongkolthong as Hotel Manager. With more than 10 years’ experience with leading hospitality brands including Chiva-Som, Shangri-La and Marriott, and with invaluable insights into the younger generation, this rising star is ready to reconnect the historic hotel to a contemporary audience
“Montien Hotel Surawong has everything modern consumers are looking for. Our prime location, though close to all the key sights, is not overridden with the heavy bustle of Bangkok as going into the city’s central area can be. We also have the latest technology such as Bluetooth speakers in every room with wireless charging capability. For banquets, our unique ballroom setup with a Samsung LED video wall and LCD screens on pillars represent the ultimate in innovative tech,” says Mongkolthong. “At the same time, our ‘Montienness’ adds a kind of uniqueness that you cannot find anywhere else. We have drawn inspiration from Thailand and around the world and have adapted our distinctive brand to create an experience that can only be had here.”
It is this “Montienness” which Mongkolthong believes will be the key attraction for the hotel’s new generation of guests. “Our brand has such a rich history which has been passed down through the generations by word of mouth,” he says. “As I was a young boy I remember the hotel for its grandeur and famous cuisine – so to be part of the team responsible for revitalizing the hotel not only stretched me professionally but has been a very personal and rewarding journey. Today, as in the past, Montien has a look and charm of its own. It is not just a hotel, but “a Luxury Thai Home”. By combining the very highest level of brand hospitality standards with our one-of-a-kind Thai style, our staff offer a uniquely personal service providing guests with warmth, familiarity and the very fondest of memories.”
Retaining Montien Hotel’s uniquely “Thai” aesthetic has been one of the benefits of not being part of a large hotel chain, and so too has been the speed with which it can react to a changing world. “We are faster to make choices and adapt to changes,” says Mongkolthong. “For example, our meticulous research on what younger generations have and want (in terms of phones, connectivity etc) has helped us to differentiate ourselves from the other international brands.” It has also played a part in the hotel’s ability to engage with the local community. “With our small local charm, we connect to the surrounding Silom-Surawong communities with a range of social events,” explains Mongkolthong.
“With COVID-19, the situation is more challenging than before,” adds Mongkolthong. “We must be creative in several different ways. We must look to the past and the plentiful experience of strong individuals such as Khun Pierre. I like to think of our relationship as symbiotic. I depend on him for his knowledge in dealing with difficult situations that impact our occupancy and customer confidence. In turn, he gains insights into how the younger generation may act in certain situations, which I am familiar with.”
Following the completion of all rooms and suites in the North Wing, the opening of the award-winning Ruenton restaurant and the exciting new Phar-Ram IV Bistro by Chef Herve’ Frerard, and the unveiling of the Rajmontien Grand Ballroom and other facilities, Pelletier says they are ready for the next step. “There are many more exciting developments coming. The South Wing is expected to be launched by December and will include a Garden Lounge and the Montienthip Ballroom famous for the artwork of Ajarn Paiboon Suwannakudt. We are also delighted to reintroduce Le Gourmet Grill with a new gourmet dining concept. So far, the feedback from our guests and business partners has been extremely positive. I am very proud to be in charge of this unique property and I look forward to being part of the next era of this legendary hotel.”