ASK any well-heeled European and he will tell you that the Pullman brand, epitomised by its hotels and railway coaches, or "palace cars", symbolises luxury and high service standards, putting it in the same class as Mercedes- Benz as far as image is concerned.
Indulge in a massage at the hotel's newly opened spa
Some 150 years ago, American businessman George Pullman invented the railway sleeping car named after him and revolutionised overnight accommodation and hospitality on trains in the West.
In 1867, Pullman introduced the first "hotel on wheels", the President, a sleeper with an attached kitchen and dining car. The food and service rivalled the best restaurants of the day.
Now, Thailand's capital, Bangkok, has the first Pullman hotel in Asia. Next in line are Pullman hotels in Dongguan and Sanya in China, which will welcome their first guests in March.
The French hotel group, Accor, which runs over 4,000 hotels with nearly half a million rooms globally, introduced its Pullman brand to Asia to cater to leisure and business travellers who want a home away from home.
Accor's Singapore-based chairman and chief operating officer for Asia Pacific Michael Issenburg said the Pullman Bangkok King Power was chosen for the Pullman brand's Asian launch as the hotel is a brand new property and it showcases outstanding five-star accommodation.
The high ceilings give the hotel a spacious feel
The most striking feature of the hotel is its spaciousness, from the huge lobby to the bars and restaurants, the spa and the rooms. The ceilings are unusually high for a modern hotel.
Each of the Pullman's spacious 386 rooms and suites offer luxury, comfort and connectivity.
As I entered the hotel for my threeday stay, I was welcomed by name by a "greeter". The Pullman hotels brand developed the personalised greeter concept where the greeter is your personal friend and guide who takes care of all your needs during your stay.
Similarly, an IT manager is at hand to look after a guest's IT needs, be it in the hotel room, business centre or meeting and conference rooms.
The hotel on Rangnam Road is in a prime area of central Bangkok, within a few minutes walk of two BTS (Bangkok Mass Transit System) train stations. This connectivity makes it a highly convenient base for enjoying the best of Bangkok.
The hotel also offers its guests a one-minute transfer by its own tuk-tuks to the BTS stations.
The hotel is surrounded by excellent shopping. The huge King Power duty-free plaza next door, the largest duty-free operator in Thailand, offers a wide variety for shoppers.
The famed Siam Square is a few skytrain stations away. A few minutes walk across the road from the hotel is the Suan Pakkad Palace museum.
The trip to Pullman Bangkok was sponsored by Accor.
This article was part of The Straits Times Feb 28 supplement, "Natas Travel 2008", which is published by the Special Projects Unit, Marketing Division, Singapore Press Holdings.