Now on its 23rd year, The Rembrandt Bangkok stands heads and shoulders in the local hotel industry, merging its reputation for great food and luxurious room service with extensive facilities to meet the requirements of both leisure and business travelers.
It seems only yesterday. Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok (19 Sukhumvit Soi 18, Sukhumvit Rd.//Tel 02-261-7100; www.rembrandtbkk.com), officially opened on July 1993, marking the launching of one of the first elegant, luxury first class hotels situated on Sukhumvit Road. Today, the Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok did not seem to age a bit. The hotel remains a top favorite among leisure and business travelers looking for an established, respected oasis of comfort and convenience in the City of Angels.
“It was a different Bangkok when the hotel first opened 23 years ago,” recalls General Manager (GM) Eric Hallin. “If you look at the window today, you will see mostly tall buildings around us. This was not the case when we first opened. Bangkok has grown very, very quickly – especially in the years between 1987 and 1997 – and Rembrandt Bangkok along with it.” Hallin has been managing the hotel for eight years now, only the second GM in the hotel’s entire history.
The hotel began construction in 1990, with the help of the Rembrandt’s first GM, Heinrich Stocker, who held the post for 17 years. Stocker contributed to the initial set-up of all standard operating procedures, best practices and overall operation of the hotel. The initial building had since expanded to encompass another sister property that made the hotel accessible from both Sukhumvit 18 and 20.
One of the main reasons that the hotel became popular was its great location. Nestled on a quiet Sukhumvit sidestreet, Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok offers a safe and secluded sanctuary. The property is conveniently located near the central business district as well as shopping attractions, city landmarks and vibrant nightlife.
With 407 superbly designed Superior, Deluxe, Family, Executive Floor Rooms, and Suites, very few hotels at the time can equal the comforts that the hotel provides. Then there are the outstanding dining outlets, which at the time, were already considered quite unique for a Bangkok hotel.
“At the time, nobody thought of putting ethnic restaurants in a hotel, and we were very successful as a result,” he says. “Our Senor Pico – now renamed as Mexicano – was really the first real Mexican restaurant in town. It became very, very popular. Our Indian restaurant, Rang Mahal, became even more famous in many ways, and even today is probably still arguably the best Indian restaurant in town.” The nine award-winning F&B outlets today include Da Vinci, an Italian restaurant; and Red Pepper, a Thai restaurant.
The hotel also wasn’t content to rest on its laurels. Through the years, it kept on adding more rooms. In fact in 2007, Rembrandt embarked on a complete redecoration and renovation of hotel rooms, public areas and spa and gym facilities began. Then in 2009, the hotel went green, beginning with a full refurbishment and reinstallation of environmental friendly equipment and technologies focusing on energy savings forecasted to reduce 60 percent of total energy costs including water, lighting systems, air conditioners and heating.
The renovation covered a complete redesign of the lobby bar and public areas including the brand new lobby bar. Further changes were made to all guest rooms with complete changes to the interior design, flooring, furniture, and bathrooms. The hotel also included the latest in in-room technology by introducing an IPTV (internet protocol television) system allowing for an enhanced in-room entertainment experience, Wi-Fi/LAN Internet access and state of the art touch screen in room control panels.
And the hotel was quite successful in filling the rooms up most of the time, although Hallin admits, “sometimes the rates were not quite as good as the rooms deserved.” Despite the challenges that the city faced from time to time though, Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok was always quite fortunate. “In the last 20 years or so, a lot of return guests came back to enjoy our very comfortable, very personable rooms,” Hallin says.
In 2010, The Rembrandt unveiled its fitness center, spa and pool facilities, and since then has expanded to the area to include a sauna room, changing rooms, and the five treatment rooms of Sanctuary Wellness & Spa. This spa offers varied treatments, from traditional Thai massage to specialized programs such as scrubs, masks and various herbal treatments.
Today Rembrandt Hotel offers luxury, outstanding services, and facilities for all kinds of travelers.
“Our guests also have the benefit of all major public transportation stations in Bangkok as both skytrain (BTS Asoke Station) and metro (MRT Sukhumvit Station) are just a short 5-minute walk from the hotel or guests may ride on a complimentary 24-hour tuk-tuk shuttle service to the main road,’ Hallin says. “Our great location is perfect for both tourists and business travelers, as it gives them easy access to Sukhumvit and the Bangkok CBD. Whether visiting Bangkok for the first time or a local who enjoys great food and a comfortable atmosphere, Rembrandt Hotel caters to all.”
Today, Rembrandt Hotel stands as one of the finest, most established hotels on Sukhumvit Road, priding itself on high levels of services and providing guests with a home away from home. And from the looks of it, it’s a tradition we will still be all fortunate to enjoy in many more years to come.
Meet the GM
Eric Hallin was appointed as GM of the Rembrandt Hotel and Towers in October 2008. Eric manages all aspects of the operations, including 407 guest rooms, 231 apartments, and nine food and beverage outlets. Eric brings more than 30 years of professional experience to this executive position responsible for leading and managing the property. Under his management, boosted by a strong team, the hotel runs smoothly to offer high satisfaction of quality service to its many guests. Eric spends his time not only in the office but also in welcoming guests in the lobby and restaurants as well as in the executive lounge to ensure that guests’ expectations are consistently met.
Prior to joining the Rembrandt Bangkok, Eric worked as GM of renowned hotel groups such as Six Senses, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Dusit Thani Hotels, Westin Hotels, and the Rose Garden Hotel. He served on the opening team of the Six Senses in Spain and Koh Samui. Under Eric’s stewardship, the Six Senses Hideaway Koh Samui received the Conde Nast 2008 award as the best of the Best, Best Hotel in Asia, and Best hotel in the World.
Eric was born in Stockholm, Sweden and later moved to several countries with his parents including Greece, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi.
Eric is the former president of the Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiangmai SKAL Clubs, as well as president of the National Committee for SKAL. He has also held many executive positions with THA, PATA, and other industry committees, and has been guest lecturer for several post graduate programs at Chiangmai University and Maejo University. Eric is currently a director of the Thai-Swedish Chamber, director of the South African Thai Chamber, and a board member of PATA International as well the chairman of its Tourism Committee for the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce.