Stickman Readers' Submissions February 1st, 2006

The Ambassador

For the past 15 years whenever I come to Bangkok I have always stayed the first few days at the Ambassador Hotel on Sukhumvit. I usually never stayed long because I would travel on out of the city, or try different places after a few days, but it seemed
like a good place to acclimatize to Thailand. It's a huge place, It was always funky in places, but that funkiness just helped get used to Thailand. Over the years I have watched it slowly go down hill, I couldn't figure out why they
didn't do some simple things to make it look better, like paint the hallways or clean the carpets a little more often. Somehow it was like a familiar old friend and it was easy to get to. Every taxi driver knew where it was, they almost always
had rooms, it was close to the skytrain, shopping and naughty nightlife. I liked going there and warming my winter weary bones around the pool while watching the girls getting some color in the hot afternoons. I especially liked the convenience
of bringing new found sweatys back there in the evening. I used to just show up and ask for a room, but because it was high season this time I made reservations by Internet almost a month early. It was a little more expensive than last time, but
everything seemed like it would be like I always remembered it.

When I got there this time they put me in a room that smelled like the bottom of an

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ashtray. I couldn't open the window because the handle was broken off and there was so much corrosion on the track it wouldn't budge. I went back down to reception and explained that over the Internet I booked a non-smoking room because I didn't
smoke. I told them very nicely that my room didn't smell very good and I asked if they could move me to another room but they said the non-smoking rooms were all full. I was tired after the trip, so I asked them to let me know as soon as
one opened up. They never volunteered a room, I asked each day, but it never happened.

The next thing I found was the pool was being renovated so I couldn't swim. They said there were chairs on the track to sun myself. Somehow it just isn't the same as laying around the pool.

The next morning I found that breakfast wasn't included because I booked by Internet. They gave a discount if I booked by internet, but they didn't explain that the internet rate didn't include breakfast until I asked about
it. The receptionist explained I could buy breakfast for something ridiculous like 550 baht. When I thought about it I remembered it was never very good food anyway so I passed and got a good breakfast in a nearby restaurant for 150 baht.

Whenever I came or left the hotel the overpriced massage parlors in the entry wings were always annoying by hounding me for a quick one even after I said no. I wanted a massage badly but they all seemed like they wanted to sell more than
a massage. Eventually a cute one caught me at a weak moment, I explained that I only wanted a massage and nothing else and massages were 200 baht less in other places. Finally she gave me a discount I couldn't pass up and I had the time.
Watching her giving me a Thai massage in a mini skirt was very interesting. Low and behold a little into the massage she found a way to touch me the right way in the right spot and then ask me in a whisper if I wanted a "special massage".
When I said no she said for a few hundred baht she could do it in my room and I didn't have to "worry about security" I didn't know what she meant. I wondered if there was something unsafe where we were. I just let that go
and told her I would think about it for the next time.

The thing that really pissed me off about the Ambassador was when I brought a bar girl back and the security stopped us in the lobby and asked for a 650 baht "Joiner Fee". Being a pushy American I tried to be obnoxious and raise
a fuss that could be heard across the lobby. When I refused and caused a ruckus they showed me a laminated sheet I had never seen before that said in big English words that "any visitors no matter how long would be charged 650 baht"….
By that time there were 4 security standing around me so I just signed the paper so they could charge me on my room bill…..

Hell, that was more than I paid for the bar fine. I can see taking her ID or name for security reasons, but charging me to take her to that smelly room for an hour or two was just too much. I think I had heard about visitor fees before in
an old Dana submission, but I didn't think it would happen to me in Bangkok. Is this some weird Thai logic that says that they should charge more for a short time visitor so they can make more money because they just don't get as much
business as they used to? I guess that was what the

massage girl meant by not worrying about security. It's pretty obvious now that the staff at the Ambassador have a special deal worked out with the 5 massage parlors on their property not to charge them to come to rooms for "special massages".
Maybe they split the proceeds.

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After that incident I found that most bar girls know where to get a "short time room" for 300 baht, or the bar has a room they'll let you use for a fee..

There are lots of other hotels in the area so I took the rest of my time to research other better places to stay, the old Ambassador won't get another joiner fee from me. On my return trip before going home I spent a few more days in
Bangkok and the other hotels never asked me for extra when I brought a girl back. I recommend that if your hotel asks for a visitor fee you should just cancel the rest of your reservations and look for another hotel there are plenty that want
the business..


Joiner fees are one of the more unusual policies, and a bit of a have really. I can, on the other hand, understand some family oriented hotels discouraging guests, but the Ambassador is hardly a family hotel, is it?!

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