Debauchery is an excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures like partying, alcohol, and drugs. A wild party inside the pricey Waldorf Astoria hotel in Bangkok may have been fun for the youth who attended, but when it came at the expense of hotel guests, how could the hotel in good conscience allow the shindig to continue?
One Night in Bangkok…A Wild Party In The Royal Suite Of The Waldorf Astoria Bangkok
A long-time Live and Let’s Fly reader reached out with the following story about a recent stay in Bangkok:
On October 23, 2022 I stayed in room 1515 of the Waldorf Astoria in Bangkok. This is a corner room on the top floor of the hotel. Unknown to me at the time I was across the hall from the Royal Suite, room 1518.
This was the third of my three-night stay. The first two nights were very enjoyable without incident. But everything changed the night of the 23rd.
I was already asleep by 10:00 pm but was rudely awoken by loud noises in the hallway a little before 1:00 am. As I normally do, I attempted to ignore it and go back to sleep, but the loud noises from the hallway persisted. I showed what I deemed a high degree of tolerance and endured the disturbance for nearly two hours.
At 3 AM, The Party Escalates
At 3:00 am the noises from the hallway escalated. I arose from my bed and put on my Waldorf robe and opened my door. There I found around 12 people spilling out of the open door of room 1518 and into the hall. I yelled over the noise to get their attention but they ignored my pleas. I then began yelling more loudly until one young Thai man said, “Sorry.” I said please go inside your room and close the door. But they ignored me, continuing their party from the room and into the hallway.
This was a huge party of probably 25-50 young Thai people (difficult to tell how many) partying all night in this room. I was confounded how so many were partying in this one room. It wasn’t until later I realized this was the Royal Suite capable of accommodating many.
This room goes for about $4500 per night. I deduced later that this large group of kids likely all chip in $100 to have a huge party. Actually not a bad idea as it is a good alternative to clubbing for a night when you can bring your own booze.
Security Officer Is Dispatched
Well, this group of kids rented the room, not the hallway. At this point I had exhibited sufficient patience and called the front desk. They said they would send security up but after 20 minutes, no one showed. So, I called again and asked the duty manager to be involved. This time a man who I assume was the head of night security, Tom, arrived.
The hallway had five or six kids in it when he responded to the scene. I opened my door when I realized he arrived to address my complaint in person. I expressed my displeasure at their lack of respect. One of the young Thai men heard me and yelled at me, “This is normal.” I engaged him to reply this is not normal. At this point, he took an aggressive attitude toward me in front of security. Tom did his best to de-escalate.
I went back to my room and Tom cleared the hall but the party was allowed to continue. When I knew Tom was alone in the hallway I opened my door and asked him what he going to do about the party. He said they promised to keep it down. I asked him how could he ensure that with such a large party. He stated he would send a security guard on the floor to maintain peace. To his credit he did and this man remained there all night (which was only about two more hours at this point).
Although he did ensure there was no more congregating and party spillover in the hall, I still endured the constant coming and going of young kids to and from the party. And although he tried to keep them quiet in their transference, it did not provide an environment conducive for sleep. I never slept the rest of the night.
How The Hotel Responded The Following Morning
The next morning I asked for a meeting with the assistant manager, Vanit. He was already aware of the situation and greeted me with apologies. He began by asking what he could do to make this right but I quickly responded I was not seeking, nor would I accept, any compensation. I was not complaining to get something out of it, but to express how egregious this was. I told him that even Thailand has fire codes concerning maximum room occupancy and I was sure Hilton would not be happy to know they were willfully violated.
I further told him I realize this stuff goes on in Bangkok but I thought it was restricted more to Sukhumvit and the associated Sois. I did not expect this from the business area and certainly not at the Waldorf Astoria (am I being naive, I thought?).
He affirmed that this is not normal despite what the young Thai had told me. But I responded I was not so sure about that since the night manager and the head of security allowed this huge party to continue with their full knowledge. He replied they should not have allowed it and he would “train them.”
Vanit did the best he could to appease me even offering me the Astoria suite should I return. I told him again this was not necessary. I was offering him free feedback. The assistant manager was very cordial and patient with me as I relayed my story to him in a non-agitated manner. I credit him for doing the best he could to manage his indefensible position.
I’m No Stranger To Bangkok
I have traveled extensively over the years logging an average of about 4-5 months per year in hotels (all non-business stays, so many weekend nights). That is enough experience to know when something is beyond the pale. I have of course experienced partying in hotels before, but nothing of this scale, never in a hotel of the prestige as the Waldorf, and never without management putting an end to it.
The next three nights I spent next door at the Grand Hyatt. These nights went, as usual, without incident even though I was again on the top floor, corner room (an area of the hotel where I believe partying would be more frequent). The three nights I spent prior to my stay at the Waldorf, at the nearby St Regis, also transpired without incident.
Now I will inform I have a retirement visa for Thailand and have logged many, many nights in Bangkok. Including hotels in the party areas of the city. As much as “anything goes in Bangkok”, much like Vegas, I know this is aberrant behavior even for Bangkok, at least this area of the city. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it’s usually restricted to certain hotels that accommodate this behavior.
I expect they did not want to interfere with a patron willing to spend $4500 for the suite so they were quite lenient with their rules in this case. But, as I told Vanit, they do so at the risk of being labeled a Bangkok party hotel rather than a business hotel. But perhaps that’s where they want to go with business travel down? I wonder what William Waldorf Astor would have thought? Or at least the Hilton brand.
Next time I’ll stay on the river. I’ve always had good experiences there.
That’s quite a story, isn’t it? While it sounds like the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok tried to make it right, my question is why the party was allowed in the first place (at least to continue so late into the night). Then again, money always talks…and that does seem like a clever way to party (sure beats a nightclub when you create your own in a posh hotel suite and bring your own booze instead of overpaying for it). Monetizing suites is the bread and butter of luxury hotels, but the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok should think twice about allowing these sorts of parties.
How would you have dealt with a wild party at the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok or any luxury hotel?