Spanish hotel chain, Meliá, may not be the first brand that comes to mind when Australian and New Zealand travellers think about their next holiday or business trip, but Meliá Hotels International is a long-established, global enterprise that has expanded well beyond its Spanish borders since its founding in 1956.
In fact, Meliá can count more than 400 hotels under 10 unique brands in 40 countries comprising close to 100,000 rooms and a growth rate approaching 8%. At time of writing, Meliá was the largest hotel chain in Spain and 17th in the world, behind Singapore’s Ascott.
In the luxury category, Meliá has Gran Meliá, Me by Meliá, Paradisus and The Melia Collection. In Premium, you’ll find Meliá, Innside, Zel and Falcon’s Resorts. Essentials are brands that are relaxed and carefree like Sol, the family brand.
While Meliá is not currently in Australia or New Zealand, it has properties throughout Asia Pacific in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, with new openings scheduled in the region for 2024 and 2025.
On a recent visit to Bangkok, I had the opportunity to sample the brand new Innside by Meliá Bangkok Sukhumvit, located in the emerging district of On Nut, just a stone’s throw from the very handy BTS station and Lotus shopping complex. The vibrant night market with excellent street food options is a bonus.
Opened in July 2023, Innside is a new brand from Meliá International and the first such hotel in Bangkok, the fourth Meliá property in Thailand and the 40th in Asia.
Billed as an urban lifestyle hotel and rated 4-star but with many 5-star trimmings, the 208-room Innside and its ‘Go Curious’ tagline embraces local icons and cultures, creating a space truly reflective of the destination and encouraging further exploration.
Interiors are bright and airy, using Bangkok’s abundant sunlight for much of the natural lighting and utilising leading-edge design and decor.
Rated 4 star, this sparkling new property has many highlights older 5-star hotels would be pleased to offer, in particular the chill 34th-floor rooftop Giant Swing Pool Bar, which features a mini giant swing that emulates the one in front of Wat Suthat, formerly used in ancient Brahmin religious ceremonies.
Underneath, on level 33, is Luz Bangkok Tapas Bar where we dined one night and were thoroughly spoiled by Barcelona-born chef Laia Ferrer, who brings a wealth of international experience. We enjoyed such dishes as Suquet de Peix Amb Romesco, Fideus a la Cassola and Tiradito Basque in an intimate booth overlooking the uninterrupted On Nut skyline.
Guests arrive at the understated street-level entrance and are greeted by a single concierge who ushers them to the elevator for check-in at the sunlit The Open Living Lounge on the 32nd floor.
Described as a coworking space that combines a relaxed working environment with a grab’n’go-style cafe (open 7am-11pm) it’s an easygoing yet chic space for a quick business meeting. Serious business can take place in any of the five creatively-themed, flexible meeting rooms and multifunctional spaces located on level 30.
Immediately below The Open Living Lounge on level 31 is the all-day dining venue The Kites Eatery, open from 6.30am-11pm, where chefs serve central, northern, north-eastern and southern Thai cuisine ‘a la minute’ using quality locally sourced ingredients in a bright, spacious and relaxed environment.
The hotel has 208 rooms, 182 Innside rooms and 16 double-sized Townhouses all of which come with the amenities and features you would expect. The 50-inch flatscreen TV is great and the WiFi is strong and reliable.
My room was a King City View which, despite being just 20sqm, did not feel cramped thanks to panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows and clever use of internal space. The wash basin in the middle of the room, which I dubbed a ‘font’, is a curious yet smart concept that frees up space in the bathroom and adds it to the living area. I predict we’ll see more of this innovation in premium new-build properties in the future.
For those travelling with family or just craving space, at 40sqm, the Townhouses really add a touch of luxury and would also be perfect for longer stays or if extra workspace is needed as the regular rooms don’t afford a lot of desk real estate.
Room rates are very competitive in one of the busiest hospitality markets in Southeast Asia.
In short, my brief stay was thoroughly enjoyable and trouble-free thanks in no small part to the diligent and cheerful staff at every point of contact.