Boutique hotels have been enjoying immense popularity in North America and the United Kingdom since the 1980's. Personalized accommodation and services, upscale facilities, intimate, stylish environment, at only a fraction of the price of a 'regular' hotel; there's plenty of reasons to prefer one of these to a regular chain hotel. In fact, with only 3-50 rooms to consider, that's some serious cost-cutting on the part of the hotel management as well. Which makes one wonder what took Bangladesh so long to catch up.
Bringing Dhaka up to date with a late but welcome start is Platinum Suites. With 24 suites and four restaurants, all housed within one tastefully decorated building, within easy reach of the shopping hub Banani Road #11, this swanky new boutique hotel has already been received warmly since its soft opening. We decided to check it out and see for ourselves what the hot fuss was all about.
Sights and spaces
You step in through the glass doors, any time of the day to be greeted by friendly multilingual staff, and the first thing that hits you is the décor. Tanvir Ahmed, the surprisingly young Director, Development, talks about how living and studying abroad made him yearn for everything Bangladeshi. When he came back here, and took up the Platinum Suites project, he kept in mind our rich artistic heritage, and this is reflected in the look of the place. Soft neutrals and warm earth tones provide the perfect foil for murals and prints commissioned from local Fine Arts students. You might look up to see painted ceilings in warm, vibrant tones. Or climb up a sleek staircase that has a large charcoal print of the Ahsan Manzil as a backdrop. As for the roof, well, that's another story altogether, one we will get to shortly.
A room with a view
Guests checking in have a choice of the regular suites, the large suites, the studio suites, and the themed suites. Each of the themed suites follows one kind of craft, like the Nakshi Suite, for example, whose soft furnishings all bear the nakshi kantha motif. Although each one is unique, they all share the same emphasis on comfort and elegance. All suites have climate control air conditioning and offer the latest amenities and technology, including wireless broadband internet access. From 24 hour service to in-room check-in, complementary breakfast, and no charge for children under 12 staying with their parents, the bonus is on comfort.
It may be small compared to a chain hotel, but Platinum Suites does not scrimp on the services. Guests can expect everything from 24 hour reception and in-room dining, to ATM bank, to car rental, to laundry services, to shoe shine services and safety deposit boxes. Safety is not a concern here with the hotel being equipped with fire and smoke detectors, sprinkler system, electronic door locks and CCTV. Corporate clients can avail the Business Centre with boardroom and secretarial services, the fax, copier and computer services with high speed wired and wireless Internet access. International clients have access to currency exchange, and just about all guests can access the small fitness centre, which comes complete with combination workstation and personal trainer. In short, everything you can expect from a large luxury hotel, you can find in this boutique hotel, at far more economic rates.
One major attraction of Platinum Suites is their food, coordinated by renowned chef Tony Khan, who rules the roost here as Director, Food and Beverage. Under his keen eye and discriminating palate, the hotel has four restaurants, each with a character of its own.
The Zizzi Ristorante is a multi cuisine restaurant serving a variety of authentic Italian and Mediterranean dishes. This is Platinum Suites' fine dining offering. Soft browns and earth tones provide a sophisticated and understated atmosphere for the truly delectable offerings. Be sure not to miss Tony Khan's signature dish, the Bambino Lamb Shank, whose tender meat, flavoured with shallot and garlic pan jus will simply melt in your mouth. Also, if you haven't tried the house special tiramisu, you have no idea what you're missing.
Switching to something more casual, there's the Café Nemo, whose bright colours, comfy couches and wide-screen plasma television sets provide a chilled out atmosphere. There is a comprehensive buffet offering Greek, Thai, Mexican and Continental cuisines, and the a la carte menu also offers you a good value for your money. We particularly loved the steak.
Terra Bistro, with its bar counter and cosy seating, is one eatery that's open to everyone, round the clock. This one offers a range of coffee, bakery items, signature chocolates, delicious pastries, inspired cocktails, and beverages. It is equipped with Internet facilities and satellite TV, and decorated with contemporary art and sculptures. The best part about it, is that it's friendly on the wallet. With prices ranging from Tk 120-500, this is the perfect place for a gourmet meal on a student budget.
Couples, however, would, and should make their way straight to the top at the Platinum Terrace. With artificial turf underfoot, railings framed by greenery, subtle landscaping, intimate lighting and cosy seating arrangements, just sitting out there under the open sky is a romantic experience. With lively music, and live barbecue, this is also the perfect spot to party.
Whether you're looking for five-star services at a fraction of the price, or a great place to hang out with someone special, or just hankering for a decent bite to eat, make Platinum Suites your destination, and you won't be disappointed.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
Photos: Platinum Suites