By Jeremy Khalil on August 4, 2017
The four-star Al Meroz Hotel, which has 242 rooms, is the brainchild of a prominent Thai-Muslim businessman Mr. Rausak Mulsap, President and Chief Executive Officer of the hotel. Together with his business partners and family members, Mr. Rausak has invested over THB1 billion into this property that stands in an area full of potential waiting to be tapped.
Though Al Meroz (which means ‘heritage’ in Arabic) has only begun operations for just over a year, it already attracts affluent domestic and foreign travellers, especially Muslims from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. The number of guests from other parts of the Islamic world such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Middle East and Central Asia, including mainland China, is also growing. According to Mr. Sanya Saengboon, the hotel’s Managing Director and General Manager, the hotel deeply appreciates the support of both Muslim and non-Muslim travellers from other countries.
For 2017, the hotel target occupancy is 82%, which is 22% increase from last year’s, in line with the increasing number of Muslims who travel internationally. “From the day we opened until today, the hotel has been receiving around 98,000 guests, of which 60% of them are Muslims. If you dissect that number differently by looking at the guests’ country of origin, 60% of the said number are foreigners and the remaining are domestic,” Mr. Sanya shares. Apparently, the creation of the hotel does not only benefit Muslim guests, but also provide employment opportunity to local youths – the hotel currently employs 60% Thai Muslims, who would otherwise might have lesser chance to work in the lucrative tourism industry.
Al Meroz Hotel comes about from Mr. Rausak’s own dream, imagination and determination to create a halal hotel that efficiently and professionally provides accommodation, food and beverages to fellow Muslim brothers and sisters when they stay in Bangkok. Due to city’s popularity in luring travellers from around the globe, including those from the Islamic world, Mr. Rausak realises that there is an opportunity for a halal hotel to be built to meet the demands of Muslim travellers in Thailand. Besides the leisure market, Al Meroz Hotel also attracts business travellers, including international guests who are in Bangkok for meetings, incentives and convention (MICE). It has already made its mark among Thai Muslims as the choice location to hold wedding receptions.
Good to know:Those who enjoy taking the mass transit system may utilise the Airport Rail Link (ARL) train by embarking on it at Ramkhamhaeng station – 450 metres away from the hotel – to get to either the city centre by getting off at Phaya Thai station, which interfaces with the Bangkok Transit System (BTS) on one end, or the international airport station on the other.
Muslim travellers staying at Al Meroz Hotel enjoy peace of mind when they are in Bangkok because the hotel adheres to the Islamic principles by providing three fully halal-certified food and beverage outlets namely Papyrus that serves hearty breakfast spread; Diwan for all day dining that serves ala carte signature Muslim/Arabic/Indian dishes and Thai Muslim buffet spread with menu changed regularly; and Barakat for fine-dining Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine with menu changed every three months. It is evident that the hotel’s greatest contribution comes in the form of its food and beverage offerings, whereby Muslim travellers do not need to worry about getting mixed up with non-halal options when looking into the menu or lining up at the buffet, especially during breakfast, when they are in Bangkok.
Good to know: In keeping with the Islamic principles, guests should take note that Al Meroz Hotel is a dry hotel (no alcohol served or allowed in its premises). It also does not serve pork.
The other facilities and services that the hotel provides include Muslim prayer rooms; rooftop swimming pool that allocates different timing for different sexes; fitness centre; ballroom that can accommodate up to 1,200 guests; and multi-purpose spaces for functions or events for 30 to 500 persons, including an open-air rooftop space called Bustan that can fit up to 200. The rooms – which are divided into Superior, Deluxe and Suite categories – come with praying mats, Qibla direction, Holy Quran and printed prayer times throughout the entire month for easy reference. The toilets also come with a hose next to the commode for washing down afterwards, which is a Muslim practice.
Al Meroz Hotel employs the Middle Eastern-inspired opulent chic that combines gilded and delicious chocolate colour scheme with Islamic geometric motifs. As travellers step into its impressive lobby, they will definitely notice the luxurious wooden panels with Islamic geometric design gracing the area that further run throughout the rest of the hotel. In the middle of the lobby stands a grand pillar similar to the trunk of a great tree with strong foundation and umbrella-like branches extending outwards, which the owner claims to represent his family because without their support, it wouldn’t be possible for him to build the hotel.
“Mr. Rausak went through four different interior designers to eventually meet the one that shares his vision: a local designer by the name of Kitikorn Boonchom who has experience designing hotels in Abu Dhabi,” reveals Mr. Sanya. Mr. Rausak purposely selected such level of sophistication as a way to reflect Islam’s elegance, besides convincing the public that today’s Muslims are also capable in developing something extraordinary. The hotel seems to signify the characteristics of the Thai Muslim community in Bangkok: prosperous, welcoming and refined. As such, Al Meroz Hotel is all set to become a successful halal-certified sanctuary of choice in Bangkok among Muslim travellers, and an enrichingly sobering option for non-Muslim travellers who seek different travelling experiences.
Bookings can be made through travel agents, online hotel booking services or direct. Check out almerozhotel.com or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings, special rates and seasonal offers.