THE MANDARIN-ORIENTAL BANGKOK (*****L): Since 1876, and despite the presence of the neighboring top-luxury -but far less glamorous- Lebua, Shangri La, Peninsula and Chatrium, "The Oriental" (as still called affectionately by its returning guests) remains the best established five-star lodging in Bangkok, and one of most famous palace hotels in the world.
In the shadow of the modern, quite unsightly 1970s "Main Wing", stands the sublime "Authors' Wing": the original Dutch colonial pavilion, where the legend of "The Oriental" was born in 1876. More than 18 million dollars have been invested in 2016 to beautify what was originally a basic lodge, hastily built for the first adventurous travelers visiting Siam, after the Kingdom opened to foreign trade with the signing of the Bowring Treaty. Somerset Maugham, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and Graham Green inaugurated the crampy and mosquitoes infested wing. It now houses the roof-topped "Authors' Lounge": one of Thailand most photographed locations, it is world famous for its so unique, stylish, romantic -and pleasantly old-fashioned "High Tea". The dress code is as strict as in a London gentlemen's club. It brings The Oriental a few, yet bitter, claims in Tripadvisor: essentially written by tourists from outside the hotel, wearing short pants and sleeveless shirts, courteously but firmly stopped by the efficient security staff. This policy meets the permanent satisfaction of the graceful Bangkok society, gossiping in the white rattan armchairs, listening to live soft music. Our last visit, right after the renovation, was enchanting. As conservative as a guest of "The Oriental" should be, we loved the whiter shade of pale design so much, and feared some defacing; on the contrary, everything looks like more enchanting than before. Experienced eyes will notice a slight difference in the structure of the double stairs conducing to the newest, most sumptuous suites designed for "the 1%" (leading CEOs, statesmen, world famous artists, and wealthy honeymooners...) on a no-limit budget.
authentic palace hotel, The Mandarin Oriental sells itself from the
prestige suites first. We have inspected, and even stayed, in some of
them (enjoying the noticeable "Captain Anderson" in the contemporaneous
Wing", for instance), and found them all different. Both in term of
style and charm. But we mush aknowledge that those in the "Authors'
Wing" left us voiceless. Totally
privatized, the "Royal
meets no competitor at all in Bangkok.
This is simply the most impressive lodging in the Kingdom of Thailand.
No picture and no words can describe the space, plush atmosphere,
feeling of supreme power, and unmatched relaxation indulged during the
exploration of the 326 sq.m of luxury. It has only one king-size bed:
seem odd due to the volume of the suite. But it connects directly with
the 2-bedroom "Ambassador
Suite", which is not less ritzy, plus another
bedroom for security or maids. Decorated in the royal colors of yellow
and purple, featuring original mouldings, silver leaf, and imposing
crystal chandeliers, the "Royal Suite" comes with no bling but a
spontaneous elegance. The living room, and the ceremonial dining room
(sitting 12 guests), have been designed for dignitaries. There is a
private gym and a SPA treatment room (but no sauna nor steambath). This
is also the place for wedding parties and fashion photo shoot. The
bathroom would please the most megalomaniac guest, indeed!
Our December 2016 stay, gave us the opportunity to experience the same room like one year before. A "Premier Room", now rebranded into "Garden Room". Located in the "Garden Wing", the "boutique" section of the hotel, dating back from the 1950s, our totally refurbished room featured a split level layout. Covering "only" 35 sq.m, it really looked like a suite. Featuring a cozy bedroom and a lavish marble bathroom, with stylish silver taps, on the mezzanine floor; and a colonial-inspired, chic contemporary living-room on the ground floor. It looks like an artist loft, with its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the garden and river. The nook, once hosting the writing desk, has given place to a large bar filled with complimentary drinks from the best local and international brands, including beer, house wine... and a personal reserve of the yummy "Mandarin Oriental Bangkok" signature coconut ice-cream served with style at the swimming pool! Thumbs up for the initiative. Carefully displayed on the table of our living-room, we found a best-of all the bonuses expected by the experienced Oriental guest: wine, fresh snacks and tropical fruits, a welcome letter handwritten by the general manager, and an invitation to the fancy and exclusive "management cocktail party". Organized once a week, it allows the VIPs, suite and returning guests, to meet each other in the "Authors Wing", taste Thai snacks, wine and fine liquors, enjoy live Siamese music and dance, exchange their impressions and formulate any request to the management. There is only one hotel in the world organizing such a party, and we always calculated the day of our visit to make sure that we would not miss it. This is actually part of the folklore launched by Khun Kurt (Kurt Wachtveitl), "the man who did The Oriental". He retired in 2009, after more than 40 years devoted to "his" hotel (replaced by the dynamic Amanda Hyndman, who fell in love with the hotel when she was a young traveler).
Khun Kurt remains the special adviser and ambassador of a soulful hotel, with a very low turnover among the staff... sometimes working here for decades, and actually knowing regular guests' -including the Royal Family- personal tastes and special requirements! The much devoted, anticipating service, always gave us the impression that we were staying in a royal palace. We have always been called by our name by the so friendly female head-concierge, and the discreet though efficient floor butlers (bringing us complimentary evening snacks, wine, and beautiful bouquets, or shining our shoes without any special request from our part!). We would like to understand how the lift-boy at the "Main Wing" (how many hotels still have a lift-boy nowadays?) can send the guests to their floor, faultless from the first until the last day of their stay? And also, why did the butler always emerged at the right moment to open our door? We had one secret revealed recently: there are motion detectors hidden in the rooms, to check whether it is occupied or not. The staff won't, therefore, never disturb the guests; rushing into the room as soon as they left to refresh it completely, everytime it looks necessary!
hotel is located in the last area in Bangkok where oxygen remains more
or less generously available... Let's cross the river aboard the hotel
private teak-wood shuttle boat (also deserving the nearby BTS Sky Train
station), land on the right bank, and visit the “Sala Rim Naam”:
where royal Thai cuisine can be enjoyed in a typical “Sala”, with live
Siamese traditional music. Next door stands the most prestigious SPA in
Bangkok: an Eden, made out of precious teak wood, devoted to
relaxation, with a new Ayurvedic Penthouse where we had a well worth
the trip 90 minutes massage and treatment, performed by selected Thai
masseuses proficient in the Indian techniques of relaxation and
soothing. Alternatively, the very complete and soothing 90 minutes
Signature Massage is excellent (approximately USD 130, and worth it).
This Thonburi bank is also housing the quiet Thai Cooking School, and
the very high-tech and chic Fitness Club. Near to the school lives
"Khun Tong Jah": a very talkative bird, who shall greet you with a
phony "Sawatdee Khrap" ("-Hi!"), or "Khap Khun Krap" ("-Thank you")...
if he likes your face and feels in a good mood.
overpriced, always full for dinner (but with a reasonable offer at
lunch time), “Le Normandie”, remains one of
the most awarded French restaurants in South East Asia. "The China House"
serves in style a most authentic Cantonese cuisine.
its original, warm and picturesque design into quite a conventional
Jim” is an excellent alternative for both
affordable and palatable international food. We actually prefer “Ciao”,
the open-air terrace restaurant (opened during the “dry season” only),
its palatable antipasti, pasta, and seafood, with a breathtaking view
of the river which must be experienced after dark. Note that this is,
with the "Riverside
(serving splendid chargrilled BBQ lamb and blue river lobsters in the
evening), the last place where you could freely enjoy a good cigar; a
strict law now takes over the gourmet and “aficionados”' freedom to
smoke in air-conditioned and "public areas" (which, in Thailand, means
everywhere!); even the now smokeless, freshly beautified Bamboo Bar,
entertaining live music, lovely jungle theme with deep leather sofas
amongst palm fronds and authentic bamboo shades, lost part of its soul;
with a clean air, the once so animated Oriental jazz-club looks
like as aseptic as a Swiss clinic... Ironically the Habanos shop, with
a selection of
the best tobaccos from Cuba, stands next door!
to say, The Oriental is one of the Top 10 most expensive hotels in
Thailand; nevertheless, it actually remain affordable to a large
majority of travelers, so happy to spend only 50% of what they would
pay in a Paris or London palace hotel, for more space and an unmatched
level of service... Those visiting Bangkok only once in
their life should stay nowhere but in The Oriental!
THE SUKHOTHAI (*****L): Distinguished,
refined, princely serviced, this legendary hotel offers the best of
what one could expect in term of old school Siamese hospitality. Close
to the animated Sathorn / Silom roads, with its trendy pubs, malls and
firms headquarters, but remote enough from the street to provide a
quiet environment in a nicely designed compound, this is one of our
crushes in Bangkok.
INTERCONTINENTAL BANGKOK (*****L): We didn't schedule it, but checked-out from the Intercontinental Paris Avenue Marceau, the smallest InterConti in the world, to check-in a couple of days later into one of the largest properties managed by this prestigious group. The contrast was such, that it accentuated the cyclopean aspect of one of the best located five star luxury hotels in Bangkok. Full house the day of our visit, during the much attended Bangkok Chinese New Year, this was a perfect schedule to check how the service would react with crowds of guests and clients for the bars and restaurants, pouring night and day into the palatial lobby. It was actually so-Thai and so-InterConti: which means smiling, cool, anticipating and definitely faultless. As smooth as silk!
The 381 rooms and suites made us much of an impression. Our “Grand Deluxe”, equivalent of a standard room, oversized (45 sq.M), with a panoramic view, would have pleased the most spoiled traveller. Little bit jet-lagged, we could confirm one more time that InterContinental equips its rooms with the best Posturepedic Sealy mattresses, linen and pillow menus ever. We liked the ergonomic work space with lighting and stationary, and the ritzy bathrooms equipped with an Agraria toiletry kit. There is 46” Flat panel LED TV, DVD player and iPod docking station. Unless you are a privileged IHG Ambassador cardholder, or a suite/Club Room guest, you will be charged for using high-speed internet access / Wi-Fi. The 37th Club Lounge is remarkable, by the way: we have experienced lots of InterContinental Clubs around the world, and from our quite good memory this is -with InterContinental Paris Le Grand- the largest, most luxurious and best serviced on the planet: with high-end F&B, and a most dedicated staff. We would choose to stay at this hotel only for the ecstasy of relaxing in such a classy environment. Last but not least, the panorama is inspiring, with a view over The Royal Bangkok Sport Club and the Erawan Shrine.
We enjoyed refreshment bar, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and canapes at the Club Lounge; but preferred to have our buffet breakfast downstairs, at Espresso. It beats, both in selection and quality, the abundant and top class Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. This is not the cheapest five star buffet (and Sunday Brunch) in the city; but it is worth each cent you would invest on it. The Japanese food-station is memorable, with ultra fresh sushi; the Chinese soups, rice noodles and Dim Sums is a Cornucopia of delicacies. We had a close look, but didn't taste, the lunch buffet: even more impressive than breakfast! We rather experienced the trendy Theo Mio: Italian kitchen by fashionable chef Theo Randall. Fine, and affordable despite on the hotel ++ on the bill: moreover if you order “piccolo” portions, which are sufficient if you also wish to order a yummy dessert, like the irresistible “Crostata di Limone” (Lemon Tart with Vanilla Cream). We promised ourselves that we would smoke a cigar at Balcony Lounge & Humidor Cigar Bar; but time flew, and we postponed it to our next visit: the Thai law is extravagantly repressive with tobacco, and the Land of Smiles looks like Hell to cigar aficionados. Fighting the prohibition in such a ritzy lounge, one glass of Ron Zacapa Centenario in hand, must feel like orgasmic.
What else? More restaurants (good), ballrooms (huge), one terrace pool (small but pleasant), a concierge (efficent), and a five-star-plus SPA with lovely massage suites and inspiring masseuses, where we enjoyed a professional, courteous treatment in an authentic Siamese atmosphere.
If all InterContinental hotels in the world would be that superlative, we would not drop our luggage anywhere else.
INTERCONTINENTAL BANGKOK: 973 Ploen Chit Road , Pathum Wan, Bangkok
PHONE: +66 2 656 0444 FACSIMILE: 66 2 656 0555
CHAKRABONGSE VILLAS (*****L): Lodging in a royal palace and receiving a princely treatment is everyone’s dream. “Secret Retreats” anticipated our megalomania, guiding us to one of the most inspirational properties from their catalog of ambrosial hotels, villas, cruises and restaurants.
Spoiled by our three-week stay in the best five-star hotels in Asia, surprising us was a challenge. Yet, we knew that our taxi was driving us to an excellent address: in the heart of the fascinating old Bangkok, near the fragrant and so beautiful flower market, Museum of Siam, Wat Pho, and the Royal Palace. Along the lively riverfront. Our driver almost missed the elegant entrance gate, with a discreet plate indicating “Chakrabongse House” (pronounce “Tcha-Ka-Bong”). No need to ring the bell: the efficient security officers already saw our car on the CCTV, letting it enter into a large courtyard used as a parking lot. A second gate opened to the Gardens of Heaven surrounding one of the most spectacular boutique hotel which we ever visited in our luxury travelers’ life.
An authentic aristocratic mansion, the “Chakrabongse House” stands proudly opposite the small reception office. Built in 1908 by HRH Prince Chakrabongse, it was originally used by the prince and his relatives to attended royal ceremonies in the Grand Palace, and also for picnics and excursions on the river. Later, after the 1932 revolution, it became the residence of HRH Prince Chula Chakrabongse, writer and historian. An illustrious member of the family of the Chakri Dynasty of Thailand, Prince Chula was a grandson of King Chulalongkorn. The only child of Prince Chakrabongse Bhuvanath and his Ukrainian wife, Ekaterina (Catherine) Desnitskaya (later Mom Catherine Na Phitsanulok), whom love story sounds like a true reminiscence of the semi-fictional novel “Anna and The King”.
We have been lucky enough to visit the Chakrabongse House. This was one of our privileges during a tailored made stay. Still a private property, it is closed to the public and owned by Princess Narisa (Prince Chula’s daughter). The living room, cabinets and offices, corridors and large dining rooms feature the travel and sports souvenirs of this jet-setter and renowned car racer. A resident of the UK, he was actively supervising his cousin Prince Birabongse Bhanudej (“B. Bira“) White Mouse Racing team. Pictures of his races aboard his ERA car, ancestor of the formula one, are exposed in the living room invaded by precious books. An author, he wrote a respected history of the Chakri Dynasty, and also “Blue and Yellow” (a biography about the race-car driver Richard Seaman), travel books (“First-Class Ticket”), his autobiography and some novels. This litterature is available from the “River Books” publishing house, operated next door by Princess Narisa.
Opposite the Chakrabongse House, lovely Siamese villas have been built to welcome the guests of this mundane and hospitable family. Including celebrities like Aung San Suu Kyi. Since a few years, this secret address operates as a boutique hotel. Besides the exquisite Phraya Palazzo, this is from what we know the one and only old Siamese riverside residence offering premium accommodation to the handful of lucky travelers who booked much in advance in one of the four suite/villas, or in the three smaller, yet deliciously cozy rooms.
We must have a good Karma: we could stay in the traditional teak “River View Suite”, with a huge terrace on the Menam Chao Phraya, and a romantic gazebo where our private breakfast was served at sunrise…when the opposite Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn) and the Old Palace woke up. Tropical wood, precious silk, and Thai antiques alternate with modern paintings and Knoll Barcelona leather seats. Decorated, like the rest of the villas, by the “maîtresse de maison”, it didn’t make us feel one single minute staying in a hotel. A private house, indeed, it features a large double bedroom, kitchenette, bathroom, study, sitting room and a veranda. It has a direct access to the pier, where a chartered boat tour the hosts from the river to Thonburi most secrete canals and floating markets. The Chakrabongse Villas owns a rare and splendid “Riva” from the 1960s. This is surely the unique hotel in the Kingdom having this magnificent “Rolls Royce of the Seas” at guest disposal.
Each villa is equipped with an individual thermostatic controller for air-conditioning and humidity, TV/DVD with in-house movies, personal minibar, complimentary fax/printing on request, and complimentary Wi-Fi. We liked the wall of windows allowing a cinematographic panorama on the river from our bedroom and living room, and the intimate writing desk which would inspire a novelist. The place is ideal for artists, old-school travelers, and jet-setters, but also for honeymooners. The Chakrabongse Villas specializes in weddings, and the property is regularly hired for very exclusive parties. It is then totally privatized so that guests should not be bothered by the animation. Shouldn’t it be the episodic noise of the speedboats powerful motors, which didn’t disturb us though we stayed in the closest villa to the river, we spent four days in an oasis of silence and greenery. Which impressed us: so close to tourists’ haunts like the Grand Palace, and with popular markets opened day and night all around. The staff was nonobtrusive, though super-efficient. For instance, we sat each morning at the gazebo for our a-la-carte breakfast; five minutes later coffee, eggs, soups, and fruits were brought to our table by a ravishing feminine butler, who never forgot to drop a copy of the Bangkok Post on the table. Service in Thailand is good, everybody knows; but at the Chakrabongse Villas, it is definitely personalized.
Another example of the dedicated service. Upon arrival, we visited the friendly Chef Wat in his cuisine. He inquired about our preferences for dinner: did we like it “pet” (spicy), with lots of coconut milk, did we prefer fish, meat or vegetarian…? We just suggested that “Tom Kaa Khung” (coconut soup with shrimps) is one of our favorites, and let him design the rest of menu. Hired by Princess Narisa to take care of her private hosts and paying guests alike, which means princely, Chef Wat is a living encyclopedia of the Royal Thai Cuisine. He was a technical adviser to the richly illustrated “Riverside Recipes”, featuring the most secrete tips and tricks to help you cook the most sophisticated and fragrant Siamese specialties (it is on sale at the reception and at the River Books shop). The same day, at 7pm, our table had been elegantly set with candlelight in the small sala-style restaurant, positioned in the direction of the Temple of Dawn (for a breathtaking sunset that time). Very exclusive, dining is normally available for the residents only; if the reservation allows (there are only four or five tables), outsiders can visit this highly reputed and romantic place. They pay twice the resident’s bill; which is positively selective…
The lushly, well-kept gardens with centenary trees diffuse the essences of a large variety of tropical flowers. It is magic to enjoy them after dinner, illuminated by guirlands, and animated by the songs of the frogs playing over the fountains and along the large salted-water swimming pool.
The kind of lodging which makes us like traveling, the Chakrabongse Villas is not more expensive compared with an international five-star hotel in Sukhumvit. Warmly recommended!
CHAKRABONGSE VILLAS: 396 Maharaj Road, Tatien, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.
PHONE: +66 2 222 1290 FACSIMILE: +66 2 224 8248
CABOCHON HOTEL & RESIDENCE (*****L): A top 10 B&B Inns in Bangkok by Tripadvisor, and definitely one of the most exclusive hotels in Thaïland, this residence boasting only 4 Suites and 4 Studios is secretly located at the end of a cul-de-sac, in the fashionable Sukhumvit Road. Though all the banks, prestigious shopping malls, best restaurants, BTS station Phrom Phong, and tourist attractions are located not more than a five-minute walk, the atmosphere at Cabochon remains day and night incredibly quiet: reminiscent of a British colonial gentlemen’s club. Architect Eugene Yeh successfully recreated the Shanghai chic of the 1920s. Immaculate façade, ivory windows, rich columns and prosperous balconies might look little bit pompous; but once in the building, each single detail reflects imagination and good taste.
We felt like stepping into an old-fashioned membership club: there is no lobby, but a Parisian concierge-lodge like reception. We were not feeling in a hotel at all; which was finally pleasant after a couple of weeks spent accommodated in five-star international brands. It would take the whole review describing the original small items and antique catching the attention of the guest. All of them are related to travel: books, maps, turtles and further exotic animals decorating the lounge and the lively corridors, up to the rooms. Trunks are omnipresent everywhere… even in the concept of the elevator, which gave the impression that we entered inside an old Vuitton trunk. We loved that! The designer is a genius.
His skills extend to the studios and suites, decorated with classical murals and montages, vintage-style beds with precious Belgium linen bed sets, a super large working desk in the spacious 58sq.m suites, and polished marble flooring bathrooms with supremely elegant and actually practical sanitary wares from Italy, matching with vintage taps made in the UK. Such an adornment is hard to find in Bangkok; except in the Mandarin-Oriental best suites, we have never seen such a tasty sophistication in the design of a bathroom. We liked also the balconies, with a view on the courtyard framed by lushly tropical palm trees. We often sat there with a book, feeling like miles away from the animated and noisy Sukhumvit Road. At Cabochon, nostalgia alternates with a peak of high-tech: we liked the complimentary Wi-Fi connection, Cable smart TV, and VoiP/SIP phones. The only hotel providing complimentary VoiP / SIP calls which we visited recently was The Peninsula Paris; the level of comfort and service at Cabochon is close to Peninsula, indeed …at a much more accessible rate.
We didn’t get time to enjoy the reputed Thai Lao Yeh restaurant, serving Thai cuisine and introducing the less well-known Chiangmai, E-San, and Laotian fares. The dining room is smart and intimate, and the service amongst the best in Sukhumvit. We experienced the quality of the F&B at breakfast (included in the room rate), served in the plush Joy Luck Club. A name which doesn’t lie: we were lucky to have the joy to sit in the deep red sofas and leather armchairs, feeling like enjoying the secret privilege of the Boodle’s or Caledonian clubs in London. Books and magazines give the place an authentic cultural identity. Thus we found the tables little bit low to enjoy the breakfast in full comfort, the quality of the “a la carte” offer and the selection of small cuts, fruits and pastries at the buffet was remarkable. This is a dreamed place to invite a business partner, and also to enjoy a romance. Cabochon is one of the best hotels in Bangkok for a classy honeymoon.
We didn’t expect a swimming-pool, as space is scarce and expensive in Sukhumvit. That was a real surprise to find a well designed, straight and long pool, on the rooftop of the residence. Due to the limited number of bedrooms, and as all the guests had left for a meeting or shopping after breakfast, we were the unique users of what was during our stay our very private pool on one of the most exclusive roofs in Bangkok.
We discovered the divine Cabochon in the prestigious Secret Retreats catalog: featuring a collection of boutique hotels, intimate inns, and camps, beautifully designed full-service villas, exquisite restaurants, and exotic cruises.
CABOCHON HOTEL & RESIDENCE: 14/29 Sukhumvit 45 Road, Klongton Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
PHONE : +66 2259 2871-3 FACSIMILE : +66 2259 2870
E-MAIL: : email@example.com
SO BANGKOK (*****L): If
hospitality were a religion, this cyclopean hotel would be a
cathedral. One of the most luxurious and impressive hotels in Bangkok,
both in term of volume and
services, this brand new Sofitel So
is a must-be-seen (and a must-stay!) in the vibrant capital of
Thailand where hotels are growing like mushrooms.
We became the privileged hosts of one of the Five Elements -Water, Earth, Wood, Metal, and Fire- 238 guest-rooms and suites (up to 138 sqm) inspired by Thailand’s top design firms and an award-winning architect. The “So-Comfy“ “Water” rooms are reflecting sophistication and calm. Designed by Pongthep Sagulku of August Design, those 38 sq.m rooms are actually convenient and not crushed by a more and more generalized trendiness where design harms to comfort. We liked very much the striking view of Bangkok from floor-to-ceiling windows, extending up to the onyx bathtub, in the marble walls connected open-bathroom. We have been impressed by the high-technology provided in this 21st Century room: the lighting is magic, somehow intriguing, but always efficient and so relaxing. The Samsung plasma TV is equipped with DVD player and Apple TV; we used it quite a lot, as the Internet speed was from far the fastest which we ever experienced in Thailand. There is in fact a direct connection to a dedicated broadband server, only for the hotel, making streaming movies on YouTube as fluid as in Western Europe or in the USA. WiFi was also very fast, and complimentary. Those on a long stay, or visiting Bangkok for business, will like to know that browsing is not a frustration anymore. Though we didn't make much use of it, we noticed with satisfaction that the well filled minibar (soft drinks, water, but also peanuts and other small crackers) came also with the hotel compliments. The walk-in dressing-room with lots of storage space and a large safety-box showed, if necessary, that we were staying in a real palace hotel.
had the chance to inspect further thematic rooms in this hotel
mapped like a “Tree of
Life”. Though our favorite category of room/floor are the warm and cozy
“Water” and “Earth”, we would like to recommend the “Wood” to those
looking for a more classical, somehow easier-to-deal-with design. Our
next stay at Sofitel So will be definitely in the fairy-tale, magically
designed “Earth” rooms: painted in a somehow hypnotic shade of blue,
they won't please all the visitors, for sure. But we loved
first sight: we would recommend them to honeymooners, for
instance. Businessmen should straightly book in a “Earth” room.
There is only one inconvenient in that kind of hotel: it features so many resources that time is not enough to enjoy all of them. We just could peep in the So SPA, located on the 11th floor, providing rejuvenating health & beauty treatments, involving refined French cosmetology. We would have loved to join one of those amok evening parties organized during the week-end on the 10th floor Infinity pool garden terrace. Or to exercise in the So FIT fitness centre, displaying iconic design and high-tech equipment with personal trainer.
The hotel is well known by international gourmets and the local hight society for its discerning restaurants: Australian Executive-Chef Paul Smart worked with the chefs of El Bulli and cooked for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
at Sofitel So Bangkok starts from THB 5,400++ (room only) for a “So
Cosy Room“ during the low season, until THB 9,700++ (with Breakfast +
Club Benefits) for a “So Club Room“ during the high season. Suites
start from THB 11,700++ (with Breakfast + Club Benefits).
SOFITEL SO BANGKOK: 2 North Sathorn Road, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500
PHONE: +66 (0) 2 624 0000 FACSIMILE: +66 (0) 2 624 0111
SOFITEL BANGKOK SUKHUMVIT (*****L): After visiting the so trendy Sofitel So Bangkok, we were curious to compare the quality of this sister hotel, so well positioned in the heart of Sukhumvit. We were expecting a good but austere corporate hotel, and surprisingly enjoyed a cocktail of French chic and Thai atmosphere. One of our top 5 best experiences in Bangkok this year, the Sofitel Sukhumvit, lavishly designed by the architect of the Peninsula Bangkok, reflects the high level of hospitality of a Parisian palace hotel like Le Bristol or Plaza Athénée...at a portion of the price, and with more staff to serve us.
Perfectly trained, naturally kind, attentive and smiling, the employees definitely enjoy their job... and their guests (a good mixture of businessmen and tourists). Check-in was a smooth as silk: promptly with the efficient clerks at the main reception desk, or in style if you booked a Club Millésime Floor suite or room. A little privilege, which allowed us to check directly at the very luxurious Club Millésime Lounge. Though relatively spoiled after spending a couple of months inspecting the best of Southeast Asian hospitality, we have been flabbergasted by the swank design of this modish lounge. No “faux pas”, but a sense of detail and comfort making the place actually tailored made for the businessman (we spent much time working there, pampered by the staff) and leisure travelers alike.
We liked the selection of magazines and daily international newspapers. The space generously allowed to relaxation and work, the sophisticated “à la carte” breakfast with a French touch, served in style by sumptuous hostesses. The soft drinks, and 100% authentic Italian espresso which we could order anytime free-of-charge. The stylish high-tea with yummy “éclairs chocolate” and macaroons, better than Angelina or Ladurée Paris. The rich “Happy Hours” in the evening, providing gourmet snacks, a nice selection of wines and home-made cocktails to those who, like us, set the alarm of their clock to 6 pm not to miss the event. We sat at the ritziest lounge bar in the Kingdom, enjoying the same level of chic and social life like in real Parisian or New Yorker palace hotel. There are a business center and a nice meeting room which can be used one hour per day with compliments. Last but not least, the circular view from the 31st floor is worth the trip to Bangkok!
The 345 rooms are all supremely elegant. We appreciated the carefully waxed timber floor, modish furnishing, and the king-size bed made a comfy cloud: Sofitel is world famous for its legendary “My Bed® “, whose concept is so exceptional that it equips the new Air France “La Première” first-class seats. You can choose your favorite type of pillow from and extended menu. The linen is the finest ever.
We could quickly inspect one of the 3 “Opera Suites” and 2 “Imperial Suites”, with terraces. We princely slept in a 60 sq.m two-room masterpiece “Prestige Suite”. Again, we felt very much in a palace-hotel, from the global style, plus small yet noticeable details like the selection of Hermès products in the refined bathroom equipped with TV. There are two other well sized Smart Led TV sets in the living and the bedroom, with a powerful Bose Lifestyle System. The writing desk is actually set for working, with much space and lots of plugs. The Internet is complimentary and fast: no need to pay an extra fee for the “Premium Bandwidth”. The espresso machine is professional.
The Club privileges include the dedicated service of a butler, and a so useful late check out until 16:00 pm (subject to prior reservation and availability). Style is everywhere at Sofitel Sukhumvit!
Of course, all facilities are here. A SPA, a state-of-the-art fitness club with a very efficient and courteous coach, a large and quiet pool (it is not heated; which is most pleasant during the hot season, and a little bit chilly the rest of the year).
Thumbs up to the F&B: the pride of the hotel. A Top 25 restaurants in Bangkok by Tripadvisor, “L'Appart” is a piece of France, perched on the 32nd floor. So spacious, so chic, with a lot of intimate corners for a business discussion or a romance, and “La Table du Chef” near the open kitchen, this is the signature restaurant at Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit. We heard so much about the “Seafood Market” at “Voilà!”, that we skipped an invitation from a Michelin star chef in another hotel to see if the buffet could beat the one at the nearby InterContinental, which is a cornucopia of delicacies. The response is: yes, it does! Extravagant, super fresh, abundant, with blue lobsters from New Zealand, oysters from Normandy, shells from Brittany, fresh fish filets from the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean... and so fairly priced that we wondered: “-Where is the trick?!”. But no trick at all; ust one of the best dinners which we recently enjoyed in Bangkok. With a smart service, inspired by Laurent in Paris, or Hotel Hermitage / Société des Bains de Mer in Monaco, where the French staff has been trained long years before joining “Voilà”. Serving the royals in Europe, and serving us royally in Bangkok...
This is surely one of the best Sofitel in the world.
SOFITEL BANGKOK SUKHUMVIT: 189 Sukhumvit Road Soi 13-15 Klongtoey Nua Wattana
PHONE: +66 2 1269999 FACSIMILE: +66 2 1269998
ROYAL ORCHID SHERATON HOTEL & TOWERS (*****L): With 726 rooms and suites, the largest hotel on the banks of the Chao Phraya River remains one of the best addresses in Bangkok, after three decades, and despite the opening of dozens of luxury competitors. A non-stop success for this fairly priced hotel, always crowded with those expert travelers knowing that there is no more exciting place to stay in Bangkok than the riverside.
The BTS Taksin station (Silom line) is accessible within less that 10 minutes aboard a stylish complimentary shuttle boat, which we used many time for the pleasure of cruising on the exotic Chao Phraya. Chinatown is located almost next door, wandering in an undiscovered, still authentic part of the city, which the Royal Orchid Sheraton likes to show to his visitors: its lanes, animated by local street-food vendors and friendly inhabitants living exactly like if Bangkok were still a Siamese village, all drive to the neo-gothic Talad Noi’s Holy Rosary Church. Erected in the 19th century, this Portuguese-Catholic is a splendor! The Siam Commercial Bank colonial building is not far. If shopping is your passion, the recently beautified River City is the ideal mall to find luxury fashion items at a good value price. It has also a lot of restaurants and riverside terraces.
There are two ways to discover the cyclopean Royal Orchid Sheraton. The first one, consisting in mixing with the flows of tourists, can be exciting: particularly at breakfast time, when the F&B team do the noteworthy record to seat and feed hundreds of guests! We surprisingly got a table within a couple of minutes, and didn't queue at the generously supplied food stations. The second one, which we recommend, is to make it in style. Booking a Club Room, feeling pampered the palace-hotel way, with a boutique touch. Located on the highest floor, with a memorable panorama over the river, the Sheraton Club Lounge makes Bangkok look magic at sunrise (breakfast time) and sunset (snacks and cocktails time).
Access to the Club privileges starts at check-in, managed as quickly as courteously. We arrived a little bit after 2 pm, and could immediately engage in the afternoon tea, served with cakes and canapes. We couldn't miss the 5:30 pm to 8 pm cocktail, with a rich selection of hors d’oeuvres, wine from the New World (French wine was out-of-stock during our visit: showing that the Club lounge are distinguished connoisseurs...), and liquors from the leading brands worldwide. We liked the top-quality breakfast served in an intimate atmosphere by well trained staff. A variety of international and local newspapers and magazines is on display. Business guests can use the Club Boardroom, 1 hour per day. All complimentary, of course.
Located on the 25th to 28th floors, the 36 sq.m Club Deluxe Riverview Rooms showcase outstanding views of the Chao Phraya from floor-to-ceiling windows. We would just come back to the Sheraton for this million dollar panorama. Bright, with a trendy warm earth tone design, they have a ritzy marble bathroom providing all the imaginable toiletry a globe-trotter with a light bag might need. The safe is actually quite particular: located in a drawer, opening from the top. We didn't use the tea and coffee facility, as we preferred the excellent espresso from the Club Lounge. We liked the complimentary laundry/pressing services, with a generous allowance of three pieces per person per day.
The hotel has two pools. Sports swimmers will prefer the saltwater terrace pool. Yet the hotel main attraction remains since decades its amazing garden pool, surrounded by tropical greenery hosting a family of peacocks! This looks like a little, unexpected Heaven! After swimming, we enjoyed the superbly equipped Fitness Club (with a tennis court). We had not time for the Mandara SPA, reputed one of the best in the city.
The hotel houses four riverside restaurants, highly popular among Bangkok residents. Italian, Thai, Asian and International/BBQ cuisines are all excellent. We had a palatable, al fresco seafood experience at the chic and sleek Riverside Grill. Fair bill and relaxed atmosphere. Supremely attentive service, like everywhere in this caravanserai of luxury.
ROYAL ORCHID SHERATON HOTEL & TOWERS: 2 Charoen Krung Road Soi 30 (Captain Bush Lane) Siphya, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500
PHONE: +66 2 266 0123
THE RIVER RESIDENCES BY KLAPSONS (*****L): Tired of the hotels rooms, and looking for suites fitted for a king, at an unbeatable value for money? Then this newest, best top ten best-serviced apartment in Bangkok will match your requirement. We stayed previously at the next door Peninsula Bangkok and, astonishingly, found the same comfort and level of service at the more boutique River Residences. Located on the 23rd to 31st floors of the North Tower of The River Condominium, it features a collection of large suites, with a million dollar view on the river Chao Phraya. The 69 innovative units, lavishly crafted by William Sawaya, of contemporary design forerunner Sawaya & Moroni, provide a perception of real intimacy, with a discreet, discerning touch of modern luxury.
Each category of suite offers spatial functionality. We liked the huge balconies, the lovely American cuisine providing the latest technologies, and the washing machine with incorporated dryer, hidden in a discreet cabinet: we could manage our laundry by ourselves, just pushing one button. A detail for a businessman, maybe; but so useful when traveling with the family. The toiletry kit by Chopard, in the refined and large bathroom (with shower and tub), is so stylish that this is the first time in many years spend visiting five star hotels that we slipped a couple of bottles in our bag as a souvenir...
We loved the “River Suites” at first sight. Large, indeed: 230 sqm, housing three bedrooms (fitting family stay, or holiday with friends), a spacious living room, and even an attached library. The bonus is the view: the immaculate floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing optimal light, encircles the suite; making the guest feeling like embracing the river and the rest of the city. Even the best suites at The Mandarin Oriental didn't provoke such an impression! Each suite has a complimentary espresso coffee machine, large screen Sat TV, and of course WiFi.
The hotel has a gym, not less than 7 pools -indeed!- on the 5th floor, with a magnificent well kept garden. Plus one panoramic pool located behind the 23rd-floor trendy lobby: partly covered from the sun, with a breathtaking city/river view, it has a cool salted water, which we found particularly soothing during the hot season.
The BTS station Saphan Taksin stands 3 minutes away, using the complimentary hotel shuttle boat. The famous Asiatique riverside restaurants / shopping park can be reached from there within less than ten minutes.
Now, the big difference between The River Residences and the other hotels consists in the fact that you can”t book per night, but per period. A 30 days prepaid card, valid one year, makes a five-star suite ridiculously cheap: starting from a little bit more than USD 60 / day... Which sounds the best value ever, in this category, for businessmen on a regular trip to Bangkok.
That was our best find of the year 2017 in Bangkok.
THE RIVER RESIDENCES BY KLAPSONS: 110/725 Soi Charoennakorn, 13 Charoennakorn Road
Klongtonsai, Klong Sarn, Bangkok 10600
PHONE: +66 2 803 8100 FACSIMILE: +66 2 861 0366
DUSIT THANI (*****L): We discovered this lavish hotel a couple of decades ago, and stayed there on many occasions with increasing pleasure: breathing its luxurious and typically Siamese atmosphere, enjoying supreme comfort and unmatched service. The anticipating staff pampers one of the most distinguished clientele in the world. Our ultimate inspection gave us the global impression that the Thai Royal Family's favorite hotel is bumping into The Mandarin Oriental, challenging for the title of the best hotel in town. Of course, the Silom area is not as romantic as the banks of the river Chao Phraya; but the shady and relaxing Lumpini Park (Bangkok “Central Park“) stays across the street. Night life is animated, with Patpong and plenty of open air seafood restaurants nearby. Last but not least, we like very much the proximity of both Sky Train (BTS) and underground Metro (MRT): located just beside the hotel main entrance, those clean, reliable, air-conditioned means of transportation drive you everywhere (Siam Square, Sukhumvit shopping and business district, Chatutchak market, Chinatown, Chao Phraya riverside...) within a few minutes, ignoring the dreadful Bangkok traffic!
Most of the rooms and junior suites have been recently redesigned in the 2000s into a somehow «Zen» style; replacing the Old World atmosphere of the «Landmark Rooms» which made the reputation of the hotel until the new millennium and its modernization policy. No more period furniture and deep sofas; but a functional, minimalist though stylish concept, with high tech communication system (the High Speed Internet is, indeed, high speed! Not so common in Thailand...), flat screen LCD TV... and a huge bathroom equipped with inviting Japanese toilets with heated seat and bidet! We would advise you to book a Dusit Club Room, or a Dusit Grand Room: they are larger, and display ritzy bathrooms. Our preference goes to the «Thai heritage Suites»: superb and extra large, with splendid bathrooms, they match The Mandarin Oriental. In the past we stayed in the «Sukkothai » and «Lopburi» suites: an amazing experience. Of course, exclusive suites guests enjoy the privilege of the Dusit Club Lounge: like complimentary Internet, credit for express laundry (we gave a ink stained shirt, which came back immaculate!), pillow menu, bath menu... This recently beautified lounge has always been -and actually remains- one of the top 5 best VIP lounges in Bangkok. This is were we had breakfast (the fantastic staff even prepared a gourmand breakfast bag the day of our early morning departure to the airport!), and where snacks are served all days long: we could taste lobster rolls, king prawns, French goose liver... while many other hotels serve very common canapés! There is a fine selection of Californian and Australian wines (we were in vain expecting French wine in such an exclusive hotel), whiskeys and brandies. The fruit juices are freshly pressed, and the coffee is Italian. Five star go to this lounge!
A «Dusit Club Room» will cost you approximately US$ 200 - 250. This is the kind of accommodation we would like to recommend. If you want to feel like a kind, you will be expected to pay about US$ 300 - 350 for a “Thai Heritage Suite“. The price of a three star room in a chain hotel in London! Indeed, this is a wonderful value for money.
Staff is most friendly and helpful: calling you by your name, and remembering your face until your next visit! The reception staff is one of the best in Bangkok: smiling, kind and ultra efficient.
The restaurants are reputed among the Bangkok happy few. The local upper class considers that the Mayflower serves a classy Cantonese cuisine. Queen Sirikit is one of its faithful guests. The Thien Duong proposes affordable, “almost athentic“ Vietnamese dishes (the restaurant manager didn't know that “Baguette“ was a top 5 specialities in Indochina!). We used to like very much the Royal Thai cuisine served at Benjarong, though our recent visits were rather disappointing. Last but not least, the 22 Kitchen & Bar, accessed by a private lift, serves a very innovative “Coastal Cuisine“ by Chef Nikolas Ramirez. Just make sure that you booked a table with a view, indeed: the panorama over Bangkok is breathtaking, night and day.
For lunch and breakfast, forget the impersonal coffee shop: just like in any international hotel, it is definitely standard, and packed with dull businessmen and noisy groups of tourists “enjoying“ one of the most mediocre so-called five star buffet in Thailand. Rather go to the exquisite Hamilton Steak House: great food, and warm atmosphere. The staff at this fine American-style restaurant matches the best European maîtres d'.
There is a world class fitness club: working up there, enjoying a sauna or a steam bath, is a most pleasure way to relax. Guets will even find a more than decent training golf-range on the roof ! We experienced Devarana Spa. « Devarana » means « garden in heaven ». Right definition for this outstanding beauty and massage studio, where skilled therapists provide guests with the ultimate in relaxation and pampering. We arrived with a slight jet lag; getting rid of it thanks to the soft 90 minutes massage we received in one of the elegant, peaceful suites decorated in a discrete Thai design. Rates are attractive, and money saving individual or couple membership applies for long stay guests.
Unfortunately marked for demolition, the
Dusit Thani is programmed to close its doors on January 5th, 2019. This
awesome hotel is a
member of the «Global
VIE HOTEL BANGKOK
this sleek, new boutique hotel, Accor made one step further into
luxury: The Mandarin Oriental, Dusit Thani or Siam Kempinski guests
would find the same plush rooms, amazingly large suites, fine dining
and level of service in this still little
bit confidential hotel as in the well established and much publicized
high-end hotels in Bangkok. Maybe because it became one of them...
have undoubtedly been positively surprised by VIE Bangkok: introduced
as a boutique hotel, it has all what one might expect from a small,
intimate property; plus all the advantages of a large palace hotel.
With 154 rooms
spacious in any category (38 up to 420 sq.m), featuring super high
ceilings in the splendid Duplex Suites, the VIE doesn't look like that
much boutique from outside; but once in the zen and human-sized lobby,
the homey atmosphere popped up, and we felt so much pampered by the
staff that, yes, indeed, boutique is a proper word to define this
refined hotel managed by Accor, but owned by a local family which cares
on each detail to make it looks like all but a chain hotel. We have
already visited some M
Gallery Hotels by Accor;
VIE beats them all in term of luxury, and already received many awards
(Best Boutique Hotel by AsiaRooms.com, “Trendy in Asia” award by
Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards, “Best Newcomer in Bangkok”
by Wotif.com, “Best Urban Hotel” by Anywhere Magazine, etc).
CHATRIUM HOTEL RIVERSIDE BANGKOK (*****L): Being permanently ranked among the Top 20 best hotels in Bangkok by Tripadvisor should be enough to attract any traveler looking for luxury and top-quality. The Chatrium Riverside, which we experienced three times already with an increasing pleasure, is one of the most impressive hotels in South East Asia. The location of this 36-story tower, with an elegant progressive architecture, is unbeatable: right on the bank of the River Chao Phraya. Allowing a sweeping view of the «Menam» and the «City of Angels», from the oversized windows of the 396 rooms... which are actually lavish suites, covering from 60 Sqm. for a Deluxe Room, until not less than 460 Sqm. for the largest Presidential Suite in Bangkok.
We booked a 120 Sqm Two Bedroom Chatrium Suite, which was perfectly suitable for a family stay. Just like all the suites, it featured a spacious balcony, floor-to-ceiling windows that afford optimal light, four-fixture bathroom with separate tub and shower, fully-equipped kitchen, and dining table. The beds are amazingly smooth and top-comfortable. Chatrium Suites features three zones, each with its own unique style of accommodation: Grand Floors (7-31), Executive Floors (32-34) and the Premier Floor (35). The outdoor Olympic-size swimming pool on the 6th floor, with a pleasant and romantic river view, is easily accessible from all floors. Guest of the Executive Floor and Premier Floor are entitled to the exclusive «Club» complimentary privileges: breakfast at River Barge Restaurant or in the stunning «Chatrium Club Lounge», in-room hi-speed internet connection, one-hour use of the meeting room in Business Center per stay, laundry service for 2 pieces per day, late check out until 6:00 pm, and use of the club lounge on the 36th floor. Tailored-made for the distinctive traveler, the recently upgraded «Chatrium Club Lounge» also hosts the Business Center and boardrooms: it offers VIP breakfast, all-day refreshments, and evening cocktails with canapés from 5pm to 7pm. A great place to socialize with the other guests! We like very much the «Chatrium Club Lounge» philosophy, and our personal experience through the years confirmed how well the Chatrium Riverside controls the concept vs the competitors.
Though, you don't need to be an executive guest to enjoy the splendid service which participates in the prestige of the Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok. We have been systematically called by our name by the staff, which is actually 5-star: from the security guard checking our taxi fare upon arrival, just to make sure we had not been cheated by the driver, till the extremely active and efficient room-division manager, we found so much kindness and respectful hospitality in this hotel! This was a good surprise, as the Chatrium is large and new. Two factors which, normally, do not facilitate a personalized service. It took short time to train the staff to a supreme efficiency: making the guests feeling perfectly at home.
The breakfast, served in the River Barge restaurant, with its curved windows overlooking the river, is delicious. Note that it features plenty of Asian (Thai, Chinese and Japanese) delicacies. The place is very popular for its international cuisine and regional specialties buffet-style and à la carte. We had a great Sunday Brunch at Silver Waves: located on the 36th floor, this chic Chinese restaurant features authentic Cantonese cuisine served in a setting that affords breathtaking 360-degree panoramas views of the cityscape and the river. The selection of Dim-Sums is almost unlimited, and the quality is high end... for less than USD 20.
The professional fitness-club is richly equipped with the lastest instruments available on the work-out market. Impressive! Another bonus is the classy, vintage teak-wood shuttle boat, linking the hotel with a too short -5 minutes- river cruise to/from the Taksin BTS - SkyTrain Station: assuring that all points of the city are within reach.
expressly to meet needs of discerning business and leisure travellers,
Bangkok is the new, and certainly the most brilliant,
in the legendary Thai five star hotel industry.
HOTEL RIVERSIDE BANGKOK: 28 Charoenkrung Soi 70, Bangkholame,
By contrast, the 303 rooms (including 42 suites), as well as 98 serviced residences, look like a homey, actually relaxing retreat. Matching the high standard of the hotel: with a hip, contemporary interior, warm parquets, high walls covered with precious wild silk, fabulous king-size bed, balcony with garden & pool view... And certainly the most spacious bathroom downtown: so large and richly appointed. «Boutique» by the design, palace-hotel by the concept, we actually liked our Deluxe Room: featuring a large LED flat screen with video on demand, Internet radio and media entertainment system, iPod connectivity, complimentary LAN and wireless broadband internet. As a bonus, all the items in the minibar (mineral water, soft drinks and beer) were provided free of charge; just like the Lavazza Expresso capsules for a premium coffee facility! If luxury is not enough, just book one of the Cabana Rooms, displaying private terrace overlooking the garden with direct pool access. Executive rooms and suites guests can enjoy the privilege of the exclusive Executive Lounge. Opening offers and packages are available at fair price.
Though we didn't experience the restaurants yet, judging from the extraordinary quality of the breakfast -one of thee finest ever enjoyed in Thailand- they must all offer splendid dinning. Which sounds like a necessary challenge: right in the heart of Bangkok, the hotel is surrounded by the best restaurants, and the high end Siam Paragon shopping mall, with plenty of gourmet resources, is located next door: an anticipating, elegant security guard will even stop all the cars to make you cross the street safely! Isn't it a five star service!?
to say that we warmly recommend this remarkable palace-hotel.
THE PENINSULA (*****L): Since almost a couple of decades, The Peninsula Bangkok offers to the traveller a splendid riverside alternative to the legendary Oriental. Both hotels are facing each others: without the river Chao Phraya as a border line, sure a merciless war should had broken out already. Such a concurrence is a splendid opportunity for who is looking for superlative service and comfort in Bangkok. According to us, The Peninsula quickly took the post position: it will do its very best to keep it. While The Oriental is located in a much congestion area, which is inconvenient for businessmen, The Peninsula stands on the Thonburi side of the river: traffic is still OK there, and the highway is accessible in a few minutes. There is a private pier and river shuttle, with check in/checkout facility on opposite bank.
The lobby is palatial. Some find it quite cold; personally, we loved it distinction at first sight. The staff is extremely courteous: which is quite normal in a five star deluxe hotel in Thailand. One of the most impressive difference with other hotels of this category comes with the brand new Rolls Royce Silver Spur II, available for glamourous and top comfortable transportation (THB 1,800 per hour, inside Bangkok). The Dusit Thani used to have its Silver Shadow II fleet, but unfortunately stopped the operation five years ago. Distinctive travellers will hear with pleasure that the Spirit of Ecstasy is back in Bangkok !
Rooms are exceptional. Large: about 46 sq.m. All with a dramatic view over the river. They are certainly the most sophisticated in town nowadays. They come with invisible fax machine, discretely integrated inside the desk. Besides the king size beds, a master switch controls light, air conditioner, and TV. Bathrooms would suit a Roman emperor. Made out of yellow and black precious marble, they are equipped with a TV set: having an aromatic herbs bath while watching a good movie is considered here as a basic facility. The suites are too new to get the charm of those at The Oriental or Dusit Thani; but on the other hand, they offer much more luxury. Impossible to find more comfortable, glamourous and ritzy than The Peninsula Suite. Imagine a duplex, designed like a multimillionaire's apartment, with Chinese furniture and antiques, deep and smooth sofas covered with gold Thai silk, huge bedrooms (including a small one for the butler), a large dining room with separate kitchen, bathrooms with Jacuzzi and, last but not least, an open air sun deck with hot tub overlooking the river and the all city of Bangkok. There is no hotel in South East Asia, even The Raffles in Singapore, offering such a superlative suite. At US$ 2,600 ++ per night, happy few will still find it good value for money. Budget minded traveller will just refuse to believe it when we would reveal the promotional rate for a standard room: US$ 85 only ! We couldn't believe it ourselves; but the hotel needs to offer flat introductory rates to keep with its fame in an economically stricken Thailand. A Superior Suite is US$ 120...
The pool is a long and straight one, with some waterfalls: we like its design. The pool side is much pleasant: very tropical, with a its private “khlong“ (canal), and small lake with a Thai Sala. The fitness center is one of the best equipped and luxurious in Bangkok. It is equipped with Californian work-out equipment, and has a very pleasant hot tub. Of course there is a sauna, and all the basic facilities one could find in any international hotel.
Fitted for VIPs, The Peninsula has its own helipad. Only the Shangri-La can compete with it on this matter. Before flying over Bangkok, the passengers can have a drink in the very high tech and intimate Paribatra lounge. We enjoyed the place very much, with its aviation related decorative items.
We had delicious Dim-Sums, Egg Noodles with Seafood and Moon Cakes at the Mei Jiang: The Peninsula relaxing and smart Chinese restaurant was full the day of our visit. Excellent service: they even get some kind of a sommelier... specialized in tea ! The Cilandro is serving Thai specialities. For lunch, it displays a superb international buffet. There is a terrace for outdoor evening barbecue. Such a luxurious place should have its French restaurant; it does not. As there is the top famous Normandy, at The Oriental, the management certainly preferred to offer a more relaxed alternative to smart dinners: with Jesters. There is some Philippe Starck's influence, indeed, in that trendy room, decorated with aluminium, painted steel, and high tech furniture. A large window faces the river. There is a live band. By night, it may be extremely romantic to have a candle light dinner there. They serve “Pacific Rim“ cuisine: we still ignore what it means... More details will be provided after our next inspection.
Part of the PENINSULA
GROUP OF HOTELS.
RAMADA PLAZA MENAM RIVERSIDE BANGKOK (*****): One of the most pleasant, and definitely the most affordable riverside hotels in Bangkok. This lavish, yet family friendly five star hotel, managed by Ramada since 2008, offers an international quality of services in an authentic Thai atmosphere. It has one of the kindest and most anticipating staff in town. Nothing changed since our previous stay! We have been called by our name, each of our request was welcomed with a smile, and some small yet noticiable details made this well managed hotel (GM Klaus Sennik worked many years for Intercontinental) a discounted alternative to legendary hotels like nearby Mandarin Oriental: a glass a cold water and fresh towels presented over a silver tray to exhausted passengers on the shuttle boat on a canicular day is a kind attention that we noted only from one hotel in Bangkok: Ramada Plaza Riverside!
The 525 rooms and suites (featuring 23 rooms for disabled guests) have been designed classically and pleasantly. We felt like the practical American comfort, with a subtle Asian touch. Our Club Room, located on the 16th floor, overlooked the pool, allowing a breathtaking river view. Rooms have twin or king sized bed, coffee / tea facility, a large working desk, and are all en-suite with bath and separate shower. There is of course LCD Sat TV with indeed many western channels, a digital safe, and free high-speed WiFi.
Besides the service and location, what makes us come back to this ideal hotel is the new Executive Club Lounge. One of the best which we have experienced in Bangkok, it occupies the two top floors and has a unique river and city panorama. Club Rooms, Plaza Suites and Terrace Suites privileged guests can enjoy private check in / out, a refined privatized buffet breakfast, an elegant high-tea with a selection of cakes and canapés, and a much attended evening cocktails with quality imported wines and five-star “tapas“, fruits, and pastries which could replace a dinner at ease... There is a pleasant, well equipped boardroom which clients can use for a business meeting 1 hour per day. In-room bonuses feature daily fruit basket and fresh flowers, privilege laundry/pressing services, city calls, turn down service, shoe shine service, and a most appreciated late check-out. All complimentary. Last but not least, Executive Lounge guests receive attractive discounted F&B offers. This lounge looks like Paradise in a paradisiac hotel!
Just like the lovely Terrace suites, the Presidential suite, located on the 16th floor, offers spectacular views of the river Chao Phraya from its large terrace, equipped with a private Jacuzzi. With two bedrooms, a large lounge and dining area, it is a very enjoyable for romance or business.
Eight restaurants and bars complete the warm, friendly ambience of the Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Bangkok. Using fresh local ingredients, plus some imported delicacies for a finest cuisine, all of them apply a very reasonable policy in term of price: much cheaper than what one could expect in a luxury hotel. The new Eurasian Grill caters a high-end clientele, and the Ah Yat Abalone Forum Restaurant is well known for Chef Yeung Koon Yat's Hong Kong style cuisine, specializing in abalone. Our favorite bar is the romantic, cool Terrace@72 Restaurant & Bar: with its illuminated bar and chairs located in the open air, along the river. This is where we enjoyed one the best breakfasts in Bangkok (with a great Thai, Chinese and Japanese food corner): though serving more than a thousand guests every morning, the staff always recognized us, remembering perfectly that we didn't like American coffee but double espresso. Extremely busy to serve everybody promptly, we always had a short discussion with a kind word from part of the anticipating head waiter. We had an inspection stay at the Mandarin Oriental after experiencing the Ramada, and the service and ambiance at the river terrace was quite similar (thought much more pricey at M.O). Service in the room was first class also: our kind maid inquired each morning and evening about any special request. The reception staff -and particularly the female concierges- was extremely kind and efficient. Five star, indeed. We crossed by the GM almost all the time in the lobby, taking care personally of his guests, VIP or not.
There is a well appointed wellness & SPA, and a large pool which is not so much oriented to the sun, with quite cool water: so refreshing during the hot days, and ideal for children (and Asian guests, disliking sun-tanning). Those preferring «farniente» can use the spacious and airy sun-deck, with many beds along the river, just close to the pool.
The riverfront is developping quickly with new, amazing projects. Making the hotel location definitely strategic. Away from the noisy downtown districts, it offers an enchanting seven minutes complimentary pleasant cruise, aboard the complimentary hotel shuttle-boat: transporting you in style to the Taksin Bridge BTS sky-train station and public speedboats station. Making all the attractions, shops, and business a few minutes away from the hotel: avoiding the stress of the terrible traffic jams which participates in the infamous reputation of Bangkok. Moreover, the hotel stands in a very authentic, safe and friendly area which is well worth the exploration, away from the tourists paths. You will love the small temples, fresh fruits and flowers sellers, and the old Chinese shops all around. Last but not least, the new and so entertaining Asiatique Riverfront mall and night-market, with lots of inexpensive and good restaurants, is located next door!
Rates vary according to the season. A Deluxe Room with breakfast costs about THB 4,000 in the low season, till approximately THB 6,000 in the high season. Exciting packages and special offers apply.
This remains since many years one of our favourite addresses in Bangkok.
PLAZA MENAM RIVERSIDE BANGKOK: 2074 Charoenkrung Rd.,
The hotel took the best from America (excellent security, high tech everywhere, huge rooms...) and Thailand (palatial lobby, Thai design and superb service).
We stayed in an Executive Suite: fairly well appointed, with deep sofas, CD player, a panoramic plasma TV in our large living room, plus a a 32 inches flat screen in our bedroom. The king-size bed was extremely comfy, with down comforters and custom duvets, and the bathroom large enough to accommodate a family... From the razors to the toothbrush or talc powder: nothing was missing in the extended toilet kit provided to the guest. All rooms feature tea and coffee facility and ironing board with a steam iron... Which we found very useful for a quick pressing of our jackets. Last but not least, the panorama over the city was fantastic.
This five star environment is completed by a top comfortable Executive Lounge; its access is actually limited to a very limited number of happy few, and we immediately felt at ease there. This is the place for breakfast and complimentary drinks and snacks. There is high speed WiFi also: a pleasant place to work and communicate, indeed.
Now, what actually makes the difference with other hotels is the breakfast, in the Marriott Café: we enjoyed it so much! The location if bright, pleasant, with a lot of families. You don't feel like in a corporate hotel (but is it so?). The buffet is gargantuan, with a variety of delicacies we found nowhere else in Bangkok. From the Scottish salmon to the Italian sausage, from the French « pain au chocolat » to the bagel, with a wonderful Asian corner (great Dim Sums and fried noodles with tiger prawns...). This is what would make us come back again, and again. The price of the breakfast, included in the room rates with some packages (or if you stay in the Executive Floor), is a great value for money. The impressive quality of the F&B comes graduating in the New-York Steakhouse, Man Ho Chinese Restaurant, TsuNami Japanese Teppanyaki Steakhouse (with all sorts of Saté and rare kobe beef), and White Elephant Thai Restaurant which are all very famous in Bangkok, and very much visited by expats and prominent Thai personalities.
We also appreciated the express check-in and check-out, the very friendly and efficient concierges (the head-concierge is a « Clef d'Or », and can solve on the spot any problem the guest might encounter with the somehow sophisticated in-room high tech equipment), and the way the hotel staff cares about you security, even after checking out (taxi reference is taken, in case of any problem with the fare or lost item!).
Price for a double deluxe room starts from THB 6,900 THB ++ to THB 8,000 ++.
hotel, well worth the stay.
LEBUA AT STATE TOWER (*****): Extraordinary, extravagant, exorbitant... the easiest way to review such a hotel would consist in concentrating superlatives. This is the place where each detail, each movement, each word has been thought up carefully to please much spoiled -though amazingly young- guests, conviced that they had already visited the best hotels in the world. The Lebua makes them change their mind... It took just a few years to build a universal reputation, rank atop, and get unanimous reviews in the medias worldwide. The tallest five star hotel in Bangkok? The most impressive concentration of staff we have ever seen? The largest rooms (which are all suites)? The highest terrace-restaurants? The most expensive dinner ever served in the World (at 1 million US$ a head!!!)? There is only one reply to this quiz: Lebua!
The hotel extends from the 47th till 65th floors of a cyclopean neo-classic sky-scrapper, located right in the center of Bangkok, between Silom Rd shopping district and the Chao Phraya River. The lobby is warm, intimate: it made us feel like in a small luxury hotel: which the Lebua actually is, with only 198 suites. Our Three Bedroom Executive Suite was palatial,, with 266 Sq. M fitted for a king. Our check-in took place in the «intimacy» of a living-room which could host at ease a private party (which sometimes happens, when guests require a private in-suite chef to take care of their gastronomic entertainment!): it was flanked by a service kitchen, with a large refrigerator and all the kitchenware adapted for premium cooking sessions... Another particularity: we were kindly asked to sign up a discharge before we got access to our large, round shaped balconies with a stunning view of the Chao Praya River and the whole metropolis... Who would commit suicide, being already at Heaven in this dreamed hotel?
The design of the suites is modern, trendy with large tables and sofas, elegant parquets and fine carpets. The king-size beds are as smooth as silk, with sweet linen and duveted mattresses. There is a Sat TV in each room, with DVD, and complimentary high speed broadband Internet. We liked the spacious marble bathrooms, with top quality Bvlgari amenities. This glamorous atmosphere infuses a restful relief from the hot glare of the city. Service is anticipating and so discreet: we have never been disturbed, though the movement was permanent once we left our suite, which was cleaned many times a day, and generously provided with fresh fruits, fine chocolates and snacks... Each morning was a delight: the Buffet Breakfast was sumptuous. We recommend the Dim Sums and the Sushis. It is served at Café Mozu (a place for belly dancing, each evening, in an atmosphere which remembered us the Buddha Bar in Paris), by one of the best trained -and beautiful- waitresses in Bangkok. They call each VIP -which means 100% of the guests!- by his name, and remember by heart any personal taste and requirement .
The hotel pride remains The Dôme: located at the 51th-65rd floor, this is a congregating of fine dining scenes under one roof. We had a wonderful gastronomic experience at Breeze. Seating in the open-air terrace, close to the stars, with a bird's eye glimpse of Bangkok. This multi-awarded restaurant, has been designed to revolutionize the Asian style seafood-dining, The steamed jasmine rice, mixed with abalones and lobster meat, and the Dim Sums are just sumptuous! This is, with Sirocco, Mezzaluna (the best Italian five star restaurant in town), Distil and the Sky Bar (unforgettable: perched on the 63rd floor), the only restaurants and bars in the Kingdom of Thailand recognized by Conde Nast Traveller 2005-2007.
There is a pleasant Mezzanine floor open-air pool with Jacuzzi, a large Fitness Center with the ultimate equipment and kind coaches, and one of the most competent concierge in town offering very special services: like staff welcoming you directly at the plane, guiding you through the immigration and luggage processes, while a comfortable air-conditioned limousine with a uniformed driver awaits for you at the gate... Such is Lebua, and such we loved it!
to The Lebua to see Bangkok; go to Bangkok to see The Lebua!
PHONE: +662 624 9999 FACSIMILE: 624 9998
RIVA SURYA (****L): Modish, awesome, cool, trendy, but affordable: how comes we didn't know this riverside boutique hotel sooner? A chic dinner aboard the Supanniga boat, parking at the hotel pier, was the starting point to our discovery. The so unique location, the inventive design of the building, the pool which gives the impression that you are swimming in the Chao Phraya river... We had to spend a few nights in this four-star luxury getaway, indeed!
Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, Riva Surya is ideally situated close to The Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. It takes less than five minutes to order a speedboat for an excursion along the picturesque “khlongs” (canals) of Thonburi. We liked to stay in the preserved, quiet and exclusive environment of this hotel, then venturing after dark into the touristy and badly cheap streets of Khao San Road. Though we have never been fans of this neighboring backpackers area, we must admit that some pubs and simple BBQ restaurants are quite atmospheric...before getting back to sleep in the luxury of our hotel!
This was always a pleasure to enter the appealing lobby after a long walk, greeted by the young and enthusiastic staff, and have a cocktail at The Garden or Mezzanine Bar, by the cool and so tempting riverside swimming pool. The hotel is actually worth for its riverside activities: like the gourmand breakfast (we liked the dim sums and the large choice of tropical fruits), and breezy dinner making us feel like on the deck of a cruiser.
The Babble & Rum Restaurant serves a reasonably priced Thai cuisine, based on fresh, local organic ingredients, in the rustic atmosphere of a market-inspired dining area. Seafood and western dishes are also proposed in the extended “à la carte”, with always a lot of promotion and daily offers.
The 68 rooms are refined and homey. Book a river view: the “sala” terraces are definitely unique. They are the closest to the Chao Phraya in all Bangkok. We felt like staying on a ship, indeed: with the non-stop animation of the “Menam” just opposite our sofa. We stayed in the best riverside hotels, but none can compete with Riva Surya in term of proximity. Besides the stylish design and location of the hotel, this is what would make us come back without hesitation.
The 40 sq. m Deluxe Riva Rooms and 48 sq. m Premium Riva Rooms are superb, with a perfect touch of each detail: five-star bathrooms, 400-thread count bed linens, entertaining system featuring LCD Sat TV and iPod docking station, and nice looking contemporary Siamese furnishings.
Very boutique! Very chic, the Riva Surya is tailored made for honeymoon or wedding. One of the most precious boutique hotels in “Venice of the East”, this is the pearl in the SNH Collection.
RIVA SURYA: 23 Phra Arthit Road, Phranakorn,
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
PHONE: +66 2 6335000 FACSIMILE: +66 2 6335050
PRAYA PALAZZO (****L): We
try to find out the
convenient adjective to express our impression after our stay in this
hotel; if “unique“ were not so neo-marketing nowadays, this
would have been the ad hoc word. There is no place like that
Bangkok. We can't
even call “hotel“ this residence, built in 1923, by Colonel Praya
Chollabhumipanic: a Thai-Chinese millionaire and nobleman who worked
closely with King Chulalongkorn. The “Ban Bang Yee Khan” (former name
of the Praya Palazzo), last mansion of that kind surviving along the
river banks, has lost none of its soul after a complete and faithful
restoration, opening to the public in 2009 as a landmark of hospitality.
LIT! (****L): Operating
since 2011 and permanently
on the top of Tripadvisor, this cool boutique hotel combines
the international luxury of a four star superior hotel and a
bewildering colorful design with a Thai influence. A rare, attractive
concept, with one of the best locations in central Bangkok:
just off the hip
Siam Square, opposite MBK (our favorite shopping center in Bangkok!),
with a quick access to both Rachatewi and National Stadium BTS - Sky
(making Sukhumvit, Silom and Riverside areas a 10 till 15 minutes
DU ZI (****L): One of the most surprising,
sophisticated small boutique hotels in Bangkok, located
at the most vibrant intersection of the extravagant Sukhumvit area, Ma
Du Zi comes with a touch of glamour, lots of luxury, and the intimacy
of a family run property. Almost opposite the exit gate of both
BTS and MRT metro station Asok, surrounded by banks, shopping malls,
and clinics (Asok is well known for its myriad of dentists and plastic
the low rise, modern building hides itself behind the closed
gates of Heaven. Once in this sanctuary of luxury and
tranquillity, stress suddenly vanishes and life passes by more slowly
REMBRANDT (****L): Those looking for a deluxe hotel with a warm, relaxed atmosphere, not to mention an amazingly good value for money, will like the Rembrandt. One of the most popular top class hotels in Bangkok, revamped with upgraded rooms (including nice family rooms), a stylish lobby-bar, and a well appointed Executive Lounge -with a stunning view of the city!- which we used very much during our stay.
With its tall architecture and 407 rooms and suites, the Rembrandt looks like very much a corporate hotel; which comes quite correct, as many businessmen made it their home away from home. Nevertheless, this is also a perfect resource for leisure travellers looking for a softer notion of luxury. We found there one of the best level of hospitality we would ever expect in South East Asia; while there was no kind of plush ostentation at all. Except in the palatial «Rang Mahal» restaurant, the design remains «bourgeois» but not rich: making everybody feel at ease for a lovely holiday or business stay in the City of Angels.
The rooms (30 Sq. M, with flat-screen TV, WiFi, large duveted beds...) are divided in different categories, though there is actually not a real difference between a Superior, Deluxe or Executive Room. After the refurbishment of the hotel, an egalitarian comfort comes to each floor. Nevertheless, we would like to recommend business travellers and couples, looking for a little extra and more intimacy, to rather choose the latest category: the 24th floor Executive Lounge is one of the most cosy in Bangkok (we have experienced almost all of them...). This is the place for separate express check-in and check-out, complimentary soft drinks and sweets all day long (alcohols and fine canapes are served in the evening), Internet surfing (you can use the two computers, or ask for your 24h free Wi-Fi password to the beautiful hostesses)... The Lounge is quite small, but well designed for intimacy and discreet business discussion. There is even a meeting room, which comes also complimentary. We liked the regular visit of the resident manager, F&B and general manager to greet the guests (some are regular since decades), inquiring on feedback or any special requirement: very professional and courteous, indeed.
We also enjoyed the Rembrandt so much for its restaurants. F&B is brilliant and amazingly affordable; prices are miles away from those applied by the competitors. The legendary “Rang Mahal” is the hotel pride: this is the most authentic and luxurious Indian restaurant in Bangkok. We had a dinner there, and were quite astonished to see that at least 80% of the merry dinners where Indians! So, no development concerning the quality seems necessary. “Red Pepper” serves delicious Thai dishes in a lovely environment. It is extremely cheap, and captures a lot of hotel guests. “Mexicano” is a top 5 original Mexican restaurant in Bangkok. The “Café” is a coffee shop, with a piano-bar which starts to fill up from 6pm until late by night. Great atmosphere, indeed, extending to the lobby!
The location of the hotel, in a quiet lane, a 3 minutes walk off Sukhumvit Road, is very central. Those walking down, will see many small bars, family restaurants, Thai massage parlours which are not so hanky-panky (and where a wonderful foot massage cost 5 EUR only...)... and maybe elephants (with their mahout begging some money to feed the animal)! Those feeling lazy can use the complimentary « tuk-tuk » to reach the Skytrain in minute: it makes Siam Square, Silom or the MBK Shopping center almost next door.
This property (and its sister Rembrandt Towers Service Apartments ) is managed by a European team, whose efficiency is remarkable, and just joined the Warwick group of hotels. From the concierge till the maids, the staff is gentle and efficient. The day of our departure, we asked for a late check out; back from breakfast, we were surprised to see that our bedroom had been made up just like everyday, just to assure our complete comfort until our departure! This is the piece of detail which makes the difference between a good and an excellent hotel.
The Rembrandt keeps on being posted in Tripadvisor as one of the most lovable hotels in Bangkok, which reflects very much our excellent impression.
finest addresses in Bangkok.
SIRI SATHORN (****L): This boutique residence, displaying a modern, sober luxury after a recent refurbishment, gets a high reputation among business and leisure travellers. Spacious, designed for long or family stay, the Siri Sathorn serviced apartments are well located in the very central Silom-Sathorn district. There is a complimentary shuttle bus to the nearby Skytrain and underground metro Silom -Sala Daeng lines; though the green Lumpini Park (ideal for jogging), Patpong, the shops and banks are so close that we never used it during our stay.
The quiet, almost somnolent lobby doesn't reflect the actual size of the residence. The 111 suites (ranging from studios to two-bedroom apartments) are large and conveniently appointed. We staid in a 100 Sq.m Two Bedrooms Designer Suite, which we would like to recommend to those travelling with a family. Immaculate, with classy furniture, well lit and spacious, it came with an immediate homey feel. Many expats have the same reaction, and book that category of apartment for long stay: they certainly like the full kitchen with a large table allowing to share a dinner with guests. Besides the well sized LCD TV, the soft matress of our bed and the lovely bathrooms, what we found most remarkable is definitely the perfect isolation from the external environment: we have visited few, if none, hotels with such efficiently sound-proofed windows: many tuk-tuk were passing by the street, and a building was under construction next door... but not even a whisper came up to our room! We slept like babies!
There is small, pleasant and inexpensive coffee shop, with a pool-side view, where breakfast is served by an anticipating, very courteous staff. The double espresso is delicious, and there is a good selection of fresh fruits cuts. We crossed by many expatriates there, living on a long-term at Siri Sathorn; though this was high season, we didn't see so many tourists. The place might be still quite confidential for leisure travellers.
Rates are well balanced, at about THB 6000 for a One-Bedroom Suite, and THB 10,000 for a Two-Bedroom Suite. Including breakfast, Wi-Fi Internet, use of the fine fitness center, and shuttle van to the nearby shopping areas. Monthly updated promotions and money saving long term packages make this residence particularly attractive.
alternative to traditional hotels.
COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT BANGKOK (****L): Located in an elegant residential and diplomatic district, this brand new hotel stands behing the Four Seasons and Grand Hyatt Erawan: in a quiet « soi » (lane), deserved every five minutes by a complimentary shuttle rickshaw («tuktuk ») lifting the guests to the Sky Train (BTS) station Ratchadamri (Siam square and Silom line). The BTS station Chidlom (Sukhumbit line), opposite the Central Department Store, can be accessed by a five minute walk through a picturesque lane, featuring cheap local restaurants and cafés. The worth the trip Erawan Shrine (« Four Face Buddha »), with spiritual music and dances, stands 500 meters from the « Courtyard ».
Located in an elegant building, with a hip lobby, this contemporary hotel, contrary to many « Courtyards », has been designed for corporate and tourists alike. The lobby staff, fluent in English, is anticipating and, during our four days stay, helped us on many occasions with an authentic kindness (helping us to pack fruits, to weight our luggage, etc...). There is a little shop (« MoMo Mart » ), selling beverages, snacks and toiletry, at a very affordable price; we used it with pleasure, as there was no minibar in the room.
We booked a Deluxe Room. Bright, intelligently designed, with a nice colors variation, we found it cool and trendy. The king-size beds are amazingly comfortable: this is a Marriott! There is a Samsung plasma TV, and tea / coffee facilities. A glass (with adjustable blinds) separates the room from the bathroom: this is a new, hip tendency, which we found quite stylish. The selection of toiletries is excellent, and you can sit in the spacious shower. Internet is provided via the hotel cable network, or using WiFi external signals (like « True Internet », which is quite cheap).
There is a convenient fitness room, and a very beautiful, large swimming pool. We enjoyed the Jacuzzi: warm and powerful, with waterfalls, it overlooks a private Siamese style private villa hidden in a green park. It was so relaxing, that we felt like miles away from Bangkok city center!
We noticed that the hotel was popular with Asian guests (mostly Japanese and Korean). The breakfast was fitted to please their taste, with a selection of mouth watering local specialties. Excellent fresh fruit juices, and remarkable service in the trendy Café MoMo which also opens for lunch and dinner. Last bit not least, it is actually inexpensive...
The « Courtyard » features 5 well designed, high tech meeting rooms (390 sq m of total meeting space).
Price for a double deluxe starts from approximately THB 3,700 ++
A smart and affordable hotel.
(****L): This hip boutique hotel opened a few months ago,
both tourists and business travellers, it will particularly
How could we describe the Tenface? Let's say that this is somehow an urban hideaway, situated just off Ploenchit Rd. A three minutes complimentary « tuk-tuk » ride from the hectic Sukhumvit Rd (where lots of bars, restaurants and shops await the tourists). An oasis in the heart of the city, Still quite hard to find; order their vintage Mercedes-Benz limousine at the airport or, after a treasure hunt, feel proud for finally reaching the « soi » (=lane) where this sanctuary stands. The Tenface is styled in an original way and bears absolutely no resemblance to other hotels in Bangkok,: inspired by the ten-faced giant Tosakan from the epic Ramakien, it is definitely boutique, cozy, refreshing and rejuvenating.
At check-in, we were handed an elegant box, featuring toiletry... and an unexpected iPod Nano Video with AV dock and remote control. This is the first hotel we visited lending iPods to its guests. Second originality: the box contained also a sim card with a private cellular phone number, and a small credit on it. It made us reachable on the spot, anywhere in Bangkok, and we found it a rich idea.
The rooms are actually suites. The Tenface is well fitted for long-stay, and comes with some of the particularities of serviced apartments. We had a one bedroom suite, covering more or less the surface of two single hotel rooms (61 Sq.m ): designed into an elegant and relaxing minimalist style, with a top comfortable king-size bed, LCD cable TV, free broadband Internet Wi-Fi, and even an espresso coffee machine. From the bay windows we could see the contrast between the quiet, residential Soi Ruamrudee, and the nearby skyscrapers planted into the bustling capital city of Thailand.
There is a nice fitness club, and a small though pleasant swimming pool. The Tenface is also home to the trendy Sita Bar, much visited by the new generation of Sino-Thai nice people, who like to see and be seen, mixing with the hotel guests enjoying elegant evening cocktails before heading to one of the supper-clubs or fashionable restaurants recommended by Pipek, the concierge and «entertainment guru», Note that the Tenface has its own, very affordable restaurant: the Wanara Eatery, serving light meals inspired by popular Thai specialties.
Many promotion rates apply, making the hotel a very good value at about USD 120 for a one bedroom suite.
A cool, interesting hotel.
Situated at on the centrally located Rajdamri Road in downtown Bangkok, Hansar is perfectly positioned to take advantage of everything the Thai capital has to offer. Mere steps away from the hotel, the Skytrain takes the guests in 3 minutes to Siam Square and the commercial and business heart of downtown Bangkok.
The hotel features an array of innovative and highly spacious suites. Contemporary in design yet timeless in elegance, they have been designed for business or leisure travellers and long-stay guests who are looking for something a bit different than the average hotel room. From the 59sqm Studio Suite, till the plush Vertigo and 129sqm Loft Suite, we have been seduced by the warm, trendy atmosphere: teak wood, precious silk, high-tech equipment and lovely decoration items bring a summit of refinement to the homey apartments. All include an intuitively designed workspace corner as well as an integrated kitchenette and dining area. This multifunctional space flows into an intimate relaxation and living area with a state-of-the-art entertainment system and a sublimely comfortable king-sized beds. The Vertigo Suites are particularly attractive. Designed for those seeking the absolute heights of urban luxury they distinguish themselves by an expansive living space, with floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with contemporary artefacts, a sophisticated work area and lounge and entertainment space. Sliding doors open onto a uniquely cantilevered bedroom which seems to literally float over the city below. Throw open the curtains and take in the greenery of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club and the city below. At the heart of the suite is the truly palatial bathroom, a world unto itself, featuring dual dressing areas, vanity stand, centerpiece terrazzo bathtub and a separate glass-walled rain shower – complete with its own surprising view. Completed with 50-inch flat screen TV with DVD player, iPod docking station and free high-speed Wi-Fi, all suites have been tailored made for a geek clientele.
The Hansar Bangkok is managed by a former Kempinski F&B: which makes the dinner scene promising. We have not experienced yet Eve restaurant, specializing in inventive Northern Mediterranean cuisine. The pleasant Lobby Bar opens on a quiet open-air terrace. The breakfast, with freshly-baked pastries, tropical fruit and an extensive menu of Western and Asian specialties is served at Shine, by the large, lovely swimming pool perched on the edge of the cityscape.
There is a nice, well equipped Fitness Centre. The LUXSA Spa offers an extensive menu of beauty and massage inspired by ancient Thai remedies and the latest international restorative techniques.
Attractive rates make this luxury boutique hotel well worth a try.
a one of the Small
Luxury Hotels of the World.
PRATUNAM (****): This trendy “low
cost 4 star” hotel
(at US$ 50 – 90 per night using the “lowest
rate guarantee promotion“, with an easy cancellation
process), perched atop the local and affordable Shibuya Pratunam shopping
complex, is one of our 2015 best finds in Bangkok. With a
in the proximity to the Ratchaprarop Airport Rail Link and Phaya Thai
Skytrain / BTS, it has all shops, from the cheapest to the most
prestigious, available next door: World Shopping Mall, Siam Paragon
Mall, Gaysorn Shopping Centre, Siam Centre, Siam Square, Platinum
Fashion Mall, and Pantip Plaza can be reached by a short and pleasant
walk over lively and picturesque streets.
GLOW PRATUNAM: 919 Petchburi Road, Kwang Thanon Phayathai, Rajdhevi
PHONE: +66 (0) 2257 3999 FACSIMILE: +66 (0) 2257 3999
GLOW TRINITY SILOM: (****): Glow Pratunam sister hotel, also located in a prime shopping location (5 minutes walk to Silom Rd, Patpong entertaining district and major banks / business headquarters), operates the same “low cost” concept: fulfilling the modern traveler’s needs just right, with ease and convenience, providing savvy guests with precisely what they need.
Though this practical hotel doesn't get the trendy chic of Glow Pratunam, we liked very much the advantages that he offers to the tourist and business guest alike. First, the BTS Chong Nonsri station stands almost next door: making any major location in Bangkok less than 15 minutes from the hotel, even at peak hours. Then, the street is extremely quiet, with small and cheap restaurants all along. It offers a direct access to Trinity walking street mall: an animated “walking street mall“, catering to foreign tourists and reputed for providing the best bargains from Asia in high end designer labels and souvenirs.
All rooms are large and nicely appointed. We enjoyed a 36 sq.m Premier Room, with the same prime-quality amenities provided in all Glow properties: fantastic beds with a collection of top quality pillows and signature plush linens, complimentary Wi-Fi access, LCD TV with cable channels, DVD player with an impressive DVD library available in many languages. The 24-hour laundry services are complemented by a washing room with iron & ironing board, accessible by all hotel guests.
Breakfast served in the Roadhouse Saloon (restaurant reputed for its grill meat imported from the USA) is fine, but cannot compete with the excellent buffet served at Glow Pratunam. Fitness Center, Swimming Pool & Sauna are all located in the Trinity Complex adjacent to the hotel. Which means that you cannot visit the swimming pool directly, wearing a bathrobe; this slight disadvantage is largely compensated by the full-sized, semi-olympic outdoor lap pool, and the professional gym with sauna, cardio and weight machines... as well as an outdoor running track, children’s playground and a basketball court! There is even a tennis court, accessible for a reduced fee!
Rate is more or less the same compared with Glow Pratunam (US$ 50 – 90 per night using the “lowest rate guarantee promotion”.
GLOW TRINITY SILOM: 150 Silom Soi 3 (Naratiwas Soi 3 or Sathorn Soi 8), Silom Road, Bangkok 10500
PHONE: +66 (0) 2231 5050 FACSIMILE: +66 (0) 2231 5417
CHINA (****): The
bustling commercial centre of Bangkok for over two centuries Chinatown
magic square, between Yahowarat and Charoen streets, with its
sideways crowded by cradles and bags, narrow lanes invaded by markets,
and street vendors, featuring opulent goldsmith
shops and dirty cheap garments stores, but also lovely temples and the
unique Indian district in Bangkok, remains totally neglected by
tourists. This is certainly why there has a one and only high end
hotel: the Grand China!
PATHUMWAN PRINCESS (****): In the middle of the city's best shopping and entertainment facilities, with connecting corridors to the MBK (Mah Boon Krong) shopping and business centre, a stone's throw away from shopping centres Siam Square, Siam Centre and Siam Discovery Centre and walking distance to the World Trade Center: this is a first class hotel with a first class location. This is also one of the most Asian deluxe hotel in town: the guests invading all year long the magnificent Pathumwan Lobby, cool and spacious, with it's luxurious marble floor and pillars leads, is 75% originating from far east. We have been astonished that westerners, who would like its discernible comfort and shopping facilities (home to over 2000 vendors, the MBK arcade is one of the best value for money in South East Asia), still didn't discover the Pathumwan Princess.
Individual traveller receives special attention: like separate check-in, quietly sitting being a guest relation desk. Away from the groups. Though the hotel was almost fully booked, it took us less than five minutes to reach one of the 382 guestrooms and suites. Our Deluxe-Room was fully equipped with air-conditioning, cable TV, minibar, personal safe, IDD telephone, and a nice bathroom with hair dryer, bathrobe, toiletries and telephone. The hotel is a 29-storeys high rise: we had therefore a splendid panorama over the “City of Angels“. The Pathumwan Princess is only four years old; but it seems that, due to their immaculate cleanness and excellent aspect of fabrics, some rooms have already received some minor refurbishment. There are also two Executive Floors: complemented by an Executive Lounge, they are perfect for an upgraded stay, and will suit the requirement of business travellers. In addition, there are 64 service apartments for long-term stays.
We spent our evening at eighth floor amazing Olympic Club. This is the largest fitness centre in Bangkok: with the latest and best equipment by Cybex, supervised by highly trained personal instructors, it is rated by many professionals to be one of the best in the world. A superb roof top pool, tennis court, jogging track and squash courts, complements it.
The Pathumwan Princess is reputed for its restaurants. Great Asian food -including generous buffet breakfast- and good live Latin music at the Salsa Club.
Interesting rates, with an average US$ 60/night/room for corporate and Internet booking.
Hotel & Resorts are part of the Dusit
family of hotels.
DUSIT PRINCESS SRINAKARIN (****): Half way (20 minutes) between Suvarnabhumi International airport and city centre, this business hotel comes with many advantages to those who -like us- don't like that much impersonal airport hotels. On a transit or short stay in Bangkok, this fine, four star hotel looks like a perfect solution for shopping (the Seacon Square Shopping Center stands next door), business (the Bangna district hosts many banks, companies headquarters and, last but not least, the BITEC - Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre), or just relaxation between two trips.
The Dusit Princess Srinakarin is actually pleasant, with a trendy Asian touch from the smart lobby up to the 198 comfortable rooms and suites. Finely furnished in contemporary Thai style, they all come with satellite cable television, central air conditioning with individual thermostat, Internet connection, IDD telephone, working desk, minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, and a personal safe.
This cool, calm hotel is managed by the Dusit group; which means great F&B! We experienced The Chinese Restaurant, specializing in Cantonese and Szechuan dishes which can be nothing but succulent... as many Asian travellers stay in the hotel. Miyuki is also reputed, with its own sushi bar and teppanyaki tables for preparing authentic Japanese delicacies. Square One offers a grand choice of Thai, Mediterranean, Californian and other international foods served a la carte or buffet style, while Petit Four provides a rendez-vous point for afternoon tea.
A state-of-the-art Health Club with swimming pool, invigorating sauna and steam bath ensured us a great time following our long-haul flight from Europe.
is very «Dusit»: which means polite, faultless and extremely
friendly. Rooms rates
are great value for money, starting from less than THB 3,000 for a
PHONE: +66 2721 8400 - 32, FACSIMILE: +66 2721 8432
PARK PLAZA SUKHUMVIT
(****): Strategically located
100 meters from the Asok skytrain and Sukhumvit subway stations, in the
heart of Bangkok most prestigious business and shopping district, close
to Queen Sirikit Convention Center, this lovingly designed boutique hotel
impressed us quite a lot with its cool lobby-lounge, cozy
spotless rooms, and anticipating young staff.
CITRUS SUKHUMVIT 22 (****): This chic design boutique hotel is located in one of the most animated sections of Sukhumvit: right in the heart of this posh district, with plenty of shops, spa and massage centers, pubs and restaurants all around. The infamous Sukhumvit Road traffic jams can be easily avoided, using the BTS Asok station, a short walk from the hotel. Despite of its rich night life, the « Soi 22 » remains a safe, pleasant street. We found the hotel itself so quiet, with nothing to disturb our sleep, and didn't realize that we stayed in the middle of the action.
Opened a couple of years ago, and just handed over to the well established Compass Hospitality Group for an upgraded management, this hip and cool boutique hotel is warm and inviting. Like in many hotel in New York, the lobby stands on the first floor; next to the restaurant, and to the lounge bar with a nice view over the Soi 22. The young and friendly reception staff made our check -in as smooth as silk.
The rooms are accessible by a key-card secured lift. Safety seems to be one of the priorities of the hotel. Our 31 sq.m Superior King room was fitted with high-tech technology. A state-of-the-art entertainment system (WiFi, USB Port, LAN connections, HDMI & Adapter ) allows guests to plug in a thumb drive or notebook: watching the latest movie in the comfort of their room on the wall mounted 40” LCD flat screen TV... Just like in more hotels in Bangkok, WiFi is free of charge, and everybody will like surfing the web in the intimacy of his room or, better, relaxing along the pleasant rooftop swimming pool.
The fine quality breakfast is served in the Citrus Café, which offers the usual local delights plus International dishes that include the very popular Lamb Shank and Double Beef Burger.
Perfect for business and leisure travellers alike, the Citrus Sukhumvit 22 hotel offers an ultimate bonus: the rates are amazingly attractive, starting from as less as approximately THB 2,500 in a Superior Room with free WiFi and late check out.
SUKHUMVIT 22 (former I Style Trend Hotel): 14/4 Sukhumvit Soi
The spacious guestrooms of 40 sq.m are elegantly decorated in pastel fabrics with Thai artefacts. All are equipped with IDD phones with voicemail, fax link, personal safe and minibar. We like the twin hand basins in the marble bathrooms. All rooms have a dramatic view over downtown Bangkok.
Businessmen enjoy particularly the Corporate Floors, on the 29th-31th floor of the hotel. For these top executive clients, everything is available since they step inside the lobby: in-room check in, welcome drink and refreshing face towel, and daily breakfast in the VIP section of the Promenade Coffee Shop. There is also a 24 hours complimentary fruit bowl, coffee/tea facilities, and a selection of business publications on each floor in the lift landing area.
Each Corporate Floor room is equipped with e-mail and Internet connections. Full Business Centre services are available, including three small meeting rooms for guest use.
The Amari Watergate is extremely popular among travellers. Not only for its discerning comfort and much affordable rates (USD 184 for a single Superior Room and USD 248 for a double Executive room; with very interesting discounted packages); but also for its security. It has been regularly identified as one of the top 3 safest hotels in the city, by the Bangkok Authorities: thanks to the Building Automation System, regular staff training, and up-to-date fire prevention and safety equipment.
We like the fact that this nice hotel is also very much family oriented: this is the only one downtown with a Kids Club. Children will be delighted to find a special corner, prepared for them in their room upon check in, with plenty of welcome gifts and candies ! In the bathroom, they will find a rubber duck, and during their stay the hotel's photographer will take a picture of them with their favourite number of staff: as a souvenir to take home ! Thai service -and we get used of it- will never stop amazing us. And, at the Amari Watergate, it is actually first class.
Children are also taken care of when parents enjoy with them the restaurants. The choice is great, between the Heichinrou Chinese Restaurant, the Grappino (fine Italian specialities in a trendy atmosphere), and the famous franchised Henri J. Beans Bar & Grill (where a lot of expatriates hang up by night). The buffet at the Promenade Coffee Shop is excellent: its show kitchen is a feature of the restaurant, with uniformed cooks preparing eggs, pastas and meats on request. Their fastuous Sunday Lunch is a favourite in town.
One of the best choice in Bangkok.
Part of the Amari Hotels & Resorts
Group, managing fine hotels throughout Thailand.
CHAOPHYA PARK (****): Fairly well located in Rachadapisek, one of Bangkok’s newly emerging business, leisure and entertainment districts, this top comfortable, yet affordable hotel makes any attraction at easy reach: the subway, MRT station stands two blocks away.
Two lobbies on separate floors allow a quick check in. The recently refurbished 402 rooms and suites, displaying a pleasant Thai design, are comfy, large and well appointed: all with IDD Phone, complimentary high speed Internet, Sat TV, electronic control panel board, safe deposit box... Tea and coffee facility is available, free of charge. There is an Executive Floor, with a lounge.
We like the «green» concept of the Chaophya Park, where many efforts are undergone to protect the environment. This eco-oriented hotel hosts the 70 treatment rooms «Bali Spa and Thai Massage Centre»: one of the largest therapeutic massage complexes in Bangkok. The hotel has a fully equipped gymnasium and out door swimming pool with Jacuzzi. It is the only city hotel to feature a full service Golf Driving Range on 2 levels, with fully computerised caddies. The complex in which the hotel stands includes a huge convention center and the «Entertainment World» recreation center.
The 7 restaurants and bars include the recently opened, and yet reputed Al Massimo Ristorante Italiano: featuring fine Italian cuisine along with walk-in wine cellar. If you want to mix with local people for cheap, delicious Thai dishes, just cross the road, and join one of the small open-air restaurants after dark, when the air gets cooler and the «sanuk» warmer.
is about THB 4,000 till 6,700. Suites start from THB 8,800. Packages
promotions are permanently available.
NOVOTEL BANGKOK ON SIAM SQUARE (****): When Novotel remains a three stars product in its country of origin (France), it gets a more elitist image overseas, offering remarkable comfort and services: a perfect illustration being the Novotel Bangkok On Siam Square. Ideally located in the whole heart of the business, shopping and leisure area of the “City of Angels“, between the WTC and Siam Shopping Center, this elegant and modern hotel has got 429 rooms. Most of them being ranked in the “superior“ category: nicely refurbished only few months ago, spacious, clean and top comfortable, they offer to the businessmen and tourists a wide range of high tech facilities: there is a minibar, satellite TV receiving more than 20 international channels, with in-house VDO displaying 14 movies per day ! We like very much the marble bathrooms, both elegant and fairly well equipped. Located in a district with a round-the-clock animation, the Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square is perfectly sound-proofed: you can be sure that your sleep will not be disturbed in any way.
When we stayed at the Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square, the average rack rate for a “Superior“ room was about USD120; corporate discounts and packages are reducing the yet most reasonable prices. Excellent fitness and sport equipment, with a huge swimming pool, a marble Jacuzzi, and a brand new work-out room. The distinguished guest will make sure he stays in an international four stars hotel when enjoying the restaurants which upgrade the fame of the Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square. We warmly recommend the Chistera Cafe Restaurant. For little bit more than USD10, we had free access to its buffet: this is actually one of the best in town, with Lord Jim at the Oriental Hotel. Of course, the Executive Chef is French ! The Lok Wah Hin proposes Chinese gourmet meals for very decent prices: especially if you come for a Dim Sums (succulent steamed Chinese dumplings) lunch. Most of the guests are Asian: which shows how perfect the cook may be. Their Italian restaurant, Focazzia, is quite good. There are many discotheques in the area: starting with the Novotel’s private one, ranked number two in town, just after the illustrious Spasso (in Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel). You will mix up with expatriates, tourists, but also young Thai people much involved in posh and fashionable night spots. The Concept Cm2 actually hosts many discos under a same roof: a ground floor street drives from a Californian bar with a reputed live band to karaoke rooms, or to a curious and top affordable restaurant where rice is cooked following many original -and succulent !- recipes.
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