10500 Travel Guide
There's no question we were enamored with all of the shiny objects the W Bangkok had to offer us from the moment we stepped foot into gem-toned guest room. The one thing that managed to take us away from the glitz and glam trance was on the bedside table. No, it wasn't the notepad and pen, it was their high-tech wireless tablet that's like a little handheld butler.
The tablet, tempting us with the message, "Do what you want, I'm yours" couldn't get into our hands fast enough. After a few minutes we were trying out all the different settings from the do-not-disturb sign to the climate control and even the preset lighting option; all right from the comfort of our dragon-emblazoned bed.
As much as we like shiny new hotels and seeking out the latest places to lay our heads when we’re traveling, there is something about hotels that have seen the years come and go, withstood trends rushing in and passing just as quickly, and over time been woven into the very fabric of a city.
That’s why we sought out Mandarin Oriental Bangkok recently, one of the city’s oldest luxe hotels, having had its place on the banks of the Chao Phraya River since 1876 – that’s more than a hundred and thirty years of history. Specifically, we headed to the Author’s Lounge, so named in honor of the various literary greats that have walked through the doors of the hotel (from Somerset Maugham to John Le Carré and Joseph Conrad to Barbara Cartland).
Here, inside its whitewashed walls, sitting on white wicker furniture, and among potted palms and bamboo, is a window to a different time, one of steam trunk travel, genteel afternoons spent at leisure between cricket matches (or so we imagine), and of course – taking high tea.
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It makes sense for a French hotel portfolio, such as Accor to recruit a French fashion designer such aslike Christian Lacroix to design not only the rooms, but the uniforms for their ultra hip Sofitel So Bangkok. As expected, these digs and outfits are So over the top while managing to maintain traditional Thai themes.
Lacroix married East and West elements into his unique designs that make each staff member a walking fashion plate. Using traditional Thai silk and silhouette the designer brings a little Paris runway show to the streets of Bangkok with his brightly colored uniforms for both men and women. Each piece is different from the next by using the basic elements and mixing and matching tops, bottoms, and sashes so everyone looks like a top model.
Last week, we gave you a sneak peek into Bangkok's shiny new W Bangkokand now we'll pull back the bejeweled curtain and show you the glam rooms. Being in a world-class city, you can expect a new hotel to have all glitz and shine; the W Bangkok doesn't fail the 'come to the party' test with its rooms fit for a jewel smuggler.
From the moment we stepped foot in the door, we knew we were somewhere special. Not only did we notice that 'new hotel' smell--it welcomed guests just 2 months ago--we may have been blinded by the shimmer and sparkle of the rhinestones, like everywhere. We will admit, we like a hotel that can successfully use lots of bling and, in true W style, this hotel has pushed the envelope.
What could be better than sexy design, familiar, yet thoughtful amenities, all the pizazz you can imagine and that new-hotel smell? Not much and that's why we are absolutely loving everything about recently opened W Bangkok.
Here's a little peek into the glam that is one of the city's newest hotels hotspot. Everything you expect from the edgy brand and more featuring glass block room dividers, rich jewel tones and more sparkles than any hotel room we've stayed in, these are the digs that inspire home renovations that fail to hit the mark.
There is a little part of us that feels like we'd been teleported from Southeast Asia to a jewelry gallery mixed with a prize fighters house. Stay tuned for a full review and pics of all of the little touches and pieces of sparkle from the lobby to the room. In the meantime, just simmer in these sexy snaps.
[Photos: Rayme Gorniak for HotelChatter]
Reflecting the city's common juxtaposition of ancient buildings next to modern highrises, the hotel will marry both of these Bangkokian elements. The structure is half 31-story glass tower and half 100 year old heritage building that used to be the former Russian Embassy. We've previously noted how sexy the building is; this place will most certainly be a scene if you are a local or passing through the city.
With 407 guestrooms, this won't be a peanut operation, but the signature features we know the W does so well will be repped. W Lounge, Great Room, WOOBAR, and WET pool bar will all play a role on making your stay fun. And, of course, being in a foodies city such as Bangkok, The Kitchen Table will serve up tradition Thai fare with a modern and whimsical twist.
We at Hotel Chatter like to indulge our desires on a regular basis (cake from the Mandarin Oriental Paris, anyone?) and few come any more passionate than chocolate.
The Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok with its splendid setting on the banks of the Chaopraya River is home to a confectionery cornucopia called, simply, The Chocolate Boutique.
The classy signature outlet is located on the lobby level and a heaven for chocoholics. After being greeted at the imposing entrance to the hotel by pith helmeted and putteed doormen, a homage to colonial style, head inside the chandeliered lobby, go forward and turn right and there you see it. The duck egg blue and rich mahogany exteriors and subdued lighting are enticing and suggest the dark pleasures that await.
There are hotel reception areas and then there are Le Meridien Hotel reception areas. Frequent hotel lobby admirer, Christopher Scott Dixon, reports....
We visited the Le Meridien Bangkok the other week which is regarded as the flagship property for Asia. At first sight, it has to be said that the exterior to the hotel does not prepare you for the internal treats to follow. It appeared dark, dull and less than inviting, however, once the smiling doorman greeted us and opened the entrance, we stepped into a different world.
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Thirteen rooms tucked away on a regular street in the busy center of Bangkok, and yet they're affordable and design-conscious with free breakfast and free WiFi. Can it be?! Yes, it's the Luxx Hotel, a tiny wonder we discovered while simply browsing the Mr. and Mrs. Smith Collection offerings in Bangkok and a tiny wonder at which we'd happily stay again.
The Luxx is what the the Smith Hotels site calls a "budget boutique" and we agree; we booked like normal online and only paid 2500 THB ($80) per night for the Studio-level room, one step down from a suite, but we were upgraded to a suite at check-in because of availability. Score!
So you're staying in a "design hotel" and you've been upgraded to a suite. You walk into the bathroom expecting a large, luxurious white soaking tub and you come face to face with...this.
This is a traditional wooden tub, found in each of the bathrooms at the 13-room boutique Luxx Hotel in the center of Bangkok.
You've got a couple options with this sort of tub. You can take a regular stand-up shower, a sit-down bath, or fill the thing up with hot water, letting the water spill over the edges onto the floor as you lower yourself in for a good soak. The floor of the bathtub is set with something of an infinity drain, so it's all good. Now if only the vintage aspect of this tub could be paired with the modern comforts like a bathroom TV...and we'd be all set.
Guess what, Apple lovers? There's finally a hotel to sate your every technological whim—you just have to fly halfway around the world to enjoy it! While we've seen certain hotels pick up on the free iPad trend, or even develop their own apps, Sofitel So Bangkok is now debuting a "new generation of urban hotels."
According to an announcement made on Saturday, each of its 238 rooms will come with a Mac mini that guests can use to build their own in-room integrated multimedia center: digital TV and radio, movies, music, DVD player, and the ability to play whatever's on your own iPod, iPhone, or iPad. Oh, an they'll throw in an iPad if you book one of their suites.
Need to actually get some work done? Worry not. The tech-savy property has taken you into consideration as well:
"For work purposes, the Mac mini enables guests to load files via a USB port, work on them in the normal way, and save them to a memory stick safe in the knowledge that every time the Mac mini is shut down DirectStreams software will clean away any new information on the computer and restore it to its original state at check-in/check-out."
But this kind of total connectivity isn't just Sofitel offering a "new generation" of room service. Sure, there's features like browsing the hotel directory and room service menu, and we're guessing there will be some live chat feature to communicate in real time with staff members, a la St. Regis New York's E-Butler program. But beyond that, the hotel has made it very possible for guests to never have to leave their rooms or seek entertainment at all! It's all built in right there!
The Le Meridien Bangkok just opened in December and is the first hotel to show off this new design concept which Starwood will formally introduce in March, according to an article in the Bangkok Post.
Le Meridien will be going for the "European Chic" look, which will build on the LM100 promotion that Le Meridien presently is running in their hotels and on their website.