Bangkok has a skyline full of hotels but which one do you choose to stay in? Here are six properties that we have visited, experienced and highly recommend next time you are in the ‘City of Angels’. By Sue Wallace and Helen Hayes.
Banyan Tree Bangkok
Bangkok is known as a city that sparkles at night and there’s no better place to enjoy it than the Banyan Tree’s lofty Moon Bar and Vertigo restaurant on the 61st floor. It’s fabulous for not only the views but alfresco dining and you will find some of the best cocktails in the city – my favourite is the Vertigo Sunset. The chic suites are spacious with a variety of categories – home for me is the luxurious one-bedroom suite with impressive city views. The Banyan Tree Spa offers a variety of indulgent treatments and pampering and I couldn’t resist the signature Royal Banyan Tree massage with a warm herbal pouch dipped in sesame oil – you leave feeling like you are walking on air. The tropical rain mist and ginger bath are also standouts. The hotel has an impressive outdoor pool on the 21st floor and you can order a fresh juice from the juice bar. Complimentary poolside service includes neck and shoulder massages which are heaven and water and fruit. The health club offers yoga, aerobics, Pilates, daily Muay Thai (kick-boxing) classes, stretching and step lessons and steam and sauna rooms. Access to the club lounge is a bonus and includes express check-in and out, buffet breakfast and happy hour and canapes but don’t linger too long or you may miss the glorious sunset views from Vertigo.
COMO Metropolitan Bangkok
From the moment I step through the doors of the stylish COMO Metropolitan Bangkok I wish could stay longer to indulge more in the fabulous dining, contemporary accommodation and luxurious spa treatments. Located in the heart of Bangkok in the business area of Sathorn, it’s a toss-up whether to take a dip in the 25-metre outdoor lap pool or perhaps visit the state of the art gym, but the signature COMO Shambala Spa definitely wins. The Thai Herbal Treatment features warm poultices of traditional Thai herbs and essential oils that soothe muscles and leaves you feeling totally invigorated. Dining is an adventure at the amazing Michelin star Nahm restaurant, headed by Chef Pim Techamuanvivit, who is a star of innovative Thai delicacies. The tastes, flavours and presentation are memorable long after you leave the chic restaurant that provides a standout dining experience. The hotel features 169 spacious rooms and suites with subtle elegant décor including Thai Makha wood and oxidised-brass panelling. Beautiful artwork by artist Natee Utarit features and do check out the magnificent flower arrangement throughout the hotel. Later I sink into bed in my chic room overlooking the pool and relax, then start the day with a rich energising breakfast at Glow. It’s the perfect urban escape from busy Bangkok.
The Chao Phraya River plays a starring role in why I love the Peninsula Bangkok. You can watch the comings and goings of the long-tailed boats, barges and the Peninsula’s own ferries on this historic waterway, from your suite, from the ultra-glam Thiptara Thai restaurant, from the River Café or from the three-tiered 88-metre pool. The hotel has 370 rooms and suites, and I love the Deluxe Suite that we are in. While offering all the elegance and luxury that Peninsula is famous for, I love the traditional Thai tweaks such as Thai teak floors, the silk furnishings and Asian artworks. The separate living area is lavish yet comfortable and the dining setting seats four should you want to eat in. My favourite thing is that you can watch TV in the bath. Ooh – decadent! The Peninsula Spa is almost in a class of its own with three storeys of pampering. Everything about the place is zen. I can also recommend the cooking school and you must dine in Mei Jiang Chinese restaurant – absolutely divine.
SO Sofitel Bangkok
SO Sofitel Bangkok offers a great way to check in – with a cocktail of course because check-in is at the lobby bar. This hotel has a pulse of its own in a busy city and oozes character and French chic with a little sex appeal to boot. Located in the prime business and shopping district on Sathorn Road overlooking a stunning view of Lumpini Park, the 237 themed rooms and suites are created around the elements -water, earth, wood and metal. My water themed room has black wall tiles, huge white leather bed and it’s that circular bathtub that wins me over completely. There’s also a giant walk-in shower and great bathroom amenities. The design team included Frenchman Christian Lacroix and five Thai designers who have managed to create a vision splendid. For dinner check out Park Society where modern Western cuisine meets spectacular views. It is all about the freshest of ingredients and you select the ingredients and the chef creates a memorable dish. For the best cocktail head to Hi SO, a chic rooftop bar where you can plonk yourself in a moonlit cabana, grab another cocktail and soak up those views- ahh heaven.
The Siam Hotel
Note to self. Don’t walk around with mouth open as it is not a good look. However, this place is SO beautiful it is hard not to. From the entry portal on the street side all the way through to the brown, gurgling waters of the Chao Phraya River, everything is elegant, gorgeous and perfect. Every. Single. Thing. A highlight of the Siam Hotel is the Atrium, a soaring space with a soothing water feature and towering palms under ephemeral light. Then there is my accommodation, the Maeman Suite, with its traditional Thai feel and super luxurious everything. It even has a phone that you can use during your stay that gives unlimited international calls, Wi-Fi, and advice on where to go in the city. I don’t really need the advice as I don’t leave the property at all because it is such a haven of tranquillity. Except in the record room, a room where you can play piano or one of the thousands of record albums as loud as you like – with headphones on of course. The Opium Spa is next level, undoubtedly one of the best massages I have ever had. Then there is the riverside lap pool, the beautiful Chon Thai Restaurant and the Deco Bar. The Siam is a member of the Legend Collection from Preferred Hotels and Resorts.
The Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort
A bit more laid back but also on the mighty river is this family friendly property that has something for everyone. Strolling around the grounds I just love the gardens and the many art pieces scattered around – from tinkling fountains to Instagrammable sculptures. The pools are centrally located and quite beautiful – certainly fetching enough to entice me in for a swim. The property has 281 guestrooms and 95 suites, and my room, while not offering any views, is comfortable enough and also offers a free mobile phone for guest use during your stay. As I am there to attend a convention I don’t have much time to enjoy the room but I do make time to explore the spa and come out thoroughly relaxed. The Riverside Terrace restaurant is perfect for breakfast, and for dinner, there are so many choices. As for bars, the Elephant Bar and the Longtail Bar were staples. The property runs ferry transfers to the main pier and I recommend doing a dinner cruise with Manohra Cruises – the vessels are gorgeous, the meal exceptional and the views of the River of Kings outstanding. Another thing I love about the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort is the staff. Every single one of them was so friendly and eager to please, providing an outstanding service. Another plus is you can go to the rooftop bar of the Avani Riverside Hotel – a sister property right next door – for unbelievable views over the river.