We couldn’t look much further while looking for the ultimate Bangkok luxury hotel. The Mandarin Oriental is the oldest hotel in Thailand. La grande dame de Bangkok. Close to 140 years of elegant luxury. The hotel that has seen the likes of Joseph Conrad and Somerset Maugham walk its hallways. And we were standing in its lobby, surrounded by smiles as large as ours, about to be checked in at an experience called Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. We’ve enjoyed our stays at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur last year, and the erstwhile Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai on our previous Bangkok trip together. But this one was about to redefine everything we knew about the MO.
We were greeted at the front desk with a traditional Thai hand garland by the Manager who seemed to know not just our names but also our preferred room choice. With no obligatory check in procedure, save a scan of our passports, we were whisked away to our room. Once inside, we could barely control our gasps, failing to notice that our luggage was already inside waiting for us. We’ve been guests at other Mandarin Oriental properties around the world but this one seemed really special. Its history shone through without looking old. The little touches of luxury, from their renowned macrons to the wonderful butler, hinted we were standing in a hotel that was many notches above the rest. And when we parted the curtains and looked out at the Chao Phraya below, there was little doubt that we were in for something exceptional.
Stepping into the room, we immediately noticed the signature MO flowers everywhere. Bouquets of purple orchids in vases, single sprigs tied to bedtime poetry on our pillows, blossoms in a bowl of water alongside some fruit, blossoms strategically placed on soap dishes. Oh, it felt good to be “home”. The elves (housekeeping) snuck into our room as soon as we left for breakfast, to magically restore it to its pristine state in minutes. Turn down service was impeccable, and we were so thrilled to return to find macaroons waiting for us. The bed was inviting and was definitely the reason we slept in on our last morning at the hotel. Mornings are a crazy time for us when we travel, with both of us rushing to get ready. So we absolutely loved the his and hers sinks, letting Rave spend as long as she liked in front of the magnifying mirror without me having to hurry her up! We had plans for the evening but there was a growing reluctance to step out of our wonderful room. The large luxurious bed, the inviting single seater, the tub in the bathroom, they all seemed to urge us to sink into the experience.
When it comes to a city hotel in Bangkok, staying by the riverside is the most luxurious choice of accommodation you can find. You aren’t just blessed with a beautiful view over the Chao Phraya, it’s also rather practical. The Mandarin Oriental has its own boat, that not only takes you across the river to their restaurant and spa, but also to several other points along the river letting you escape the notorious traffic that stresses out most visitors to Bangkok. We loved being at the heart of luxury hotel district in Bangkok, and how easy our home away from home was to get to no matter where we were! Even the drive back to Suvarnabhumi airport from our hotel was perfect for a quick nap!
As far as buffet breakfasts at five star hotels go, this was one with a difference. To begin with, it was served outdoors, along the Chao Phraya River, such an idyllic setting to ease into the day. The Riverside Terrace is just before the private pier at the Mandarin Oriental, and is beautifully shaded from the sun, flanked by bamboo plants and serenaded by the flapping waves of the water. The longest fresh juice bar I’ve ever seen, the most beautifully shaped pieces of fruit, and some excellent local as well as continental offerings were just too much to choose from! In particular, we really enjoyed the cheesecake, light as air and subtle in flavour, it was just how cheesecake should be.
Returning from a long day out and about in Bangkok, we discovered the perfect way to unwind, was downstairs. The Bamboo Bar. A far cry from the regular chaos of Bangkok nightlife, this was elegant, soulful and relaxing. Reminiscent of an old cigar club, we could smell the faint and delicious wisps of cigar smoke in the air, and hear strains of sensual Jazz even before we got to the door. Deciding to sit on the verandah from where we could still enjoy the Jazz, we sipped on ancient cocktail recipes, invented in the very early days of this beautiful bar. The Lemongrass Chilli Martini and Oriental Mai Tai were a revelation in themselves.
For dinner we took the hotel’s boat across the river to the other wing of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. The Sala Rim Naam allowed us to sit and watch a parade of brightly lit boats float across the water while we enjoyed a long slow meal, sampling several courses of the chef’s menu.
We know our story with the Mandarin Oriental isn’t over, and we’ll be back to rekindle it soon. And we’re so glad that of all the Bangkok hotels, we found our home at the Mandarin Oriental. Book your indulgent experience at La Grande Dame of Bangkok and experience the incredible Mandarin Oriental hospitality for yourself.
This post was made possibly by the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. Opinions as always, are our own.