Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, there is no other hotel in the world like the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. After a three year hiatus, I returned to my favourite hotel on it’s 140th birthday. As soon as I got there, I was reminded why I (and so many others) return year after year to get their fix. Before arriving in Bangkok, I was asked numerous times why I wasn’t going onto Koh Samui or Phuket after a quick pit-stop in the capital; these people have clearly never stayed at the Oriental.
Whilst I could sit here and write about the newly renovated Author’s Suites, the freshest sushi at Lord Jim’s or the exceptional spa treatments, the reason why the Oriental is home to so many repeat visitors (who come JUST to Bangkok) is the stellar service. Even after three years away, staff members knew my name, the waiter at breakfast knew that I wanted an almond milk latte as soon as I sat down and Jeffrey who is in charge of absolutely everything by the pool knew that after my 12 o’clock swim, I would be asking for a pomelo and shrimp salad with blended watermelon juice.
As with so much in life you either get it or you don’t. You’re either a Burj al Arab nineteen star hotel goer (clad in a pair of Dior So Real sunglasses, Valentino Rockstud heels and a face filled with god knows what) or you understand great service and appreciate what a wonderful hotel is (grand piano and 65 butlers aside). I am now a third generation guest of the Oriental, my grandparents started going soon after they were married, my mother first arrived a few years later and I began (almost) yearly pilgrimages when I was 11. Next year, I’m excited to introduce my daughter to the most magical place on earth (move over Disney Land).
Must-Do at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
1. Sit in a covered Balinese bed by the pool surrounded by lush palms and sip on a blended watermelon juice. The hardest part of your day will be getting up to walk the four steps to get into the pool and cool off (say hi to Jeffrey!). Make sure you have on your best Eres one piece and a pair of chic sandals (heels at the pool are a big no-no, this isn’t Vegas after all).
2. Take the traditional Thai boat and make the short journey across the Chao Phraya to the very well equipped gym. Have a steam straight after and let me know how you feel.
3. Eat the most delicious uni (sea urchin) sashimi at Lord Jim’s overlooking the river wearing handmade silk pyjamas and a pair of Gianvito Rossi sandals.
4. Spend all day (or two days) at the spa. Try a traditional Thai massage and emerge feeling like an entirely different person and swearing that you’ll have a massage every day of your stay.
5. Sip fresh lemongrass tea in the Author’s Lounge surrounded by photographs of Noel Coward and other icons who have stayed at the Mandarin Oriental. This has recently been renovated and every effort has been painstakingly made to recreate the original feel and design of the colonial building.
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