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Luxury Hotel Review: The Oriental, Bangkok, Thailand

By:
Ben Hall
 

Where Is It: On The Chao Phraya River in the heart of Bangkok.

Why Go: Great location, lovely rooms, top notch service.

Best For: A romantic getaway, and couples who enjoy a quiet retreat from Bangkok’s hustle, bustle and heat.

Three Things We Loved: The magnificent lobby, the beautiful spa facility, the river views.

Overview

For more than 130 years, the Oriental Bangkok has lured royalty, dignitaries, artists and authors and discerning travellers to its absolute river front location in the heart of the city - and for good reason. It’s a hotel with a big reputation, consistently voted as one of the best hotels in the world, and when you first step into the magnificent lobby it can feel as though you’ve been transported back in time. Beyond the classic colonial-style interiors is a serene garden overlooking the Chao Phraya River which seems an impossible oasis in the frenetic heart of busy Bangkok. But its beauty is more than just skin deep. Everything is calm, and everybody seems relaxed. The Oriental Bangkok typifies the golden age of travel, yet has also embraced the best creature comforts the modern age can offer.

The Accommodation

All rooms and suites are sumptuous with unique touches in each, but each one has private butler service and twin or king size beds, and most have full or partial views of the Chao Phraya River. Even the least expensive rooms are surprisingly spacious. The 35 suites are the pride and joy of the Oriental and have been individually designed to capture the rich history of the hotel. From the Executive Suite at 55 sqm with its unrivalled river views to the four individually crafted author’s suites (named after famous resident authors Joseph Conrad, Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward and James Michener) set over 100 sqm, to the 10 deluxe suites named after the likes of Graham Greene, Barbara Cartland, Norman Mailer and Wilbur Smith - each suite is a work of art in its own right. As magnificent as the suites are, the truth of the matter is that the four grades of rooms are stunning in their own right, and even the smallest garden wing room is beautifully appointed and set over 38 sqm. All rooms and suites feature state-of-the-art entertainment systems.

What Else Is There

With nine restaurants covering classic French cuisine to traditional Thai, it’s almost impossible to cover them all in just a couple of days. Le Normandie is regarded as the best French restaurant in Asia and is frequented by Thai royalty, and jackets are required for men. Lord Jim’s is an innovative seafood restaurant with a lunch time buffet and a la carte dinner with an amazing menu, while the Sala Rim Naan is the traditional Thai restaurant across the river which also features classical Thai dancing. And The Verandah is a casual all day venue right on the river which is the best place to go for breakfast. The Oriental Spa is only a short ferry ride across the river from the hotel, and one of Asia’s best spa facilities with 14 individual suites set in a traditional Thai house made of carved golden teak wood. Set among the beautiful gardens of the main complex are several pools with private cabanas available for those looking simply to relax and unwind. For the active, there is a gymnasium and there are various complimentary fitness programs such as yoga, tai chi, and pilates. Other active options include tennis, golf, squash and a jogging track. And for foodies, the Oriental’s Thai Cooking School has been teaching the art of traditional cuisine for nearly two decades.

The Verdict

The hotel prides itself on its service, and it delivers on that front - from the moment you arrive the staff are pleasant and attentive to every need in true Thai style. The interior decor is fresh and vibrant with an original colonial feel and the rooms are surprisingly spacious with beautiful Thai style design touches. Added to that is the fact that it’s located in one of the best areas in this sprawling city. Ferries stop right outside the hotel to take guests to nearby riverside shopping centres, and it’s a short taxi ride to Sanam Luang, the political heart of Bangkok which features the magnificent Grand Palace.

 

This review has been updated - to read the latest version click here.

The Oriental Bangkok is located at 48 Oriental Avenue, Bangkok,  www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok.

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