For classic luxury in the heart of modern Bangkok, there is no better hotel than the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. A truly iconic hotel, nestled on the Chao Praya River.
Very few places around the world have been around 100 years and even fewer can proudly say that during their tenure they continue to be number one in service and luxury standards. Known locally as the “Oriental” this property has hosted dignitaries and royals from around the world. It's simple yet stylish colonial style decor takes you back to a time when Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly roamed the halls and where Joseph Conrad used to get inspired. With a privileged location on the Chao Praya River, the iconic Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok sits peacefully, overlooking the busy waterway filled with motorboats and ferries.
The beautiful tall ceilings, the ornately carved balconies and old wooden shutters of the hotel building certainly gives you a sense of the posh old days. The abundance of grand floral arrangements and modern amenities remind you, that you’re somewhere special. Over the years the property has gone through a few renovations and additions, but they have somehow managed to keep the feeling consistent. Families come back for generations and guests know that they will always receive the highest level of service. They even have a few fax machines around some of the suites, for the older guests that prefer this mode of communication.
You can expect to have all the usual amenities that come with a five star property, great bath products, amazing bedding, plush towels and of course amazing service. But what sets the Oriental apart, is the feeling that you're somewhere historical, with a lot of stories hiding behind the walls. Simply said, the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is iconic.
Cocktails at Bamboo Bar
Even if you don’t stay at the Oriental you must visit the Bamboo Bar. It to is iconic in the sense that anyone who is anyone (weather you’re a celebrity, or just cool travelers like us) makes a stop there. You don’t go for the celebrity, you go because the cocktails are probably the best in Bangkok and the environment is just downright swanky. They serve cocktails that were created by their retired head bartender who had been around for many years. Their concoctions are well practiced, delicious and made extremely well.
We had a gimlet martini and old fashion to start - which were both accompanied by macaroons, specifically paired to go with the cocktails. But I suppose the bartender was saving the best for last, because when we tried their signature Thaijito the bells rang and I’m pretty sure Chris did his happy dance. After several months of mediocre cocktails, we finally had something delicious! It was strong, refreshing and just really really good. And yes there is a dress code you must adhere to. Sorry gents, no flip-flops or shorts and ladies no beach wear.
Dinner at Sala Rim Naan
What I love most about the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is that they do what they want, simply because they can. Case in point their restaurant Sala Rim Naan. Located across the river, guests must take a minute long private boat ride to the front of the restaurant, where they are warmly greeted by the staff and taken to their tables. There is something to be said about getting dressed up, boarding a small boat and being taken to dinner with the lights of Bangkok swirling around you. It felt romantic, slightly over the top and pretty awesome.
Our dinner was a typical Thai set menu with all the usual suspects - fried sea bass, pomelo salad, green curry and sticky mango rice for dessert. The food was good but even better was the beautiful dancing show we had front row seats to a group of young Thai women and men danced around performing traditional dances in traditional costumes.
To visit the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok make sure to visit their website: