Published with permission from LuxuryWeb.com
In my extensive travels spanning six decades — from humble beginnings at the Parisian “Beat Hotel” to luxurious stays as a marketing consultant for the Leading Hotels of the World — I’ve had the privilege of experiencing an array of luxury hotels across the globe.
From Claridge’s in London to the Ritz in Paris and Madrid, and from the Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel near Victoria Falls to the Dolder Grand in Zürich, I’ve seen the epitome of luxury. However, one hotel stands out as the pinnacle of opulence: the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, Thailand.
Our arrival in Bangkok was made seamless by the hotel’s staff, swiftly guiding us through immigration and customs to a luxurious BMW. The journey to the hotel, navigating through Bangkok’s notorious traffic, was an adventure in itself.
The Mandarin Oriental’s history is as rich as its hospitality. Originally a 19th-century boarding house, it evolved into a hotel in 1886. By 1891, it hosted royalty and heads of state, becoming a beacon of prestige. This storied establishment, once known simply as the Oriental, continues to be a haven for the elite.
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What sets the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok apart is its unparalleled attention to detail and service. With a staggering staff-to-guest ratio of three-to-one, it’s a standard-bearer in luxury hospitality. The hotel encompasses the historic Author’s Wing and two modern towers, seamlessly integrated yet distinct. The original building, now over 140 years old, houses the Author’s Suites, each named after a celebrated writer who stayed there, complete with Royal Thai Style furnishings and private balconies.
The hotel’s recent renovations blend traditional Thai aesthetics with modern conveniences, enhancing the river view rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. Frequent guests receive personalized touches like bilingual stationery, and the laundry service returns garments wrapped in the hotel’s signature paper topped with an orchid.
The “Sala Rim Naam” restaurant, located across the river, offers classic Thai cuisine and a stunning folkloric show. Signature dishes like Goong Phad Prig Daeng (fried prawns with garlic and red chili sauce), Ped Toon Nam Ma-Kham (duck in tamarind sauce), and Massaman Chicken Curry, exemplify the culinary expertise.
The hotel’s gastronomic reputation was solidified by Executive Chef Norbert Kostner, who transformed the “Le Normandie” restaurant into a Michelin-starred destination. His philosophy, emphasizing the skill in simple cooking, set a high standard. Under Chef Alain Roux’s stewardship since December 2021, the restaurant continues to be a culinary gem.
The restaurant also showcases different fruit that’s been carved into spectacular shapes resembling flowers and other delicate decorations. The practice is an ephemeral and exquisite Thai artistic endeavor.
The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok isn’t just a hotel; it’s a journey through luxury, culture, and culinary excellence, standing as a testament to the finest in hospitality.
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