The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok ranks amongst some of the best luxury hotels in the world. Within the City of Angels, the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok (also known as La Grande Dame) is often referred to as the most luxurious hotel in the city and it's not difficult to see why. Celebrating her 140th birthday this year, the property is located along the famous Chao Phraya River and it is only a short boat ride from the majestic Grand Palace.
Located slightly under 3 hours away, Bangkok is perfect for a quick weekend getaway and Singapore Airlines operates SQ978 which flies out daily from Singapore at 6:35PM. To get from the Suvarnabhumi Airport to the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, I have ordered an airport transfer in advance from Oriental Escape for THB 1,000 (approximately S$38). If you decide to flag a taxi down from the airport, it should cost you approximately THB 350 (approximately S$14). Since it was late and I did not wish to deal with any potential haggling, I've decided to go with Oriental Escape despite the premium price but I have found them to be really good - will definitely be using them again next time! If you feel like splurging, the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok offers a chauffeur-driven BMW 7 series airport transfer for THB 3,100 (approximately S$118) and THB 6,000 (approximately S$228) for one-way and round-trip respectively.
The hotel lobby of the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is just simply breathtaking - you will definitely notice an air of opulence here (especially if you are arriving in the evening) right from the moment your car pulls into the private driveway. It is worth noting that the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok enforces a very strict smart dress code for all guests (including in-house hotel guests) from 630PM - click here to find out more. If you are arriving in the evening, be sure to be dressed in a smart shirt, long trousers and covered shoes (assuming you are a man) already. A lot of hotels claim to have a strict dress code but the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is definitely one to enforce it.
For my stay at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, I stayed in one of the newly-refurbished Deluxe Rooms. The rooms are done up tastefully with a Thai influence and even though the property is 140 years old, the rooms are in topnotch conditions. After checking-in at the hotel lobby, I was shown up to my room and was given a quick tour on room operations - there's even a bedside button for your private butler! If you are afraid that the air-conditioning will not work as well in an old property, you can be assured that the air-conditioning here has been give a massive stamp of approval from me (and I'm terrible at dealing with heat).
The Deluxe Rooms are located on higher floors of the hotel's Main Wing. Offering up a beautiful view of the Chao Phraya River and the surrounding city landscape, the Deluxe Rooms feature traditional teak furniture silk accompaniments and an impressive bathroom for your personal enjoyment (I can't tell you how many times I've used that deep-soaking tub!). The bedroom comes with a really comfortable bed with premium goose down bedding, a separate work area, a seating area and an in-room interactive entertainment system that allows you to wind down to your favourite playlist.
It is pretty therapeutic to watch how busy the Chao Phraya River gets from the comfort of your own room. As mentioned earlier, the Deluxe Rooms at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok are located on higher floors so you can be sure about getting an unobstructed view of the river. The property also operates a shuttle service that goes across the river where the health club and another restaurant are both located.
While it is not uncommon to find a fruit platter in your room, the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok changes it on a daily basis to introduce the different tropical fruits that can be found here - guests from outside the Asia-Pacific region may be surprised at the variety of fruits here.
The bathroom of the Deluxe Room at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is probably my favourite part of the whole room. Featuring double sinks, a deep-soaking tub and a separate shower area, the bathrooms are beautifully designed to reflect the best contemporary Thai elements. You will also find silk bath robes here for your personal lounging enjoyment but what really stood out personally to me was the bath salts with eucalyptus which was perfect at curing morning sinus and that cooling effect you get from that bath is just unrivaled.
Even though it is an in-house branded product, the bath amenities at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok smells amazing. The lemongrass scented amenities were replenished generously throughout my whole stay (I find that tipping your housekeeper goes a long way) and it smells incredible! After taking a bath, I've decided to head down to the Riverside Terrace for breakfast.
Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, breakfast runs from 7AM to 1030AM daily at the Riverside Terrace. Even though there is no real dress code in the day, most of the hotel guests still adhere to a smart casual dress code - dress shorts and covered shoes are still alright before 630PM though. Even though you will not find an extensive buffet spread here at the Riverside Terrace, it serves up quality breakfast items. In fact, the coffee tastes (and looks) and though it came right out of a proper cafe - none of that instant coffee nonsense that other hotels serve you. Watching the boats go past along the Chao Phraya River while you embrace the morning breeze over deliciously cooked breakfast is truly quite satisfying. If you are an omelette fan (and you should most definitely be!), I would highly recommend for you to try the Thai omelette (Kai Jeow) here at the Riverside Terrace.
Craving for something more comforting? The Riverside Terrace offers up noodles that are cooked a la minute. I really enjoyed breakfast at the Riverside Terrace and it's an amazing way to start your day before heading out of the hotel. Unlike other luxury chain hotels, it is peaceful, the guests are well-mannered (and well-dressed) and the service standard is impressive.
As you are having your breakfast at the Riverside Terrace, you will definitely notice that the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok operates regular boat service to bring hotel guests to Taksin BTS Skytrain Station, River City Shopping Complex as well as the Sala Rim Naam Restaurant located across the river.
There's a sense of calm at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok's Swimming Pool. In fact, the property has two pools - the main one (photographed above) which is 25-metre long and a smaller soaking pool that is perfect for just hanging around and kicking back drinks in. The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok attracts a lot of high profile visitors from all over the world so if you intend to take photos of the swimming pool (or even any area), be sure to take it when there are no or less people around - I got told by the lifeguard not to take any photos when I took the photo above.
I took a slow walk around the property's compounds after breakfast and found that the lobby looks very different in the day - not better or worse off but just simply, different. If I had to choose though, I think that it looks slightly better in the night. What you will also notice though is how well-dressed everyone who visits the property is. Adhering to the property's strict dress code is the only way you will feel at home and I respect that. It is not uncommon too to see members of the Royal Family or even Thai socialites and celebrities here at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok.
As mentioned much earlier, the hotel operates a private fleet of limousines (BMW 7-Series) that will take you to and from the airport (or even down to Siam) but do note that these services have a relatively high price tag attached to them.
While you are at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, be sure to get yourself a reservation at one of Bangkok's most photographed location - the Author's Lounge. Enjoying an Afternoon Tea set here is not to be missed but I would definitely recommend for you to come with a reservation since it gets really crowded - read my full review of the Afternoon Tea at the Author's Lounge here!
The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is also home to one of Asia's 50 Best Bars - the Bamboo Bar. The space has undergone an extensive renovation process in late 2014 and has now established its reputation internationally whilst still maintaining its elegance and unique character. If you do not know what you order, you will not go wrong with The Bamboo Bar “Negroni” that is concocted from Homemade Caramel Gin - Antica Formula Vermouth & Campari Infusion, Ice Ball and Dry Orange Campari.
As mentioned a number of times earlier, a strict dress code is enforced across the property and for men, the easiest way for you to get away with it is to wear covered shoes, long pants (or jeans!) and a smart shirt - do note that even stricter dress codes apply at certain restaurants within the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. I have found the dress code at the property to be appropriate and while I had initially thought of it as a chore, I have grown to appreciate (and respect) it - the last thing you need at a fancy cocktail bar is someone who is poorly dressed.
My stay at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok has been nothing short of perfect. In fact, I enjoyed my stay within the property so much that I am actually discouraged from heading out. As what some people would tell you, the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is really a destination on its own and you should definitely set aside time to explore and indulge in the atmosphere here - be sure to read up so you know what to expect. Even though the property itself is amazing, the superior service standards here truly bring the experience to a much greater level. The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is perhaps one of the most expensive hotels in Bangkok (check out the rates here and you will know what I'm talking about) but the experience you get here is unparalleled. If you do intend to get around the city on cab, be prepared to be ripped off - otherwise, just use Uber or Grab since they are a lot more reasonable (at least 3-4 times cheaper).