The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is arguably the most luxurious hotel in the City of Angels. Celebrating her 140th birthday this year, the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok (sometimes known as La Grande Dame) is also home to nine outstanding dining venues - each with its own unique charm. During my stay at this amazing property, I have also had the opportunity to try out the famous Afternoon Tea at one of Bangkok's most photographed location, the Author's Lounge.
If you want a one-liner as to why you should check out the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok's Author Lounge, I probably can't give you one but you definitely have to experience it yourself to understand it (just remember to make a reservation though!). Firstly, perhaps a little bit of the Author's Lounge which I personally found interesting. The existing structure used to be an open-roofed garden with a tortoise pond before becoming the Author's Lounge officially in 1976. Famous writers (featured in photographs) have stayed at this property over the last three centuraries and notable ones include: Noël Coward, James Michener, Somerset Maugham and Joseph Conrad. These four 'Heritage Authors' have also been immoratlised in the four respective private lounges within the Author's Lounge.
As you enter the Author's Lounge, you will notice the immense sense of space - there are not many tables here (which is great for a relaxing afternoon or a tête-à-tête) but this also means that you should definitely get a reservation prior to arriving as there is very little chance that they have a table available. I love how much natural lighting the place enjoys - in fact there are little pockets of spaces that offer quite distinctive experiences. If you do not wish to sit in the main area (and be part of other people's photographs), there are other more private areas that you can opt for.
I ended up choosing a table somewhere in the middle of Author's Lounge which was cozy enough but not by the window since the sun was quite glaring (but you do get a view of the beautiful Chao Phraya river though) when I visited in the afternoon. It was also bright enough for me to take some photos without being overtly distracting. I really love the atmosphere in the Author's Lounge - it's quiet and peaceful but yet not too much to make you feel comfortable.
There are three main Afternoon Tea sets (from THB 1,450++ per person) that you can opt for - the Oriental, Western and Vegetarian. If you are here with a friend, you should definitely opt for the Oriental and the Western both so you can have the best of both worlds (unless of course there is a dietary requirement). I started the Afternoon Tea at Author's Lounge with a Classic Lemon Sorbet as well as a Lime and Ginger Sorbet since I ordered both the Western and Oriental sets.
The Oriental and Western afternoon tea sets, both priced at THB 1,450++ (approximately S$56++) per person, are both quite different. As part of your afternoon tea set, you will also have a selection from the Mariage Frères Classic Teas. I personally opted for the 'La Grande Dame' tea which was created exclusively for the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok's 140th anniversary. This beautiful green tea consists of yuzu, clementine, citrus and mandarin with a dash of oriental rose - it was perfect with the Western set! Some teas are also available on ice if you prefer but honestly, the Author's Lounge is such a comfortable place away from the sweltering Bangkok heat - you don't really need your tea iced! I particularly enjoyed the lemongrass, chilli, lime marinated crabmeat sandwich which I thought was really special.
The Western Afternoon Tea Set (THB 1,450++ per Person) came with a selection of pastries and finger sandwiches. Since I generally prefer the savoury stuff, I started with the bottom and worked my way up. The warm fluffy scones were amazing but not as great as the one that I have previously had at the Mandarin Oriental, Taipei. What really did impress me however was the green asparagus tips in clear tomato aspic on white sourdough as well as the roulade of honey glazed ham and cheese.
The Afternoon Tea at the Author's Lounge has got to be one of the best that I have had in Bangkok. The location alone is a good enough reason for you to check the place out but when you combine that and the level of attention and service you get at this place, you get a winning product. My personal preference is The Oriental Afternoon Tea Set as it is more unique and in my opinion, they do it slightly better. If you are feeling a little more indulgent (trust me, the regular afternoon tea is indulgent as it is) though, you may wish to opt for one with a glass of Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne for a supplement of THB 640++ (approximately S$25++).
Afternoon Tea at the Author's Lounge (Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok) runs from 12PM to 6PM daily and as mentioned earlier, it is highly recommended for you to make a reservation prior to arriving this place is quite popular. If you thought that the Author's Lounge looks amazing, you should definitely see the rest of the property which I will cover soon on the site! Also, getting to the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is not overly complicated but you may get a taxi driver or two who will not be willing to turn on the meter (just because it's the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok). I personally prefer to use Uber when I am in Bangkok as it is a lot more affordable and the drivers are very honest.