For nearly 120 years, the Oriental hotel in Bangkok has been known as the best hotel in Asia, if not the world. But with the recent sprouting of the ubiquitous “boutique” hotels and ultra luxe chains like the Aman around the world, does an old grand dame like the Oriental still match up? After a 4 day stay at this hotel the answer is yes! Understated, refined and wonderfully luxurious, the moment you book your room at this hotel, you’ll understand why its so special. Our superior room at the Garden Wing was oozing with charm, and even had its own little staircase overlooking the pool. Within minutes of arriving, our fruit and flower-bearing butler introduced himself and happily (and very efficiently) saw to our every need for every moment on – from bringing us a collection of cd’s and dvd’s to choose from when we wanted a quiet evening in (the room service by the way was absolutely delicious and immaculately laid out by 2 waiters), to profusely apologizing for coming in while we were out shopping to shine my husband’s shoes. When you’re in chaotic Bangkok swarming with summer tourists, the Oriental is a welcoming oasis – sort of stepping into a Somerset Maugham novel (and yes, he did stay here often). On the night of our anniversary, instead of a rowdy bar in town we headed for the hotel’s Bamboo bar and sipped ginger martinis to the soulful jazz of New Yorker Phyllis Battle (who actually toured with the great Sinatra) and wished the evening would never end.
Yes, the Oriental had absolutely fantastic food ( try the steamed lobster and toro sashimi at Lord Jim’s), comfortably luxurious rooms, a dreamy spa, killer views and impeccable service, but it also has something else. Something incredibly special that is hard to describe unless you stay there and experience it for yourself.