Hotel in Bangkok - need recommendations

Old Dec 13th, 2022, 07:07 PM
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Hotel in Bangkok - need recommendations

We are traveling to Bangkok in February 2023 and staying there for 3 days before boarding our cruise. We need help with the hotels there. We are looking for a luxury high-end hotel that has Thai ambiance/decor, not modern luxury but rather local flavor yet elegant. It has to be conveniently located as we are planning to tour all three days. We are in our 60's well travelled.
Also, looking for recommendation for a high end restaurants that we shouldn't miss. We are planning to have street food one night and would like to enjoy more refined experience another night.
Thank you in advance
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 11:07 PM
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There are plenty of "luxury high-end" hotels to choose from in Bangkok though you may struggle to find one without "modern luxury". All will have Thai ambience to one degree or another. Location wise, I favour a river location as you can then use river buses and taxis to get around to some of the key sites like Wat Po, Wat Arun, The Grand Palace and the longs of Thonburi. You could even get a boat virtually all the way up river to Ayutthaya and Bang Pa In.

Hotels to consider on the river might be the long established Shangri La, the oldest 5* in Bangkok, the Mandarin Oriental (though personally, I find it too formal) and, on the opposite bank, the Peninsula ( a nice balance between modern and Thai). All of those are close to a Skytrain station and the boat landings which are key for touring the city.

I think there is also now a Four Seasons on the river which may suit. Away from the river there are multitude of options - The Sukothai is a smaller hotel and may be worth considering.

For high end dining the many hotel restaurants take a lot of beating . The authorities have cracked down on street food vendors in recent years and they are no longer as ubiquitous as they once were. Best bet is to google specific dishes and then head out to specific stall that are highly rated. This is a pretty good website
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by kiramoli View Post
We are traveling to Bangkok in February 2023 and staying there for 3 days before boarding our cruise. We need help with the hotels there. We are looking for a luxury high-end hotel that has Thai ambiance/decor, not modern luxury but rather local flavor yet elegant. It has to be conveniently located as we are planning to tour all three days. We are in our 60's well travelled.
Also, looking for recommendation for a high end restaurants that we shouldn't miss. We are planning to have street food one night and would like to enjoy more refined experience another night.
Thank you in advance
There are a lot of high end hotels in Bangkok. I've been going there almost annually since the late 90s up to the 2019/2020 trip. As for high end hotels, my favorite is still the building that houses the Anantara Siam Hotel, formerly the Four Seasons Hotel and prior to that The Regents Hotel-a Four Seasons Hotel branch. I have regularly stayed at all three hotels over the decades as that's my home away from home hotel building. I remember when a Thai man used to walk his elephant down Rajadamri Road at around midnight. One of the long-time staff members, at the Anantara Siam Hotel structure, and I were talking about it a few years ago as it was around his 3-decade mark of working in that hotel structure. He was getting ready to retire the last time that we chatted and start traveling the world as he knew so many of the guests over the decades. That was our last chat.

I also take staycations in Bangkok and try out different hotels for a night or two as I'm usually there for 3 weeks straight. Before The Regents Hotel-a Four Seasons Hotel branch, that same building housed The Peninsula Hotel before the Peninsula moved to the so-called, "Wrong Side" of the river.

I love the location of the Anantara Siam Hotel as it's both easy to get to the Siam BTS stop (one stop) and also to places along Sukhumvit Rd in one direction and and the river in the other direction. And the Rajadamri Skytrain station is right next door, attached to the St. Regis Hotel. I've stayed at every 5-star hotel in that immediate neighborhood except for the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel at the beginning of Rajadamri Rd, alongside the Erawan Shrine. And I watched the newer hotels being built; The Waldorf Astoria (the newest one) , The St. Regis Hotel (Not that old), and the Hansar Hotel (on the residential cul-de-sac in back of the Anantara Siam Hotel). I also had an Airbnb apartment for a couple trips which was right across from the Hansar Hotel. Within a 3-week Bangkok trip, I usually stay at 2-3 different places.

The reasons that I love the structure of the Anantara Siam Hotel is that it's only around 8 stories high (a rarity in Bangkok of the later decades), has excellent restaurants, and has a traditional Thai decor even after the last renovation. No from from and no sterile modern style. One can request a room with traditional Thai decor. I request a room facing Rajadamri Rd and above the skytrain track height as I love the open view of the sports/country club/golf course across the street. Plus, the service is great and the hotel room is quiet. A lot of the staff has been at that hotel structure since it was the Peninsula Hotel. The staff is quite helpful. In Jan 2020, when I was transferring from 20 nights at the hotel to one night at the Waldorf Astoria, the bellhop walked my luggage from one hotel to the other. And when I was staying in my Airbnb apartment on one trip, the Bellhop came over to the apartment, collected my luggage, and walked it over to the Anantara Siam Hotel. I met up at the hotel about an hour later. Incredible and kind service. But, that's common in Bangkok.

As for the river hotels, although I'm not a stay-on-the-river person, I've stayed at the Royal Orchid Sheraton, The Oriental Hotel (my dressmaker of decades has her shop in the building in back of it), the Shangrila Hotel, and the Peninsula Hotel. The new Four Seasons Hotel is now open on the river. My two Bangkok Thai friends and I dropped by there in Jan 2020 and went to the construction-site office and chatted with one of the staff members there, a young Thai guy who spoke perfect English. He was telling us about the hotel and the ongoing construction. The construction workers were there working as we spoke.

The staff at the Anantara Siam Hotel asked if I would be going back to the Four Seasons Hotel when it was completed as the same staff has been at that Anantara Siam hotel structure through all of the name changes of the hotel. I mentioned that I will still stay there, but will also take a couple days at the new Four Seasons Hotel, as I'm one who loves Four Seasons hotels in general.

As for Hotels in the Sukhumvit area, there are a lot of them. But, I stay at Emporium Suites right at the PromPhong BTS stop as I have my regular 80 square meter studio apartment there with a large kitchen, units ending in #15. It's a serviced apartment building run like a hotel. I started staying there around the early 2000s. Sometimes I'll stay there first and both get over some of my jet lag and also do what I want to do on that side of town and then move across town to the Rajadamri Rd area which is more central.

I've also stayed at the Park Hyatt Hotel above the Central Embassy Mall. Gorgeous hotel and very central at the beginning of the Suhkumvit area. It was quite new when I stayed there for one night in Jan 2019. I like to try out different hotels. I usually take my one nighters on the last night of my 3 weeks in Bangkok. But, I would even take more nights at the Park Hyatt Hotel. I can walk there from the Rajadamri Rd area, but not with luggage. I shop at the mall that it's attached to and also at Central Department store attached to the mall. Plus, there's a food court at the mall area and a grocery store.

Another 5-star hotel which is nice and right at the Siam BTS area, is the Kempinski Hotel. I took a one-night discounted spa staycation there, but while I was still checked into the Anantara Siam hotel as I wasn't going to move all of my belongings for one night and then move them all back. That one-night stay was in the middle of my 3 weeks in Bangkok. While at the Kempinski, I tried out the 5-star Sra Bua Thai restaurant by Kiin Kiin. I had lunch there which was enjoyable. Then a week later, I treated a friend to dinner there. But, I wasn't keen on dinner and spending 3 hours for a meal. I would rather have just gone to one of my no-star Thai restaurants like at Kup Kao Kup Pla, Kalpapruek, or Nara where my two Thai friends and I have eaten for years. Down to earth, good food, fun and in and out within an hour. But, I try all kinds of places.

There have been other 5-star Thai food restaurants, but I just can't think of them all off the top of my head at the moment. But, one of my favorites is Basil inside of the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Hotel which is attached to the Asok BTS station by a walkway leading straight into the hotel. I started eating at Basil probably a couple decades ago and have eaten there through several chefs and even had a great private cooking course with one of the female chefs. But, her dream was to move here to the U.S. and open a Thai restaurant. She's no longer there and while last there, a few years ago, I met the other female chef as we chatted.

I don't only eat Thai food while in Bangkok as we have Thai restaurants all over here in Los Angeles and some of my friends own them. Plus, we have the largest population of Thai people living outside of Thailand. My Thai friends both here and in Thailand laugh and call L.A. the 78th province of Thailand.

As for hotels in the Sathorn area of Bangkok, I stayed at the Como Metropolitan Hotel for one night back when it opened a couple decades ago. It was very nice. I was given a tour of it by one of the head people there and then decided to give it a try. As for 5-star Thai restaurants, Nahm restaurant is inside of that hotel and I've eaten there twice. I was last there in January 2020 as I used to treat my Bangkok Thai friend to a 5-star meal pretty much annually. Before Nahm restaurant, there was David Thompson's 5-star Thai restaurant as I ate there twice. But, it closed and the female chef (Pim Techamuanvivit) of her popular Michelin star Thai restaurant (Kin Khao) up in San Francisco went home to Bangkok to open Nahm. My Thai friend and I really liked Nahm.

Nearby, also in Sathorn, is the Sukothai Hotel which is beautiful. I was given an extensive tour of it many years ago and have eaten at the Thai restaurant there.

As for 5-star Bangkok restaurants, although I've eaten at them, I'll have to think as restaurants come and go. But, Biscotti Restaurant inside of the Anantara Siam Hotel has been around for many years, throughout the hotel name changes, and has been high on the list of Bangkok restaurants. Plus, within that same structure is the very famous Sunday brunch at Madison restaurant. I eat at Biscotti regularly as I love the lunch menu.

Hope this info has helped. I don't know how the hotels and restaurants are now. I was last there at the start of the Covid situation 2019-2020. I haven't been able to get back, but a friend was just there two months ago. I know that a lot of different places closed down due to the pandemic and the financial strain. But, Thailand is trying hard to get back on its feet.
Have a great trip.
Happy Travels!
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