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Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

Lucy Land's personal highlight was discovering her very own writing paper embossed with her name at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

The Credentials:

Stunningly located next to the Chao Phraya River, the Oriental is Bangkok’s grande dame, famous as much for its history – it was transformed into an aristocratic magnet by Hans Niels Anderson, the owner of the East Asiatic Company, in the late 19th century – and guests, who have included Joseph Conrad, Somerset Maughan, Noel Coward, James Michener and John Le Carré, as for its longstanding fine dining restaurant Le Normandie and its acclaimed spa and cooking school, located across the river in Thonburi.


The hotel’s eight restaurants (plus dinner cruise on a rice barge) are top-notch destinations in their own right. We enjoyed an extravagant breakfast buffet feast plus amazing service – our tight schedule was discreetly noted during our spot-on lunch (humous, tzatziki, aubergine dip and pitta for me; beef burger with fresh onion rings for him) – overlooking the river. There were even outdoor fans to combat the 40 degrees heat. In the evening we took a rice barge across to Thai restaurant Sala Rim Naam, housed in a traditional Thai pavilion, where we were treated to a lavish eight-course dinner (from 5,768THB per person)  accompanied by a performance of traditional Thai dancing.


Our elegantly decorated Deluxe Room, featuring teak furniture, silks and river views, was located in the New Wing (rather than the old-world Garden and Authors’ Wings). There was the obligatory LCD TV, CD player (with a selection of CDs), iPod docking station and a mini bar packed with goodies such as Valhona chocolate, plus a daily delivery of exotic fruits and flowers. The luxurious bathroom boasted double sinks, a huge bath, separate shower and silk and terry bathrobes. What’s more, the room comes with butler service. However, my personal highlight was discovering my very own Mandarin Oriental writing paper embossed with my name.

Who Goes There?

Royalty, dignitaries and discerning international travellers.

Out & About:

After taking a boat to visit the Royal Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, the MRT (Metro) to hectic Chinatown or the BTS Skytrain to mega-shopping complex Central World Mall, you’ll want to head to the Oriental Spa. Our 30-minute foot massage (1,750THB) was so spoiling (we were given free reign of a room with private shower and steam facilities, plus skincare goodies before lying down for our foot and leg massage) that the boyfriend fell asleep during his treatment.

African safari lodge-inspired Bamboo Bar is the perfect spot for live jazz and fab cocktails – we enjoyed jazz, blues and gospel from Cynthia Utterbach and her band.

The Worst Thing:

We had only booked one night.

The Best Thing:

Its sense of occasion. To continue its aristocratic leanings today, the hotel enforces a dress code (no shorts or sandals allowed after 6pm) which added to the hotel’s glamour.

The Details:

Rates at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok start from £265 per night on a B&B basis.

48 Soi/Oriental, Th Charoen Krung, www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok; +66 (2) 659 9000