Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Blends Traditional Thai Charm With Modern Sensibilities
The Grande Dame of Hong Kong's Bangkok outpost has an equally fascinating heritage and unparalleled service, synonymous with the hotelier's reputable name.
Meet Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, the sophisticated hotel that perfectly blends old-school traditional charm with modern sensibilities.
This article is also available to read in Chinese (HK).
A brief history
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is the first of many kinds in the city. It’s Bangkok's first hotel, the first to introduce buffets, the first jazz bar, and was the first to introduce the spa concept in the region. Its history dates back to 1876 when a Danish-born boatman arrived and built the hotel, perched on the majestic Chao Phraya River. Formerly known as The Oriental, the property, which is now spread between two sides of the river, has hosted a wealth of royals, dignitaries and A-listers, including The Prince of Wales, The Queen of Sweden, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, among many more. Jim Thompson, the renowned "Thai silk king" was a director the same year he founded his own now-famous eponymous label. The Oriental then joined hands with Hong Kong's formerly-named The Mandarin, and it wasn't until 2008 that it merged titles.
A five-minute boat ride from Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain station and the shoppers' paradise Icon Siam, the hotel is conveniently nestled within Bangkok's Creative District. There's something for every type of traveller – be it spa, dining, gym, Muay Thai, business – but the heart of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is the service, which continues to go above and beyond hotels globally. No detail is too small and no stone is left unturned: it's a place to make you feel right at home.
Photos: Faye Bradley | CSP Times
In terms of facilities, the hotel is very well equipped and spacious, especially for its downtown location. Personal butlers are available upon request, but the 24/7 team is also always happy to assist. The main side of the river features dining, accommodation, swimming pool and check-in services with the lobby. On the other side, a short three-minute MO boat ride away, a spa, gym, tennis courts, yoga and Muay Thai services await. In the gym, there's also steam rooms in the changing rooms.
The Oriental Spa
The Oriental Spa is a (Mandarin) fan-favourite, inviting guests to unwind in a serene teak wooden house environment. We tried the brand-new Cannabis Relax and Restore Massage, designed to relieve muscle fatigue and provide a deep state of relaxation. Thailand was the first country in Southeast Asia to legalise medical cannabis in 2019, celebrating the region's centuries-old tradition of using the substance for different states of healing. Together with Sawasdee Clinic, The Oriental Spa launched the new treatment using cannabis leaf oil extract combined with fresh and dry leaves to enable the deepest relaxation techniques.
We began the two-hour journey with a freshly-brewed warm cannabis tea to first soothe the mind, followed by the cannabis oil massage which focuses on relieving muscle tensions and tightness, all while breathing in the scent of a herbal brew made with cannabis to keep the mind clear from thoughts. We really felt the immediate benefits of the treatment, using age-old healing remedies to switch off the mind while addressing any soreness in the body. It's perfect for travellers with jetlag, muscle pains, or generally to help relieve the mind and body, and we couldn't recommend it enough. If it's not your cup of tea, however, there are a plethora of options on the spa menu, from massages and facials to body scrubs and wraps, and more.
Photos: Faye Bradley | CSP Times
The Mandarin Oriental brand is known for its world-class dining at its Bangkok outpost is no exception. There are 11 restaurants at the property, and foodies can enjoy the best of many cuisines during their stay – as a hotel guest or not. There's Lord Jim's for seafood and meats, The Verandah and Riverside Terrace for riverside dining, the exquisite Le Normandie for French fine dining, Italian gourmet dishes at Ciao Terrazza, and Kinu by Takagi for top-notch Kaiseki-style dining. More Asian delicacies can be found at The China House for Chinese food, but guests can also venture across the river to the hotel's two Thai restaurants, Sala Rim Naam and Terrace Rim Naam. Meanwhile, The Bamboo Bar is an acclaimed drinking den, while the elegant The Authors' Lounge is a tranquil space that hosts afternoon tea.
We had the pleasure of dining at the two-Michelin-starred Le Normandie by Alain Roux, where we even met the chef on one of his trips back to the city. The fine dining institution was nothing short of spectacular and we strongly recommend adding on wine pairing to appreciate the full experience.
Lord Jim's | Photos: Faye Bradley | CSP Times
For lunch, we tried the international buffet at Lord Jim's, a buzzing spot frequented by Bangkok's chicest crowd, perfect for group get-togethers and indulgent feasts, complete with some bubbly.
Breakfast was served daily at The Verandah, where we soaked in river views and a breakfast buffet selection fit for a king. But no stay at the Mandarin Oriental is complete without tucking into the hotel’s quintessential afternoon tea. There are two options for the delectable diner: Thai-style and Western-style sets. Our hungry appetites meant we opted for both, and the expansive array of bite-sized delights kept us very satisfied for the afternoon ahead.
The Deluxe One-Bedroom Suite:
There are 271 guests at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, with spaces ranging from 33 square metres to 63 square metres. The 60 luxurious suites on offer go from 83 square metres to 376 square metres, and all accommodation types feature Chao Phraya River or city views, with butler service and high-speed WiFi. The hotel's recent renovation was revealed in 2019, with the designer taking inspiration from the natural surroundings, incorporating more blues in the colour palettes of the rooms.
We stayed in the 83-square-metre Deluxe One-Bedroom Suite, which came with two bathrooms, a walk-in closet, a bath, shower, bedroom with a study desk, lounge area, dining area and private balcony overlooking the swimming pool and river below. Everything about the suite whispers opulence and its top-of-the-range facilities and chic furnishings make very well sure of it.
For Bangkok's oldest hotel, Mandarin Oriental has kept a firm grip on its place in the city's luxury hospitality industry: and it remains at the top. Granted, the suites come at a much higher price than your average hotel, but its all in the detail that makes the splurge – however grand – worth it. Nevertheless, there are other options and the spacious rooms also offer ample space to rest and recharge, before roaming the property, and its nearby attractions, for things to see, do and eat, all within the historical setting you can call home.
A warm welcome | Photos: Faye Bradley | CSP Times
The big swimming pool (not pictured above) is a great place to begin the mornings, whether you're doing laps or making the most of the Thailand sun
The Oriental Spa is always a must for the best spa and wellness services in the city
Le Normandie is a regal French fine dining restaurant that is sure to impress on date night
No stay is complete without having an afternoon tea at the same spot Princess Diana, Prince Charles and many poets and writers had their fix in the hotel
The suites will always be a coup, but for a more toned-down stay, the spacious rooms are also beautifully designed
--- Book your stay here Website: mandarinoriental.com | Phone: +66 (0) 2 659 9000 | Email: email@example.com | Visit: Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, 48 Oriental Avenue, Bangkok 10500, Thailand | Facebook: @MandarinOrientalBangkok | Twitter: @MO_Bangkok Instagram: @MO_Bangkok | YouTube: Mandarin Oriental | Trip Advisor: Mandarin Oriental
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