For the Love of Travel
For the Love of Travel

Hotel review: Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is the architype of luxury hotels in Asia. Built in the 1870’s on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, this hotel has hosted many famous and illustrious guests over the last 140 years. A heritage property and landmark representing a time from the Kingdom of Siam, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok serves guests with the same glory and resplendence today, writes Leo Johnson

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok was extensively renovated in 2019 with the more recent additions to the grand hotel namely the River Wing, hotel restaurants and the two swimming pools have all been redesigned by the illustrious international designer Jeffrey Wilkes. The renovation has acknowledged the hotels legacy while incorporating modern luxuries and amenities, blending Colonial and Thai design.

When in Bangkok, location matters

The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok spans across two sites, with a teak longhouse on the opposite side of the Chao Phraya River. The teak longhouse incorporates a world class spa, fitness centre, a cooking school, and the hotel’s two traditional Thai restaurants. Access to the other side of the river is via boat which leaves the hotel pier every five to ten minutes. The shuttle boat also takes guest to the iconic shopping mall Icon Siam and the Sathorn Pier.

The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is in a good location to explore the sights and sounds of Bangkok. Guests can enjoy activities such as adventurous bike tours, visits to historical Thai landmarks, local markets, and Buddhist temples. I was fortunate to partake in the hotel’s morning Alms ceremony, Tak Bart. A traditional Thai blessing ceremony where guests exchange food and flowers with local monks. This is a regular morning ritual at the Mandarin Oriental.

An unassuming entry

On arrival the Mandarin Oriental appears very unassuming in its position off a small side street. But entering the atrium lobby you are transported into an expansive light filled wonder. The atrium at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok sets the scene for your stay. With floor to ceiling windows as backdrop, it is a sophisticated classy tableau from top to bottom.

Lobby at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Lobby at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. Photo: Supplied

Floating from the ceiling are copper and teak-coloured bells and chandeliers. Bespoke furniture is arranged for guests to provide luxury and comfort, every small detail of colour and texture carefully combined. Flowers are all part of the magic that is The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok and during my visit there was an impressive flower arrangement that seemed to defy gravity, almost touching the ceiling.

A Celebration of glamour and style

The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok has 331 rooms, including 60 suites and there are butlers on every floor. I stayed in the Mandarin Oriental’s Premier One-Bedroom Suite. Just like the atrium downstairs the scene once you open the door to your room is breath-taking.

Welcome Champagne and chocolates at the Suite at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Welcome Champagne and chocolates at the Suite. Photo: Harmeet Sehgal

There is a continuation of floor to ceiling windows, with a picturesque view to the river and city beyond. The orchid themed rooms are immaculately designed with colour, style, luxury, and sophistication.  Every room within the suite has fresh flowers, and a welcome bottle of bubbly and chocolates awaits your arrival.

Dining Room in the Suite at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Dining Room in the Suite. Photo: Harmeet Sehgal

The dedication of service I experienced throughout the hotel on this stay was the personification of luxury. The chocolates were a case in point which were vegan chocolates.

Vegan Chocolates at the Suite. Photo: Harmeet Sehgal

I have never in my travels had chocolates presented on arrival, that catered to my dietary requirements. For the first time thanks to the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, I got to eat the chocolates.

The lavish Suite

The Mandarin Oriental’s Premier One Bedroom Suite at 108sqm is a large suite, with a separate lounge and dining room.

A luxurious bed at the Suite at The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
A luxurious bed at the Suite. Photo: Harmeet Sehgal

A perfect suite to relax, work or entertain guests with a bar, kitchenette, powder room and private balconies. The bedroom is a haven from the bustle of Bangkok, quietly observing the Chao Phraya River from the luxurious heights of the seventh floor.

Top furnishings and appointments at the Suite. Photo: Harmeet Sehgal

With designer luxury bedding, art, and bespoke furniture, it is the perfect setting for any luxury traveller wanting refined comfort. The suite’s bathroom is stunning with a deep bathtub, double vanities, and a rainforest shower.

Italian marble vanities and toiletteries at the Suite. Photo: Harmeet Sehgal

Predominately laid out in Italian marble, the bathroom features state-of-the-art fixtures and fittings.

A foodie’s delight

At the heart of the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is the famous ‘Authors Lounge’. The Author’s Lounge is part of the original hotel building from the early 1900’s. Set in a fresh white environment with French colonial finishings, this iconic space has hosted a plethora of famous authors and is the go-to for afternoon tea in Bangkok.

Author's Lounge at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
Author’s Lounge at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. Photo: Supplied

A foodie’s delight, the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is host to 12 restaurants and bars, catering for all tastes. Guests can enjoy fine dining at the Michelin star French restaurant ‘Le Normandie’.

Traditional chicken and leek pie at La Normandie at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Traditional chicken and leek pie at La Normandie. Photo: Harmeet Sehgal

Alfresco dining on the riverside terraces, refined and intimate dining at Kinu by Takagi, or a simple treat of cakes & pastries at the Mandarin Oriental Shop. The Bamboo Bar known for its historical origins as jazz music destination, is the perfect place for evening drinks. Stepping into the cool sophistication from the heat outside to enjoy a quiet drink the bar is dressed in chesterfield sofas, rattan armchairs and dark wooden surfaces. It certainly makes you feel that you are in another time and place.

A celebration of Thai cuisine and culture

I had dinner at the Sala Rim Naam restaurant during my stay at the Mandarin Oriental, and it was a memorable journey through food and performance.

Thai cultural performance at Sala Rim Naam restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Thai cultural performance at Sala Rim Naam restaurant. Photo: Harmeet Sehgal

Sala Rim Naam has a set traditional Thai menu, inspired by royal dining. The food was delightfully presented, and I especially liked the presentation of small sweets in a mini antique glass box at the end of the meal.

Grilled river prawn with tomalley and crispy fish floss at Sala Rim Naam restaurant
Grilled river prawn with tomalley and crispy fish floss at Sala Rim Naam restaurant.

It really did make you feel like you were partaking in an aristocratic dinner. There are performances throughout the evening depicting Thailand’s rich history and culture, including the influence of ancient Hindu mythology.

Enjoy breakfast on the Verandah

The Verandah restaurant overlooking the Chao Phraya River offers all day dining. Seating is both inside and outside and the menu is extensive, with Asian and Western options. Allergens were well highlighted in the menu, a plus for the traveller with food allergies.Situated on the Terrace next to the Chao Praya River.

The Verandah during dusk at Mandarin Oriental
The Verandah during dusk. Photo: Supplied

Breakfast on the Riverside Terrace also deserves a special mention. I have found from experience that breakfast at luxury hotels can feel like a busy train station, especially buffets. The Mandarin Oriental’s breakfast on the Riverside Terrace felt so personal and sophisticated. The atmosphere was refined and calm, a perfect way to start your day.

An overall delight to the senses

Prestigious, historical, and luxurious the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is the ultimate destination for all luxury travellers. The exquisiteness of the interiors, the impeccable service, and dining options create an atmosphere of splendour. The incorporation of old and new is impressive, every detail has been meticulously planned. I cannot wait to visit again.

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

Also read: Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor; Reminiscent Of Aristocratic Luxury And Service