There’s no shortage of elegant hotels in the Thai capital, from independent downtown boutiques to the legendary grand dames that line the banks of the Chao Phraya River. But a fresh wave of openings from some of the world’s top luxury players is ushering in a new era for Bangkok, which looks set to emerge as a seriously high profile destination for discerning travellers.
First to take the stage is Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, the brand’s inaugural hotel in Southeast Asia, which is set to open in the Central Business District by the end of August. The company is pulling out all the stops to mark the regional debut, with a spectacular Magnolia-shaped building containing 171 rooms and suites designed by wunderkind Andre Fu, several floors of office space and three floors of destination dining created by New York design and concept firm, AvroKO.
On the 55th floor, an outpost of Bull and Bear steakhouse celebrates Waldorf Astoria’s New York heritage, and The Loft’s industrial, studio-like design pays homage to the NYC’s bohemian era. At the top, The Champagne Bar (below) is a not-so-secret speakeasy, accessed via a hidden button on a sculpture, and on the ground floor, Thai chef Fae conjures up memories of her time in Scandinavia with Nordic inspired Thai fusion in Front Room.
Nearby, The Bangkok Edition is also preparing for its grand debut, joining The Ritz-Carlton Residences within the confines of the futuristic MahaNakhon building, a 314-metre high tower that appears to twist and pixelate as it rises from the ground. The Edition’s 155 rooms and suites promise the signature Ian Schrager style for which the Edition family is known, complementing the 209 freehold Ritz-Carlton penthouse residences, which feature interiors by David Collins Studio and unique ‘skybox’ covered balconies. From the 74-77th, floor MahaNakhon Observatory, visitors will have 360-degree views of Bangkok, including the magnificent Chao Phraya River.
On the banks of the river, the 14-acre Chao Phraya Estate is extending the luxury hotel enclave comprising The Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La hotels to the southern side of the Taksin Bridge. At the northern end of the estate, Capella Hotel Bangkok (above) promises 100 waterfront suites when it opens early next year; while the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok sprawls over nine acres at the opposite end, with 312 rooms and suites.
In between the two, the 73-storey Four Seasons Private Residences will be home to 355 of the most expensive apartments in the city. Downstream, around the bend in the river, The Langham Bangkok will boast its own private pier and marina when it opens in 2021, as well as 207 rooms, 43 one- to three-bedroom suites and a podium level with roof gardens and terraces.
Last but by no means least, Rosewood Bangkok will throw open the doors to its 33-storey twin-tower shard in the city’s embassy area in early 2019, revealing 159 guestrooms that include a collection of 64 sqm Pool Sky Villas with private terraces and plunge pools. New York’s Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) and Thailand’s Tandem Architects take credit for the jagged architecture of the two towers, which are connected by a soaring glass atrium and vertical garden.