The swathes of black marble, pink mood lighting and ambient music that floods the W Bangkok’s lobby sets the tone for this unapologetically flamboyant, but fabulously design-centric hotel. W Hotels are not exactly known for subtly, and this Thai outpost is no different. The lobby’s centrepiece – a glass spiralling staircase – is striking, but the real conversation starter is the wall-length Swarovski mural, crafted from 80,000 individually applied crystals, depicting two mystical creatures in battle.
As I’m whisked oh-so efficiently up to my ‘Spectacular Room’ on the 13th floor, I’m greeted by 800 flashing neon tuk tuk lights, which make for a novel lift entrance. Bangkok Nights is just one of a handful of installations by contemporary Thai artists that breathe life into the hotel’s communal areas. And the visual treats don’t end there.
My triangular abode merges custom-designed chrome furniture and clean lines with exotic textures, like the crocodile-skin padded bed, not to mention a very liberal use of sequins. This is one of 403 rooms and suites in eight different categories, ranging from the Wonderful Room to the Extreme Wow Suite. Playful props including a giant sparkly pink set of boxing cushions splayed on the bed are a nod to Thailand’s beloved combat sport. Yes, Muay Thai boxing, Thai street culture and Thai folklore infuse the W Bangkok’s lux décor.
The dragon motif bedding, dressed in W’s signature hip-hues and designed by celebrated local artist Maysa Yanovan, offsets the room’s white marble and black lacquer. This monochrome palette extends to the subway tile-lined bathroom, screened behind a coloured-glass panel that encloses a kidney-shaped freestanding tub, walk-in rain shower and uber-exclusive Bliss toiletries. A recessed wall of faux black leather, meanwhile, houses an enormous flat screen TV, a mini-bar, ice bucket and the all important cocktail shaker for you to hone your mixology skills.
As I catch up on emails at the generously proportioned glass desk, it’s impossible not to be distracted by Bangkok’s towering city skyline and the BTS Sky train, which seamlessly drifts over the cars below in a scene reminiscent of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. With its location in the heart of the city’s commercial district, just a two-minute walk from Chong Nonsi BTS station and close to upscale Embassy Row and verdant Lumphini Park, you’d be hard pressed to find a more convenient base. In just three stops, guests are transported to the nightlife of Silom or mega malls of Siam (including the world’s third biggest shopping centre). Also on the doorstep are the historic Grand Palace and Sathorn Pier, where you cruise in style down the Chao Phraya River.
With my agenda firmly focused on experiences this side of the 31-floor modern glass tower, I call on the hotel’s signature Whatever/Whenever service to schedule an afternoon session of RnR at their Away Spa. This is a mere bagatelle for an unflappable concierge who’s known for snagging guests a table in the city’s most exclusive restaurants and pull off surprise helicopter flights over Bangkok’s famous Buddhist temples and skyscrapers.
I settle for the 630 sqm of pure Zen that awaits at the hotel’s sixth-floor space-age spa. A series of glow-in-the-dark corridors lead to a Jacuzzi, sauna, a VIP couples suite and six glow-in-the-dark mood-lit cocoons furnished with pod-shaped beds. The futuristic spa’s seemingly never-ending treatment menu includes facials, Muay Thai inspired full-body therapies and ESPA beauty treatments at the Style Lab Beauty Salon. There’s even a self-service mocktail station and healthy snacks to sate your appetite.
The detoxing fare extends to the hotel’s 2,200 sq ft freeform rooftop pool, where mixologists ensure retoxing is in full flow too. Its USP is an underwater sound system of house and lounge music that make doing lengths more of a pleasure than a chore. The best beats, however, pulsate from the hotel’s lobby restobar, Woobar, which, in keeping with the hotel’s Muay Thai inspo, is loosely modelled around a boxing ring. Fashionistas and socialites check in here for its live DJ performances and nu-disco/drum n’ bass soundtrack, fine-tuned by the hotel’s very own music curator: DJ Orawan, who’s spun for the likes of Gorillaz, Goldie and Fatboy Slim.
The W Bangkok is also making its mark on the city’s gastro scene. Its culinary star – the award-winning Dining Room, housed in an 1889-built colonial mansion and former Russian Embassy, is helmed by Turkish chef Fatih Tutak of Noma fame. Guests can indulge in the restaurant’s nine-course sensory tasting menu, or opt for the crowd-pleasing Western and Thai fare served at The Kitchen Table, the hotel’s all-day dining bistro.
Retox or detox, play or pamper; I muse, as my finger hovers over the in-room tablet, which does more than control your mood lighting and AC. In one swipe you can decide to party like it’s 1999 in your room, or put the city on mute. Tonight, I choose the latter.
THE IMPORTANT BIT:
WHAT: Spectacular Room
WHERE: W Hotel Bangkok
PRICE: from US $170 per night
TEL: +66 2 344 4000