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Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok

Independent Review

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This world-famous hotel has won more prestigious awards than any other hotel in Thailand - which is not surprising, as it is by far the the oldest luxury hotel in the kingdom, at 134 years of age.

The grande dame of Bangkok, after her recent and thorough face-lift, is arguably still the most beautiful hotel in Thailand. It is perhaps the foremost example of the impeccable taste and exquisite design that have made Thai luxury hotels world famous.

After you have spent an hour or so wandering around the Oriental you will find it no surprise to hear that it has many times been voted the best hotel in the world.

This is such a beautiful place in which to spend time that the visitor is not recommended to come for only a rapid overnight stay, as it will be frustrating to leave after only having had the chance to glance around.

This lovely place richly rewards time spent here, whether around the pools, on the riverside terrace, in the fine restaurants, at the dinner Thai dance and martial arts show, or soaking up the aura of a bygone era in the author's lounge (image on the right).

It is no wonder that so many famous author's found the atmosphere conducive to creativity here, as the beauty and calm of the hotel soothes the soul without dulling the senses. Joseph Conrad wrote here, while other authors who have stayed here for extensive periods are Somerset Maugham, Oscar Wilde, James Michener and Wilbur Smith.

Oh, yes, and one other less well known writer too - that'll be me, Simon, who wrote this review while sitting in the Author's Lounge soaking up the serenity. Although it's a bit like being in a museum, there is none of the stuffiness associated with museums here. Flowers abound, and the sepia photographs of long-dead princes and adventurers peak out behind the fronds of graceful indoor bamboo trees.

Everywhere the eye wanders in this hotel, whether it be to the thousands of orchids forming floral displays in the lobby, to the stone elephants covered in woven flower blankets, or to the superb artwork adorning the walls, it is greeted with a tableau so harmonious that it impels the viewer to linger.

The hotel's jazz bar (image above) is a good place to enjoy a few melodic tunes, while those who want a proper night out need only spend fifteen minutes in taxi to reach Nana (this is the evening travel time, which can be at least quadrupled during rush hour). The hotel's nightly Thai dinner and cultural show (image at top of the page), which features realistic sword-play as well as Thai dancing, is highly recommended.

The Oriental is located in a fantastic riverside spot in Bang Rak zone. While the area is rather boring and only has exclusive shopping to offer, this isn't really an issue, as the hotel itself is such a wonderful place that guests here generally don't spend much time out in the city.

The Oriental's riverside terrace (image on the left) is a great place to feast the eyes at the same time as the palette (there are two varieties of smoked salmon available with breakfast).
Multicoloured boats of all shapes and sizes ply the river 24 hours a day, on a river that sleeps as little as the city through which it winds. During daytime the 'water mother' (Thai for river) sparkles and glitters in a most alluring way, while at sunset it takes on a more mercurial look.

The hotel's spa (image above) is one of the best in Thailand.

The Oriental has in total five restaurants, of which the most high-brow is the French cuisine outlet - don't come here under-dressed, as you will get a poor table if you do. If formality doesn't mix with your idea of being on holiday, you are advised to patronise the Thai restaurant instead (the image on the left is best clicked on for a closer view - food images don't look great when small.

The two pools are surrounded by luxury loungers and also by lots of larger shaded pool-side pavilions, each of which is equipped with enough cushions to keep a whole family comfortable.

All rooms in the hotel have river views. 8 more reasons to stay at the Oriental:

  • Resort-style hotel in the heart of the city.
  • Located close to the exit of one of the motorways direct from the airport.
  • Ease of access to main tourist attractions by boat (Klong tour, Grand Palace tour).
  • 135 years of history with legendary service.
  • 1,350 team members with an average of 16 years length of service.
  • Personal butler service for all rooms.
  • 10 restaurants and bars.
  • The Oriental Spa and Ayurvedic Penthouse blend Eastern and Western practices, including yoga, Tai Chi and meditation.


Superior 40 sqm

The decor is an elegant throwback to yesteryear, and is in as immaculate condition as everything about this hotel. The walls are papered in muted pastle hues which, together with the teak floors, form the perfect backdrop for vividly colourful silk cushions and for the high-quality Thai artwork adorning the walls. Everything about these rooms oozes style, class and elegance.

Executive Suite 55 sqm

The shutters between the bathroom and the bedroom can be opened, giving shaving gentlemen a river-view in the mirror. These shutters are popular with honeymooners, as when open they also give a view of the shower from the bed. As elegant as the Superior rooms, these Executive Suites are much more spacious, with a sizable living room providing a perfect spot to take in the river views, or just admire the opulence with which you are surrounded.


Family Two Bedroom Suite

These are formed by connecting a Superior and an Executive Suite. For those families fortunate to be able to afford one, these are one of Bangkok's most elegant and luxurious choices.



The above rates are net per room per night and inclusive of service charge and breakfast for 2 people.

Hotel website: Click here for more on Bangkok, here for holiday packages, here for other destinations.


Andaman Sky, Co., Ltd, 23/8 Moo 2, Ao Nang, Thailand


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