Above the Fray

Part of a wave of new premier ho­tels open­ing in the Thai cap­i­tal, the Wal­dorf As­to­ria of­fers a fresh look onto the city.

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia - - CONTENTS - — JENINNE LEE-ST. JOHN PHO­TO­GRAPH BY CHRISTO­PHER KUCWAY

Bangkok has a new ad­di­tion to it's stun­ning sky­line; the Wal­dorf As­to­ria has launched with en­vi­able views.

MID-MORN­ING IN BANGKOK of­ten means sear­ing heat. Our new fa­vorite respite is the can­tilever roof–topped pool of the just-opened Wal­dorf As­to­ria Bangkok, which seems to lev­i­tate over a gor­geous green swathe in the cen­ter of town.

The mag­no­lia-shaped ho­tel ac­cented through­out by lay­ered bronze pan­el­ing is grace­ful, fluid and el­e­gant, like the Thai dancers that de­signer An­dré Fu says in­spired him. You’ll find nary a right an­gle in this tower, but plenty of light: floorto-ceil­ing win­dows at ev­ery level, in­clud­ing gue­strooms that start at 50 square me­ters, truly max­i­mize the space and in­vite the city in.

Up top is a trio of glam, gilded Art Deco out­lets con­ceived by AvroKO. In Bull & Bear steak­house, jovial chef Pa­trick Mor­ris helms an open kitchen star­ring cus­tom char­coal grills plus dra­matic 55th-floor views, an un­usual treat for a chef... un­less you, like Mor­ris, laugh­ingly ad­mit to a fear of heights. Yet, as­cend­ing to The Loft bar, it would be hard for any­one to avert their gaze from the win­dows come 6, when the sweep­ing ma­genta sun­set per­fectly matches your berry-tinged whisky smash— debonairly topped with Ital­ian mint by head bar­tender Michele Mon­tauti. If you can fig­ure out how to en­ter the tippy-top Cham­pagne Bar (hint: there’s a be­jew­eled but­ton wor­thy of Cleopa­tra), pure ro­mance awaits down a stun­ning har­lequin hall­way.

At ground level, more beauty can be found on the plates of lovely chef Rungthiwa “Fae” Chum­mongkhon, whose Nordic cook­ing meth­ods of Thai in­gre­di­ents nets gems like her umami-packed Mom’s Soup with springy squid rib­bons; and deboned, sous vide, fired and smoked, stuffed chicken wings that taste like light Isaan sausages. Here in Front Room, your head will be swivel­ing be­tween the ac­tion in Fae’s show kitchen and out in the city be­yond through, nat­u­rally, a panorama of lofty fish­bowl win­dows. wal­dor­fas­to­ria. hilton.com; dou­bles from Bt13,000.

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