IN FOCUS Tradition In Transition
My friend recently bought an apartment in Bangkok’s Sathorn district as a sort of a second home. It is a short walk to many of the new office towers, hotels and shopping malls in the Thai capital’s embassy district. With a plethora of watering holes nearby, he heads out for a nightcap every night. You have to come visit me some time, he keeps telling me.
So I finally took up his offer and found that Sathorn has indeed experienced quite a metamorphosis. Not so long ago, there used to be just The Westin and Metropolitan, but now the W Bangkok has also popped up and it is only a three-minute walk from Chong Nonsi BTS station.
The wildly popular club Ku De Ta is also in Sathorn and Health Land Spa & Massage is just a few steps away. You also do not have to travel far to get to Siam Paragon or to the riverside. Sathorn used to be considered inconvenient, but now, it counts as one of Bangkok hippest neighbourhoods. W Bangkok opened two years ago and, what can I say, it truly is one chic hotel.
One is first greeted by the hip, pumping music which plays at the lobby pretty much all day long. If you like your hotels a bit more placid, you probably should not be staying here.
All 403 guestrooms and 34 suites boast a view of the city and come equipped with state-of-the-art entertainment facilities, in-room entertainment, W signature beds and even a Munchie Box filled with snacks. You are welcome to take your pet along. Pet-friendly rooms cost a very affordable 750 baht (S$31) more a day than a regular room, on top of a 3,000 baht cleaning fee.
Some of Thailand’s most cutting-edge art is also featured here. Look out for works by fresh young artists such as Maysa Yanovan, AvroKO, Sutee Kunavichayanont and Alongkot In-art. I was enchanted by a wall at the lift lobby which comprised hundreds of blinking lights typically found on tuk-tuks. The hotel gift shop W The Store also has a collection of Thai souvenirs not seen elsewhere. I especially like the Muay Thai boxing gloves covered with sequins, which can also be found in the guestrooms. It’s traditional, yet modern — just what the W is about.
W’s signature concierge service is called Whatever/Whenever. If you are not already too familiar with Bangkok, the chirpy concierges will help you design your travel plan for the day. Whether you want to visit a temple, go shopping, take a boat tour or go on a helicopter ride around Bangkok, they can make it happen. On their recommendation, I tried the roast suckling pig at the newest local Chinese restaurant Chef Man and was very satisfied. I also got to try out some of the property’s wellness facilities on the day I was feeling too lazy to step out. I booked myself a treatment at the Away Spa, then swam at the Wet Deck and went to the well-equipped Fit Gym. I then lunched at the Kitchen Table, where a smorgasbord of different flavours are served all day. And to round off a relaxing day, I enjoyed a few drinks at the Woo Bar.
Before I left, I learnt that a 19th century building which used to house the Russian Embassy has been incorporated into the hotel and will be reopened to house two luxurious suites.
Here at W Bangkok, you can never get bored.
Tuk Tuk Couture by AvroKO