Best of Bangkok

EL­E­GANT BOU­TIQUE SLEEPS, MICHE­LIN CHEF DIN­ING, AND HAUTE COU­TURE SHOP­PING

World Travel Magazine - - Contents - WORDS AND PHO­TOS BY DAVE STAMBOULIS

With reg­u­lar open­ings of stylish ho­tels, Miche­lin-wor­thy din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, hide­away mixol­ogy bars, and never end­ing haute cou­ture shop­ping, you’re guar­an­teed to be pam­pered in Bangkok.

Bangkok con­tin­ues its me­te­oric rise as one of Asia’s most vi­brant cities. Run­ning the gamut from sleek sleeps to fine and foodie din­ing venues, craft mixol­ogy bars, and haute fash­ion shops and malls, the con­stant new open­ings and en­trenched play­ers make for a never-end­ing op­por­tu­nity for the re­fined trav­eller to in­dulge the senses. Here are some of the city’s top spots to spoil one­self silly.

EAT

L’ate­lier de Joël Robu­chon: While Robu­chon, the world’s most dec­o­rated Miche­lin chef, rarely puts in an ap­pear­ance, pro­tege Olivier Li­mousin (who ran Robu­chon’s Lon­don and Paris branches) is just as ca­pa­ble, wow­ing food­ies here with his in­ter­ac­tive counter and open-kitchen haute cui­sine per­for­mances. The Ate­lier is a true tem­ple to the art of fine food.

Sühring: Haute Cui­sine twin chefs Thomas and Matthias Sühring cre­ate culi­nary won­ders in their in­ti­mate villa home restau­rant, serv­ing 8 and 12-course tast­ing menus in­spired by their Ger­man up­bring­ing. In ad­di­tion to the sump­tu­ous food, the restau­rant fea­tures a glasshouse to dine in, as well as an open kitchen to watch the mas­ter chef broth­ers at work.

This Page, blue hour on the deck of Vogue Lounge Op­po­site, clock­wise from top left, stylish decor at the Siam Ho­tel; open kitchen at Ate­lier de Joel Robu­chon; the view from Park So­ci­ety at Sof­i­tel So Pre­vi­ous Page, Chao Phraya River sun­set from the Sky Bar at Le­bua

FROM SLEEK SLEEPS TO FOODIE DIN­ING VENUES AND MIXOL­O­GIST BARS, BANGKOK OF­FERS A NEVER-END­ING OP­POR­TU­NITY FOR THE RE­FINED TRAV­ELLER TO IN­DULGE THE SENSES

Su­pan­niga Eat­ing Room: Restau­ra­teur Thanareuk Lao­raowirodge, owner of the Miche­lin-starred Som­tum Der in New York has sev­eral branches of Su­pan­niga, serv­ing tra­di­tional recipes from his grand­mother’s cook­ing from Trat, on Thai­land’s eastern se­aboard. His lat­est open­ings in­clude an in­ti­mate din­ner boat and a river­side venue op­po­site iconic Wat Arun.

House on Sathorn: Set in­side an ex­quis­ite 130-year old colo­nial man­sion that be­longed to a lord, the House has been re­stored to its for­mer glory, and Culi­nary Di­rec­tor and head chef Fatih Tu­tak matches the build­ing’s his­tory by creat­ing cui­sine art in­spired by his mem­o­ries liv­ing in both Is­tan­bul and Ger­many.

Gaggan: Win­ner of the pres­ti­gious San Pel­le­grino Best Restau­rant in Asia award for three years run­ning now, Chef Gaggan Anand mixes molec­u­lar din­ing tech­niques and pro­gres­sive in­ter­pre­ta­tions to turn In­dian food on its head and de­liver an amaz­ing din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The 19-part tast­ing menu is rea­son alone to visit Bangkok.

DRINK

Vogue Lounge: Sport­ing so­phis­ti­ca­tion and el­e­gant drinks, Vogue Lounge fea­tures an in­te­rior that is right out of a black and white 1960’s Vogue Mag­a­zine shoot, as well as the city’s only air-con­di­tioned out­door deck. Watch Ital­ian bar mae­stro Francesco Moretti (of Shang­hai’s Bar Rouge fame) pour clas­sic and sig­na­ture drinks with house-in­fused gins and rums.

CRU Champagne Bar: Not is it only Bangkok’s new high­est rooftop bar, but this suave new open-air nightspot is the only place in town where you can get a bot­tle of Bollinger James Bond 007 Spec­tre Lim­ited Edi­tion champagne, Agent 007’s drink of choice. The only thing more en­tic­ing than this are the 360-de­gree panora­mas of the Bangkok cityscape.

J Boroski: This is Man­hat­tan cock­tail guru (he calls him­self a “mix­sul­tant”) Joseph Boroski’s pri­vate speakeasy. He doesn’t list an ad­dress (you’ll have to con­tact him on Face­book for directions), and there isn’t even a menu, but watch­ing the mixol­o­gists craft some­thing for you is akin to wit­ness­ing a magic show.

Q & A: Mod­elled af­ter a 1920’s Amer­i­can rail­way car­riage, this is another Bangkok speakeasy op­tion, with a hand­ful of leather bar stools pro­vid­ing guests with a closeup view of the trio of mixol­o­gists who craft up nonortho­dox takes on Ne­gro­nis and plenty of other classics.

Sky Bar at Le­bua: Perched on top of the golden-domed State Tower, the Sky Bar re­mains a peren­nial favourite. High rollers come for the daz­zling views of the Chao Phraya River far below, as well as to sam­ple the Han­gover­tini, cre­ated when the Hol­ly­wood block­buster Hang­over II had scenes filmed here.

SHOP

Emquartier: Since open­ing in 2015, this flashy lux­ury mall has be­come the dar­ling of well-heeled Bangkok shop­pers. Emquartier has flag­ship stores from Valentino, MCM, Jimmy Choo and a daz­zling ar­ray of high-end boutiques. The mall also boasts a world class Vir­gin fit­ness cen­tre, an IMAX theatre, and an en­tire zone of classy restau­rants.

But­ton Up: Lots of Thai celebri­ties get their duds made here, Rap­per Snoop Dogg re­cently came in for an out­fit, and the cus­tomised ser­vice and fit­ting is the best in Bangkok. You’ll pay high prices, but you’ll get Loro Piana and other fine Euro­pean fab­rics for your suit.

Disaya: Celebri­ties Jen­nifer Lopez and Amy Wine­house have worn Thai fash­ion diva Disaya’s dresses. She mixes

Thai cute­ness with Bri­tish prac­ti­cal­ity and her Cen­tral Groove bou­tique shop has 120 square me-tres of pink and gold tones to ac­cent all the chic cloth­ing.

Open House: It’s not just the gor­geous cof­fee ta­ble and high­brow art books that will bring you here, but the en­tire lay­out. The open-plan fine art book­store on top of the snazzy Cen­tral Em­bassy Mall is sur­rounded by gourmet eater­ies, cowork­ing spa­ces, and a bevy of chill-out spots all in one place.

Gaysorn Vil­lage: The uber-lux­ury Gaysorn Plaza has both ex­panded and re­branded, and in ad­di­tion to its stel­lar col­lec­tion of Hugo Boss, Louis Vuit­ton, and Prada boutiques, it has now be­come a life­style ur­ban vil­lage fea­tur­ing an ar­ray of pop-up stores. It also boasts a newly com­pleted el­e­vated sky­walk con­nect­ing all the down­town shops.

STAY

The Siam Ho­tel: Cater­ing to the 5-star trav­eller who wants pri­vacy and ex­clu­siv­ity, the Siam has a fan­tas­tic ‘hid­den’ lo­ca­tion in his­tor­i­cal Dusit, on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Run by a well-heeled fam­ily of noted Thai mu­si­cians and ac­tors, Bangkok’s most lux­u­ri­ous digs fea­ture a Thai box­ing gym and their pri­vate boat as part of the unique pam­per­ing touches.

137 Pil­lars Bangkok: This new suave col­lec­tion of res­i­dences and suites re­gales in be­spoke lux­ury. There’s a rooftop in­fin­ity pool over­look­ing all of trendy Thon­glor, Bangkok’s best din­ing and drink­ing neigh­bour­hood, and the el­e­gant suites come with plush cir­cu­lar bath­tubs and 400 thread count bed linens as just part of the pam­per­ing pack­age.

Park Hy­att: Bangkok’s new­est five-star player is set atop the glitzy Cen­tral Em­bassy Mall, and fea­tures a stun­ning curvi­lin­ear twisted coil ar­chi­tec­tural struc­ture that be­comes a fig­ure 8. New York de­sign mogul Yabu Pushel­berg was be­hind the stylish in­te­ri­ors, and rooms come with gi­ant panorama win­dows and spa-like bath­rooms, all of this set in the city’s swanki­est shop­ping op­tion.

Sof­i­tel So: With a prime lo­ca­tion over­look­ing Lumpini Park, this cut­ting edge lux­ury prop­erty was de­signed by a group of elite Thai ar­chi­tects and French haute cou­turier mogul Chris­tian Lacroix. Rooms are de­signed around the five el­e­ments theme and fea­ture open plan bath­tubs, free Mac Mini’s, and su­perb cityscape views.

This Page, from top, Bangkok sun­set from CRU Champagne Bar; Speakeasy cock­tail magic at Q & A Op­po­site, clock­wise from top left, fine din­ing at Ate­lier de Joel Robu­chon; colo­nial charm at

The House on Sathorn; the “Win­ter­garten” glasshouse at Sühring Restau­rant; Hunt­ing” duck with pome­gran­ate at The House on Sathorn

From top,the lat­est Thai fash­ions at Disaya; fine art books in a fine en­vi­ron­ment, Open House Books, Cen­tral Em­bassy Mall

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