Over a century old, The Oriental, Bangkok has been one of the leading hotels in the world—always keeping itself one step ahead. Ve Handojo finds himself in the City of Angels and discovers the secrets that make the hotel a living legend.
The Secret No. 1:
Take part in history.
Once a seamen’s lodge, The Oriental, Bangkok started way back in the 1870s. In May 1887, it officially graduated into the first truly grand hotel in the capital of the only country in Southeast Asia never to have fallen under colonial rule. Ever since, the architectural pearl designed by an Italian design firm has become the favorite of world-class writers, from Graham Greene to Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, John Steinback, Iris Murdoch, V.S. Naipaul, and Madame Pink herself, Barbara Cartland. Here today, on the banks of the royal Chao Phrya River, The Oriental, Bangkok still stands as the Grande Dame.
Secret No. 2:
Never stay the same.
1993 marked another historical year in the hospitality industry as The Oriental Spa started to operate. It was quickly recognized as the pioneer of the Thai spa industry, featuring treatments which drew on traditional 2,000-year old Thai healing techniques, and herbal preparations.
In September 2003, The Oriental celebrated its legendary guests by completing a multi-million-dollar restoration of its oldest sections: The Author’s Wing and The Garden Wing.
Two years later, one of its eight F&B venues, The Verandah, was also renovated to usher in The Oriental’s 130th Anniversary Celebration.
Today, The Oriental, Bangkok consists of 393 luxuriously appointed and newly renovated rooms, including 35 suites, two swimming pools amidst lush tropical gardens, a world-famous Thai Cooking School and Thai Culture Programme, a shopping arcade featuring international labels, and F&B venues and most of which are award winners.
Secret No. 3:
Maintain a true tradition.
Arriving at the hotel one enters a high ceilinged lobby, dressed in true Thai tradition and inside is a combination of both modern and classic Thai design. The hotel is best accessed by the river: alight at Saphan Taksin Bangkok Sky Train Station, take a one-minute walk to the pier, and hop on a traditional boat to cruise the Chao Phrya River and reach the hotel in style. After sunset, Riverside Terrace with its barbeque dinner buffet sets the stage with its bright lights, making one feel like walking on a chic fashion runway that spreads from the hotel’s pier to the main building.
Secret No. 4:
Keeping up a high standard.
The Oriental, Bangkok consistently figures as one of the world’s top ten accommodations. In 2003, it was ranked No. 1 Worldwide (German Business Traveler), Top 10 Hotels in the World (Conde Nast UK), “No. 1 in Bangkok” (Business Traveler Asia Pacific), and “Gold List” (Conde Nast Traveller USA).
The venue has also won the hearts of distinct travelers. The classy Le Normandie restaurant constantly sits as the number one in French fine dining. The Oriental Spa has been crowned many times as the number one well-being center. The Author’s Lounge is busy all the time with private functions, and obviously is a favorite in the city. Sala Rim Naam offers the best Thai food, accompanied by classical Thai dance.
With all the long history and extensive accomplishments, it remains without doubt that staying in The Oriental, Bangkok is more than just enjoying the high-quality service and hospitality. Its most captivating charm is simply being a part of the legend itself.