If you plan to visit Bangkok and like the buzz of the city, there are only two areas to stay; the Siam area in the city centre, or by the Chao Praya river where it’s all sooo romantic. FRV’s Darren Dylan opts for the river and a classy stay in the city of angels.
Photos courtesy of Shangri-La
it was Valentine’s Day and I thought it would be great to treat my better half to her most favorite city in the region, which happens to be, yes, you guessed it, Bangkok. Open up Google Maps and you’ll see that there are a number of swank hotels lined up by the river, and like everyone else planning a holiday, choosing the right hotel takes a lot of research.
After going back and forth between various websites and publications, I finally put my finger on Shangri-La Bangkok. The two main reasons I chose the Shangri-la was because one, it is a Shangri-La, and two, the BTS Skytrain station is only across the street, so I figured we could easily get around town.
When we got to the hotel my first impression was that the place was huge. Looking at it from the river would have one thinking that the two main Shangri-La buildings are different entities, when in fact they are simply two separate wings – the Shangri-La Wing, and the highly favored all-suite Krungthep Wing, which was unfortunately fully booked. Krungthep translates to “city of angels” and is the local word for Bangkok. Here’s a piece of trivia for you; Bangkok is the only major city in the world that is known to foreigners by one name and known to locals with a completely different name. How about that?
Although the suites were full, we couldn’t complain about our executive river view suite in the Shangri-La wing. As the suite is perched on the corner of the top 25th floor, it boasts generous space and views of the city lights and the river – not bad in scoring cool points with the missus. The way the room was decked out, and with its ambient lighting, it created a cozy and romantic ambience.
It was around 7pm, and from the looks of it the city was happening. What better way to start exploring than with a rejuvenated mind and body – at least this is what my wife led me to believe. The Thai massage is world famous, so of course the best place to get one would be right here in the Venice of the East. The hotel has its very own Chi spa, and we soon found out that guests are entitled to an attractive discount for bookings made within a few hours upon checking in. From Rescue Release, to Chi Balance, to the Yin Yang Harmonizing Massage, I was up for any spa treatment at this point. We both opted for a Chi Balance massage and during the treatment I could immediately understand why the spa has received so many accolades.
The next morning we started our day a bit late, and as it was a Horizon Club room we had the option to have breakfast in either the Horizon Club or the Next2 Café which was by the river. Here’s a tip for you, if you prefer quality over quantity I suggest having breakfast in the Horizon Club. After breakfast, I used the club’s work station to answer a few emails, when soon enough my lovely wife was breathing down my neck and insisting we get down to business; shopping. As I mentioned previously, one of the advantages of the hotel is its location next to the Skytrain station, so getting to any part of the city centre was a simple train ride away.
After a day’s worth of shopping, we came back to the hotel and, being an excellent husband, I surprised my wife with a Horizon Cruise dinner, which I had booked earlier in the day. At just the right speed, the cruise goes up and then down the river for a couple of hours and is a definite must-do when staying in Bangkok. Not only is the international buffet fantastic, the experience and views are amazing. If you’re already familiar with the Shangri-La experience, you’ll still be getting the same level of excellence-with-a-twist by being afloat. Make sure to bring your camera along!
Having visited Bangkok a few times, I would have to say that this was the most memorable trip to date. My last tip for you is that the Shangri-La’s low season is the month of April so prices are at their friendliest right now.