David Trauts heads to the City of Angels at a time that many wouldn’t, but the flights were so cheap who could resist?
We jumped in the taxi at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport heading for the hotel in the centre of town. It was late afternoon already and traffic was building. Flights were becoming cheaper and cheaper to Bangkok from Jakarta, and all over the region for that matter, with stiff competition from budget airlines pushing the price of a ticket way down, and the political trouble also doing the same. Right then we could get to Bangkok for less than a trip to Bali. Why wouldn’t we take full advantage of the price war I was thinking as we raced down to the central Siam area. We were spending the money saved on the flights on one of the best hotels in town, the Siam Kempinski Hotel, no less, and what a beautiful hotel it is.
The Siam Kempinski Hotel does indeed have the reputation of being the finest hotel in Bangkok. It is new–three years old–and is attached, with easy access, to one of the best, high-end shopping malls in town, Siam Paragon. One of the remarkable things about Siam Kempinski, besides its pure splendour, grand interior and decor, is the resort nature of the central outdoor area of the hotel. It is like a resort in the city. A large swimming pool and garden area sits right in between the two wings of the hotel. This is where guests can laze on day-beds, have a swim, a drink or snack, after shopping their hearts out in the neighbouring malls. You could think you were on a beachside resort if you closed your eyes. It’s the perfect hotel for families or couples who want to shop in one of the world’s most vibrant cities and when they’re done relax in one of the world’s finest city surroundings. Not a bad combination for any city holiday. Either for business or for pleasure the Siam Kempinski provides everything you need. There are 303 rooms and suites within the 11 different categories of accommodation at the hotel. We stayed in one of the eleven Cabana rooms that surround, and have direct access to, the hotel’s meandering swimming pool.
The large room has all style of facilities including the latest HD Samsung TV, which I actually found a little bewildering in its clarity, free internet, a luxurious super-sized double bed, where I for once had a rock solid sleep in, and the latest Italian coffee machine to make your own cappuccinos. The bathroom, with a glass floor to ceiling dividing wall to the bedroom, features a large tub, gushing hot water and marble slate walls and floors. The main feature of the room though is the direct access to the large swimming pool outside with a small landing and settee to chill out between dips. It is enormous at 48 sqm and an all round immaculate hotel room.
There’s always something special about staying at the Kempinski anywhere in the world. The service is one of the best, the quality fabrics and finishing of the interiors is top class and they always seem to be connected to the best high-end shopping the city has to offer. It’s no exception in Bangkok, as I said before, with direct foot access to the city’s premier shopping mall, Siam Paragon. This mall has all the top brands and is the crowning jewel of Bangkok’s central business district. There are many other malls nearby too like Central World, MBK, Discovery and Siam Centre. If you are looking for the best location in town this hotel could well be it.
Dining at Kempinski, as you would expect, is an experience. The Sra Bua is the hotel’s destination fine-dining restaurant, which was conceptualised and continues being overseen by renowned chef, Henrik Yde Andersen, whose Kiin Kiin restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, remains the only Thai restaurant in the world holding a Michelin star. The two set menus at Sra Bua are the best choice to experience the flavours of this molecularly deconstructed menu. A la carte is also available. The challenge of molecular cuisine is not for everyone and if you are looking for typical Thai cuisine forget it and try one of the other restaurants like Niche. But if you want a true dining experience Sra Bua could be your calling. The dining begins similar to a high-end spa treatment, being seated at a comfy couch to one side of the main dining area, and informed of what will come next by the attentive waiting staff. Small ‘nibbling’ dishes began arriving (11 in total) on a selection of large spoons and small plates before we were moved to a table to continue the larger ‘street food’ courses (10 in total). Plates began arriving at the table with some real winners, and it must be admitted, some near misses, but all being more than interesting to the eye and the palate. The tastes and flavours of Thailand are all there in the ingredients but you will probably never experience them quite the same as you do in Sra Bua. At the end of the three-hour sitting it does take a while for it all to sink in, both literally and mentally, and it isn’t without reason that Sri Bua has won major awards around the region including one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013 and 2014. The restaurant offers a complete dining experience for anyone with an interest in fine-dining molecular cuisine.
As the political unrest continued around us during our visit to Bangkok earlier this year at no time did we feel threatened. While sometimes there may have been some inconveniences caused by the protests in the central area, all was peaceful. We managed to move around freely and the Kempinski staff were at all times extremely helpful in getting us from point A to point B. We hope that the political issues there quickly find an equitable solution for all.
It doesn’t really matter what’s happening outside though as the Siam Kempinski hotel offers a sanctuary within the city and is the perfect place to enjoy the luxury of one of the best hotel brands in the world. It is a true luxury resort to be experienced while on a short or long term holiday.
Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok