The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Art gallery-chic and minimalist property is beautiful but aloof.
The must-dos (if any): Breakfast at The Embassy Room, visit the Infinity Pool.
Intro: In July 2018, I checked out the new Park Hyatt Bangkok, a 222-room property which is widely hyped to be one of the city’s most luxurious hotels (which means something, given the massively high standards of Thai luxury properties). Occupying the 9th to 35th floors above fashion and luxury shopping mall Central Embassy, and minutes away from the Phloen Chit BTS station, the hotel is conveniently located near popular tourist shopping centres such as Central World and Siam Paragon.
The price point for Park Hyatt rooms is generally the highest amongst the other brands under the Hyatt portfolio, so I definitely came with expectations.
Designed by award-winning New York design firm Yabu Pushelberg, and housed within an iconic twisty-coiled structure with shimmering aluminium tiles, Park Hyatt Bangkok follows in its sister properties’ footsteps in often resembling an art gallery more than a luxury hotel, incorporating artistic show pieces from both Western and Asian artists within its interior design.
A golden step installation by Chinese artist Gao Weigang greets you on your way to the elevator to the lift lobby. A seated Buddha sculpture by Thai sculptor Nonthivathn Chandhanaphalin welcomes you when you arrive at the hotel lobby, while butterfly and flower motif pieces by Thai artist Chatchai Puipia hang behind each of the reception counters. Random massive earthen pots sit idly along the passageway to the Pañpuri Organic Spa. An eye-catching, digitally altered photograph of the Chao Phraya River by German photographer Andreas Gursky sits in The Living Room, the hotel’s all-day lounge.
The hotel’s grand staircase wraps around hundreds of sparkling conical copper swirls which suspend dramatically over the ground floor ballroom, with the structure resembling an inverted Buddhist pagoda. The installation is “Pagoda Mirage” by Hirotoshi Sawada, an artist who has numerous of his installations showcased across the world’s top luxury properties (one of them being Shangri-La Hotel Singapore‘s “Wind: Tree Canopy”). Sawada is also behind “Naga”, an installation comprising a swirling cascade of black batons suspended over The Living Room.
The hotel’s aesthetic is clean and understated, with a general colour palette which is soft and neutral, with cream shades, pale wood and sharp black accents. I am strongly reminded of Andaz Singapore.
The layout of the property is fairly labyrinthine, with numerous hallways and turns at every corner.
While the art gallery feel of the property makes for a satisfying afternoon tour and an ideal destination for Instagram-geared photoshoots of yourself dramatically paused in an aesthetically-pleasing hallway or next to an artistic installation, the flip side is the undeniable detachment that comes with such minimalist stylings. As you walk down the property’s hallways, you do feel the desire to be dressed in a large mink coat/oversized fashionable pullover from Milan/creamy Japanese sweater/Pleats Please Issey Miyake and Louboutins etc etc to truly fit in with the property’s classy sophistication.
The hotel does not have a club lounge for guests, which means opportunities for interactive hospitality (which I enjoy) are kept to a minimum. While the Park Hyatt brand prides itself on its discreet service, the lack of such opportunities, coupled with the sheer aloof poshness of the hotel’s environment, means the property does not offer the familiar warmth of service that I get from most other luxury hotel experiences.
I applied my World of Hyatt points towards upgrading my entry level reservation to a 68–80sqm Park Deluxe Suite, but was wondrously upgraded to the 93–109sqm Park Executive Suite. What I lost in terms of the view (the Park Deluxe Suite offers high-floor access to a wonderful city view, while the living room floor-to-ceiling window of the 14th floor Park Executive Suite I was in overlooks the pool and is very visible to those below), I gained in terms of the sheer size of the room.
The Park Executive Suite delivers Hyatt’s classic zen pale wood aesthetic to a tee, complete with creamy colour tones and Thai-inspired flourishes such as the flower carving on the bathroom wall. The room comes with two 55-inch LED widescreen TVs, a kitchen area comprising a sink and full-sized refrigerator with chiller compartment (as opposed to the drawer kind of refrigerator), a Nespresso coffeemaker, and a dining table-cum-work station table complete with stylish, black over-hanging lamps. The minibar comes with wine as well as a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label, Gordon’s Gin and Belvedere Vodka.
The room is also equipped with an orange-lit and gloriously massive walk-in closet that I would kill to have in my own apartment, and a Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker II that you can sync to your mobile device and bring to the bathroom for some throbbing (bass) fun.
There are USB ports and power points on both sides of the bed, which brings great convenience to the power hungry.
The bathroom is equipped with a bathtub that is big enough for three people (how do you know – Smirking Perverted Acquaintance) and a television screen for watching Ellen episodes while soaking naked beneath the bubbles. Bathroom amenities are from Le Labo, which lack the expensive quality of the property. The vapid amenities neither left an impression whatsoever nor ignited any desire on my part to request for additional bottles to bring home (as I am prone to do with most luxury hotel stays). I ended up using the exceptional, spa-smelling Ytsara shower gel which I nicked from SO Sofitel Bangkok (my hotel prior to this stay) to continue the Park Hyatt luxe experience uninterrupted.
One feature which I really appreciated was the ability to alter the brightness of the large lamp in the corner of the room, which allows you to adjust just how cosily dim/energetically awake you want the lighting to be in the evening.
Situated on the 9th floor of the property and overlooking the city, the hotel’s 40-metre saltwater infinity pool is surrounded by sun-loungers, cabanas, landscaped and terraced gardens. When I was there, the crowd comprised mainly 1) baby-on-float-splashy families, 2) Adonis-sculpted Chinese male instagrammers and Stephen Amell-from-“Arrow”-esque Caucasian dudes, 3) classy Korean women keeping big floppy hats on whilst in the pool, and 4) Chinese ladies who would not think twice about undoing their bikinis for that perfect tan. Not the scene that makes you want to leave.
Elsewhere, the Fitness Centre and Pañpuri Organic Spa are located on the 11th floor. The latter has eight treatment rooms for holistic massages, beauty facials, and the spa’s signature rituals, as well as various facilities such as crystal-steam rooms, laconium dry-heat rooms and whirlpools as well as “experience showers“ with relaxing acoustics and rejuvenating aromas.
DINING AND BARS
Breakfast is served at The Embassy Room, the hotel’s international restaurant which closes between breakfast, lunch and dinner sessions. Non-Globalist Hyatt members are likely to find the 850THB/pax cost fairly steep given the relatively modest breakfast selection. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the a la minute offerings, which included Kao Kai Jiaw (Thai-style omelette, stir-fried chicken with garlic, steamed rice) and Phad See Ew (stir-fried flat noodles, kale, egg, dark soy sauce) on the Asian front and Eggs Benedict (English muffin, smoked salmon, ham) and Waffle (caramelised banana, chocolate sauce) on the Western side of things.
The Park Breakfast buffet included dim-sum, congee and fried rice options as well as your usual Western big breakfast components. Elsewhere, guests are also invited to have items from The Pantry, which include various pastries, fresh fruits (I went for the mango and strawberries hard), muesli, cold pressed juices and deliciously refreshing smoothies such as their Siam Basil (pineapple, ginger, basil) and Much More Mango (mango, banana, yogurt). The Embassy Room uses Illy Coffee.
The Living Room is the hotel’s all-day lounge, serving international and Thai comfort food as well as beverages to hydrate your lazy afternoon tai-tai lounging. High tea is available in the afternoon, while wine and canapés are served in the evening.
Situated on the highest floors of the hotel and offering a fantastic sunset view, the very gold and Great Gatsby-esque The Penthouse Bar + Grill is a three-floor entertainment complex consisting of a grill and various bars and lounges, including a whisky room. Unfortunately, the Rooftop Terrace was closed that day due to the weather man being a bit of a runt, but I had a sneak peek at what could have been. The blazer-suited and pearls-and-black-dressed amongst us would enjoy the glitz and glamour of it all, but those seeking a bit of a wind down may prefer the quiet of the hotel’s own The Bar, which was where I eventually retreated for the night’s final libation after sampling the Penthouse Cocktail Bar’s “Menthe Pastille” and classic cocktail menu.
The Park Hyatt Bangkok is unforgettably beautiful in its artistic indulgences, and almost every inch of the premises is remarkably photo-worthy. However, the nature of the property, from the labyrinthine layout to the lack of a club lounge, means that the hospitality that you experience during your stay is brisk and fleeting, and ultimately what is lacking from the Park Hyatt Bangkok experience is a familiarity and warmth of service that makes one truly feel at home.
Park Hyatt Bangkok
Central Embassy 88
Lumphini, Pathum Wan