In April 2019, I checked into the Ayutthaya Suite at 137 Pillars Bangkok, an SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World) hotel situated in the Phrom Phong district near fashion and nightlife district Thonglor as well as the bustling Sukhumvit area. The 34-luxury suite hotel is minutes away from Phrom Phong BTS Station (a London-style taxi called “Louie” ferries suite guests to the station every hour), popular shopping complex EmQuartier as well as some of the hottest dining and bar destinations in Bangkok such as Suppaniga Eating Room, Issaya Siamese Club, Nahm and Iron Fairies.
The property offers both suites and residences, and guests enjoy different privileges based on their accommodation.
For the uninitiated, SLH represents over 500 independent boutique hotels worldwide. 137 Pillars Bangkok is a participating SLH hotel under the brand’s existing strategic alliance with World of Hyatt, which means World of Hyatt members can accrue points and enjoy exclusive benefits such as complimentary continental breakfast, late check-out and room upgrades if they book their stay via a Hyatt booking channel.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Villa resort experience in the sky in Phrom Phong.
The must-dos (if any): Luxuriate in your resort-style suite, swim in both infinity pools, enjoy breakfast at Baan Borneo Club.
SERVICES AND FACILITIES
The hotel’s biggest draw would likely be its two magnificent infinity pools, both of which offer vastly different experiences. The main infinity pool on the 27th level, available to both suite and residence guests, is the most photographed part of the property, offering impressive views of the Bangkok skyline and playing it like a Greek demi-god’s bachelor pad with its dramatic pillars and ever so slightly austere marble/stone dichotomy. Users of the cosy, sheltered jacuzzi near the edge of the pool are completely hidden from view, making it a perfect private location for extended mutual photoshoots of women wearing side cut-out bathing suits (which I observed was the female swimwear du jour on site, with nary a two-piece in sight) and hunky, six-packed East Asian males alike. Aside from one baby being coached by her mother on how to strike a post in front of a trellis, I observed only couples and gaggles of photography-hungry ladies on the premises which helps preserve that feeling of vacation relaxation and privacy.
The other location on the 27th level which served as a popular photograph spot would be the glass-floor oculus within the poolside Marble Bar which looks down twenty-seven stories to the street below. Not since my ride in a rickety Hong Kong cable car have I felt quite so acrophobic.
The 20m rooftop infinity pool, which extends out into the skies with the most minimal of barriers, offers a wholly different experience. Only available to suite guests, the space is decidedly more zen and serene than the pool situation below, with garden and poolside sunbeds available for tanning or wine-accompanied reading. Unlike the main pool, the illuminated rooftop infinity pool is open 24 hours for guest use, which provides opportunities for both moody heart-to-hearts as well as Denise Richards-and-Neve Campbell-in-Wild Things-style in-pool hijinks. Aside from offering 360-degrees uninterrupted views of Bangkok, another commendable feature of the rooftop space is that suite guests with access to the Baan Borneo Club can also enjoy their evening snacks and alcohol at the rooftop Sky Bar. It was a curious combination of W Hotel-style party life and temple-like calm enjoying a glass of chardonnay whilst soaking in the (comparatively unglamorous) jacuzzi.
Situated on the 28th level, the hotel’s Nitra spa provides a range of massages treatments using HARNN spa products (which I loved dearly from my visit to the HARNN Heritage spa at InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort). Elsewhere, a fitness centre, a hair salon as well as a golf studio with its own putting green and driving range in the terrace garden are located on the 6th level.
Boasting impressive views of the Bangkok skyline, the cavernous 95sqm Ayutthaya Suite plays it like a dreamy villa resort floating in the skies. The carpeted living room comprises a sofa and coffee table as well as a large curved dining booth (complete with a dramatic looming portrait of a fairly agitated horse) which belongs more in a chic American-style cocktail bar than a Bangkok hotel suite. Sliding doors connect you to a spacious outdoor balcony with a daybed and dining table, a comfortable space for hazy book club afternoons or pensive night-time moments nursing a glass of red. The walk-in pantry, located across the entrance hallway from the powder room, is well-equipped with a refrigerator stocked with soft drinks and beer, a Nespresso machine coupled with Chaidim organic tea options, a small selection of snacks as well as a wine cellar.
The bedroom provided one of the most comfortable sleep experiences I’ve had, courtesy of the silky 400-thread count bed linens which strike a magical balance of air-conditioned cool and cosy under-blankie warm. Elsewhere, the marble bathroom comes with a Japanese-style automated toilet, rainshower facilities, two different vanities as well as an enormous noodle bowl-esque bathtub for foamy, vulnerable influencer-style photo moments where the wispy clouds just barely cover one’s M&Ms. A soothing Six Senses-esque spa soundtrack plays in the background, with the wonderful HARNN bathroom amenities further accentuating the dreamy resort feels.
Suite guests enjoy 24-hour butler service.
DINING AND BARS
Located on the ground floor and boasting a marvellously high ceiling and copious amounts of natural light, Bangkok Trading Post offers all-day cafe-style casual dining in a relaxed and spacious setting, with its offerings ranging from pastas, pizzas and Western brunch fare (I had the garlic-forward Gambas al Ajillo) to more local and Asian delights such as the mildly spicy Pad Krapow and the curry-based Chicken Tiffin Set.
The 27th level Nimitr (which means ‘a special dream’ in Thai) serves Asian-inspired cuisine in a beautiful, sophisticated setting, decked in 137 Pillars’ signature blue hues and with stylish gate-like partitions and delightfully high ceilings. Whilst also open for lunch and afternoon tea, I hear that the space is most impressive in its offerings – both spatial and gustatorial – during dinner service. Up a flight of stairs, guests can access Jack Bain’s Bar, a cosy whisky and cigar concept perfect for a pre-dinner drink. Past Nimitr’s doors towards the outdoor terrace is the poolside Marble Bar for your outdoor and bathrobed/half-naked tipples.
BAAN BORNEO CLUB
Suite guests can enjoy their breakfast at Baan Borneo Club, the hotel’s blue-decked 26th floor club lounge which also offers afternoon tea as well as evening cocktails and canapes. While the buffet selection is fairly modest – think cheeses, cold cuts and pastries – the a la carte menu was a genuine surprise, not just in how delicious the dishes were but also the visible effort put into their presentation (each plate actually came served with cloche intact for visual removal effect).
The a la carte selection comprised the usual Western and egg breakfast dishes, a range of healthy options (Avocado and Beetroot Salad with Citrus Dressing, Quinoa Fruit Salad) as well as Asian (Japanese-style Salmon Fillet with Miso Soup, Steamed Rice, Onsen Egg and Pickles as well as Dim Sum) and local selections. The salt-happy, chewy and sweet Crab Meat Omelette as well as the comfortably greasy Mee Sua (stir-fry noodles with prawns and chicken) were highlights, while elsewhere the Nua Yang (sizzling Wagyu minute steak) is a hearty option for the protein-hungry and self-indulgent and the Butter Milk Quinoa Pancakes would please svelte yoga pants aficionados.
Evening cocktails and canapes can be enjoyed both at Baan Borneo Club as well as at the rooftop Sky Bar.
Make no mistake, the hotel’s all-suite luxury is by no means cheap – the hotel ranks as the most expensive Bangkok property bookable through the World of Hyatt app. However, the dual and wildly different pool experiences here are deeply memorable, essential for those who enjoy aquatic endeavours, and go far in justifying the hotel stay.
137 Pillars Bangkok
59/1 Sukhumvit Soi 39,
This post is written at the invitation of 137 Pillars Bangkok, although observations – and wallet thinning – are solely mine.