In March 2019, I checked into the Manor Suite King at Rosewood Bangkok, which joins famous hotels Park Hyatt Bangkok and Okura Prestige Bangkok as well as various upscale malls and spanking new office towers along Phloen Chit Road. Conveniently located next to Phloen Chit BTS Station and about forty minutes from Suvarnabhumi Airport, the 159-room hotel is the second Rosewood property in Thailand after Rosewood Phuket’s launch in 2017.
The launch of Rosewood Bangkok comes hot on the heels of the recent splashy opening of Rosewood Hong Kong a mere two weeks before, and is part of an ambitious series of Rosewood launches across the region. It is certainly an exciting time for the ultra-luxury brand known for their highly distinctive, luxurious and residential-style hotels inspired by the culture, history and geography of their respective locale (hence their tagline, “A Sense of Place”).
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Residential, discreet ultra-luxury in Ploenchit.
The must-dos (if any): Bask in the beautifully-appointed guest rooms, take a dip in the heated salt-water pool, dine at Nan Bei and have a tipple at Lennon’s.
The 30-storey standalone building’s visually striking architecture – the two connecting high-rise structures resemble two palms pressed together in greeting, or the Thai gesture “wai” – comes courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, who also designed sister property Rosewood Hong Kong as well as Otemachi Tower (aka the Aman Tokyo building) in Tokyo. Celia Chu, known for designing various Hyatt properties around the world, is behind the hotel’s interior design, which pays tribute to Bangkok’s famous caves and built-on-water origins via lush greenery and exquisite water features.
Rosewood’s ethos has always centred around residential-style experiences. Past the manually opened gates of the fortressed premises – which immediately lend a sense of heightened exclusivity and residential privacy – and the understatedly posh entrance, elevators bring you to the hotel lobby on the 7th level. The interior design of the main lobby plays it all stately bronze, glossy reflective surfaces and playfully varied floor textures, with modern touches such as sophisticated fan-shaped light fixtures (in lieu of grand chandeliers) and refreshing white floral arrangements which lend a touch of grandeur to the proceedings. Guest arrival is relatively discreet – butlers escort you to your room to complete the check-in process, meaning you do not spend too much time in the reception area, and the guest lifts are a dark passageway beyond the public elevators which lead to the upper-floor dining concepts.
Like its sister properties, the hotel has an extensive collection of artwork along its various hallways and lobbies, ranging from mysteriously forlorn and fallen golden mangosteens along the guest room corridors to the big-nippled, ripped-bodied male boxers in mid-kick stance near the fitness centre. Like the nearby Park Hyatt Bangkok, the property showcases works of both established as well as emerging Thai artists such as Preecha Thaothong, Pinaree Sanpitak and Kittaya Poolsawatdi.
One of the hotel’s key features is the dramatic, soaring 10-storey indoor waterfall which cascades down the hotel’s central atrium towards the swimming pool on the 9th level. Guests whose eyes trail the source of the waterfall will be dazzled by the ceiling installation of 600 lit-up birds in mid-flight which pays homage to the Chinese folk tale The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl (a tale of forbidden lovers who can only meet once a year by crossing the sky over a bridge of magpies).
With sweeping views of the Bangkok skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows, the 79sqm Manor Suite King plays it all sophisticated, art-cultured urbanite luxury apartment living, with the sloping exterior giving the space a cosy, loft-style vibe. A closed-loop circulation connects the living room, walk-in closet, bathroom and bedroom.
The living room comprises a chaise lounge sofa and a table which doubles up as a work desk and dining table, while a 49″ LCD TV and portable Geneva bluetooth sound system round up the entertainment side of things. The pantry is equipped with a Nespresso machine with the ability to make milk coffee beverages as well as Thailand-based Chaidim organic tea options, while the drawer is well-stocked with healthy and local flavour-tinged snacks. For suite guests, the non-alcoholic beverages (water, juices, tonics and soft drinks) as well as bottled beers are complimentary, while wine, champagne, spirits as well as bottled cocktails from the private bar (courtesy of The Everleigh Bottling Co.) are available for the playful-livered. Drinking water is bottled Evian.
Unlike the California King Bed I had in my Grand Harbour Corner Suite at Rosewood Hong Kong, the horizontal lodging here is decidedly un-American in its regality, but the Frette 600 thread-count linens (I saw a similar Frette product at the Takashimaya department store in Singapore weeks ago and burst out laughing after seeing the price tag) keep bedtimes happily pampered. Floor-to-ceiling windows from two sides of the room welcome generous amounts of warm sunshine for an energetic waking up experience.
The bathroom comes with double vanities, a rain shower as well as a window-side, The Murray-esque gold-accented freestanding bathtub with an attached television. A Dyson hairdryer is available for your follicle dehydration pleasure, and bathroom amenities are Rosewood Bangkok-branded. The bath salt smells extremely similar to the hyper-luxurious Maison Caulières bathroom amenities from Rosewood Hong Kong, which I said “possess the fragrance of a luxurious Six Senses-esque resort spa meets a posh high-end Parisian fashion boutique”.
My reservation was booked under the “Signature Suites Stay”, which came with roundtrip airport transfers in a luxury limousine, a THB2,000 credit to spend in any of Rosewood Bangkok’s restaurants and bars, and a treatment for two at Sense, A Rosewood Spa.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Drawing heavily from traditional Thai healing culture, Sense, A Rosewood Spa uses skincare lines EviDenS de Beauté for their facials and Maison Caulières products for their various treatments and massages. I tried the 60-minute Bespoke Massage, opting for special attention to my weary shoulders and a gentle touch. The fairly standard massage presented no surprises – save for some toe-curling and reflex-jerking moments – with the final segment after the usual face-down and chest-up massage phases dedicated solely to my neck and shoulders. My choice of massage oil left me smelling like a relaxed piece of mandarin tinged spicy ginger, ideal for teas to treat flatulence.
On the 9th level, guests can make use of the wondrous heated indoor-outdoor saltwater pool with whirlpool as well as the fitness studio which is gloriously bathed in natural light and equipped with state-of-the-art Technogym machines. The pool is destined to be a favoured guest destination, not just because the waterfall backdrop is perfect for Troye Sivan-meets-Bella magazine-esque posing, but also given how the building’s impressive “wai” architecture is best appreciated via the perspective from the outdoor area of the pool.
DINING AND BAR
Breakfast is served at Lakorn European Brasserie, the hotel’s all-day dining venue located on the 7th level. The space plays it all understated St. Regis-style elegance meets creamy, Kinfolk-meets-Polly Pocket-esque muted minimalism, with an outdoor terrace with a Bangkok cityscape view. Guests can either choose from pre-designed set menus consisting of the breakfast table spread of pastries and fruits along with an a la carte main, or order from the selection of European (sample items: Cured Meats, Farmhouse Cheeses or Organic Eggs, with sides such as bacon, chicken/pork sausages) and Thai (sample items: Pork or Chicken Noodle Soup, Thai Egg Omelette with Minced Pork, Grilled Marinated Pork Skewers with Sticky Rice) mains. While the chicken noodle soup was delightfully authentic with its light and clean touch, and the Thai egg omelette a greasy pleasure, the choice of Thai dishes were not typical of the representative, crowd-pleasing Thai fare I have come to expect from a Thai breakfast, and I could not help but think of my experience at Holt’s Cafe at Rosewood Hong Kong, which served a scrumptious and impressively local Hong Kong breakfast experience.
Situated on the 19th level, with interior design inspired by the Chinese legend of Weaver Girl and the Cowherd, Nan Bei (meaning South and North respectively in Chinese) serves authentic Chinese cuisine, showcasing signature regional specialties from the North (think Peking Duck, noodles, dumplings) and the South (a variety of classic seafood dishes). Despite its authentic Chinese inspiration, the space is decidedly contemporary, sleek and uber-sexy once night falls, with the clever use of illumination being instrumental in creating the necessary vibes – stage-like and edgy suspended bulbs hang above the bar and booth seats, an octopus lamp with sprawling tentacles is a centrepiece for one of the dining rooms near the bar, while elsewhere dim mushroom table lamps provide the necessarily gentle table lighting for casual catch-ups, corporate conversating and cosy canoodling alike. Tea-inspired cocktails (think Smoked Lapsang Souchong with Macallan 18 whisky and Long Jing Green Tea in your Claypot-Aged Negroni) provide the essential social lubrication.
I had the opportunity to sample some of the dishes from Nan Bei prior to the restaurant’s official launch, and was impressed by how unabashedly honest and unpretentious the offerings were, which had the (intentional?) effect of ensuring that the atmosphere always remained suitably relaxed and casual in spite of the sophisticated, sexy vibes of the joint. From the appetisers, the Southern crunchy Chilled Jelly Fish Salad with Chinese Cabbage, Aged Vinegar and Mustard Oil surprised with its wasabi edge, while the Northern Poached Chicken with Sichuan Spicy Sauce and Crush Peanuts teased with its playfully numbing qualities. (I found myself repeatedly dipping the slices of Beef Shank into the Sichuan spicy sauce instead of its own dip.) The unattractive-looking but supremely comforting Northern “Ge Da Tang” (essentially a mini pasta/dumpling soup) came with luxurious chunks of seafood such as abalone and scallop, while the Southern Pot Stickers (pan-fried dumplings with pork and spring onions) was probably the most visually striking of the dishes I sampled, playing it like a hand-crafted, delicate pastry tapestry. My favourite from the evening was the Shanxi Hot Oil Hand-Pulled Noodles, which was a doughy, riotous mix of vinegary, sour and spicy.
Located next to the pool on the 9th level, G&O (“green and organic”) offers healthy cuisine created using organic and locally-sourced ingredients. Elsewhere, on the tipples front, top-floor speakeasy bar Lennon’s showcases cocktails with an Asian twist. Designed by New York concept firm AvroKO (who also designed the Penthouse Bar and Grill at Park Hyatt Bangkok as well as the high-floor Bull & Bear, The Loft and The Champagne Bar at Waldorf Astoria Bangkok), the bar features an extensive 6,000-vinyl collection as well as a cigar mezzanine accessible via a spiral staircase, with distinct spaces for intimate vinyl appreciation, buzzy bar tippling and enjoying live music performances.
It is inevitable that Rosewood Bangkok will draw comparisons to its nearby sister properties in Hong Kong and Phuket. However, comparisons aside, what the property offers is a visually arresting and ultra-luxurious guest room experience, a fantastic swimming pool as well as intriguing and daring F&B options. With the upcoming launches of Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River as well as Capella Bangkok in 2019, the standard and range of ultra-luxury options in Bangkok are certainly poised to reach new heights.
1041/38 Ploenchit Road
Lumpini, Pathumwan Bangkok