In May 2022, I checked into the Maa-Lai Suite with Living Area at Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok. Situated within the luxurious mixed development Sindhorn Village (which also consists of Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel Bangkok), the 231-key pet-friendly property is a short walk away from Chidlom BTS station, Mercury Ville mall and the swanky Central Embassy shopping centre, while Suvarnabhumi International Airport is about 50 minutes away by car.
This is the first Kimpton property in Southeast Asia. Nearby hotels include Conrad Bangkok, Conrad Bangkok Residences and The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Vibrant, pet-friendly social hub in lush Langsuan.
Must Dos: Enjoy the lush green views and HARNN bathroom amenities of your well-appointed room, take in sunset views at Bar.Yard, have a premium G&T at CRAFT while you fall in love with an animal….or six.
KIMPTON MAA-LAI BANGKOK
With architecture from Plan Associates (who also designed JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, The St. Regis Bangkok and the upcoming mixed-use development One Bangkok which will house The Ritz-Carlton Bangkok) and interiors courtesy of hospitality design firm P49Deesign (who also designed InterContinenal Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, 137 Pillars House Chiangmai and Six Senses Laamu), the hotel marries the traditional with the contemporary, with Thai motifs and artworks from local artists paired with modern industrial-style design flourishes. In a nod to the titular Maa-Lai (a reference to traditional Thai floral garlands offered to others as a sign of welcome, respect and good luck), the hotel has established itself as an inviting, buzzy social destination which attracts a wide spectrum of guests, from the younger party set who visits breezy rooftop bar Bar.Yard for tiki cocktails and sundown revelry to pet owners and their furkids who frequent all-day cafe CRAFT with its oversized plush sofas and outdoor garden seating.
Even more so than the similarly pet-friendly Kimpton Da-an Hotel Taipei, the hotel is an absolute animal extravaganza – across the span of three days, I spotted French bulldogs, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Samoyeds, Golden Retrievers, Shiba Inus, Silky Terriers, Chow Chows, Corgis and even the occasional cat or two. The floofy furballs were in all sorts of situations – seated dutifully by their owners’ sides whilst the latter sip cocktails and appreciate the live music in the lobby; walking alongside their hoomans as they stroll in or out of the hotel; ensconced in the comfort of their luxe pet strollers while their owners enjoy their garden-side tête-à-tête; barking excitedly at a canine rival across the room; and, in the case of possibly the chonkiest Corgi I have ever seen, getting up to frisky and very public shenanigans with a fellow dog (a French Bulldog) which made me clutch my metaphorical pearls and look away out of respect for their woh-woh modesties.
In terms of wellness, the hotel houses Amaranth Spa by HARNN which offers both Asian and Western-style pampering treatments. The lipstick red-accented GYM on the 3rd level features Life Fitness and Hammer Strength machines as well as more niche equipment favoured more by hardcore CrossFit enthuasists as opposed to casual hotel guests during their travels – think exercise tires, battle ropes and punching bags. On the same floor, the sheltered outdoor infinity pool overlooking lush Langsuan greenery provides the laidback setting for guests to enjoy their Evening Social Hour complimentary free-flow wines and slushies – I had Thai Milk Tea and creamy citrus slushies during both my two evenings there.
MAA-LAI SUITE WITH LIVING AREA
Boasting floor-to-ceiling windows framing soothing views of the verdant Lumphini Park and flooding your suite with an abundance of welcome sunshine, the 87sqm Maa-Lai Suite with Living Area plays it all sophisticated urbanite residential with dark wood, cool metal and marble textures, shades of forest green and grey as well as plant and floral flourishes throughout the suite. The living room features curved sofa seating for larger groups as well as a window-side table for work or coffee purposes. From the pantry and minibar, guests can help themselves to Nespresso coffee, tea sachets from Netherlands brand Or Tea? as well as a selection of wines, spirits and bottled Laiba cocktails.
The bedroom is fitted with a window-facing bed with Simmons mattress, a Vifa Helsinki Bluetooth sound system device and a chaise lounge for bedside company. Elsewhere, the spacious white marble bathroom offers double vanities, an oversized bathtub, a sleek Dyson hairdryer, colourful and eye-catching bathrobes from Belgian artist Christian Develter who specialises in portraits of Asian women (one is depicted on the robes) as well as luxurious bathroom amenities from Thai spa brand HARNN.
Breakfast is served at Stock.Room, the forest-esque “grocerant” on the 5th level where guests can shop for fresh groceries and enjoy dishes from six different kitchens, including its own dedicated coffee roastery and juicery. Guests can order a la carte dishes such as Mighty Mighty Power Smoothie Bowl (almond milk, roasted almonds granola, mixed berries, banana, mango, coconut water, toasted coconut, goji berries), Avocado Toast (rustic country bread, avocado smash, wild rocket, honey mustard coriander chili dressing), Shakshuka (2 sunny side up eggs, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, cumin, served with pita bread) and Banana Berries Pancake (caramelized banana, daily berries, coconut flakes) along with buffet selections such as Fishball Noodle Soup, Stir Fried Pork with Oyster Sauce and a fairly winning and spicy Tom Kha Gai (Thai chicken coconut soup).
Set against a lush garden setting and seamlessly connecting the reception area to the guest elevators, expansive ground floor cafe CRAFT is the destination for all pet owners in Bangkok (as well as their pooches who likely have their own verified Instagram accounts), with seats never left vacant for too long. Of note is their impressive selection of premium gins, which you can pair with various types of tonics. My Peter In Florence Gin with Elderflower Tonic was sensational, and I fully intend to acquire the respective ingredients for my own home bar.
The hotel’s crown jewel is Bar.Yard, the rooftop lounge on the 40th level which offers a breathtaking sunset view of Bangkok’s skyline paired with clubby live music, Pacific Island cocktails and American and Mexican barbecue bites – think Street Mex Corn, Spicy Minced Lamb Satays, Ancho Dark Beer Smoked BBQ Baby Pork Ribs 400g and Rib-Eye Churrasco. The calamari-esque Lobster Popcorn lined my stomach sufficiently for the tropical Jungle Bird (dark rum, pineapple, lime and bitter) and mischievously boozy Navy Grog (white, dark and overproof rums, lemon, lime, local honey and fernet branca). Definitely make a reservation – this buzzy sky bar is insanely popular.
Elsewhere on the ground floor, Ms. Jigger serves hearty Italian fare and daily specials in an intimate lounge setting. The seafood dishes (including the Black Mussels and Charred Octopus, Caponata and Spicy Tomato Sauce) were scrumptious, the Tagliolini Lobster with White Wine was a suitably slick affair and the Ms. Jigger Tiramisu was lusciously moist. Aside from the extensive wine menu, diners can choose from the conceptual cocktail menu, each creation based on romantic narratives inspired by different parts of Thailand – Doi Inthanon (Hendrick’s, Mancino vermouth Sakura, Silpin golden sweet tamarind syrup, Thai safflower infused Mancino vermouth Secco, Silpin jasmine perfume) was floral and flirtatiously sexy, while Khao Yai (Michter’s straight bourbon, San Luis Mezcal, St. Germain elderflower liqueur) was a chocolatey send-up of a classic Negroni.
While its location may deter those who seek immediacy of access to the famed Ratchaprasong shopping district, the lifestyle hotel has so much going for it, from the gorgeous Manhattan loft-esque stylings of the guest rooms to the warm fuzziness of heart the animals on the ground floor will no doubt make you feel. Quite the refreshing standout amidst the more traditional (and in many cases, tired) luxury properties in Bangkok.
Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok
78 Soi Tonson, Lumphini, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330, Thailand