Few countries are as immediately associated with hospitality as Thailand, and its capital Bangkok has a long list of hotels worth visiting. Between renovations and reflagging of existing properties and a number of major new arrivals during the remainder of this decade, there is plenty to watch out for on the hotel front.
The city’s oldest luxury hotel, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, celebrated its 140th anniversary last year by reopening its historic Author and Garden wings following a complete overhaul, adding a six-bedroom, 600 sq m Grand Royal Suite in the process. At the same time, the hotel is looking to the future with a series of residences in the contemporary ICON Siam development across the Chao Phraya river.
While Four Seasons is working on a similar riverside hotel and residential set up further south (more on that below), Anantara Hotels rebranded the Canadian group’s longstanding hotel opposite the Royal Bangkok Sports Club as Anantara Siam and renovated a portion of its rooms. Como Metropolitan Bangkok gave its 169 rooms in the Sathorn business district a refresh, adding rainforest showers, smart TVs and wireless music systems.
Avani Riverside Bangkok
Having added Anantara Siam to its portfolio, parent company Minor Hotels also opened the Avani Riverside Bangkok, in September last year. The first purpose-built Avani hotel, it rises 26 stories directly behind the Anantara Riverside Bangkok (what once was a Marriott hotel). The lobby is on floor 11, with a total of 248 rooms and suites, a rooftop bar and pool, and over 4,500 sq m of event space.
Park Hyatt Bangkok
Due to open this summer in the end is Park Hyatt Bangkok, around the corner from sibling Grand Hyatt Erawan on Ploenchit Road. Part of the mixed-use Central Embassy development – a ‘curvilinear, twisted-coil structure’ – the hotel will have 222 rooms and suites. On the 34th-36th floor will be the ‘Penthouse Bar & Grill’, with a restaurant and a number of bars in what feels like an evolution of the famous New York Bar & Grill at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Reservations are live from end of June.
Hyatt Regency Bangkok
Once its Park Hyatt opening is out of the way, Hyatt can move on to two additional properties it has plans for: Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit and Hyatt Place Bangkok Sukhumvit. Hyatt Regency will have 300 rooms and suites and over 1,000 sq m of meeting and event space, along with two restaurants, a bar and spa and fitness centre. Hyatt Place will have 220 rooms and seven studio suites, with a similar set of facilities to complete the hotel. Originally planned for 2017, the hotels will likely take a little longer to open.
The Bangkok Edition
2017 will be a big year for Edition Hotels, doubling its portfolio from four to eight hotels. Openings include Shanghai, Abu Dhabi and Barcelona, but first up should be Bangkok, inside architect Ole Scheeren’s pixelated MahaNakhon Tower. The Bangkok Edition will have 154 rooms, above which there will be private Ritz-Carlton Residences. Thailand’s first Dean & Deluca opened a few years ago on the ground floor of the MahaNakhon Cube retail centre next door.
Waldorf Astoria Bangkok
There isn’t much space on Ratchadamri Road, lined with hotels and residences facing the green expanse of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. Nonetheless, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is squeezing itself into a narrow slot between the Grand Hyatt Erawan and the Anantara Siam, finding itself not just in between those two but surrounded by other hotels as well as a number of embassies. Part of a 60-story, mixed-use high-rise, the hotel will occupy the first 16 floors and offer 170 rooms and suites, along with restaurants, bars, and a spa and fitness centre with outdoor pool. Opening is listed for 2018.
Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River
Announced for the same year, though we would not be surprised if it turns out to be closer to the end of the decade, is Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River: the riverside hotel that will be the return for Four Seasons to the city. 300+ rooms will be spread across a multi-level, contemporary building, with the vertiginous tower (no less than 73 stories) next door reserved for 355 private residences. Renderings show equally contemporary interiors, with a mixture of greys and whites; a departure from the dark wood and traditional silk prints at its former home on Ratchadamri Road.
Part of the same development and also listed for 2018 is the all-suite Capella Bangkok, a hotel Capella has had listed as being under development since 2009. It’s one of four openings for the group in the next two years; other upcoming destinations are Shanghai, Ubud and Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Right about the time Park Hyatt can celebrate its two-year anniversary will Rosewood Hotels open Rosewood Bangkok, just up Ploenchit Road. The rendering shows the two connecting triangular high-rise structures that will make up the hotel from the side, joined by an atrium with vertical gardens in a design reflecting the traditional Thai ‘wai’ gesture of greeting and welcome.
The Central Embassy complex that Park Hyatt is part of is so close it’s in frame (the third building to the right of Rosewood, with its steep ski slope side), as is The Okura Prestige across the street (a different architectural interpretation of the ‘wai’, with its distinct infinity-edge pool that juts out of its façade).
With a direct link to Ploenchit Skytrain station, the hotel will have 159 rooms, including ‘Pool Sky Villas’ with large terraces and private plunge pools. The 33rd (top) floor will contain an event space, while there will also be a Sense Spa, swimming pool, fitness centre, and a number of restaurants and bars.
Looking further into the future, Spanish group Meliá Hotels announced its first Bangkok hotel for 2022. With 315 rooms, Meliá Bangkok will be part of a mixed-use development along with all the usual leisure, business and F&B facilities you’d expect.
Paul J DeVries