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Hotel check: Tower Club at Lebua, Bangkok

20 Apr 2016 by Jeremy Tredinnick
BACKGROUND The Lebua brand began in 2003 with the creation of a drinking and dining “destination” on the roof of one of Bangkok’s highest buildings. Once the Sky Bar and Sirocco restaurant had built a reputation as a “must-visit” city hotspot, in 2006 they took over the Meritus hotel to create the Lebua at State Tower property, then launched the all-suite Tower Club at Lebua in 2009. WHERE IS IT? The hotel is located on the upper floors (all the suites are on floors 51 to 59) of the State Tower, only minutes from Chao Phraya River at the southwest end of Silom Road in downtown Bangkok (near to the Shangri-La and Mandarin Oriental properties). It is 30-60 minutes’ drive to/from Suvarnabhumi International Airport (depending on Bangkok’s infamous traffic), but less than 10 minutes’ walk from the Saphan Taksin BTS (Skytrain) station (the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service if you don’t want to walk). Balcony view showing Chao Phraya River WHAT’S IT LIKE? The Tower Club is an all-suite hotel and every suite boasts at least one large balcony with fantastic views. It shares its entrance and a low-lit, L-shaped lobby with the Labua at State Tower hotel located on the lower floors (private residences and offices occupy floors between the two), and although the lobby is opulent enough it is in no way “grand”; however, this is not really where the hotel experience begins. Guests of the Tower Club check in on the 51st floor and are quickly taken to their suite, where you cannot help but be impressed by the size of the rooms and the panorama from the balcony – day or night. There is of course a caveat attached to all hotels situated in tall towers: the logistics of lifts. Four lifts service the Tower Club, but they also provide public access to the top-floor Dome restaurant and bar complex, so at certain times of day you can be left waiting for a lift for ten minutes or more. This can be frustrating, and should be factored in to your travel time if you are heading out to a meeting. Signature suite living room ROOM FACILITIES I was in a two-bedroom Signature suite, which was enormous (176 sqm): an entrance corridor led into a dining area and kitchenette (complete with full-size fridge, microwave and hot plates – chefs from the restaurants can cook meals for you in your own suite), then a drawing room with massive curving sofa facing an equally large flatscreen TV. An impressive crystal chandelier hung over the coffee table, and floor-to-ceiling French windows led out onto one of three balconies at slightly different angles to give different views of the city and river. The main bedroom was palatial as well. The king-size bed sported a “Finesse” mattress with 330 thread count linen, there was heaps of wardrobe space (one hiding an ironing board and iron), another large TV, while the bathroom had a separate walk-in shower and bath and Shanghai Tang “Mandarin Tea” shower products. The second bedroom – with twin queen-size beds – was off the dining area, and its bathroom had a second door out into the entrance corridor. Also opposite the main door on entry was a private massage room with its own treatment table. I took advantage of this and had an in-room massage, choosing a 90-minute Thai oil massage from a menu of four treatments. It was excellent, and wonderful not to have to dress and return to my room at the end – the masseuse left me to relax where I lay. The suite’s décor is a combination of hardwood flooring, honey beige carpets and light-brown furnishings, with understated modern art on the walls. There are a range of complimentary extras, such as free minibar, a free shoe shining service, a large Nespresso machine and of course free wifi. The only niggle I have is that although there were plenty of power sockets scattered throughout the suite, none were at desk or bed height, so if you have a range of chargers for laptop, camera and phone, you do quite a bit of scrabbling around bent double and moving existing phone and lamp wires out of the way. To be fair, though, this two-bedroom suite is aimed at families – when I visited a single-bedroom suite it had multiple-type power sockets in the wall behind the desk at waist height, and this room category is much more geared towards the business traveller. Sirocco and Sky Bar BARS AND RESTAURANTS This is where the Tower Club really stands out from the crowd. There is a lobby lounge, but on the 12th floor, known as the M floor, is Café Mozu, which serves breakfast (the pastry and bread section deserves special mention, with choices like “rustic baguette”, cinnamon, spinach and French Dill breads) and then all-day dining options including Lebanese, Indian, Thai and Western food. On the 52nd floor is the Tower Club Lounge, where you can have breakfast if you want a more peaceful atmosphere; the Ocean 52 lounge; and Breeze, a popular pan-Asian restaurant spread over two levels. Go to the 64th floor Dome and you’ll find a cocktail lounge, Distil, with its own alfresco terrace, as well as an oyster, sushi, sashimi and Iranian caviar bar, and even a private cheese room. Through a door on the other side of the Dome is the open-air Flute, a Perrier-Jouet Bar – the highest champagne bar in the world, serving vintage sparkling wines exclusive to Thailand (at very high prices). Down some steep stairs is Sirocco, the world’s highest outdoor restaurant (Mediterranean cuisine); it shares this space with Sky Bar, an island bar whose colour changes every 60 seconds and round which drinkers mill and take in the stunning panoramas. Finally there’s Mezzaluna, a fine dining restaurant on the 65th floor that offers French cuisine with a Japanese twist. I was lucky enough to eat at all these establishments during my stay, and I found each of them excellent in their own way, ranging from tasty and filling to sophisticated and superlative. This is probably the best F&B collection of any hotel property I have visited – perhaps not so surprising when you consider that the group considers its food and drink concepts to be the foundation on which it builds its hotel offerings. (Being conscious of my hosted status at the hotel, I asked a number of other guests about their own experiences, and the overwhelming majority were highly complimentary.) Breeze pan-Asian restaurant BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The Business Centre on the 51st floor offers desktop computers and secretarial/administrative support, and there are two meeting rooms for small to medium-sized groups. The main function rooms cover two levels of the tower and are accessed from the third floor. Each level has a huge ballroom and there are other conference rooms arranged around extensive, plush ante rooms – all rooms are fully serviced and the hotel can cater to groups of up to 800. Additionally, the 450 sqm State Room at the top of the Dome on the 67th floor is a stunning event setting, with sweeping views of the river and Bangkok skyline. LEISURE FACILITIES There is a large state-of-the-art fitness centre on M floor, with a wide range of fitness machines, mats and a separate weights section. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls look out onto the pool area and part of Café Mozu, which may put some off, but there’s no doubt this is a first-class facility – I used it on a few occasions and it had a good atmosphere, with muted but energetic music playing. The swimming pool curves round a corner of the building and has a Jacuzzi area attached. Also on M floor are a sauna and steam room (male and female) and the spa, which offers four treatment rooms. VERDICT This is one of Bangkok’s most distinctive hotels, a high-end product that ticks all the boxes from a luxury hotel perspective but excels in terms of its location (lift difficulties aside), the fantastic views that all the suites offer, and in particular its variety of consistently excellent restaurants and bars. Flute, a Perrier-Jouet Bar HOW MANY ROOMS? 221 suites, comprising 68 single-bedroom City View suites; 126 single-bedroom River View suites, eight two-bedroom Signature suites, 11 two-bedroom Luxury suites, seven three-bedroom Lebua suites and one Hangover Suite (three bedrooms). PRICE Internet rates for a Tower Club Luxury two-bedroom suite in mid-May start from US$679 per night. CONTACT 1055 Silom Road, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500; tel +66 2624 9555; lebua.com/tower-club  Jeremy Tredinnick
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