Amara Bangkok is the upscale Singapore brand’s first foray into Thailand, managed by Amara Hotels & Resorts, Singapore. Amara debuted in Singapore in 1986 with Amara Singapore and broadened its scope with Amara Sanctuary Resort, Sentosa in 2007. The hotel underwent a soft launch back in March but had its official launch in July. Amara Signature Shanghai is scheduled to open next year.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The city escape concept incorporates elements of Thai culture with the brand’s Singaporean heritage. The hotel’s exterior highlights 597 timber ‘fins’ that create a sedate and sophisticated feel. Inside, the spacious foyer is filled with natural light and a warm welcome from staff exudes that special Thai hospitality. Concierge facilities are excellent and well versed on everything from local transport knowledge to the 50-odd golf clubs you might want to try while in town.
WHERE IS IT?
The hotel is located on Surawong Road in central Bangkok, just a five to 10-minute walk to Silom and Sathorn roads, key shopping, nightlife and financial areas. It’s also near two Skytrain stations – Chong Nonsi and Sala Daeng – and the Silom MRT station. The hotel’s own air-conditioned tuk tuk can shuttle you to and from these stations. Alternatively taxis are reasonably plentiful, with a five-minute wait during off-peak hours. Expect a 40-minute taxi ride to the airport off-peak, but with traffic still a problem, best to seek advice from the concierge before you book one.
There are 250 rooms categorised as: Deluxe; Executive; Club; Cabana Club; Ladies Only Club; Deluxe for guests with physical disabilities; and Amara Suite.
Rooms feature abstract art prints by local Thai artists. Smoking is permitted on four floors of the hotel. All rooms offer free wifi, free Press Reader with more than 3,500 newspaper and magazine titles, internet protocol phones, free local calls and smart TV. I stayed in a Club Room, which was comfortable, but not overly spacious at 34 sqm. The bathroom was large and appointed in whites, marbles and chrome, with a good-sized tub and separate shower facilities, and laid out with Amara’s branded amenities from Roberto Cavalli.
A hallway featured good closet space with ironing board, while coffee and tea making facilities and a minibar with a range of beverages were also provided. The main space featured a very comfortable bed with desk/shelf space opposite, with walking room and not much more between bed and shelf. When I was working and ordered room service, as I had placed some items on the other side of the TV, there was no space for the staff to put my meal. More space in this regard would have been desirable, especially for business travellers.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Element on level B1 is the signature restaurant and is nicely laid out with roof beams and other panelling mirroring the hotel’s exterior effect. An al fresco area is being expanded and the open layout includes a la minute stations for observing chefs in action. This all-day dining facility features Singaporean, Thai and Chinese cuisine from talented Singaporean executive chef Colin Liang. My advice? Go Singaporean and you will not be disappointed. The Akaaza Bar on the hotel’s rooftop (level 26) is a fun place with great views, but if you don’t like techno music you might have a problem. The Bar and the Barista Café in the spacious lobby offer cocktails and other beverages, and a good selection of java, respectively.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
There are four meeting rooms on level 8 fully equipped with audio-visual equipment and adjustable to different configurations. Glass wall facades offer plenty of natural light if desired. Tanjong Pagar 1 and 2 Ballrooms are 163 sqm each and can be joined for a 327 sqm facility accommodating 250 for a reception. Surawong 1 and Surawong 2 meeting rooms are 28 sqm each with a capacity of 30. The Business Centre is located on the same level and can act as a support facility.
The infinity pool on the hotel’s roof offers a fabulous view of Bangkok’s towers and suburbs at any time of day. The Sky Gym on level 22 is open 24 hours and also offers fabulous views as you work out. Club Cabana Room guests have exclusive access to the Jacuzzi on level 9, while the Club Lounge on level 20 offers all-day refreshments and evening cocktails with canapés.
Great location and for the most part well designed and attractive. More work/table space in the room was needed, but excellent and friendly staff made my stay a real pleasure.
- HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 250 rooms including 127 Deluxe Rooms (30-34 sqm); 60 Executive Rooms (30-34 sqm); 56 Club Rooms (30-34 sqm); 6 Cabana Rooms (30 sqm) with direct Jacuzzi access; 6 Ladies Rooms (30-34 sqm); 3 Deluxe Rooms designed for guests with physical disabilities (30 sqm); and 1 Amara Suite (72 sqm).
- HIGHLIGHTS A great location, authentic Singaporean cuisine and fantastic staff.
- PRICE Internet rates for a Club Room in mid-November start from THB3,825 (US$107).
- CONTACT 180/1 Surawong Rd, Sipraya, Bang Rak, Bangkok;tel: +66 2 021 8888; bangkok.amarahotels.com