From humble beginnings as a seamen’s guesthouse when it first opened its doors as The Oriental in 1876, to its status as an iconic grande dame, the Mandarin Oriental hotel has seen the rise of Bangkok from its perch on the banks of the energetic Chao Phraya River.
Best-known for its historic relationships with a host of international literary giants – from Jospeh Conrad to Barbara Cartland – that have inspired an entire wing, the hotel’s recently revamped Garden Wing now competes to be the main draw. Here, local studio P49Deesign reconfigured the space to double the size of the 12 suites, which are brushed with a coat of glamour by way of Jim Thompson silks and pulled together by a colonial-inspired aesthetic and contemporary accents.
If the expansive views of the city’s twinkling skyline are not soothing enough, the Oriental Spa further highlights the hotel’s reputation as a haven within the chaos of the city. Set within a century-old teakwood house on the other side of the river, indulge in a series of treatments from traditional Thai massages to a herbal wrap that uses ingredients from Chiang Mai mixed with sesame seeds and milk.
And when the world’s best street food doesn’t quite fit the occasion, at least one of the hotel’s eight restaurants will – not least its famous afternoon tea, served on wicker chairs in a light-filled glass conservatory.