Space is a luxury in central Bangkok and real estate prices generally match the upwards spiral towers take hoping to find that elusive inch of operating space. The Sukhothai Bangkok defies this trend, but that’s because it is one of the grand ole’ dames of Bangkok built in the early 90s before other luxury brands found their roosting grounds in Bangkok.
Words: R. Rajendra
Spread over six acres of prime land on Sathorn Road, The Sukhothai is like a secret garden framed by ancient rainforest trees, lily ponds, potted lotuses and verdant shrubbery. From the entrance, the property peeks out deceptively through the greenery, inviting guests to enter a private sanctuary that echoes the elegant design and architectural style of the ancient city of Sukhothai.
I was handed a jasmine phuang malai (hand garland) on arrival and whisked away to my living quarters. Passing through the small but elegant lobby, one recurrent design pattern caught my eye. Modelled after the chedi, a Buddhist stupa-like structure from ancient Sukhothai, this design element was interpreted in many ways to adorn public spaces. From stalactite-like lamp fixtures to table legs and even the food label holders at the buffet spread, the chedi is ubiquitous but in subtle, surprising ways. The grand attraction is the Chedi Pond, a shallow blue pond that skirts the main lobby, housing five rust-coloured chedis. In the evenings, amber lighting and the rippling waters create a majestic image that transports you to the times of kings, queens and royal courtiers. The water element is further explored at the lift lobby where a reflection pond with a statue of an ancient kingly figure gazing silently into the still waters. Outside, one section of the hotel opens up to a private courtyard dotted with frangipani trees dripping with fragrant blooms flanked by lily ponds. The edenesque vibe of the property is all-pervasive and literally slams the doors on the madness of one of the busiest cities of the world.
The rooms at The Sukhothai are sumptuous to say the least. A sense of royal elegance pervades with teak wood flooring and furniture, coupled with dark granite and plush Thai fabrics and finishing. My Executive Suite was a spacious 76 sq. metres in size and had a bathroom as large as the bedroom! Separate His and Hers vanity areas, a very large tub and mirrored walls all around makes this spot a private sanctuary that welcomes guests to spend hours on end there. Mine even had a little rubber ducky in the tub! Other room categories include Superior Rooms, Deluxe Suites, Garden Suites, Deluxe Terrace Suites, Deluxe Residence Suites, The Beaufort Suite and The Sukhothai Suite.
A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, the rooms at The Sukhothai are distinctly stately without compromising on comfort, but I’d be foolish to simply spend my time indoors when this urban resort has a variety of attractions. The first thing I noticed was the pool area. The 25-metre infinity lap pool was packed with hotel guests from morning right up to dusk, where in reality, most hotel guests in Bangkok bolt from their hotels during the day to return late evening after gallivanting through the city. Here, guests were pretty content by the pool, simply relaxing and enjoying their break. The bespoke Spa Botanica was another attraction offering a wide selection of treatments and therapies. Simply walking along the footpaths in the property was an immersive experience for me, especially in the evenings when the cicadas created a ruckus (yes… there is enough greenery here for healthy flora and fauna to thrive!) on the trees lining the main driveway.
Bangkok is no stranger to an outstanding foodie experience, but when in The Sukhothai, do try, at least once, the phenomenal range of F&B outlets that sets this hotel apart from other establishments. Celadon is an award-winning Thai restaurant located in traditional salas (pavilions) and open-air terraces surrounded by a lily-filled moat. At dusk, the warm glow of the restaurant will draw you in like moths to a flame to wine and dine on a selection of authentic Thai dishes. I ordered mieng kam, a popular Thai DIY hors d’oeuvre where dried shrimps, peanuts, chopped ginger, lime and onions, and toasted coconut flakes are wrapped into a little bundle, topped with a betel nut, tamarind and palm sugar sauce and popped into the mouth for an explosion of flavours and textures. Noteworthy was also the Thai red curry with roasted duck and, a warm salad of four-angled beans dressed in a spicy, coconut cream sauce. For more variety, try the handsome La Scala Italian restaurant, an eye-catching outlet with its design accented by streaks of crimson. Even the breakfast spread at Colonnade was a grand affair with the choicest ingredients served with freshly brewed coffee. Having downed five cups of that black brew, I munched on an almond croissant while watching the Assistant F&B Director mingle and talk shop with almost every table. And as if on cue, each table burst out in raucous laughter as Khun Botan made her rounds bringing cheer to the breakfast crowd. It was quite fascinating to see her engage with customers of all nationalities, ages and statures, a sign of her excellent PR skills and genuine love to serve customers. But that didn’t come as a surprise as this hotel has been around for a long time and has perfected the art of hospitality. Don’t believe me? Go ask Tilda Swinton, Arjun Rampal, David Foster and even the late Nelson Mandela who have all stayed at the Sukhothai.
THE SUKHOTHAI BANGKOK
Address: 13/3 South Sathorn Road, Bangkok
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