I’ve walked past the lebua Hotel tower countless times when in the City of Angels and often, strained my neck trying to decipher its number of floors or trace the tower right to its pinnacle. The monolithic building is pretty imposing and rises like a citadel, easily dwarfing nearby skyscrapers. The golden orb on the top shines like a bright beacon, mesmerising anyone who cares to tilt his head heavenwards and cast eyes upon this iconic building near the Chao Phraya River. I often wondered who visited this magical kingdom in the sky and who had the privilege of dining so high up in the blue.
Words: R. Rajendra
A stately reception that looked partly like an English parlour accented with wrought iron chandeliers welcomed me with its warm elegance. The hotel comprises all-suite accommodation at lebua at State Tower and Tower Club at lebua. The latter rises from the 51st to the 59th floors and is an invitation to pure indulgence, where not only are you literally at the top of the building, the suites where you’ll lodge are swanky and appointed most luxuriously. Additionally, the hotel’s signature sky- touching F&B outlets are just a few levels above you. More on that later.
The hotel staff greeted me with big smiles and whisked me into a super speedy elevator that climbed the floors in mere seconds. I kept swallowing large gulps of air to keep the pressure in my ears balanced. “First time?” a British guest in the elevator chirped at me; I nodded sheepishly. “Oh, you’ll get used to the luxury, darling… and the view is worth all the ear-popping in the world!” she proclaimed.
The doors opened and I was led to my dwelling on the 56th floor. A huge suite awaited me, but noting my eagerness, the Guest Relations Officer quickly unlocked the balconies and brought me out to view the city that spread out as far as the eyes could perceive. “Welcome to Bangkok, sir. Enjoy the view,” she quipped and encouraged me to drink in the beauty of Krung Thep from the 56th floor balcony. I was never particularly afraid of heights, but a twinge of vertigo crept up my legs as I peered down, tracing the majestic Chao Phraya as it glistened in the late evening sun with boats and barges traversing the length and breadth of the river. Wat Arun and countless other Buddhist temples dotted one side while commercial buildings, bridges and highways completed the landscape. For a solid 20 minutes, I stood transfixed, marvelling at the city and how it had expanded. And I dare say lebua Hotel in Bangkok is the only spot that affords such views with its open balconies, and my oh my… what a feast to the eyes it was!
Tower Club at lebua suites come in a variety of configurations such as the one-bedroom Cityview and Riverview Suites, the two-bedroom Signature and Luxury Suites, the three-bedroom Suite and, the Hangover Suite, named in honour of the Hollywood movie Hangover II, which was partly shot on location at lebua Hotel. The accommodation choices are all hugely spacious ranging between 66 sqm to a whopping 266 sqm, and done up tastefully in soothing notes of white and brown with splashes of bright colours. Be warned that your trip to Bangkok might pretty well be limited to hibernating in your room, enjoying sublime views that change according to the position of the sun.
The suites include a host of complimentary facilities such as beverages in the mini bar, in-suite broadband Internet access, LCD TV and DVD player, bath amenities from Acca Kappa, kitchenette and a Nespresso coffee machine, but you still must venture out and above (literally) because the jewel in lebua Hotel’s crown is its F&B outlets. Collectively known as The Dome at lebua, gastronomy is a finely perfected art here that is quite frankly above the competition. Mezzaluna on the 65th floor is a fine dining restaurant serving European cuisine and was recently named one of the Top 100 Restaurants worldwide by www.foodie.com. Sirocco on the 63rd floor offers contemporary Mediterranean fare in the world’s tallest al fresco restaurant, and is another repeat offender in the world’s list of best restaurants. Breeze, located on the 51st and 52nd floors serves up an Asian menu in a spellbinding setting. To access the restaurant, guests walk across a 25-metre long glass bridge lit with neon lights, which leads to a glassed aperture. The experience is simply out of this world, what with the neon lights dancing on the glass floor as you gingerly take step after step towards the glass bull’s eye.
For drinks, opt for either the super swanky Sky Bar on the 63rd floor or Distil on the 64th floor. Here, chilling out is serious business as some of the most creative and time honoured drinks are served in an environment unrivalled by any other watering hole in the city. Part of the movie Hangover II was filmed at Sky Bar, inspiring the creation of the Hangovertini. If a fellow traveller is to be believed, this is apparently how Bradley Cooper would taste in liquid form!
On the lower levels, Café Mozu is an equally delightful coffee house that serves exceptionally good Thai, Middle Eastern and Western dishes. Located beside the pool, this all-day dining outlet serves a kickass breakfast buffet where I witnessed, for the first time ever, bread slices being toasted in a wood-fired pizza oven for a truly hearty experience. I also tasted my first cronut here, a funky union between a croissant and a doughnut. Verdict: So good, I put paid to three!
Great dining options, sensational restaurants and bars, luxuriously appointed suites, all-round warm and inviting hospitality – you really can’t beat the top of the world feeling when you visit this beacon of Bangkok.
LEBUA HOTELS & RESORTS
Address: State Tower, 1055 Silom Road, Bangrak, Bangkok, 10505 Thailand