Two days out of three, the gal was in a Kempinski – from Budapest, and Corvinus Kempinski, it took an overnight flight and then look, Bangkok’s urban oasis known as Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok. Right now, in Chinese New Year, this luxury hotel draws Chinese, and especially shoppers, from many parts of south-east Asia and further afield. They arrive with enormous cases, many of them probably empty as the thing to do when at this place is to head a few feet, literally no more, to Siam Paragon Shopping Center (you know, the kind of retail that has things you need as well as items you might never have known about had you not gone to see).
Samir Wildemann, the boss of this hotel and regional director for Kempinski throughout south-east Asia, stands in the palatial marbled lobby watching as baggage comes in and other baggage, much heavier because of all the retail trophies, goes out. He has seen it all before. This shopping bonanza happens every Chinese New Year, and at other holiday times, and shoppers with kids love this place. It is built around what seems like acres of pools, much of it swimmable. See the photo at the top, and also the video below: from some of the 303 bedrooms you can swim straight away, from your own terrace.
I love this hotel for its thoughtful rooms, with all-glass walls in the bathroom so you can see out while you are bathing. There are masses of sockets, everything is where you might expect it, the folding baggage rack is a designer look, with real leather forming a table. The bedhead is a blown up photo of lotus flowers, and a floor-to-ceiling vertical panel provides a colourful rendering of something, perhaps local history. You know you are here in Thailand. Sadly I only had a few hours on this visit but they were long enough for a hearty gym workout, and a shower.
All those shoppers have no fewer than 40 eating places in Siam Paragon Chopping Centre, and I hope they all know that this is a luxury hotel that itself offers good dining choices. Yes, some head automatically for Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin new-look Thai restaurant, but today we simply did the buffet in Brasserie Europa, and it was excellent. After a long flight, what is needed is salad, seafood, uncomplicated beef and pork (airlines always complicate dishes by adding sauces, to try to retain moistness) – and for those with a sweet tooth, there are colourful desserts, and, out of the picture, a chocolate fountain. Hey ho, Thailand, it is good to be back, on the site where the old InterCon stood for so many years! NOW SEE THE VIDEO BELOW, FOR A TOUR OF MY ROOM