Look down at any major river and you know where you are. The gal thinks of the luxury Mandarin Oriental hotels right on a river bank. Geneva’s hotel, which started life as simply Hôtel du Rhône, is, not surprisingly, right on the Rhône. In Bangkok and Shanghai the hotels have something in common, namely incessant and fascinating traffic afloat on the Huangpu and Chao Phraya rivers, respectively. Yes, back in Bangkok again. The river is the same as always, but this time the view is from the Jim Thompson Suite, #1512. As one would imagine, there is lots of beautiful Thai silk, and the knickknacks, ornaments and things, are gorgeous.
And as I expect from this lovely hotel, even the carved fruit – a Thai norm, of course – is personalised. Everyone is called Khun in Thailand, man or woman, you just have Khun added in front of your first name. So here is my named fruit sculpture, with lots of fresh fruits (whole, thankfully) and lots of orchids, including orange ones, and the view. Why mention the colour of the orchids? Well, the Thai court has lucky colours for each day. Starting with Sunday, lucky colours are red, yellow, pink, green (and grey by night on Wednesday), orange, light blue and purple. If you want to know what not to wear, unlucky colours, starting with Sunday, are blue, red, yellow and white, pink (with orange-red unlucky Wednesday night), purple, black and dark blue, and green.
I meet Amanda Hyndman, GM of this hotel, and she is wearing orange. Yes, it is Thursday, and she is about to take me to the Mandarin Oriental’s macaroon shop. They make 18,000 macaroons here every week, sic. How? The egg-white and sugar goo is hand-piped on to circles drawn on greaseproof paper. After four minutes’ baking, and cooling, they are filled, and sometimes coated with gold dust. They sell in the hotel’s lobby kiosk, and in four freestanding shops, for a quarter of the price of the Pierre Hermé and Ladurée ones, which are imported ready-baked from Paris. Afficionados, by the way, say those, not as fresh, simply do not taste as good – and I bet they do not do, as Mandarin Oriental does, an Elvis Presley macaroon with peanut butter and jelly.
This luxury hotel, which goes back to the late 19th century, is Forbes Travel Guide‘s only five-star property in the whole of Thailand and Amanda Hyndman went to Naples FL for the award ceremony – she could not have taken macaroons as gifts as they would have been confiscated on arrival in the USA. She is, however, always thinking of new things. The forever-favourite La Normandie French restaurant is currently being redesigned. She recently opened a stunning new-look Bamboo Bar with adjacent cigar lounge. What is the best seller in the Bar these days? Many go for the Negroni, beloved of two former James Bonds, Sir Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan. And, guess what, it comes with a caramel c, just made of course, on its own little silver shelf.