Laidback luxury. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when once enters the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok. Plush, calm, elegant and dressed in cool tones, the look is signature of architect, Andre Fu.
Already well-known for the work he’s done for The Upper House Hong Kong and the Shangri-La, Tokyo, the founder of design studio AFSO took inspiration from the original Waldorf Astoria New York, and the Art Deco influence can be spotted in the brass furnishings, arched promenades and the grand staircase that greets you on the ground floor.
The warm welcome starts from the doorman, who greet guests with a bright smile no matter the time of day. Friendly staff usher us up to the lobby on the 14th floor, and though check-in was swift, we still managed to take time to enjoy a delicious cup of butterfly pea tea.
Do Not Disturb
There are 171 rooms in this property, and just like the lobby, the King Deluxe Suite we were checked into was elegantly designed with a calming colour palette, lush furnishings and a beautiful brass screen.
Floor-to-ceiling windows show off city views in great light, and the 50 sqm space also boasts a walk-in wardrobe, a sitting and study area, as well as a rainshower and marble bathtub. Everything, from temperature, to adjusting the curtains or lightning can be controlled with a touch of a button, and the minibar is well-stocked with snacks, beverages and an espresso machine.
The pool on the 16th floor beckons with private cabanas and views that overlook a golf course, but if it's pampering you're after, book yourself a treatment at the Waldorf Astoria Spa.
Yes, Bangkok may be known for its affordable massages, but there are few experiences quite as exclusive as the one you'll have here. There are only three private rooms in this intimate spa, and we hear that the skilled therapists (their specialty is traditional Thai massage, of course) are always in high demand.
Food & Drink
You know a hotel is serious about its food when the breakfast service is impeccable. Served daily at The Brasserie, the international buffet spread changes daily, though you'll get to enjoy staples like the freshest fruit and juices, cold cuts and cheeses, delicious croissants and pain au chocolat, and eggs done any way you like à la minute, every day.
The Front Room
Early media reviews of The Front Room contend that this Nordic-Thai restaurant could be up for a Michelin star or Bib Gourmand this year, so we definitely went in with high expectations. The brainchild of chef Rungthiwa Chummongkhon, who spent 12 years in Denmark and in Michelin-starred Kokkedal Slot and Noma, the 10-course meal here should be on any foodie's must-try list if you're game for a playful and delightful dining experience.
Amuse bouche is a trio of dishes boasting well-loved Asian flavours paired with modern techniques: strips of fish crackers served with a pomelo salad and pineapple gel; mini salmon and beetroot meringues; pumpkin chips, shaped like a leaf and served atop a 'bush'.
Dish after dish, ingredients and flavours were re-imagined and presented in novel ways, like the crabmeat salad with curried hollandaise sauce served in a casing made from celeriac chips, or the dish that appears to be flat noodles served in broth, but was actually thinly sliced baked squid in cucumber, gourd and squid consommé.
The wine pairings were on point and did not disappoint, but the juice pairings turned out to be an equally good choice.
The Champagne Bar
If you're in the mood for a drink, there's one spot you absolutely must visit while staying at the Waldorf. Located on the 57th floor, The Champagne Bar is a super-luxe speakeasy that's just a wee bit tricky to get to.
How to get there? Take the lift to the 56th floor, ascend the staircase to the next level, and look for a hidden feature amongst a wall of artwork. When the secret door pops open, you're in.
Serving nothing but the fanciest champagnes (there's Charles Collin Blanc de Noirs Brut and Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose), there are also cocktails and light bites like caviar and charcuterie boards to be enjoyed.
(See also: The Dykes, Bikes and Bright Lights Of Amsterdam)