Waldorf Astoria Bangkok.
Blending Thai charm with luxurious comfort, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, is an iconic presence in the heart of Thailand’s bustling capital. Architect André Fu designed this hotel in Bangkok with bronze accents and soaring ceilings, reflecting the opulence and grandeur of the original Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Situated on the ultra-modern Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard, the hotel offers a wealth of amenities for discerning business and leisure travelers, including beautifully decorated rooms and suites, great dining options, and indulgent relaxation facilities, which includes a stunning rooftop pool.
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is located by the bustling Ratchaprasong intersection, within walking distance of renowned shopping precincts. Just a few minutes’ stroll to the Erawan Shrine, the luxurious Gaysorn Village mall and both lines of the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) Skytrain, the hotel is ideally positioned for guests to immerse themselves in the city’s colorful culture. Other highlights within a 10- to 25-minute drive include the Charoenkrung Creative District, the iconic Grand Palace and the city’s beautiful flower market. Both Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang Airport are an easy 35 minutes away by taxi (if there’s no traffic).
- The hotel occupies levels six through 16 and 55 through 57 of a 60-story skyscraper that is shaped like a Magnolia flower coming into bloom. Cutting against the skyline of Bangkok, the sculptural appearance of the building pays homage to the owners of the property, Magnolia Finest Corporation Limited. Award-winning architect André Fu and his design studio AFSO designed the main hotel. Globally recognized for their work, which range from modern hospitality projects and art spaces to high-profile fashion collaborations, AFSO has artistically curated a holistic hotel experience that unites the building’s contemporary architecture with Thai artisanal tradition.
- The hotel’s magnificent interior – with bronze accents and soaring ceilings – reflects the opulence and grandeur of the original Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, albeit in a clever way that pays homage to local Thai culture. The stylish decor exudes a residential ambiance, with extensive use of Carrara marble, Art Deco design elements, and Thai twists. Upon entering at the double height, ground level lobby, guests are greeted by a pair of symmetrical floor-to-ceiling burnished bronze screens, wrought into an intricate lattice. As guests step out of the elevators on the 6th floor, they enter the light-filled, soaring main lobby that looks out over Bangkok’s cityscape, and are immediately transported into a world of tranquility and serenity.
- Conceptualized to embrace the gracious Thai spirit in an elegant setting, the 171 residential-style guest rooms and suites are spacious and luxuriously appointed. During my visit, I stayed in a King Deluxe Room Park View, which featured floor-to-ceiling windows offering views across the green sward of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. The room was done in a neutral color palette of white, cream and sea greens, and featured a signature Waldorf Astoria king bed, a walk-in closet, and a seating area with a couch, coffee table, and small dining table. The elegant bathroom boasted double vanity, a deep-soaking bathtub, shower and a selection of luxurious toiletries.
- The highlight of the hotel’s facilities is the teardrop-shaped rooftop swimming pool, which looks out over the Royal Bangkok Sports Club and the city skyline. The open-air setting on the 16th floor is a great place for an energizing swim or a relaxing afternoon in a private cabana. The infinity pool also offers a great view of the sunset and stays open until 10pm for guests that want an after-dark dip. The pool is surrounded by several sun loungers, and there are even some loungers located within the pool. Pool attendant provide complimentary glasses of cold water and fruit skewers, and it’s also possible to order food and drinks from a poolside menu.
- A haven of relaxation, the intimate spa is located on the same floor as the entrance to the pool, and features three private treatment rooms. The spa provides a soothing environment with a focus on traditional Thai massages, perfect for individuals and couples alike. An array of rejuvenating treatments and world-class spa products will leave guests feeling at peace and at their best. The spa also houses a contemporary fitness center, which is open 24 hours and available exclusively to hotel guests, who can exercise with the latest cardio and strength-training equipment while taking in the view through floor-to-ceiling windows.
- In line with Waldorf Astoria’s legacy of culinary expertise, the hotel is a dining destination in itself. There are three unique restaurant concepts, a lounge and two bars, including:
- Front Room, the hotel’s signature restaurant, is helmed by acclaimed Chef Fae Rungthiwa Chummongkhon, who brings her experience of working at Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe to present an elegant blend of “new Nordic” and Thai flavors in a relaxed setting.
- The Brasserie, located on the upper lobby, is a lively destination that offers stunning views of the city. Using locally sourced ingredients, the restaurant serves traditional French brasserie fare daily from breakfast through dinner.
- Peacock Alley, which sits on the same level as The Brasserie, is an ideal lounge for afternoon teas and light meals. Modeled after the New York original, Peacock Alley presents a menu of delectable homemade pastries and refreshments throughout the day.
- Bull & Bear on level 55 specializes in grilled meats and seafood, and features a live raw bar along with a custom-made grill designed for smoking, slow roasting, baking and grilling. Eye-catching art deco-inspired interiors, upbeat vibes and dazzling views make Bull & Bear the perfect place to socialize, celebrate and indulge.
- The Loft on level 56 is a glamorous, New York-inspired bar, steeped in the romance of art nouveau. Taking inspiration from the original 1935 Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, artisanal spirits and forgotten cocktails are served with gourmet bar bites.
- The Champagne Bar, located at the hotel’s peak on level 57, is designed with meticulous attention to detail. An exquisite list of fine champagnes and one of the best views of Bangkok combine to create the ultimate setting for a spectacular evening out.
- The property is managed by Waldorf Astoria, which is positioned as the flagship brand within Hilton’s portfolio, only being used on hotels which offer the highest standards of facilities and service. The original Waldorf Astoria New York was a place like no other: a marvel of the modern age with electricity, telephones, a bath in most guest rooms, and palatial public spaces, whose unique blend of personalized service, architectural grandeur and sophisticated style attracted leaders of industry, illustrious artists, and society’s elite. It also captured the imagination of hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, who kept a photograph of The Waldorf Astoria under the glass on his desk. On the picture he had written simply, “The greatest of them all.”
- As part of Hilton group, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok has taken its commitment to sustainability seriously since its opening in 2018. The property bans plastic straws, stir picks, and cocktail picks and replaced them with environmentally-preferable materials. For drinking water in guest rooms and for meetings, Tetra Pak packaging is used instead of plastic; these paper-based empty bottles are recycled to make roofs for underprivileged local communities. The hotel’s kitchens use biodegradable food wrap and reusable storage boxes. The Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is currently in the process of also reducing the use of single use toiletry products.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
The Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is a stunning new addition to the Thai capital’s luxury hotel scene, and offers great rooms, facilities, service, restaurants, and bars. Before considering a stay here, you may want to know the following:
- Waldorf Astoria Bangkok’s rooftop deck is visually stunning but it is not the best place for improving your tan as the pool is in the shade for most of the day. On the other hand, it makes the pool a perfect place for chilling as it rarely gets too hot (high floor also means windy weather).
- One of the hotel’s main drawback is the heavy traffic in this part of town. The cab ride from the airport to the hotel can take over one hour in rush hour. However, both the Siam and Chitloem Skytrain stations are close by, making getting around relatively easy.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The weather in Bangkok is dominated by a tropical monsoon climate which means there are three main seasons: a cool, dry season between November and February (which is the best period to visit the city); a hot, dry season from March to June, and a rainy season from July to October. As Bangkok holds claim to being the hottest city in the world, expect daytime temperatures to be in excess of 30 °C (86°F) throughout the year (with the possible exception of late December and early January). The two periods April to May and September to October are characterised by high, almost untolerable humidity. The southwest monsoons arrive between May and October bringing unsettled, cloudy conditions and, for many, this is a welcome respite.
HOW TO GET THERE
Bangkok is served by 2 airports: