Complimentary honey and lemon drink at the Oriental
Complimentary seasonal fruits greet visitors at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
The giant king bed at the Mandarin Oriental
The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok review
I’ve been itching to share my Mandarin Oriental Bangkok review… so here it finally is!For the final leg of our Bangkok stay, my husband had booked us into his perfect hotel, the Mandarin Oriental. Basically, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is the stuff of dreams in the Asian travel world.
I’d only ever had afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur (see my review here). So I was excited to spend a couple of nights there.
To describe the Mandarin Oriental, I’d say it was Gatsby-style decadence and grandeur.
Giant chandeliers hang from the lobby ceiling. You are greeted upon arrival by a member of staff dressed in a somewhat Imperial outfit reminiscent of old England.
As we stayed in December, the Oriental had fully embraced the Christmas theme, with a gigantic tree, and the chandeliers were decked in holly and berries.
Christmas decor adorns the hotel
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok – old school luxury
The theme of old school luxury followed through to the room. A key opening, rather than the usual card, lead us into the dark wood interior room. The room definitely had a touch of Ralph Lauren about it with the dark wood (just visit a Ralph Lauren store and you’ll know exactly what I mean). With ample cupboard space and a desk which opens to reveal plug sockets, every thing had been thought through with the theme of retro living in mind. Even the light switches, with their silver toggle knobs, looked like they wouldn’t feel out of place on the Titanic.
Dark wood decor runs through the hotel
Unlike other hotels we stayed at during this trip, which had tiled flooring and a cool, airy tropical feel, our room at the Mandarin Oriental could have been in London or New York, with it’s cosy, carpeted finish.
The double sink at the Oriental suites
Lemongrass flavoured toiletries
The marble bathroom featured a deep bath, double sink with dressing table and separate toilet and shower. As an added touch, as well as the usual mod-cons of slippers, robes and toiletries, the Mandarin Oriental had oriental bath salts, talc, and a razor kit. This ensured that every small convenience was taken care of, with a bit of luxury thrown in for good measure.
The bed was a large king bed, though on out first night they made a bit of a boo-boo, by giving us a room with two singles pushed together. They however corrected it on the second night of our stay.
In terms of location, the Mandarin Oriental is a bit blink-and-you’ll-miss-it. Unlike the Kuala Lumpur Mandarin hotel, which bears over the river in a majestic sea of light, the Bangkok version is slightly nestled away and surrounded by streets of shops, cafés and even street stalls.
However it’s about a 20 minute walk from the nearest metro station. Taxis are constantly passing through, so it’s not hard to get about.
However, the real value of the stay comes with the hospitality, which was by far the best I’ve experienced so far. On arrival, we were given garlands of jasmine flowers, a traditional Thai offering.
The porter who brought up our suitcases checked that all our light switches were in working order before leaving.
Upon entering our room, we were greeted with some fresh fruit from the region. The first day was mangoes, the second bananas. We were also informed that on each day of our stay we would get a different bowl of fruit. We even popped out in the evening for a couple of hours, to find that our mangoes has been replenished.
Minutes after settling into our room, we had another knock on the door. This time with welcome drinks of lemongrass and honey from our own personal butler. He informed us that he was at our service any time of the night. He also offered me a fan as an arrival gift. It was these small touches that really made us feel spoilt.
Our only regret was that on both nights that we stayed at the Mandarin, they were more like transit stops, so we got there incredibly late from one flight, and had to leave early the next morning to catch another. This leads me nicely onto a bit of advice…
My insider tips for staying at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
To make the most of your stay, check in as early as possibly at the Mandarin Oriental. We arrived late at night, so pretty much went to sleep. If you get there early, you can make the most of the hotel pool, have some afternoon tea or even just chill in the plush surroundings of your room. It’s also a great escape from busy Bangkok after a day of sightseeing, so make the most of it.
Staying at the hotel isn’t cheap, so you want to make the most of your investment, rather than just treating it like a crash pad.
To make the most of your stay, you might also want to try and get there quickly, which wasn’t so easy, this brings me into my next bit of wisdom…
A hard-to-find gem
We found that a lot of the taxi drivers didn’t understand when we asked them to take us to the Mandarin Oriental. That’s because they simply describe it as Oriental Hotel. Even on our second trip, our taxi driver didn’t know it by that name.
Now naively we assumed the hotel was established enough for all taxi drivers to know of it. Clearly this isn’t the case. So go armed with the full address and a map printout if possible. It may seem like obvious advice, but we were caught short as out driver didn’t know the name or recognise the address, so make it easier for the driver and yourself by going prepared.
On our last day in Bangkok, we had a late flight and a standard noon checkout. Thankfully, they let us leave our luggage with them so we could enjoy our last day in the city baggage free. They even gave us use a room for an hour before we left. This enabled us to grab a shower and freshen up before we went for our flight.
I’ve had hotels letting us use their shower facilities near their pools or other communal places before. But to free up a room for an hour, allowing us to sort our luggage and get ready at our convenience, was another example of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok going that extra mile.
The price of luxury
Now all this comes at a price of course. A night’s stay sets you back over £300, so it’s not the kind of place I’d stay at all the time. But it was great to be able to enjoy it for a couple of nights and get world-class hospitality.
As mentioned, we perhaps didn’t make the best of our stay with our late arrivals. I would say if you’re just looking for a crash pad this may seem a bit steep. But if it’s a luxury retreat where comfort is key, then the Mandarin Oriental has that down to a tee.
For a cheaper, but equally fabulous stay in Bangkok, check out my review of the Eastin Hotel.