Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok is one of those places that everybody that ever goes to Bangkok and has some money, always raves about. Well, I must say I am one of those people.
I have stayed in Mandarin Oriental twice, once in a suite (Authors suite I think it was. Decorated in green colors) and other time was in a standard room.
Mandarin Oriental is one of those places that makes people fall in love with Thailand. It certainly worked for me. You almost start to believe, everyone is as wonderful and attentive in Thailand when you first visit the place. Ofcourse after my numerous visits around Thailand, I can say it is not quite the case.
So what is the reason people rave about then? First of all let me tell you, it really isn’t the interior. In fact when I first visited the place, I thought it was quite bland. The lobby is quite an average 5 star interior, nothing special that you would remember. It has a distinct 80s feel to it. I am actually not sure when it was renovated, but it has not changed, since I was there in 2012.
However you will hardly notice the lobby when you first check in. When you have 3 people greeting you when you get to the hotel, one there just to give you this cute flower thing for welcome, you will be swept off your feet how nice it is. I could easily get used to such treatment :).
So as you can guess, it is the service people most always remember when they talk about this place. They have a really staff to guest ratio (arguably only doable in Asian countries, cause of the salaries), that you will always feel there is someone there just to help you.
First time I was there, there was even a guy standing next to the elevator whose only job was to open the elevator doors ( even though they were automatic) and greet you with your name. I have no idea what kind of tricks a large hotel like that uses so they know all the names of the guests that stay there, but if a bellboy greets you by your name even the first time you are there, it makes you feel very special.
And then there are the butlers on each room, and a convenient call button in each room to call on him in case you need your shoes shined or dinner reservation made. What can I say? Sweet. The only other place where I have experienced butlers on each floor was in Burj Al Arab, but the nightkly rate there is 10 times of that Oriental.
Even though the suites are not exactly cheap even in Oriental, they are definitely only a fraction of what you would pay in London and Paris, and you would not get the kind of service there, let me tell you.
It is pointless to mention all the usual things about this hotel, cause every little thing that you could ask for in the hotel room, it is there. So I am not going to bore you with those details. However, I would like to point out couple of things that you should know when you stay in there-
-The Oriental Spa is actually on the other side of the river, next to Peninsula. There is a lovely wooden boat that will take you there, and I think it even enhances the experience…
-Breakfast is good, but not fantastic. As everything else in the hotel pretty much is, I am willing to let this one go. (If you are in the mood, go and try Peninsula on the other side of the river instead, I think it is much better).
-Don’t miss out on the lovely jazz bar downstairs. You will immediately feel you have travelled back in time and are back in the colonial period. Same happens if you visit the Authors Lounge (the historical part of the building). It really is a shame Bangkok does not have many other places like that left, where you feel the old world charm.
-If you are French, I would not spend my money on the Normandy restaurant, unless money is really no issue to you. I don’t know why is that, but Thais just are really bad with European food. And even though the French food there is much better than anywhere else in Bangkok, it is still quite far from the best restaurants in Paris. Must say that it is somewhat compensated by the remarkable view to the river, but with the heavy price tag that comes with such dining experience, I woudld save my pennies and splash out on some of the best restaurants in Paris.