How to preserve an icon is a common concern in architecture and interior design today. One of the best examples of success in preserving a heritage structure on this side of the world is the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, originally known as Oriental Hotel.
The Mandarin Oriental stands on a scenic site, right by the bank of Chao Phraya River. When we visited it, we crossed the river from the Peninsula. Of course approaching the Oriental is like beholding a different world. We had breakfast at the Riverside Terrace where my host and I had a healthful brunch of veggies omelette and yogurt.
Being situated right in the heart of Bangkok’s cultural district makes it a favorite place for those in search of the authentic. The interior of the hotel reflects the grandeur of this centuries-old kingdom, while the disarming smiles of the staff greet the guests, who are first awed by the splendor of the place, and then charmed by the friendly service.
The awesome lobby, with its enchanting floral decoration befitting a magnificent hotel in a land known for producing the best orchids, is a gathering place for the social set. Recommended for those with artistic and literary leanings is the Authors’ Lounge which, as the hotel brochure says, “exudes old world charm reminiscent of the early 1900s.
“Turn-of-the-century style wicker furniture and hand-painted fabrics provide the perfect accompaniment to framed photographs of many of the famous writers who have stayed at the hotel since the late nineteenth century. Renowned for its traditional afternoon tea of delicate finger sandwiches, pastries, freshly-baked scones and home-made jams, The Authors’ Lounge is a truly unique setting and one of the most photographed locations in Bangkok, if not Thailand.”
Anyone visiting the City of Angels must visit Mandarin Oriental. There are many places to see in Bangkok, including temples and palaces, but the Mandarin Oriental gives you the icing on the cake in a journey full of wonders.
Photos by Jojo G. Silvestre