The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is more than just one of the world’s most splendid hotels, it’s almost a piece of history. Evelyn Waugh sat on the terrace writing Mad Dogs and Englishmen, John Le Carre sipped cocktails while he finished off The Honourable Schoolboy, and Somerset Maugham recovered from raging malaria in one of the grand, airy bedrooms.
Writers have kept coming here to feel the magic, sit on the banks of the Chao Praya and watch the play of light on the moody river.The secret,leafy corners beside the swimming pool, or shadowy Bamboo Bar where they belt out jazz, nurture the romance of this stately hotel, which has lured royalty, heads of state, artists and travellers for 136 years now. Even though Bangkok calls, you can get lost in the world within The Oriental and struggle to leave.
Breakfast unfolds with dazzling variety and slick, long-serving staff key in to exactly how you like things done. Quaint wooden shuttle boats take you across river to the utterly relaxing, luxurious Spa. Lie under the palms beside the gold mosaic pool for a long lunch, and float into the Authors Lounge for the genteel, best-in-Bangkok afternoon tea. Up for a shower to the most comfortable, stylish room with a view, butler on hand, and everywhere the endlessly helpful and warm-hearted staff. My dinner of choice is the Riverside Terrace where the river twinkles with lights and the buffet is really fresh, or the Shanghai style China House for something more exotic. Even the foyer has a breathtaking allure,with massive flower arrangements hanging from the ceiling and a classy quartet playing Bach to raise ones spirits even higher. Need I go on? Indeed, there is more. Who says leavingThe Oriental is ever going to be easy. The only comfort I offer myself is the enduring hope of going back to the only hotel ( and this comes from a world traveller) that makes me want to leave home and move in for life.