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Mandarin Oriental Bangkok review: an oasis of riverside splendour

  • July 06, 2022

Bangkok needs no introduction but just in case, it’s a sprawling concrete jungle of more than ten million people. It’s quirky and interesting, hectic and hot, frenetic and a hodgepodge of architectural beauties, ramshackle buildings and narrow waterways. The streets are alive with the smells of a thousand different dishes cooking, vendors hawking their wares, people fixing sewing machines or motorbikes. 

It’s hopelessly addictive, though, which is why so many use the city to book-end their trips to Thailand. For my money, spending a week here means really getting under the skin of it, ensuring you get the right balance of calm retreat and buzzy life. Essential for that is a wonderful place to escape to – enter the Mandarin Oriental.

The riverside terrace

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Why stay here 

Ensconced on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the main artery that runs through the city, the Mandarin Oriental is one of Thailand’s oldest hotels at nearly 150 years and a true Bangkok icon. It’s been a temple to all things luxury since 1876 and its doors have seen royalty, celebrities and cultural icons pass through them. 

That said, these aren’t the same doors – the hotel saw a huge renovation in 2020. The lobby feels a bit of a short sell for the spectacular space you enter – a huge, two-storey tall affair full of bold colours, water features and unique flower displays – the perfect place to take high tea, full of light and a wonderful respite from the sticky heat outdoors.

The hotel is split across three areas, two adjacent to each other on the eastern side of the river and the spa situated in a teak longhouse on the opposite bank, accessed via a river shuttle, next to the newly-built residences.

Mandarin Room

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Rooms and suites

On the main site, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok has three wings – the River Wing, the Garden Wing and the Authors’ Wing (so named for writer Somerset Maugham who stumbled in here rather ill and used it as a base to recover from malaria). The most contemporary are those in the River Wing – a fusion of New England and traditional Thai styles, rooms are generous and comfortable, a mellow mix of bright blues, white wooden panelling and grey accents. Many of the fabrics are from Jim Thompson, saviour of Thailand’s silk industry in the middle of the last century. 

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